July 4th People

July 4th

07-04-1844 – 09-17-1907 Edmonia Lewis – Born in Greenbush, New York. She was an American sculptor who worked most of her career in Rome, Italy. She is the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognitionEdmonia Lewis as a sculptor. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black and American Indian people into the Neoclassical style. She never married and while in Rome, was included in the lesbian circle of actress Charlotte Cushman and sculptor Harriet Hosmer. She also dressed in an androgynous style. Lewis is believed to have been involved romantically with other women. She returned to the United States in 1874 with great success. In 1876, she was one of a few women sculptors invited to exhibit at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. In 1877, she was commissioned by former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant to sculpt a bust of his likeness. In 1901, she moved to London, England. She died in England in 1907.

07-04-1898 – 09-06-1952 Gertrude Lawrence – Born in London, England. She was an English actress, singer, dancer and musical comedy performer known for her stage appearances in the West End of London and on Broadway. In 1948, Lawrence returned to Britain (she had been in the United States) to star in September Tide, a play written specifically for her by Daphne du Maurier. According to an article written by Kate Kellaway in The Guardian dated April 14, 2007, du Maurier had her most passionate lesbian affair with Gertrude Lawrence. Their affair is also mentioned in biographies of Daphne du Maurier.

07-04-1988 Michelle Heyman – Born in Shellharbour, NSW, Australia. She is a professional soccer player. On July 9, 2015, Heyman signed with the US Western New York Flash. She was one of 49 open LGBT athletes to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

1945 – 08-14-1995 (DOB unknown) – Dr. Robert H. Eichberg – He was a psychologist who co-founded National Coming Out Day along with Jean O’Leary in 1988. He also wrote the Dr. Robert H. Eichbergbook Coming Out: An Act of Love. Eichberg dedicated his life on bridging the gap between gay and nongay communities, allowing people to discover who they are, and encouraging them to go out and do something with that knowledge. National Coming Out Day is observed on Oct. 11th. He was openly gay. In an interview in 1993, Dr. Eichberg said, ” It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.” He died of complications from AIDS.

Thea Spyer (DOB unknown) – Wife of Edie Windsor. They had a 44-year relationship. Their relationship began at a party in 1962, a time when gay people were largely Thea Spyerregarded as criminals and diagnosed as mentally ill. After dating a short time, Spyer proposed to Windsor in 1967, they finally married 40 years later, in Canada in 2007. Spyer’s health deteriorated over the years, and she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 45, a disease that didn’t stop the couple from dancing, even when Spyer was stricken to a wheelchair. Spyer died in 2009. On June 26, 2013, in the landmark case of United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional – a victory that made Edie Windsor’s marriage to Thea Spyer, legally recognized by the federal government. This case benefited every gay person in America. A film was made on their relationship – Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement. (Photo: Thea is on the left, Edie is on the right)

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