May 3rd People

May 3rd

05-03-1912 – 07-16-1995 May Sarton (pen name of Eleanor Marie Sarton) – Born in Wondelgem, Belgium. She was an American poet, novelist, and memoirist. She is known to have had an affair with writer Elizabeth Bowen. In 1945, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she met Judy Matlack, who became her partner for the next thirteen years. They separated in 1956. Honey In The Hive (1988) is about their relationship. In her memoir At Seventy, Sarton reflected on Judy’s importance in her life and how her Unitarian Universalist upbringing shaped her. When publishing her novel Mrs. Stevens May Sarton 2Hears the Mermaid Singing in 1965, she feared that writing openly about lesbianism would lead to a diminution of the previously established value of her work. “The fear of homosexuality is so great that it took courage to write Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing,” she said. She wrote in Journal of Solitude, “that to write a novel about a woman homosexual who is not a sex maniac, a drunkard, a drug-taker, or in any way repulsive, to portray a homosexual who is neither pitiable or disgusting, without sentimentality…” After the book’s release, many of Sarton’s works began to be studied in university-level Women’s Studies classes, being embraced by feminists and lesbians alike. Her works tackle many deeply human issues of love, loneliness, aging, nature, self-doubt, etc., common to both men and women.

05-03-1965   Mary L. Trump – Born in New York City, New York. She is an American psychologist, businessperson, and author. She is the niece of Donald J. Trump. Her 2020 book about him and the family, Too Much and Never Enough, sold nearly one million copies on the day of its release. In her book, Trump relates a time when her grandmother Mary Anne MacLeod Trump referred to Elton John as a faggot and decided not to come out as a lesbian and that she was going to marry a woman, with whom she would later raise a daughter. She has since divorced and lives on Long Island, New York, with her daughter. Trump has taught graduate courses in developmental psychology, trauma, and psychopathology. In 2002, she was a contributor to the book Diagnosis: Schizophrenia, published by Columbia University Press.  

05-03-1913 – 06-10-1973 William Inge – Born in Independence, Kansas. He was an American playwright and novelist whose works typically feature solitary protagonists encumbered with strained sexual relations. In the early 1950s, he had a string of memorable Broadway productions. Picnic earned him a Pulitzer Prize. His other major plays are Come Back, Little Sheba, and Bus Stop. In William Inge1961, he won an Academy Award for Splendor In The Grass (Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen). The Last Pad is one of three Inge’s plays that either has openly gay characters or address homosexuality directly. The Boy In The Basement, written in the early 1950s, but not published until 1962, is his only play that addresses homosexuality overtly, while Archie in The Last Pad and Pinky in Where’s Daddy? (1966) are gay characters. Inge was a closeted gay man that coped with alcoholism and depression. Inge committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning on June 10, 1973, at the age of 60.

05-03-1922 – 05-03-1993 Robert De Niro, Sr. – Born in Syracuse, New York. He was an American abstract expressionist painter and the father of actor Robert De Niro. He lived openly as a Robert De Niro man. Robert De Niro talks about his father being gay in the documentary Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr. He shares intimate stories of his father’s despair about his sexual orientation and how he later accepted it.

05-03-1932 – 03-05-2017 Robert Osborne – Born in Colfax, Washington. He was an American actor, film historian, author, and best known as the host of Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Osborne began his career working as a contract actor for Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s Desilu Studios. In 1977, he began his column for The Hollywood Reporter. In 2016, he left TCM due to an undisclosed health issue. David Staller, his life partner for 20 years, announced that he died at his New York City home on March 5, 2017. He was 84. Staller told the Times, “It’s difficult to imagine a planet without him. He made the choice to call it a day, and he wants everyone to know he’ll see them at the after-party.”

05-03-1958   Sandi Toksvig – Born in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is a British-Danish writer, broadcaster, actor, and producer on British radio, stage, and television. Toksvig is also a political activist and co-founded the Women’s Equality Party in 2015. She has written more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. In 1994, Toksvig came out as a lesbian. She is the first woman in British public life to come out and she and her family had to go into hiding because of death threats. It was having three children that made her decide to come out because she didn’t want her children to grow up ashamed of having two mothers. (The children were carried by her then partner, Peta Stewart. The couple separated in 1997.) As of 2019, Toksvig lives on a houseboat in Wandsworth, England, with her wife, psychotherapist, Debbie Toksvig. In 2013, Toksvig became a British citizen.

05-03-1877 — 04-25-1933   Baron Franz Nopcsa – Born in Szacsal, Transylvania (at the time part of Austria-Hungary). He was a Hungarian aristocrat, adventurer, scholar, geologist, and paleontologist. Nopcsa was also a specialist on Albanian studies and completed the first geological map of northern Albania. He made no effort to hide the fact that he was gay and was ofter dismissed as “whacky” by other scientists, even though he made significant contributions to the fields of paleontology, geology, and evolutionary biology. On November 20, 1906, Nopcsa met eighteen-year-old Bajazid Elmaz Doda and hired him as his secretary. Nopcsa recounted in his memoir: “He has been the only person who has truly loved me and in whom I had full confidence, never doubting for a moment that he would misuse my trust.” Nopcsa’s lost his estate and other possessions in 1920 as a consequence of WWI, when Austria-Hungary was defeated. To cover his debts, he sold his fossil collection to the Natural History Museum in London. In the late 1920s, he became ill and depressed. He fatally shot his lover, Doda, and then shot himself in 1933. He stated in his suicide note that he had a nervous breakdown and described the reason for killing his lover: “The reason that I shot my longtime friend and secretary, Mr. Bajazid Elmas Doda, in his sleep without his suspecting at all is that I did not wish to leave him behind sick, in misery and without a penny, because he would have suffered too much.”   Nopcsa’s memoir based on diaries and notes from 1897-1917, was first published in German in 2001 and later translated to English in 2014 as Traveler, Scholar, Political Adventurer: A Transylvanian Baron at the Birth of Albanian Independence. 

05-03-1948   Miriam Ben-Shalom – Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is an American educator, activist, and former Staff Sergeant in the US Army. In 1967, she married right after graduating high school and had a daughter. The following year she converted to Judaism and left with her daughter for Israel. While in Israel, she married again and served in the Israeli Army. She returned to the US in 1971, divorced her Israeli husband and entered college. Ben-Shalom enlisted in the US Army reserve in 1974.  In 1976, she was discharged from the military for homosexuality. In 1987, she returned to military service after successfully challenging her discharge in court and was the first gay person to be reinstated. She served until 1990 when the Army succeeded in terminating her service. Ben-Shalom was one of six LGBT veterans who founded American Veterans for Equal Rights. In her opinion, she is against transgender activism, which she feels “erase” women and causes “unspeakable oppression against females.” In 2015, she was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the 2015 LGBT History Month. Her life partner is Karen Weiss, an English professor.

05-03-1971 Emanuel Xavier – Born in Bushwick, New York City, New York. He is an American poet of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian ancestry. He emerged from the neo-Nuyorian spoken word movement and became a successful writer and advocate for gay youth programs and Latino gay literature. In 2010, The Equality Forum named him a LGBT History Month Icon. At the age of 16, he came out to his mother and was thrown out of the house. He became a street hustler and drug dealer. He now has conducted Emanuel Xavierspoken word poetry workshops and produced benefits and events for youth around the United States. The American Library Association selected Xavier’s poetry collections If Jesus Were Gay & Other Poems and Nefarious for their Over The Rainbow Books lists for 2011 and 2015 respectively.

05-03-1987 Raffi Freedman-Gurspan – Born in Intibuca, Honduras, she was adopted as an infant by an American Jewish couple and grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is an American transgender woman who worked at the White House as Raffi Freedman-Garspanan Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel. She is the first openly transgender member of staff at the White House under President Obama, and was the first openly transgender legislative staffer to work in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Freedman-Gurspan is a longtime advocate and public specialist on matters concerning human rights, gender and LGBT people.

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