05-27-1912 – 06-18-1982 John Cheever – Born in Quincy, Massachusetts. American novelist and short story writer. He is now recognized as one of the most important short fiction writers of the 20th century. Cheever’s most remembered short stories include The Enormous Radio, Goodbye, My Brother, The Five-Forty-Eight, The Country Husband, and The Swimmer. He also wrote four novels: The Washout Chronicle (National Book Award, 1958), The Washout Scandal (William Dean Howells Medal, (1965), Bullet Park (1969) and a novella Oh What a Paradise It Seems (1982). A compilation of his short stories, The Stories of John Cheever, won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a National Book Critics Circle Award, and its first paperback edition won a 1981 National Book Award. Cheever was an alcoholic and filled with sexual guilt and self-loathing. Cheever had many sexual encounters with men, including the photographer Walker Evans and the writer Calvin Kentfield. He also hired male prostitutes. In 1975 his wife, Mary, drove him to the Smithers Alcoholism Treatment and Training Center in New York. The treatment worked and on May 7th, when he left Smithers, he never drank again. In an interview by Rachel Cooke, Cheever’s widow, Mary, said she always knew, deep down, what her husband was. When asked if she ever thought of leaving him, she replied, “Oh, yes. Quite often. But I couldn’t leave the children, and how could I have supported them?” She was then asked if she missed him after he was gone. Mary said, “Yes! I lived with him all my life. We didn’t always get on badly.” Ben, their son, said, “You were very important to him, as someone to adore, and someone to despise.” Mary replied, “His whole life was about writing, and I believed in what he was doing, and I wanted to support that. I don’t think he would have lived as long without me. I kept him alive.” It was to Ben that his father came out two weeks before he died. “What I wanted to tell you, Cheever said bluntly, “is that your father has had his cock sucked by quite a few disreputable characters…”
05-27-1925 – 08-20-1988 Jean-Paul Aron – Born in Strasbourg, France. He was a French writer, philosopher, and journalist. His most notable work is Les Modernes, which was published in 1984. Aron was a close friend of philosopher Michel Foucault in the early 1950s, before a falling out over a lover. Like Foucault, Aron died of AIDS and is widely credited for giving the disease a human face and challenging the public perception of the disease. During his lifetime, he published several historical works that examined middle-class social practices.
05-27-1926 – 09-24-2016 Wenche Bryn Lowzow – Born in Oslo, Norway. She is a Norwegian politician in the Conservative Party of Norway. She was a member of the Norwegian parliament as a representative from Oslo between 1977-1985. When same-sex civil unions were accepted by Norwegian law in 1993, Lowzow and her partner, author, and activist Karen-Christine Friele were among the first to formalize their relationship.
05-27-1927 – 11-21-2022 M.E. Kerr (Marijane Meaker) – Born in Auburn, New York. Lesbian American novelist and short story writer. She wrote under several different pen names. From 1952 to 1969 she wrote twenty mystery and crime novels as Vin Packer, including Spring Fire, which is credited with launching the genre of lesbian pulp fiction. Using her own observations of lesbians in the 1950s and 1960s, she wrote a series of nonfiction books about lesbians under the pen name Ann Aldrich from 1955 to 1972. In 1972 she switched genres and pen names once more to begin writing for young adults, and became successful as M.E. Kerr, producing over 20 novels and winning multiple awards. Meaker was involved romantically with author Patricia Highsmith for two years. She wrote about their relationship in the 2003 nonfiction memoir, Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950s, and discussed it and her own pulp fiction novels in interviews around the time the book’s release. Meaker explained her reasons behind writing about their relationship: “I knew Pat when she was young and not yet so jaded and bigoted. The internet is filled with stories of her meanness, and prejudice, and also her introversion, of her being a loner. I met that Pat many years after we broke.” Kerr died of cardiopulmonary arrest at her home in Springs, New York at the age of 95.
05-27-1935 – 11-22-2021 Karen-Christine (Kim) Friele – Born in Fana in Bergen, Norway. She was a Norwegian gay rights and human rights activist, famous for being the first Norwegian to publicly acknowledge and advocate her sexuality, in June 1965. Friele is credited for having influenced the abolishment of criminalization of homosexual acts in 1972 and for declassifying homosexuality as a psychiatric condition in 1978. She and Wenche Lowzow, a noted politician in the Conservative Party were among the first to formalize their partnership when same-sex unions were allowed in 1993. She has written several books on gay and human rights starting in 1972. In 2000 Friele was appointed a Knight 1st Class of the Order of St. Olav. A bust of her was unveiled in 2005 and is now placed at the main branch of the Oslo Public Library. She died in her home at the age of 86. The Government Minister for culture and equality Anette Trettebergstuen praised Friele as one of the most important figures in the struggle for equality in Norway. Friele was honored with a state funeral where the prime minister spoke. Queen Sonja and Princess Mette-Marit attended the funeral.
05-27-1990 Chris Colfer – Born in Clovis, California, he is an American actor, singer, and writer known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series Glee, for which he won a 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. Also nominated for a 2011 Emmy. In an interview that aired July 13, 2014, he confirmed that he has a boyfriend. Colfer is an active supporter of the It Gets Better Campaign and The Trevor Project. He is also outspoken about the importance of adopting animals from shelters.
05-27-1994 Shawnacy “Shawn” Barber – Born in New Mexico, he grew up in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada. He is a Canadian track and field athlete specializing in the pole vault. Barber won the 2015 World Championship in Beijing, China. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Barber placed tenth in wet and windy condition. In 2017, Barber came out as gay.