05-21-1917 – 09-12-1993 Raymond Burr – Born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. He was a Canadian-American actor. (His father was Canadian, his mother was American.) He is best known on TV for his roles as Perry Mason and Ironside. He was also the suspected murderer in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Rear Window and the prosecutor in the 1951 film, A Place in the Sun. Burr won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama Series in 1959 and 1961, for his performance as Perry Mason. He was also nominated an additional seven times, once more for PerryMason and six times for Ironside. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2008, Canada Post issued a postage stamp in its “Canadians in Hollywood” series featuring Burr. In the mid-1950s, Burr met Robert Benevides, a young actor and Korean veteran, on the set of Perry Mason. According to Benevides, they became a couple around 1960. Benevides gave up acting in 1963 and later became a production consultant for 21 of the Perry Mason TV movies. Together they owned and operated an orchid business and then a vineyard, in Dry Creek Valley. They were together until Burr’s death in 1993. Burr left Benevides his entire estate, including “all my jewelry, clothing, books, works of art…and other items of a personal nature.” Later accounts of Burr’s life explain that he hid his homosexuality to protect his career. According to reporter Bob Thomas, it was an open secret…that he was gay. He had a companion who was with him all the time. It was a time in Hollywood history when homosexuality was not accepted. Burr was also a well-known philanthropist.
05-21-1849 – 08-16-1943 Katharine Peabody Loring – Born in Beverly, Massachusetts. She was an American educator and head of the history department at the Society to Encourage Studies at Home, the first correspondence school in the United States. Loring was the lifelong companion of diarist Alice James (sister of Henry James and William James).
05-21-1885 – 10-23-1938 Frederick “Fred” Jester Barnes – He was born at 219 Great Lister Street, Saltley, Birmingham, England. He was an English music hall singer known for his signature song, The Black Sheep of the Family, which he first performed in 1907. The son of a butcher, Barnes became interested in performing as a result of seeing Vesta Tiley (one of the most famous male impersonators of her era) in 1895. He made his debut at the Gaiety Theatre in March 1906. By 1911 he was top of the bill on all of the major circuits and principal boy in a number of pantomimes. He was openly gay. Barnes became infamous for his erratic private life and was often named in frequent controversies reported by the press. Barnes retired to the English coast and performed in seaside bars and clubs. He died as a result of alcoholism and tuberculosis at 53.
05-21-1925 – 10-11-2011 Frank Kameny (born Franklin Edward Kameny) – Born in New York City, New York. He was fired by the U.S. Government in 1957 for being gay. Kameny protested his firing by the U.S. Civil Service Commission due to his homosexuality and argued the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1961. Although the court denied his petition, it is notable as the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation. In 1961 Kameny and Jack Nichols, co-founders of the Washington, D.C. branch of the Mattachine Society, launched some of the earliest public protests by gays and lesbians with a picket line at the White House on April 17, 1965. In 1963, Kameny and Mattachine launched a campaign to overturn D.C. sodomy laws; he personally drafted a bill that finally passed in 1993. He described the day – December 15, 1973, when the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders – as the day “we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.”
05-21-1945 – 12-25-2002 Dr. Josette M. Mondanaro – Born in Long Island, New York. In the summer of 1976, she was appointed as director of the California Department of Health’s drug abuse division by Governor Jerry Brown. Mondanaro specialized in the fields of drug abuse and pediatrics. She founded the Mondanaro-Baskin clinic that specifically concentrates on women’s medicine (it still exists). She was openly lesbian and was the only self-avowed gay person in the state government, something she found hard to believe. Because Jerry Brown was going to run for the Presidential election in 1978, Mario Obledo (Health and Welfare Secretary) had Brown fire her because he thought it would hurt Brown’s chances. They thought she wouldn’t fight it because it would mean a public hearing and it would come out that she was a lesbian. She did fight for reinstatement and won. C.K. McClatchy, editor of the Sacramento Bee, wrote, “It is a vivid and visible example of Brown, the supposed non-politician, playing hardball politics, and not doing it particularly well.”
05-21-1947 – o8-15-1992 Dr. Linda J. Laubenstein – Place of birth unknown. She was a blood and cancer specialist who was among the first physicians to identify a mysterious disease that later became known as AIDS. In 1982, she and Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien wrote the first paper to appear in a medical journal describing a sudden increase in the incidence of Kaposi’s sarcoma among gay men, which had been a rare disease. In 1983 she organized the first large medical conference on AIDS. The HIV Clinical Excellence Award was established in 1992 to honor her pioneering work and outstanding contribution to the quality of AIDS care in the early years of the epidemic. In the film, The Normal Heart she is portrayed by Julia Roberts. As a child, Laubenstein had a bout of polio that left her a paraplegic and using a wheelchair. She died at the age of 45 at her family’s home in Massachusetts.
05-21-1953 Kathleen Wynne – Born in Toronto, Canada and grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario. She is Canada’s first openly gay and Ontario’s first female premier. She was sworn in as Premier of Ontario on February 11, 2013. Prior to her coming out as a lesbian at age 37, she was married to Phil Cowperthwaite, with whom she had three children. She now lives with her second spouse, Jane Roundthwaite. They were married in July 2005 at Fairlawn Avenue United Church in Toronto.
05-21-1973 Sabine Jünger – Born in Konigs Wusterhausen, Germany. She is a German politician born in Königs Wusterhausen. In 1992, Jünger became a member of The Left Party.PDS. In 1994, she was elected to the parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommen. In the federal elections in 1998, she was elected to the Bundestag, where she was a member until 2002. She is openly gay and has one child.
05-21-1994 Tom Daley – Born in Plymouth, United Kingdom. He is an English Olympic and World Championship diver. He won two gold medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and won the bronze medal for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He came out on a YouTube video on Dec. 2, 2013. He is married to the American film screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black.