April 17th People

April 17th

04-17-1919 – 08-05-2012 Chavela Vargas – Born in San Joaquin de Flores, Costa Rica. She was a Costa Rican-born Mexican singer. In 2007 she was presented with a Latin Grammy Statuette, a Lifetime Achievements Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. At the age of 81 she publicly declared on Columbian television that she was a lesbian. In 2000, she told the Spanish newspaper El País: “Nobody taught me to be like this, I was born this way. Since I opened my eyes to the world, I have never slept with a man. Never. Just imagine what purity. I have nothing to be ashamed of.” She had an affair with Frida Kahlo and many other women. She’s also is featured in many Almodóvar’s films. The documentary Chavela by lesbian director Catherine Gund is well worth seeing. Great footage as well as a great story about the first Mexican woman to come out as a lesbian.

04-17-1897 – 12-07-1975 Thornton Wilder – Born in Madison, Wisconsin. He was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes – for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and the plays,Thorton Wiler 2 Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. Although Wilder never discussed being gay publicly or in his writings, his close friend Samuel Steward is considered by some to have been a lover. Wilder was introduced to Steward by Gertrude Stein, who at the time regularly corresponded with both of them.

04-17-1973 Sandra Alland – Born in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, Canada. She is a Scottish-Canadian writer, interdisciplinary artist, small press publisher, performer, and Sandra Allandfilmmaker. Her work focuses on social justice, humor, and experimental forms. She is also a founding member of “b other,” a Scottish collective of LGBT Deaf and Disabled artists. She identifies as queer. In 2013, she was awarded a Cultural Commissions grant from Creative Scotland and LGBT History Month Scotland, to work on documentary shorts and to mentor six new LGBTQ disabled and deaf filmmakers.

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