05-31-1819 – 03-26-1892 Walt Whitman – Born in West Hills, Huntington, Long Island, New York. American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in America and is often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. Whitman’s sexual orientation is generally assumed to be homosexual or bisexual, on the basis of his poetry. Allen Ginsberg received from Gavin Arthur a document, several times reprinted, in which Arthur described his meeting with gay activist Edward Carpenter, who told Arthur of his lovemaking with Whitman. Peter Doyle may be the most likely candidate for the love of Whitman’s life. Doyle was a bus conductor whom Whitman met around 1866, and the two were inseparable for several years. Interviewed in 1895, Doyle said: “We were familiar at once – I put my hand on his knee – we understood. He did not get out at the end of the trip – in fact, went all the way back with me.” A more direct account comes from Oscar Wilde: Wilde met Whitman in America in 1882 and wrote to the homosexual rights activist George Cecil Ives that there was “no doubt” about the great American poet’s sexual orientation — “I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips,” he boasted.
05-31-1922 – 10-06-1992 Denholm Elliott – Born in Kensington, Middlesex, England. He was an English actor with more than 125 film and television credits. His film credits include Alfie (1966), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Trading Places (1983), and A Room with a View (1985). In the 1980s he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role three years in a row, the only actor ever to achieve this. Secretly bisexual, Elliot married twice: first to actress Virginia McKenna for a few months in 1954, and later in an open marriage to American actress Susan Robinson. In 1987, Elliott was diagnosed with HIV and died of AIDS-related tuberculosis on October 6, 1992.
05-31-1930 Clint Eastwood – Born in San Francisco, California. American actor, director, producer, musician, and politician. Eastwood rose to international fame with his role as the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy of spaghetti Westerns during the 1960s and as antihero cop Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His films, Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004) won Academy Awards for Best Director and Producer of the Best Picture. He was also nominated for Best Actor. He was registered as a Republican and in February 2013, he joined the ranks of Republicans who were in favor of legalizing gay marriage. In March 2013, Eastwood added his name to a legal brief that called on the US Supreme Court to legalize same-sex unions and to strike down California’s Prop. 8. In 2009, Eastwood said he was now a registered Libertarian. On February 22, 2020, in an interview by the Wall Street Journal, Eastwood stated he is pulling support from Donald Trump and thinks a different candidate would be the better choice.
05-31-1982 Steph McGovern – Born in Middlesbrough, England. She is an English journalist and television presenter. In October 2018, McGovern stated that she found Donald Trump “creepy” after he referred to her as “beautiful” during an interview in 2012. She is said to have brushed off Trump’s comments by telling him she had heard “better lines” in Middlesbrough’s Club Bongo. McGovern is a former champion Irish dancer. Openly lesbian, she confirmed on July 14, 2019, that she and her girlfriend were expecting their first child. On November 4, 2019, McGovern announced that she had given birth to a baby girl. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, her 2020 show The Steph Show is being broadcast from her front room.
05-31-1976 Colin Farrell – Born in Baldoyle, Dublin, Ireland. He is an Irish film actor. His 2002-2003 films, including Phone Booth, The Recruit and S.W.A.T. (all thrillers, with the former two his first starring roles), were well received and successful at the box office. Farrell has been a supporter of same-sex marriage. His brother is gay. In 2014 he wrote a letter in Ireland’s “Sunday Times” and called for votes in favor of marriage equality, sharing the story of his gay brother, who had to leave Ireland to get married to his lover Steven Mannion. Farrell has also lent his support to the anti-bullying campaign Stand Up! organized by the Irish LGBT youth organization “BeLonG To” in March 2012. He also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to increase awareness of the subject.
05-31-1953 Louise Frevert – Born in Frederiksberg, Denmark, she is a former Danish politician. Before entering politics, she was a professional belly dancer and performed in the 1970s for the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. She also performed as a backup dancer with Debbie Cameron at Eurovision 1981. She has also been a pornographic actress and has performed in several short vignettes from Color Climax. Frevert is openly lesbian and is in a registered partnership with another woman (name unknown).
05-31-1954 Lissy Groner – Born in Langenfeld, Germany. She is a German politician and since 1989 a Member of the European Parliament with the Social Democratic Party of Germany. She sits on the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education and its Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Groner is lesbian and married to Sabine Gillessen. The couple married in Belgium in September 2005, with Groner announcing, “There is no discrimination of same-sex couples in Belgium law. And this is the signal we want to give to people in Europe, to send the message out: It’s possible to honor the love of same-sex people by law.”
05-31-1977 Nicola Formichetti – Born in Tokyo, Japan, he is the son of a Japanese stewardess and an Italian pilot. He is a fashion designer and fashion editor. He is most widely known as the artistic director of the Italian fashion label Diesel, and for being a frequent collaborator with singer-songwriter and performance artist Lady Gaga. He was on Out’s 3rd Annual 100 Most Eligible Bachelors (2013). Formichetti practices Transcendental Meditation daily. He is openly gay.
05-31-1991 Azealia Banks – Born in Manhattan, New York. She is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Openly bisexual, Banks has expressed dissatisfaction with society’s labeling of others based on sexual orientation. In an interview with The New York Times, Banks stated, “I’m not trying to be, like, the bisexual, lesbian rapper. I don’t live on other people’s terms.” Banks has been cited as a gay icon with a predominantly gay fan following.