February 1st People

February 1st

02-01-1900 – 12-18-1993 Betty Carstairs (Marion Barbara “Joe” Carstairs) – Born in Mayfair, London, England (DOB unknown). She was a wealthy British power boat racer betty-carstairs-2known for her speed and her eccentric lifestyle. She usually dressed as a man, had tattooed arms, and loved machines, adventure, and speed. Openly lesbian, she had numerous affairs with women, including Oscar Wilde’s niece, Dolly Wilde, Greta Garbo, Tallulah Bankhead, and Marlene Dietrich. Socialite Ruth Baldwin (b. Feb. 17, 1905), a lover of Carstairs, turned the kitchen in the house they shared into a bar. Carstairs friends later said, “She (Baldwin) was wild. She was such fun. Ruth, she was really wild.” She told Carstairs, “The world is one’s oyster if taken at will.” When Carstairs purchased her first motorboat, Baldwin gave her a Steiff doll that Carstairs named Lord Tod Wadley. Carstairs kept the doll until her death. During WWI she served in France with the American Red Cross, driving ambulances. In 1925 she inherited a fortune through her mother and grandmother from Standard Oil. In 1934, Carstairs purchased Whale Cay, an island in the Bahamas where she lavishly hosted guests such as Marlene Dietrich and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. She died in 1993, the doll, Lord Tod Wadley, was cremated with her. Their ashes and those of Ruth Baldwin were buried in Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor, New York.

02-01-1902 – 05-22-1967 Langston Hughes – Born in Joplin, Missouri. He was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. Hughes was one of the langston-hughesearliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. He is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Langston remained private about his personal life, but it has been agreed by many academics and biographers that Hughes was gay and included gay codes into many of his poems, as did Walt Whitman, whose work Hughes cited as an influence, most directly in the short story Blessed Assurance. Arnold Rampersad, Hughes’ principal biographer, wrote, “Hughes found some young men, especially dark-skinned men, appealing and sexually fascinating.” While in his early sixties, he fell in love with operatic singer and actor Gilbert Price (1942-1991). Unpublished love poems by Hughes were addressed to a man he called “Beauty.” It is believed these poems referred to Price.

02-01-1979 Rutina Wesley – Born in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is an American actress best known for her roles as Tara Thornton on the HBO series True Blood and Nova Bordelon on the OWN series Queen Sugar. In 2005 she married her former Juilliard classmate Jacob Fishel. They were divorced on August 16, 2013. In November, 2017, Wesley announced her engagement to Shonda, a female chef from New Orleans.

02-01-1930 – 01-10-2011 María Elena Walsh – Born in Ramon Mejia, Argentina to an English railway worker, of Irish descent, and an Argentine woman of Andalusian descent. She was an Argentine poet, novelist, musician, playwright, and composer, mainly known for her songs and books for children. In 1985 she received the title Illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires. In 1994 she was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Walsh’s life-partner from 1978 until her death in 2011, was Sara Facio (b. April 18, 1932), an Argentine photographer, known for her photographs of cultural personalities. Walsh’s favorite audience was children, for whom she wrote more than forty books.

02-01-1938 – 07-24-2012 Sherman Hemsley – Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was an African-American actor, best known for his role as George Jefferson on the CBS sherman-hemsleytelevision series All in the Family and The Jeffersons. He never came out officially but rumors circulated that he was gay. As The Advocate points out: “While there was no official confirmation during his lifetime, there was frequent speculation that Hemsley was a gay man.” A 2007 VH1 story listed three favorite allegedly gay black actors from the past put Hemsley in the top spot.” On August 28, 2012, an El Paso news anchor interviewed Flora Enchinton, the sole beneficiary of Hemsley’s will, who said they were friends and had been his business partner and manager for more than two decades. During this time she lived with Hemsley and Hemsley’s friend Kenny Johnston in El Paso, Texas.

02-01-1957 Lucy Jane Bledsoe – Born in Portland, Oregon. She is an American novelist and science writer, who writes both fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. lucy-jane-bledsoeShe focuses on LGBT literature and has received several awards for her fictional and non-fictional work. She is the winner of the Stonewall Book Award and a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist. Bledsoe has traveled to Antarctica three time and has written three books on the subject. Besides writing, she is a CDROM script writer for National Geographic and the George Lucas Educational Foundation. She is openly lesbian.

02-01-1973 Spencer Wilton – Born in the UK (exact place unknown). He is a British spencer-wiltonequestrian. Together with the British dressage team he won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Wilton is openly gay and was one of 49 out LGBT athletes to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

02-01-1983 Ronnie Kroell – Born in Chicago, Illinois. He is an American model and actor. He is best known for appearing on the first season of the Bravo reality series Make ronnie-kroellMe a Supermodel. On Out’s 3rd Annual 100 Most Eligible Bachelors (2013) He is openly gay. Kroell has been the guest of honor or grand marshal at gay pride events across the United States. He is also very much involved in charity and awareness campaigns. He contributed to the “It Gets Better Project” and to the “I talk about HIV/AIDS Because…” campaign. In addition, he has worked with Equality Maryland, GLADD, HRC, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

02-01-1988 Katie Duncan – Born in Cambridge, New Zealand. She is a professional katie-duncansoccer player. As of 2015, she plays for a team in Zürich, Switzerland. Duncan was one of 49 out LGBT athletes that participated at the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is married to fellow New Zealand footballer Priscilla Duncan.

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