12-17-1904 – 12-12-1999 Paul Cadmus – Born in Manhattan, New York. He was an American artist best known for his painting and drawings of nude male figures. Cadmus was one of the first artists to be employed by The New Deal art programs, painting murals at post offices, and he did commercial illustrations as well. In 1980, he became a member of the National Academy of Design. In 1934, he painted The Fleet’s In!. The painting features carousing sailors, women, and a gay couple, and was the subject of a public outcry let by Admiral Hugh Rodman. The painting was removed from exhibition by Henry L. Roosevelt, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and kept in his home until Roosevelt’s death in 1936. The painting was then moved to the Alibi Club in Washington D.C. and was kept from public view until 1981. It is now at the Naval Historical Center. Cadmus was gay and in 1965, he met and began a relationship with Jon Anderson, a former cabaret star, that lasted until Cadmus’ death in 1999. From the beginning of their 35 year relationship, Anderson was Cadmus’ model and muse in many of his works.
12-17-1936 – 05-22-2005 Bertha Harris – Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She was an American lesbian novelist. She moved to New York in the 1960s. Her work is highly regarded by critics and admirers, but her novels are less familiar to the general public. Her most notable work, Lover, is written with the Women’s Movement of the 1970s as its primary inspiration and its audience. Harris co-authored The Joy of Lesbian Sex in 1977 with Emily L. Sisley. Harris’ life-long companion of twenty-four years was the late Camilla Clay Smith. At the time of her death, she was completing her fourth novel, Mi Contra Fa. She died in New York City.
12-17-1945 Dame Jacqueline Wilson – Born in Bath, Somerset, England. She is an English novelist known for her popular children’s literature. Her novels feature controversial themes such as adoption, mental illness, and divorce. Since her debut novel in 1969, Wilson has written over 100 books. In 2010, her books were the most checked out from libraries across the UK. In 2008, Wilson was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). Wilson married in 1965 when she was 19 and had a daughter. The couple separated and then divorced in 2004. In April 2020, Wilson publicly came out as gay. She revealed that she had been living with her female partner, Trish, for 18 years. Her book Love Frankie was published on September 17, 2020, and is the second to feature a gay love story.
12-17-1959 Gregg Araki – Born in Los Angeles, California to Japanese American parents. He is an American independent filmmaker involved in New Queer Cinema. In 2006, he was honored with the Filmmaker on the Edge Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival. Kaboom was Araki’s tenth film and was premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. It was awarded the first ever Queer Palm for its contribution to LGBT issues. Araki identifies himself as bisexual.
12-17-1974 Sarah Paulson – Born in Tampa, Florida. She is an American film, stage, and television actress. Paulson was in the comedy films What Women Want (2000) and Down With Love (2003). She has also starred in a number of made-for-television movies and independent films. In 2013, Paulson starred as Mary Epps in the Oscar winning film, 12 Years a Slave. In 2011, she began starring in the FX series American Horror Story. Paulson has also appeared on Broadway. She dated actress Cherry Jones. In 2007, she and Jones declared their love for each other in an interview with Velvetpark at Women’s Event 10 for the LGBT Center of NYC. They broke up in 2009. She has stated the she is open to relationships with women and men going forward. Since early 2015, she has been in a relationship with actress Holland Taylor.