04-11-1932 Joel Grey – Born in Cleveland, Ohio. He is an American actor, singer, dancer, and photographer. He is best known for portraying the Master of Ceremonies in both stage and film versions of the musical Cabaret. Grey has won the Academy Award, Tony Award, and Golden Globe Award. He came out on January 28th, 2015 at the age of 82. In an interview with People magazine he stated, “I don’t like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man.” On December 5, 2016, Grey was presented with the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre. In his memoir, Master of Ceremonies, he writes about his family, acting career, and the challenges of being gay.
04-11-1864 – 05-17-1943 Johanna Elberskirchen – Born in Rüdersdorf, near Berlin, Germany. She was a feminist writer who worked for the rights of women, homosexuals, and workers, and was active in the sexual reform movement. She studied medicine in Bern and later in Zurich. From 1915 to 1919, she worked in the Berlin nursing care. In 1920, together with her life companion Hildegard Moniac (1891 – 1967), she moved back to Rüdersdorf and opened a practice for homeopathic remedies. Her last known public appearance was in 1930 in Vienna, where she gave a talk at a conference organized by the World League for Sexual Reform. She was openly lesbian, which made her an exceptional figure in the feminist movement. Her career as an activist ended in 1933, when the Nazi Party rose to power. Her urn was buried secretly in 1975 by two women in the tomb of her life companion, Hildegard Moniac. On December 5, 2002, the municipality unanimously decided to put the tomb Elberskirchen/Moniac under protection and in 2003, a memorial ceremony took place and memorial plaques were erected for both women.
04-11-1955 – 12-27-1993 Michael Callen – Born in Rising Sun, Indiana. He was an American singer, songwriter, composer, author, and AIDS activist. Callen was diagnosed with AIDS in 1982 and became a pioneer of AIDS activism in New York City. Together with his doctor, Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, and fellow AIDS activist, Richard Berkowitz. Together, they published articles and pamphlets to raise awareness about the correlation between risky sexual behaviors and AIDS. In partnership with Oscar winner Peter Allen and Marsha Melamet, Callen wrote the song, Love Don’t Need a Reason, that was commissioned by Larry Kramer for his play, The Normal Heart. In June 2019, Callen was one of the inaugural fifty American “pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes” inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor within the Stonewall National Monument in New York City’s Stonewall Inn Callen died at age 38 from AIDS-related complications.
04-11-1901 – 02-22-1987 Glenway Wescott – Born in Kewaskum, Wisconsin. He was an American poet, novelist, and essayist. He was part of the expatriate literary community in Paris during the 1920s. His 1945 novel, Apartment in Athens, the story of a Greek couple in occupied Athens who has to share their living quarters with a German officer, achieved popular success. Wescott was in a longtime relationship with American publisher and museum curator, Monroe Wheeler from 1919 until Wescott’s death in 1987 from a stroke. (photo is a drawing by artist Berlin Perlin in 1946, courtesy of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery)
04-11-1949 Dorothy Allison – Born in Greenville, South Carolina. She is an American writer, speaker, and member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Her writing includes themes of class struggle, sexual abuse, child abuse, feminism, and lesbianism. She is a self-identified lesbian femme. She has won a number of awards for her writing, including several Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian fiction. She lives in Monte Rio, California with her female partner, Alix Layman and son. She is one of the founders of Lesbian Sex Mafia, along with Kristie Friddle, of Quincy, Illinois, an informative and support group for women of all sexual orientations and identities.
04-11-1920 – 06-24-2013 Emilio Colombo – Born in Potenza, Italy. He was an Italian politician and the Prime Minister of Italy from 1970 to 1972. A number of progressive reforms were introduced during Colombo’s time as prime minister. In November of 2003, he admitted to have used cocaine (for “therapeutic purposes”). At the same time, he disclosed that he was homosexual. For years he had told interviewers that he was too busy to marry.