07-13-1863 – 09-05-1947 Mary Emma Woolley – Born in South Norwalk, Connecticut. She was an American educator, peace activist, and women’s suffrage supporter. Woolley was the first female student to attend Brown University. In 1895, Woolley began teaching biblical history and literature at Wellesley College. By 1889, she had become a full professor. Woolley met Jeannette Augustus Marks, then a student at Wellesley. Beginning in 1899, the two women lived in a life-partnership for fifty-five years. At the age of 38, Woolley became the 11th President of Mount Holyoke College, one of the youngest college presidents in the United States. She stayed in that position from 1900 to 1937. After her retirement, Woolley remained an active social advocate and spent much of her time lecturing. On September 30, 1944, she suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage which partially paralyzed her. She spent the final three years of her life in a wheelchair and Marks cared for her until her death in 1947.
07-13-1935 – 01-03-2003 Monique Wittig – Born in Dannemarie, Haut-Rhin, France. She was a French author and feminist theorist. Her second novel, Les Guérillères (1969), was a landmark in lesbian feminism. She considered herself a radical lesbian. While Wittig depicted only women in her literature, she abhorred the idea that she was a “women’s writer.” She stated, “There is no such thing as women’s literature for me, that does not exist. In literature, I do not separate women and men. One is a writer or one is not.” She was lovers with American film director and writer Sande Zeig. She died of a heart attack in 2003.
07-13-1954 – 08-21-1994 Danitra Vance – Born in Chicago, Illinois. She was an American comedian and actress, best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live during its eleventh season. Vance was the first African American woman to become an SNL repertory player in 1985 and also the first lesbian cast member. In 1986, she was awarded an NAACP Image Award. In the film, Jumpin’ at the Boneyard, she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Her sexual orientation never became public knowledge until her death. She died of breast cancer and was survived by her longtime girlfriend, Jones Miller.
07-13-1944 Joan Elizabeth Biren (known as JEB) – Born in Washington, D.C. She is an internationally recognized documentary artist. Her photographic and film work has chronicled the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people for more than thirty years. Her papers and visual materials will be permanently archived at the Sophia Smith Collection, the premier women’s history collection, at Smith College. Many of her photographs are located at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. George Washington University houses a collection of photographs used in Queerly Visible: 1971-1991. She stated, “My thing was to take pictures of the people that other people weren’t taking pictures of, to make visible what was invisible…I always try to present the entire diversity of our community. That’s always very much in my mind in all of my work.”
07-13-1968 Robert Gant (b. Robert John Gonzalez) – Born in Tampa, Florida. He is an American actor (sometimes credited as Robert J. Gant) Best known as Ben Bruckner in Showtime’s Queer As Folk. He is openly gay.
07-13-1988 Colton Haynes – Born in Andale, Kansas. He is an American actor and model. Haynes is best known for his role as Jackson Whittemore in MTV’s series Teen Wolf and as Roy Harper/Arsenal in the television series Arrow. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in May 2016, Haynes came out as gay.