03-14-1887 – 10-05-1962 Sylvia Beach – Born in Baltimore, Maryland. She was an American-born bookseller and publisher who lived most of her life in Paris. Beach was one of the leading expatriate figures between WWI and WWII. She is known for her Paris bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, which published James Joyce’s controversial book, Ulysses. While conducting some research, Beach found the name of Adrienne Monnier’s bookshop in a French literary journal and decided to seek out the little store on the rue de l’Odéon. There she was warmly welcomed by the owner who, to her surprise was a plump fair-haired young woman. Although Beach was dressed in a Spanish cloak and hat, Monnier knew immediately she was American. At the first meeting Monnier declared,”I like Americans very much.” Beach replied that she liked France very much. They later became lovers and lived together for 36 years.
03-14-1967 Alex Hai – (Birth name, Giorgia Boscolo). Born in Hamburg, Germany. He is a transgender man of German and Algerian descent. Born female, in 2010 Hai became the first woman to become a gondolier in Venice. Roberto Luppi, gondolier and the president of the gondoliers’ association from 2003 to 2009, claimed Hai (who had not yet come out as a transgender man) should not have tried to become a gondolier, and that, “A woman is the best thing in the world, but she shouldn’t be a gondolier […] In my opinion, she should stay at home and take care of a family.” In contrast, Roberto Sussberg, jury member for the gondola’s test and safeguard, said that the gondoliers were wrong to be hostile to Hai, citing precedents during the war when mothers and grandmothers rowed gondolas. In 2017, Hai came out as transgender and is now the first openly transgender person to be a gondolier in Venice.
03-14-1952 Carolyn Gage – (Place of birth unknown) She is an American playwright, actor, theatrical director, and author. She has written nine books on lesbian theater and sixty-five plays, musicals, and one-woman shows. A lesbian feminist, her work emphasizes non-traditional roles for women and lesbian characters. Gage’s best-known work is The Second Coming of Joan of Arc, a one-woman play about the historical figure Joan of Arc. It has been translated into Portuguese, French, Italian, Bulgarian, and Mandarin and achieved a first-class production in Brazil. The script was published in The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and Selected Plays, an anthology of Gage’s historical plays. The anthology was named the national winner of the 2008 Lambda Literary Award in Drama. In addition to creative works, Gage has published a manual on lesbian theater production, Take Stage! How to Direct and Produce a Lesbian Play, published by Scarecrow Press. Gage also wrote Monologues and Scenes for Lesbian Actors. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Gage’s one-act Female Nude Seated was successfully produced on Zoom. This short but emotionally rich piece tells the story of two Irish artists, Mainie Jellett and Evie Hone, that meet in art school just after World War. As they cover topics from the challenges of women in the arts, predatory men, what it takes to succeed, and the drive to paint with passion and originality, they move slowly and tentatively, yet unmistakably, toward a deeper spiritual and physical intimacy. [Both Hone and Jellett are featured in the LGBT Daily Spotlight on their respective birthdays of April 22, and April 29.]
Post contributed by Sandra de Helen – She currently lives and writes in San Diego County, but her heart remains in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson mystery series, set in Portland; Till Darkness Comes, a thriller set in Kansas City, Missouri; and three collections of lesbian poetry published by Launch Point Press. See more of her work at www.SandradeHelen.com. de Helen is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society, Dramatists Guild, Honor Roll! and International Centre for Women Playwrights. Follow her on Twitter @dehelen, like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dehelen, follow her on Instagram @dehelen.
03-14-1955 Franco Grillini – Born in Pianoro, Italy. He is an Italian politician and Italy’s most prominent gay rights activist. In 1999 he was named president of the Italian Ministry for Equal Opportunities’ “Commission for the Rights and Equal Opportunities of Homosexual People.” Among the legislation, Grillini has proposed is a civil union law and adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the anti-discrimination article of the Constitution of Italy. He also founded LILA (Italian League for the Fight Against AIDS.
03-14-1960 Rabbi Denise Eger – Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is an American Reform rabbi. In March 2015 she became president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the largest and oldest rabbinical organization in North America. She is the first openly gay person to hold that office. Eger came out as gay in 1990 in a story in the Los Angeles Times. In 1992, she and 35 other people founded Congregation Koi Ami, a synagogue intended to serve both gay and non-gay Jews in West Hollywood, California. Eger has worked extensively with people with HIV/AIDS and is also known as an expert on Judaism and LGBT civil rights. On June 16, 2008, she officiated the wedding of LGBT activist Robin Tyler and Diane Olson.
03-14-1969 Mary Cheney (daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney) Born in Madison, Wisconsin. She is politically conservative and is involved with a number of political action groups. She is openly lesbian, has voiced support for same-sex marriage, and has been credited with encouraging her father to support same-sex marriage. In 2013, she was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case. Mary Cheney has been together with her partner, Heather Poe, since 1992. They married on June 22, 2012 in Washington, D.C. They have two daughters and live in Virginia.
03-14-1971 Dave Holmes – Born in St. Louis, Missouri. He’s an LGBT comedian, TV personality, actor, blogger, and writer. Holmes came out as a gay in Out magazine in 2002. His spouse is Ben Wise. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of music trivia and hosts the daily video podcast A Drink With Dave. He has also appeared in commercials for Ford motors.