12-16-1901 – 11-15-1978 Margaret Mead – Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured author and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Mead was a respected, often controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures shaped the 1960s sexual revolution. She was married three times. She also had a romantic and sexual relationship with Ruth Benedict, one of her instructors. She lived with Rhoda Metraux from 1955 until her death in 1978. Letters between the two, published in 2006 with the permission of Mead’s daughter, clearly expressed a romantic relationship.
12-16-1899 – 03-26-1973 Noël Coward – Born in Teddington, southwest London, England. He was an English playwright, composer, director, actor, and singer. Coward achieved long lasting success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays. He won an Academy Honorary Award in 1943 for his naval film drama, In Which We Serve, and was knighted in 1969. Coward did not publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, but it was revealed candidly after his death by biographers, including Graham Payn, his long-time partner, and in Coward’s diaries and letters, published posthumously. Coward’s other relationships included playwright Keith Winter, actors Louis Hayward and Alan Webb, his manager John (Jack) C. Wilson, and the composer Ned Rorem. Coward also has a 19-year friendship with Prince George, Duke of Kent, but biographers differ on whether it was platonic or romantic. Many of his works, such as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter, and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. Some of the films in which he participated as an actor, screenwriter, director, or producer are as follows: Blithe Spirit (1945), Brief Encounter (1945), Around the World in 80 Days (1956), Our Man in Havana (1959), Bunny Lake is Missing (1965), and The Italian Job (1969).
12-16-1908 — 04-29-1984 Frances Day (birth name – Frances Victoria Schenck) – Born in East Orange, New Jersey. She was an American actress and singer that had her greatest success in England during the 1930s. Her career began at the age of 16 as a cabaret singer in New York City. In 1932 she made her London stage debut at the Hippodrome. Starting in 1928, she was in many films, including Big Business (1930), The Girl from Maxim’s (1933), and Oh, Daddy! (1935). Her last film was There’s Always a Thursday (1957). Day also made numerous recordings. She had many lovers both women and men. Her male lovers included the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), his brother Prince George, their cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Prince Bertil of Sweden, and Britain’s Foreign Secretary and future Prime Minister, Anthony Eden. The women she was involved with included Tallulah Bankhead and Marlene Dietrich. After Day visited the White House, First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, 23 years older, wrote to her: “I find I am quite unable to resist your extraordinary and tempestuous magnetism.” Her last lesbian lover was Moie Charles (b.1911), author of the film The Gentle Sex (1943). In the 1960s she changed her name to Samta Young Johnson and refused to answer any questions of her past and denied that she was Frances Day. She died on April 29, 1984 from leukemia and left her estate to Howard McBrien, an employee in an office beneath her apartment. He knew nothing of her glamorous past, only that “she was the friendly lady that lived upstairs.”
12-16-1915 – 03-18-2008 Hazel Estella Barnes – Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She was an American philosopher, author, and translator. Best known for her popularization of existentialism in America. She translated the works of Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1962, she was the host of a television series, Self Encounter: A Study in Existentialism, which appeared on National Public Television. She never married and had a female companion for most of her adult life.
12-16-1946 Barbara Smith – Born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is an American lesbian feminist who played a significant role in building and sustaining Black Feminism in the U.S. Since the 1970s she has been active as a critic, teacher, lecture, author, scholar, and publisher of Black feminist thought. She has also taught at numerous colleges and universities. Her writings have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The Black Scholar, Ms., The Guardian, and The Village Voice. Barbara has a twin sister, Beverly Smith, who is also a lesbian, feminist, activist, and writer.
12-16-1946 Beverly Smith – Born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is an American lesbian feminist. She’s the twin sister of Barbara Smith. She is an instructor of Women’s Health at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She, along with her sister, was one of three authors of the Combahee River Collective Statement, one of the most widely read discussions of Black feminism. Her essays and articles on racism, feminism, identity politics, and women’s health have been extensively published in the US.
12-16-1951 Bonnie M. Dumanis – Born in Brockton, Massachusetts. She is the District Attorney of San Diego County. A Republican, she is the first out LGBT person to be DA in the country. She is also the first Jewish woman to be DA of San Diego County. In 2013 the Log Cabin Republican Club of San Diego named her “Woman of the Year.”
12-16-1961 Ron Athey – Born in Groton, Connecticut. He is an American performance artist associated with body art and with extreme performance art. Many of his works include aspects of S&M in order to confront preconceived ideas about the body in relation to masculinity and religious iconography. He lives in England. Athey is openly gay and a former heroin user who is HIV positive.
12-16-1964 Todd Glass – Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is an American LGBT comedian. He is best known for his appearances as a contestant of the second and third seasons of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He has appeared regularly on programs such as Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and Politically Incorrect. He had his own special in 2001 on Comedy Central Presents. The string of suicides among LGBT youth motivated him to come out in January 16, 2012.
12-16-1973 Reichen Lehmkuhl – Born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is an American former reality show winner, model, and occasional actor. Lehmkuhl graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and advocated for LGBT rights in the military as a spokesperson for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. He is best known for winning season four of the reality game show The Amazing Race. In July 2006, former ’N Sync band member Lance Bass told People magazine that he was gay and involved with Lehmkuhl. The couple broke up in 2007 but remained good friends.
12-16-1974 Kanako Otsuji – Born in Nara Prefecture, Japan. She is a Japanese LGBT rights activist and former member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly. In August 2005, the day before Tokyo Pride, she published an autobiography Coming Out: A Journey to Find My True Self, and by doing so came out as Japan’s first lesbian politician. She was instrumental in bringing a legislative change that allows same-sex couples to rent housing from the Osaka Prefectural Housing Corporation, a privilege that was reserved for married couples. In June 2007, Otsuji held a public wedding ceremony in Nagoya with her partner Maki Kimora, although same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in Japan.