11-07-1937 — 02-21-2003 John E. Fryer, M.D. – Born in Winchester, Kentucky. He was an American psychiatrist and gay rights activist known for his anonymous speech at the 1972 American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual conference. It was at this event that the decision to de-list homosexuality as a mental illness from the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fryer was the first gay American psychiatrist to speak publicly about his sexuality. Fryer’s speech began: “I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist,” and went on to describe the lives of many gay psychiatrists in the APA who had to hide their sexuality from their colleagues for fear of discrimination, and from fellow homosexuals who disdained the psychiatric profession. There were more than 100 gay psychiatrists at the convention. Fryer became a professor at Temple University. He specialized in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction as well as in death and bereavement. Later in his career, he began treating gay men with AIDS. Fryer was being treated for diabetes and pulmonary sarcoidosis, and died from gastrointestinal bleeding and pneumonia in 2003.
(Photo by Kay Tobin)
11-07-1921 – 12-22-2015 Lisa Ben (b. Edythe D. Eyde) – Born in San Francisco, Californian. She was an American author, editor, and songwriter. In 1945, she moved to Los Angeles, California. It was in 1946 that she realized that she was a lesbian. Ben created the first known lesbian publication in the U.S., Vice Versa, from June 1947 through February 1948. It was her way of expanding her social circle. “I was by myself, and I wanted to be able to meet others like me. I couldn’t go down the street saying ‘I’m looking for lesbian friends’…[Vice Versa] gave me a way of reaching out to other gay gals — a way of getting to know other gals…when I had something to hand out and when I tried to talk girls into writing for my magazine, I no longer had any trouble going up to new people.” In the 1950s, Ben began writing for The Ladder, the first nationally-distributed lesbian magazine. She was also a musician, having studied the violin for eights years. Performing in local gay clubs, she sang gay-themed parodies of popular songs. She appeared in the 1984 documentary Before Stonewall and has been billed as “the first gay folk singer.” In 2010 the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association inducted Ben into its Hall of Fame. Ben lived in Burbank, California and died at the age of 94.
11-07-1946 Chrystos (b. Christina Smith) – Born in San Francisco, California. She is a Menominee (Wisconsin Indian tribe) two-spirit writer, lesbian, and activist. Her books and poems explore indigenous rights, social justice, and feminism. Chrystos is also a lecturer, writing teacher, and artist. Her collection of poetry includes Not Vanishing (1988), Dream On (1991) and Fire Power (1995). Chrystos has lived on Bainbridge Island, Washington since 1980.
11-07-1950 Bevan Lee – Born in Western Australia (city unknown), Australia. He is an Australian writer and executive best known for creating the TV dramas, Sons and Daughters, All Saints, Packed to the Rafters, Winners & Losers, and A Place to Call Home. Lee was an actor before he started writing. He is openly gay and in 2007 was nominated as one of the 25 most influential lesbian and gay people in Australia.
11-07-1956 Agnes Maltais – Born in Sault-au-Mouton, Quebec, Canada. She is a Canadian politician and Member of the National Assembly of Quebec. In 2003 she became the first out lesbian member of the National Assembly, publicly coming out to an audience at Laval University. In 2006 she participated in the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights.
11-07-1979 Marieke van der Wal – Born in Delft, Netherlands. She is a Dutch handball goalkeeper. Marieke was one of 49 out LGBT athletes to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
11-07-1986 Kelly Griffin – Born in Berkeley, California. She is an American Olympic rugby player. Griffin was named the captain of the USA Women’s Olympic Rugby Team for the 2016 Olympic Games. She was one of 49 out LGBT athletes that participated in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
11-07-1988 Reid Ewing – Place of birth unknown. He is an American actor best known for his recurring role as Dylan on the ABC comedy Modern Family. In addition to acting, Ewing plays the piano, guitar, and banjo. Reid wrote the song In the Moonlight (Do Me) which his character sang on Modern Family. He has also appeared in commercials. Reid is out gay.