07-29-1955 Bishop Yvette Flunder – Born in San Francisco, California. She is an American singer and senior pastor of the City of refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, California, and Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. In 1984 she began singing and recording with Walter Hawkins and the Love Center Choir, where she was the lead singer. In 1986, Flunder began working and ministering to people with HIV/AIDS. She founded several non-profit organizations that provided services for people affected by HIV. In 1991, she founded the City of Refuge Church in an effort to “create a spiritual community that will embrace our collective cultures, faith paths, gender expressions, and sexual/affectional orientations while simultaneously freeing us from oppressive theologies that subjugate women, denigrate the LGBT community, and disconnect us from justice issues locally and globally.” The Transcendence Gospel Choir of the City of Refuge is the first all-transgender choir in the United States. Flunder’s spouse is Shirley Miller, the cousin of Walter Hawkins; they have been committed partners since the mid-1980s.
07-29-1826 – 01-14-1917 Caroline F. Putnam – Born in Massachusetts (city unknown). She was an American abolitionist and educator. In 1848 she enrolled at Oberlin College where she met Sallie Holley, who became her lifelong partner. Both women were abolitionists and moved to Lottsburg, Virginia where they opened Holley School for freed slaves. Putnam was an innovative teacher who adapted to the conditions of southern rural black life. She held classes year-round in order to accommodate the labor demands on black children of different ages and didn’t impose strict punctuality on a community without clocks. Putnam taught for forty-five years, teaching children and grandchildren of the freedmen she had taught when the school first opened. She also entered the struggle for the right to vote and served as an advocate and adviser throughout the rise of Jim Crow laws. Putnam was uncompromising in her demand for racial equality and encouraged the emergence of the NAACP. She also worked for temperance, world peace, and the protection of animals. Her life-partner Holley died in 1893. (Photo Sallie Holley on the left with Caroline Putnam on the right)
07-29-1953 Tim Gunn – Born in Washington, D.C. He is an American fashion consultant, TV personality, actor, and voice-over actor. He was on the faculty of Parsons The New School of Design from 1982 to 2007, after which he joined Liz Claiborne as chief creative officer. Gunn is well known as an on-air mentor to designers on the reality television program Project Runway. Gunn, who is gay, was raised in an intensely homophobic household. According to a video Gunn created for the It Gets Better project, he attempted to commit suicide at the age of 17. He denied his sexual orientation until his early 20s and did not share it with his family until he came out to his sister when he was 29. In 2014, he participated in Do I Sound Gay? a documentary film by David Thorpe about stereotypes of gay men’s speech patterns. He was on Out’s 3rd Annual 100 Most Eligible Bachelors (2013).
07-29-1973 Patrick Ian Polk – Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, singer, and actor. Polk, who is openly gay, is noted for his films and theatre work that explore the African-American LGBT experience and relationships. Polk is the creator of the television series Noah’s Arc, which made its debut on the Logo television network in October 2005. He believes that people should come out and not have a secret life as it leads to lies and deceptions.