08-04-1961 President Barack Obama – Born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Obama was the United States 44th President and the first African American to hold the office. He also was elected for a second term, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney. President Obama is the first president to come out for LGBT equality.
08-04-1868 — 04-28-1938 Esther Roper – Born in England, place unknown. She was an English suffragist and social justice campaigner who fought for equal employment and voting rights for working-class women. In 1891 Roper graduated from Owen’s College with honors in Latin, English Literature and Political Economy. While on vacation in Italy in 1896, she met Irish poet and aristocrat Eva Gore-Booth. The couple fell in love and the following year Gore-Booth gave up her life of privilege and moved in with Roper. In 1916, they founded Urania, a privately circulated journal that focused on gender and sexuality. During WWI, they were prominent pacifists and helped support the wives and children of imprisoned conscientious objectors. After the war they became members of the Committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment and worked for prison reform. Gore-Booth died in 1926. In 1929, Roper published The Poems of Eva Gore-Booth. Roper died of heart failure in 1938. She is buried alongside Eva Gore-Booth. A quote from lesbian icon Sappho is carved on their gravestone – “Life that is Love is God” (Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir) . Eva Gore-Booth’s sister, Constance Markievicz, wrote of Roper: “The more one knows her, the more one loves her, and I feel so glad Eva and she were together, and so thankful that her love was with Eva to the end.
08-04-1933 – 01-19-2012 Rudi van Dantzig – Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He was a Dutch choreographer, ballet director, and writer. From the 1960s onward, van Dantzig choreographed more than 50 ballets. His unusual combination of classical ballet and modern dance was appreciated by Rudolf Nureyev who asked to be taught the principal role in Monument for a Dead Boy. For twenty-five years the two men were friends and collaborators. Van Dantzig’s book, Remembering Nureyev: The Trail of a Comet, details their relationship. Being gay, van Dantzig suffered the intolerance of his time and this became a major theme in his ballets and writings. His life partner was Toer van Schayk, a dancer, set and costume designer, and choreographer with the Dutch National Ballet. Van Dantzig died in Amsterdam from lymphoma and male breast cancer in 2012. (April 18, 1979 Photo by Rob Bogaerts / Anefo – Nationaal Archief)
08-04-1950 Sapphire (born Ramona Lofton) – Born in Fort Ord, California. She is an American author and performance poet. Lofton moved to New York City in 1977 and became involved with poetry. She also became a member of United Lesbians of Color for Change Inc. Her first novel, Push, became the film Precious, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. Sapphire is openly bisexual. Like her character Precious, Sapphire was sexually abused by her father, a US army sergeant, at the age of eight.
08-04-1958 Tim Barnett (Timothy Andrew Barnett) – Born in Rugby, United Kingdom. In the UK he had been the inaugural Executive Director of the Stonewall Lobby Group, which was the first professional lobby group set up in the UK to work for equal rights for lesbian and gay people. He moved to New Zealand in 1991. He was a member of the New Zealand Parliament from 1996 to 2008. Barnett was New Zealand’s second openly gay politician. He was an outspoken supporter of the Civil Union Bill, which became law in 2004 and made New Zealand the first country outside Europe to legislate for equal relationship status for lesbian and gay couples. In 2009, Barnett was appointed as the Global Programmes Manager for the World AIDS Campaign based in Cape Town, South Africa. In July 2012, Barnett returned to New Zealand and was appointed as General Secretary of the Labour Party.
08-04-1963 Keith Ellison – Born in Detroit, Michigan. He is an American Muslim politician. Ellison is the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th district. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress and the first African American elected to the House from Minnesota. He is a supporter of LGBT rights and released a video to celebrate the first day of same-sex marriage in his state.
08-04-1970 John August – Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado. He is an American screenwriter and film director. August’s debut film was the 1999’s critically acclaimed Go, for which he also served as co-producer and second unit director. In 2006, he received a Grammy nomination for the lyrics for “Wonka’s Welcome Song” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He writes and maintains the popular screenwriting blog johnaugust.com and develops screenwriter-targeted software. He is openly gay and married Michael August on June 28, 2008 during the four months same-sex marriage in California was recognized.