February 25th People

February 25th

02-25-1941 Jutta Oesterle-Schwerin – Born in Jerusalem, Israel. She was a German politician and a lesbian pioneer in the Bundestag (German constitutional and legislative body). She served in office four years, from 1987 to the end of 1990. In those years, her name was among 137 parliamentary initiatives on gender equality for women with men and on LGBT rights. She now lives in Berlin and is a spokeswoman for the Lesbian Ring. The Lesbian Ring is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). She is the sister of Israeli historian Tom Segev.

02-25-1955 – 05-15-2009 Rodger McFarlane – Born in Mobile, Alabama. He was an American gay rights activist and became the first paid executive director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center. McFarlane was one of the founding members of the New York branch of ACT UP. The character of “Tommy” in Larry Kramer’s play, The Normal Heart, is based on McFarlane. At the age of 54 in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, McFarlane committed suicide. He left a letter stating he could no longer deal with heart and back problems, which followed a broken back in 2002. In an interview with The Advocate, Kramer said, “He did more for the gay world than any person has ever done. I don’t think the gay world knew or knows how great he was and how much he did for us and how much we need him still and how much we will miss him.”

02-25-1986   Jameela Jamil – Born in Hampstead, London, England. She is a British actress, radio presenter, model, writer, and activist. In 2016, Jamil moved to the United States. She is known for her role as Tahani Al-Jamil in the NBC fantasy comedy series The Good Place. Jamil is also known as the host of the TBS game show The Misery Index and as one of the judges of the reality show Legendary. She considers herself to be bisexual. Since 2015, she has been in a relationship with musician James Blake.

Nina Jacobson (1965) – Born in Los Angeles, California. She is an American film executive who, until July 2006, was president of the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. She was one of the last women to head a Hollywood film studio since the 1980s. She established her own production company called Color Force in 2007 and is the producer of The Hunger Games. In 1995, she and film director Bruce Cohen formed Out There, a collection of gay and lesbian entertainment industry activists. 

Pauline Park (1960) – Born in Korea and adopted by European American parents. She is an activist for transgender rights. In 1997, Park co-founded Queens Pride House, a center for the LGBT communities of Queens, and Iban/Queer Koreans of New York.  In 1998, Park co-founded the NY Assoc. for Gender Rights Advocacy, the first statewide transgender advocacy organization in New York. She negotiated the inclusion of gender identity and expression in the Dignity for All Students Ace, a safe schools bill enacted by the New York State Legislature in 2010. Park was adopted by European American parents and raised in the United States. In an interview, she said, “I think I knew when I was four or so before I even knew the word. It’s a funny story. When I went to kindergarten, the first day all the girls were wearing stretch pants with stirrups, remember those? I thought they were so cute and I wanted some. I remember when I came home and asked for some my mother was shocked. That was when I began to understand that certain things were for girls and certain things were for boys. And I began to recognize that as a child I couldn’t be who I was until I was an adult.”

Gregory Woods (1953) – Born in Egypt. He is a British poet that grew up in Ghana. Since 1990 he has taught at Nottingham Trent University, wherein 1998 he was appointed Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies, the first such appointment in the United Kingdom. On retirement, he was appointed Emeritus Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies. His main areas of interest are twentieth-century gay and lesbian literature; post-war gay and lesbian films, cultural studies and the AIDS epidemic. In addition to his poetry collections, he is the author of a number of books. According to poet Sinéad Morrissey, “Probably, the finest gay poet in the United Kingdom.”

Clara Smith (1894 – 02-02-1935) – Born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. She was an African American blues singer. She was billed as the “Queen of the Moaners.” In 1923 she settled in New York, appearing at cabarets and speakeasies. The same year she made her first successful gramophone recordings for Columbia Records. Smith took a fancy to Josephine Baker and insisted that the manager, Bob Russell, of the Booker T. Washington Theatre hire her. According to an associate of Russell’s, Baker was Smith’s “lady lover.” Smith also played a significant role in Baker’s career by introducing her to “black glamour.” Smith died of heart disease in 1935.

 

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