February 27th People

February 27th

02-27-1932 – 03-23-2011 Elizabeth Taylor – Born in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom. She was a British-American actress and considered one of the greatest and most famous screen stars in the world. After her close friend, Rock Hudson, died in 1985 following his battle with HIV/AIDS, the actress started work to find a cure for the disease. In 1985, she co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research. In 1991 she launched the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation in order to offer greater support for those who are sick, as well as fund research for more advanced treatments. She received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Legion of Honor, the Jean Hershel Humanitarian Award, and a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.

02-27-1925 – 12-24-1990 Pat Bond (born Patricia Childers) – Born in Chicago, Illinois. She was an American actress who starred on stage, television, and film. Her career spanned forty years. Bond never hid the fact that she was a lesbian and in many cases she was the first gay woman people saw on stage. In 1945, she joined the Women’s Army Corps and was a nurse for soldiers returning from the South Pacific. She also served in Occupied Japan. In 1947, in Tokyo, 500 women were dishonorably discharged from the army on the charge of homosexuality. To avoid being prosecuted, she married Paul Bond, a gay GI. She received an honorable discharge from the army on July 3, 1947. Following her leaving the Army, she moved to San Francisco where she earned a BA and MA in Theater from San Francisco State College. She became nationally known from the documentary film about gay people, titled Word Is Out (1978), in which she was interviewed. Her performace in the film stole the show and launched her career as an actress and storyteller. By the late 1970s/80s, she was performing four one-woman shows in theater around the country. Gerty Gerty Gerty Is Back Back Back was her most popular performance where she plays the legendary Gertrude Stein. In 1990, Bond was honored by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in recognition of her service in the army at the end of WWII. She died of emphysema on Christmas Eve, 1990. In 1992, The Pat Bond Memorial Old Duke Award was founded in her honor. The award goes to recognize Bay Area lesbians over the age of 60 who have made outstanding contributions to the world.

02-27-1880 – 06-10-1958 Angelina Weld Grinké – Born in Boston, Massachusetts. She was an American journalist, teacher, playwright, and poet who came to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance. She was was one of the first African-American women to have a play publicly performed. At the age of 16, Grimké wrote to a friend, Mary P. Burrill: “I know you are too young now to become my wife, but I hope, darling, that in a few years you will come to me and be my love, my wife! How my brain whirls how my pulse leaps with joy and madness when I think of these two words, ‘my wife.’” More evidence of her lesbianism came after her death where it was revealed in her diaries and unpublished works. The Dictionary of Literary Biography: African-American Writers Before the Harlem Renaissance states: “In several poems and in her diaries Grimké expressed the frustration that her lesbianism created; thwarted longing is a theme in several poems.” Some of her poems are more explicitly lesbian, implying that she lived a life of suppression, “both personal and creative.”

02-27-1965 Sherry D. Harris – Born in Newark, New Jersey. She was the first out African-American lesbian elected to public office in 1991 in the United States. Harris ran for political office in Seattle and became the first candidate endorsed by the newly-founded Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. By a 70% majority, Harris defeated the 24-year incumbent, Sam Smith, who had been the first African-American elected to the Seattle City Council. She served on the City Council from 1992 to 1995. She also helped raise over $1 million to fight anti-gay ordinances in Washington state. In 2010, Harris published her book, Changing the World from the Inside Out: Politic for the New Millennium.

02-27-1936 Sonia Johnson – Born in Malad City, Idaho. She is a feminist activist and writer. She was excommunicated by LDS Church (Mormon Church) for her outspoken support of the Equal Rights Amendment. She went on to publish several radical feminist books and became a popular feminist speaker. Johnson currently lives in New Mexico with her partner Jade DeForest.

02-27-1982 Francine Beppu – Place of birth in Hawaii unknown. American television personality, and entrepreneur. She graduated from New York University. She came to prominence with her role on the Showtime reality series The Real L Word, season 2. She grew up in Hawaii, loves the islands and local culture, but growing up gay in Hawaii wasn’t easy. She left Hawaii after high school and continued her education at New York University, where she earned degrees in Marketing, International Business, and Media & Technology. New York is also where she expanded her horizons and was introduced to a diverse and openly gay community.

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