January 18th People

January 18th

01-18-1904 – 11-29-1986 Cary Grant (b. Archibald Alec Leach) – Born in Bristol, England. He was an English-American actor, known as one of Hollywood’s leading men. At the age of 16, he first arrived in the U.S. with a vaudeville act and instead of returning to England, he formed his own group called “The Walking Stanleys.” His film career began in the early 1930s and continued on until his retirement from acting in 1966. He wanted to be a father to his daughter, his only child, while married to Dyan Cannon, his fourth marriage. He was married five times. Grant also lived with the actor Randolph Scott off and on for 12 years. There have been many rumors that the two were lovers, denied by both actors. New revelations have surfaced with the release of gay costume designer, Orry-Kelly’s documentary, Women He’s Undressed, available on DVD. Kelly, who was seven years older, writes in his memoir that he met the struggling performer Archibald Leach — who would change his name to Cary Grant in 1931 — just before his 21st birthday in January 1925. Grant lived with Kelly for awhile. Film historian William J. Mann says in the documentary that Kelly and Leach (Grant) were definitely a couple. The two men briefly ran their own speakeasy in Manhattan — and had an even more short-lived casino in Nevada before they were shut down by gangsters. According to Kelly, he was clearly annoyed with Leach’s obsession with blonde women, “though he always comes home to me.” Mann also states in the documentary, that Scott attempted suicide when Grant married actress Virginia Cherrill in 1934. Grant’s 1942 application for US citizenship lists him and Scott — who signs as a witness — as living at the same address. Kelly’s memoir was discovered in a pillow case at an Australian relative’s home in 2014 while the documentary on Kelly was being made. His memoir and the documentary, chronicles his volatile, on-and-off relationship with Grant for over three decades. While Kelly stops short of claiming that Leach (Grant) was his boyfriend — something the documentary states outright — Kelly leaves a clear impression of someone whose heart was broken many times. Grant never publicly acknowledged his relationship with Kelly — but when Kelly died of liver cancer in 1964, Grant was one of the pallbearers.

01-18-1958 Dr. Marci Bowers – Place of birth unknown. She is a transgender pioneer and an American gynecologist. Bowers is a pioneer in the field of transgender transitional surgery. She is viewed as an dr-marci-bowersinnovator in the field of transgender surgery, being the first trans woman to be performing surgery. Bowers has been referred to as the “Rock Star” of transgender surgery. She has also put her expertise in vaginoplasty at the disposal of victims of female genital mutilation, whom she does not charge for surgery. She was trained for this specific operation under Pierre Foldès and has performed 50 reversals of FGM so far. Bowers married eleven years prior to her surgery, and remains married to her female spouse. They have three children, and while they no longer have a conventional marital relationship, Bowers says they are “closer than sisters.” She is also a vegetarian. As of 2010, Bowers currently performs surgery in San Mateo, California.

01-18-1971 – 05-21-2019   Binyavanga Wainaina – Born in Nakuru, Kenya. He was a Kenyan author, journalist, and the 2002 winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. In April 2014, Time magazine included Wainaina as one of the “Most Influential People in the World.” In January 2014, in response to a wave of anti-gay laws passed in Africa, he publicly announced that he was gay, first writing an essay that he described as a “lost chapter” of his 2011 memoir entitled “I am a Homosexual, Mum.” He then tweeted, “I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homosexual. Gay, and quite happy.” Wainaina collected over 13,000 recipes from around Africa and was an expert on traditional and modern African cuisine. On December 1, 2016, World Aids Day, he announced that her was HIV positive. In 2018, he announced that her would be marrying his long-term partner. Wainaina died after a stroke on May 21, 2019. 

01-18-1955 Mike Michaud – Born in Millinocket, Maine. He is an American politician from Maine. On November 4, 2013 he came out as gay. He was the first openly LGBT congressman in Maine to serve in the U.S.mike-michaud-2 House of Representatives. He was in office from January 3, 2003 to January 3, 2015. Michaud was previously President of the Maine Senate. He was employed for over two decades at the Great Northern Paper Company and remains a member of the United Steelworkers. He was one of the few members of Congress never to have attended college. He did attend the John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University. He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Public Service degrees from Maine’s Unity College, Husson College, and Maine Maritime Academy.

01-18-1957 Giz Watson – Born in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England. She is an English-Australian politician and a former leader of The Greens (Western Australia). In September 1967, she emigrated to Western Australia. In the early 1970s she was involved in protests against the Vietnam War and in 1979 she was also involved in the first forest blockades at Wagerup against clear felling of jarred forests for bauxite mining. giz-watsonShe return to the UK in 1980. In 1984 Watson attained a trade certificate in carpentry from the City and Guilds of London Institute in London. In 1985 she returned to Australia and ran a building and construction business in Western Australia. Watson, an open lesbian, has also served on the Ministerial Committee on Lesbian and Gay Law Reform, which proposed wide reforms in the area of gay and lesbian rights in Western Australia.

01-18-1975 Marcus Brandon – Born in Guilford County, North Carolina. He was the second openly gay marcus-brandon-2member of the North Carolina General Assembly, serving the 60th district from January 2011 through the end of 2014. He worked for NGP Software and later served as national finance director for Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2015, Brandon became the executive director of CarolinaCAN, a nonprofit education policy and advocacy organization. He is openly gay.

01-18-1979 Leo Varadkar – Born in Dublin, Ireland. Varadkar is the son of an Indian father and an Irish mother from County Waterford. He is the first openly gay Cabinet minister in Ireland. During an interview on leo-varadkar-2RTE (public service radio of Ireland), on his 36th birthday, Varadkar spoke publicly for the first time about being gay. He decided to declare his sexuality before several government initiatives to advance gay rights. These include plans to legalize gay marriage, permit gay men to donate blood, and create greater parenthood rights for gays in surrogate-pregnancy cases. Varadkar’s family, friends and many colleagues have long know or suspected he was gay. In July 2014, he became the Minister for Health.

01-18-1984   Benji Schwimmer – Born in Newport Beach, California. He grew up in a Mormon household in Moreno Valley, California. Schwimmer is an American professional dancer, choreographer, actor, and director. He won the second season of So You Think You Can Dance (2006) and is the only dancer in the world to hold World titles in solo, partner, and group divisions at the same time. He was the specialties choreographer in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In 2012, after being put through reparative therapy, struggling with sexuality for a number of years, he came out as gay. The catalyst for his decision to come out was the death by suicide of two gay friends. He has since left the Mormon church and publicly criticized their policies against members of the LGBT community. In 2018, Schwimmer announced his retirement from competing at The Open Swing Dance Champions, being the only dancer to win 14 World Titles with 4 different partners, never taking a loss.

01-18-1986   Eugene Lee Yang – Born in Pflugerville, Texas. He is a South Korean-American filmmaker, actor, producer, director, activist, and internet celebrity, best known for his work with BuzzFeed (2013-2018) and being one of the YouTube group sensation The Try Guys (2014-present). Yang is openly gay. On October 11, 2018, commemorated as the 30th year of National Coming Out Day, he took over the website of the Human Rights Campaign, publicly sharing his experience growing up as a young queer man and advocation for LGBTQ representation in media. He also collaborated with The Trevor Project, a non-profit suicide prevention organization. In 2019, he announced that he is in a relationship with Matthew McLean.

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