05-22-1930 – 11-27-1978 Harvey Milk – Born in Woodmere, New York. He was the first openly gay candidate to be elected in any big city in the United States. In 1977 he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Politics and gay activism were not his early interest; he was not open about his homosexuality and did not participate in civic matters until he was around 40, after his experience in the counterculture of the 1960s. Milk moved from New York City to settle in San Francisco in 1972 amid a migration of gay men to the Castro District. He ran unsuccessfully for political office three times. His theatrical campaigns earned him increasing popularity, and he won a seat as a city supervisor in 1977. Milk served almost 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White. Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. Anne Cronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.” Harvey Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
05-22-1907 – 07-11-1989 Laurence Olivier – Born in Dorking, Surrey, United Kingdom. He was an English actor who dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. His film career included more than fifty roles. He also had success in television later in his career. His films include Wuthering Heights (1939), Rebecca (1940), Sleuth (1972), Marathon Man (1976), Brideshead Revisited (1981) and King Lear (1983). He received four Academy Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, five Emmy Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. He was married three times. According to Michael Thornton’s conversation with Olivier’s close friend, playwright Emlyn Williams, Olivier was bisexual. Emlyn, who was also married, was bisexual as well. Emlyn stated, “We all know Larry. Do I think he is sexually attracted to men? Is the Pope Catholic?” Olivier’s third wife, Dame Joan Plowright, confirmed his bisexuality in an interview with Sue Lawley on the radio program Desert Island Discs.
05-22-1962 Hannan Kattan – Born in Jordan. She is a British-based film producer of Palestinian origin. Kattan has produced three feature films through Enlightenment Productions including The World Unseen and the romantic comedy I Can’t Think Straight. After nearly 20 years together, she married writer and director Shamim Sarif. The two women created Enlightenment Productions and EBS Digital.
05-22-1985 Chris Salvatore – Born in Richboro, Pennsylvania. He is an American actor, singer/songwriter, and gay rights activist. Salvatore is best known for his performances as Zack in the Eating Out gay film series. He appeared as himself in the 2017 Logo TV reality series Fire Island. As a gay rights activist, he supports the Gay American Heroes Foundation, an anti-bullying charity. He has also made videos, including one for the It Gets Better Project. While living in Los Angeles, he became friends with 89-year-old Norma Cook, who lived across the hall from him. In 2017, he raised more than $50,000 to help pay for home care for her when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She later died due to complications with her illness. Salvatore ranked at #41 on AfterElton’s annual list of the top gay and bisexual male celebrities in 2011. As of August 2017, he had over 36.5K subscribers on his YouTube channel.
05-22-1870 – 06-30-1926 Eva Gore-Booth – Born in Lissadell House, County Sligo, Ireland. She was an Irish poet, dramatist, and suffragist. In 1896, while recuperating from a respiratory illness in Italy, she met Esther Roper, an English woman that would become her lifelong partner. Both women were dedicated to the struggle for women’s right to vote. Gore-Booth’s poetry was admired by W.B, Yeats so much, that he sent a letter and book to her to inspire her. Her poetry takes on Irish folklore with an emphasis on the females in the story and wrote about women loving women. Gore-Booth and Roper lived together until Gore-Booth’s death in 1926. The two women are buried together in St. John’s churchyard, Hampstead, with a quote from Sappho carved on their gravestone.
05-22-1924 – 10-01-2018 Charles Aznavour – Born in Paris, France. He was a French-Armenian singer, lyricist, actor, diplomat, and straight LGBT ally. Aznavour married three times and had five children. His career spanned over 70 years, recording more than 1,200 songs. He also wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs for himself and others. During his lifetime he sold 180 million records. In 2009, he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland and was Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva. During WWII, his family hid “a number of people who were persecuted by the Nazis, while Charles and his sister Aida were involved in rescue activities.” The family offered shelter to Armenians, Jews, and others at their Paris flat, risking their own lives. Aznavour was an early supporter of LGBT rights. His 1972 album, Idiote je t’aime, contained one of his classics, Comme ils disent (English version titled What Makes A Man). The song, the story of a transvestite, was revolutionary at a time when talking about homosexuality was taboo. In a later interview, Aznavour said, “It’s a kind of sickness I have, talking about things you’re not supposed to talk about. I started with homosexuality and I wanted to break every taboo.
05-22-1929 – 02-22-2021 Philippe Venet – Born in Lyon, France. He was a French fashion designer. In 1951, Venet moved to Paris and was employed as a cutter at Schiaparelli. It was there that he met Givenchy and soon became his life partner. Venet dressed many society ladies and “all the Kennedy ladies.” A writer for the Newspaper Enterprise Association described Venet, then 32, as “handsome, a champion skier and Alpine climber with nothing of the prima donna about him.” He died at the age of 91.
05-22-1933 — 12-04-1987 Arnold Lobel – Born in Los Angeles, California but raised in Schenectady, New York. He was an American author of children’s books, including The Frog and Toad series and Mouse Soup. Lobel also illustrated his stories. In 1955, he married Anita Kempler, also a children’s writer and illustrator. They collaborated on several books and had two children. Lobel is among a small group of people who have been honored as both an author and illustrator for the Newbery and Caldecott medals. In 1974, he told his family that he was gay. In 1987, he died of cardiac arrest, after suffering from AIDS for some time.
05-22-1879 – 02-22-1965 Bessie Davidson – Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. In 1904, after her mother’s death, she went to Europe to study art. She settled in Paris and a year after her arrival, she was exhibiting at the Salon de la Sociéte des Artistes Français and the next year at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. She was a founding member of the Salon des Tuileries, at which she would exhibit almost every year between 1923 and 1951. During WWI, she joined the French Red Cross and served in various military hospitals. It was at this time that she met Marguerite Leroy who would be her companion for the next two decades (Marguerite died in 1938). In 1931 she was appointed to the French Legion of Honor, the only Australian woman to receive that honor up to that time. Davidson died at Montparnasse in France in 1965.
05-22-1932 – 12-25-2015 Robert Spitzer – Born in White Plains, New York. He was a psychiatrist and retired professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City. He was a major force in the development of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. LGBT-rights activists credit Dr. Spitzer with removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in the D.S.M. in 1973. Spitzer decided to push for the change after he met with gay activists and determined that homosexuality could not be a disorder if gay people were comfortable with their sexuality. Dr. Jack Drescher, a gay psychoanalyst in New York, told the Times that Spitzer’s successful push to remove homosexuality from the list of disorders was a major advance for gay rights. “The fact that gay marriage is allowed today is in part owed to Bob Spitzer,” he said.
05-22-1942 – 02-28-2011 Rev. Peter John Gomes – Born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He was an American preacher and theologian, and a professor at Harvard University’s Divinity School. Gomes was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. His father was from Cape Verde Islands and his mother was African-American. He was baptized as a Roman Catholic but later became an American Baptist. Listed in Time Magazine in 1979 as one of “seven stars of the pulpit”, Gomes fulfilled preaching and lecturing engagements throughout the United States and Great Britain. In 2009, he represented Harvard University as a lecturer to The University of Cambridge, England for its 800th anniversary. He published a total of ten volumes of sermons and two bestselling books, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons, and The Book of Wisdom for Daily Living. In 1991, Gomes identified himself publicly as gay, though adding that he remained celibate, and became an advocate of acceptance of homosexuality in American society and particularly in religion. He devoted the rest of his life to addressing the ‘religious case’ against gays. Gomes maintained the “one can read into the Bible almost any interpretation of morality…for its passages had been used to defend slavery and the liberation of slaves, to support racism, anti-Semitism, and patriotism, to enshrine dominance of men over women, and to condemn homosexuality as immoral.” He also said, “Religious fundamentalism is dangerous because it cannot accept ambiguity and diversity and is therefore inherently intolerant.” He died of complications of a stroke on February 28, 2011.
05-22-1954 – 02-12-2002 Barbara May Cameron – Born in Fort Yates, North Dakota, a Native American (Lakota Sioux), she was raised by her grandparents on the Standing Rock Reservation. She moved to San Francisco in the 1970s. In 1975, she co-founded Gay American Indians with Randy Burns. Cameron was a lesbian activist, poet, and writer. Being both gay and Native American put Cameron in conflict almost everywhere she was. In Gee, You Don’t Seem Like An Indian From the Reservation, Cameron wrote, “We not only must struggle with racism and homophobia of straight white America but must often struggle with homophobia that exists within out third-world communities.” She died of natural causes on February 12, 2002, and was survived by Linda Boyd, her partner of twenty years and their son.
05-22-1969 Mike Albo – Born at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is an American writer, actor, and comedian. He is best known for his writing and performances that criticize and stirs contemporary celebrity and consumer culture. He was on Out’s 3rd Annual 100 Most Eligible Bachelors (2013). He is openly gay.
05-22-1970 – 09-11-2001 Mark Kendall Bingham – Born in Phoenix, Arizona. On September 11, 2001, he was a passenger on board United Airlines Flight 93. Bingham along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, and Jeremy Glick, formed the plan to overtake the plane from the hijackers and led the effort that resulted in the crash of the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The plane was 20 minutes away from its suspected target, the White House. Both for his heroic actions on United 93, as well as his athletic physique, he has been widely honored posthumously for having “smashed the gay stereotype mold and really opened the door to many others that came after him.” He was born to a single mother and grew up in Miami, Florida and Southern California before moving to the San Jose area in 1983.
05-22-1979 Bobby Trendy (born Raymond John Muro) – Born in Valencia, California, he grew up in Northern California. He is an interior decorator, designer and television personality who first achieved notoriety on The Anna Nicole Show. Anna Nicole Smith hired Trendy to decorate her new house and made him an instant star by featuring him in her highly rated show. When the pink “Anna Nicole bed” appeared on the show, Trendy sold 225 units in one day at $15,000 each, causing his site to crash. He is openly gay.
05-22-1980 Sharice Davids – Born in Frankfurt, Germany. Sharice was raised by a single mother who served in the U.S. Army. Davids is an American attorney, former mixed martial artist, and politician. She is the first openly LGBT Native American to be elected to the U.S. Congress and represents Kansas’s 3rd congressional district.
05-22-1983 Natasha “Tasha” Kai – Born in Kahuku, Hawaii. She is an American professional soccer forward and Olympic gold medalist. Kai has openly discussed the fact that she is a lesbian, and was one of only three openly gay individuals on the 2008 USA Summer Olympic Team.