07-09-1926 — 01-15-2018 Mathilde Krim – Born in Como, Italy to a Swiss Protestant father and Italian Roman Catholic mother. In 1950, she married David Danon, an Israeli she met at the University of Geneva School of Medicine. She received her PhD in Biology in 1953. Krim and her husband moved to Israel where she converted to Judaism and had a daughter. She divorced her husband and moved to New York. In 1958, she married Arthur B. Krim, a New York attorney, head of United Artists, and an active member of the Democratic Party. Both she and her husband were very active in the American civil rights movement and the gay rights movement. In 1981, after the first cases of what would later be called AIDS were reported, Krim recognized that this new disease raised grave medical questions and might also have socio-political consequences. She dedicated herself to increasing the public’s awareness of AIDS and to understanding the disease itself. With Elizabeth Taylor, she founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR). In 2000, President Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her “extraordinary compassion and commitment”. She died at home on January 15, 2018, at the age of 91. (Photo 1998 Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery)
07-09-1933 – 08-30-2015 Oliver Sacks – Born in London, England. He was a British neurologist, writer, and amateur chemist who was a Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine. Between 2007 and 2012, he was professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University. Sacks was the author of numerous best-selling books. His 1973 book Awakenings, was adapted into the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name in 1990 starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He had a relationship with New York Times contributor Bill Hayes beginning in 2008. He addressed his homosexuality for the first time in his 2015 autobiography On the Move: A Life. In February 2015 Sacks announced that he had cancer. Measuring his anticipated remaining time in “months”, he expressed his intent to “live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can.”
07-09-1893 – 01-30-1961 Dorothy Thompson – Born in Lancaster, New York. She was an American journalist and radio broadcaster. In 1939, Time magazine recognized her as the second most influential woman in the United States next to Eleanor Roosevelt. While stationed in Berlin as a journalist, in 1932, she met and fell in love with Christa Winsloe. Thompson wrote, “So it has happened to me again, after all these years.” She remembered two earlier times when she had been attracted to a woman. Thompson saw herself as heterosexual and wondered how to explain that once again she felt “the strange, soft feeling…of being at home, and at rest; an enveloping warmth and sweetness.” Yet, she wrote, “I love this woman.” During the next two years, the women became inseparable companions. Although Thompson’s volatile marriage to Sinclair Lewis continued during this relationship, many friends viewed the two women as a couple: “If you asked Dorothy to dinner, you asked Christa, too,” one recalled. Winsloe’s letters remained in her files for the rest of her life. She made no attempt to censor or explain them. Thompson did marry a third time. In 1934, she was expelled from Nazi Germany. She wrote about the dangers of Hitler gaining power. Thompson is regarded as the “First Lady of American Journalism.”
07-09-1908 – 06-24-1976 Minor White – Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was an American photographer, theoretician, critic and educator. White made thousands of black-and-white and color photographs of landscapes, people and abstract subjects. He had a strong sense of light and shadow. White taught at the California School of Fine Arts and other schools. He lived much of his life as a closeted gay man, afraid to express himself publicly for fear of loss of his teaching jobs. Some of his most compelling images are of men whom he taught or had relationships. White helped start photography magazine Aperture and was also editor as well for many years. After his death in 1976, White was hailed as one of America’s greatest photographers.
07-09-1915 – 06-13-2005 David Diamond – Born in Rochester, New York. He was an American composer of classical music. His most popular piece is Rounds (1944). Among his other works are eleven symphonies, a number of concertos, as well as chamber music, piano pieces and vocal music. He composed the musical theme heard on the CBS Radio Network broadcast Hear It Now (1950-51) and its TV successor See It Now (1951-58). Diamond was openly gay long before is was socially acceptable, and believed his career was slowed by homophobia and antisemitism. He died at his home in Brighton, New York, from heart failure.
07-09-1936 – 06-14-2002 June Jordan – Born in Harlem, New York. She was a Jamaican-American bisexual poet and activist. Jordan attended Barnard College and wrote in her book Civil Wars: “No one ever presented me with a single Black author, poet, historian, personage, or idea for that matter. Nor was I ever assigned a single woman to study as a thinker, or writer, or poet, or life force. Nothing that I learned, here, lessened my feeling of pain or confusion and bitterness as related to my origins: my street, my family, my friends. Nothing showed me how I might try to alter the political and economic realities underlying our Black condition in white America.” Jordan taught at the City College of New York starting in 1967. Between 1968 and 1978 she taught at Yale University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Connecticut College. From 1989 to 2002 she was a full professor at the University of California Berkeley. Jordan self-identified as bisexual in her writing.
07-09-1937 David Hockney – Born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. He is an artist and major contributor to the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. He is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. Hockney is openly gay and unlike Andy Warhol, whom he befriended, he openly explored the nature of gay love in his portraiture. In We Two Boys Clinging (1961), named after a poem by Walt Whitman, the work refers to his love of men. Hockney was a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1979. Beverly Hills Housewife (1966-67), a 23-foot-long acrylic that depicts the collector Betty Freeman standing by her pool in a long hot-pink dress, sold for $7.9 million at Christie’s in New York in 2008, a record price for a Hockney.
07-09-1957 Kelly McGillis – Born in Newport Beach, California. She is an American actress. McGillis is best known for her roles in the 1980s including her roles as Rachel Lapp in Witness (1985), Charlie in Top Gun (1986), and Kathryn Murphy in The Accused (1988). McGillis came out as a lesbian in April 2009 during an interview with SheWired. She said that coming to terms with her sexual orientation has been an ongoing process since the age of 12, and she was long convinced that God was punishing her for being homosexual. She had a two year relationship with Melanie Leis. They broke up in 2012. McGillis currently lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina. She teaches acting at The New York Studio for Stage and Screen in Asheville.
07-09-1957 Marc Almond – Born in Southport, Lancashire, England. He is a British singer-songwriter and musician. Almond first began performing and recording in the synthpop/new wave duo Soft Cell. He has also performed and recorded solo. In 2015 he released The Velvet Trail, an album of original material produced by Chris Braide. Almond has stated that he dislikes being pigeon-holed as “a gay artist”. He has been with the same partner for over 20 years.
07-09-1985 DeRay Mckesson – Born in Baltimore, Maryland. He is an American civil rights activist and educator. Mckesson is a member of the Black Lives Matter movement. He is one of the founders of Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end police violence. In November 2015, Mckesson spoke at the GLAAD Gala, where he discussed his life as a gay man and asked LGBT people to “come out of the quiet.”