05-04-1958 – 02-16-1990 Keith Haring – Born in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was an American artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s by expressing concepts of birth, death, sexuality, and war. His work was often heavily political and his imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century. Haring received public attention with his art in subways and by 1982, he established friendships with fellow emerging artists Futura 2000, Kenny Scharf, Madonna, and Jean-Michel Basquiat He also got to know Andy Warhol. His friendship with Warhol would prove to be the decisive element in his eventual success. Haring was out gay and a strong advocate of safe sex. In 1988, he was diagnosed with AIDS. In 1989 he established the Keith Haring Foundation, its mandate being to provide funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children’s programs, and to expand the audience for Haring’s work through exhibitions, publications, and the licensing of his images. Haring died on February 16, 1990 of AIDS-related complications. As a celebration of his life, Madonna declared the first New York date of her Blond Ambition World Tour a benefit concert for Haring’s memory and donated all proceeds from her ticket sales to AIDS charities, including AIDS Project Los Angeles and amfAR. In 2006, Keith Haring was named LGBT History Month Icon.
05-04-1979 Lance Bass – Born in Laurel, Mississippi. He is an American pop singer, dancer, actor, film and TV producer. He was the bass singer for the group ‘N Sync. In 2006, Bass revealed that he is gay in a cover story for People magazine. He was awarded the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award in October 2006, and released an autobiography, Out of Sync, in October 2007, which debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list. In his coming out interview, Bass stated, “The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say. I don’t think it’s wrong. I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy.” Bass has been involved with a number of charities during his career. On December 20, 2014, Bass married Michael Turchin at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. The ceremonial event was filmed and televised in a special E! presentation that aired on February 15, 2015. Bass and Turchin were the first same-sex couple to exchange vows on cable television.
05-04-1996 Tillie Walden – Grew up in New Jersey & Austin, Texas. She is an American cartoonist. Five of her graphic novels have been published. In 2018, she won the Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work for her graphic novel Spinning, it also made her one of the youngest to win an Eisner Award. Her second graphic novel, I Love This Part, published by Avery Hill in November 2015 and tells the story of two teenage girls that fall in love. Walden has known she was a lesbian since she was 5. In 2019, Are You Listening? was published by First Second Books. She is a graduate of the Center of Cartoon Studies.
05-04-1907 – 01-05-1996 Lincoln Kirstein – Born in Rochester, New York to a wealthy Jewish family. He was an American writer, impresario, art connoisseur, philanthropist, and cultural figure in New York City. Kirstein is best remembered as the co-founder of the New York City Ballet. For four decades he developed and sustained the company with his organizing ability and fundraising, serving as the company’s general director from 1946 to 1989. During WWII, he served in the Army and was involved with rescuing and preserving European art. He was personally involved with retrieving artworks around Munich and from the salt mines at Altaussee in Austria. Beginning in 1919, Kirstein kept a diary until the late 1930s. He wrote about enjoying sex with various men, including Harvard undergraduates, sailors, street boys, and casual encounters in the showers at the 63rd Street YMCA. He had longer affairs with dancer Pete Martinez, artist Dan Maloney, and conservator Alexander Jensen. He also maintained relationships with women. In 1941, he married Fidelma Cadmus, an artist and sister of artist Paul Cadmus. The New York art world considered Kirstein’s bisexuality an “open secret,” although he did not publicly acknowledge his sexual orientation until 1982.
(Top photo by Walker Evans)
05-04-1952 Michael Barrymore (born Michael Claran Parker) – Born in Bermondsey, London, United Kingdom. He is an English comedian and television presenter of game shows and light entertainment. In mid-1995, at the height of his fame, he went to The White Swan gay pub in London’s East End, where he gave an impromptu stage performance to the largely local crowd singing the words: “Start spreading the news – I’m gay today.” Within 48 hours, every tabloid newspaper had printed its own version of the evening’s events. Barrymore, as of 2010, has said he is no longer gay since he became involved with a women. However, he has acknowledged that he may be bisexual.
05-04-1952 Christopher Joseph Carter – Born in Auckland, New Zealand. He was an independent Member of Parliament in New Zealand from August 15, 2002 to November 5, 2007. Carter was also a member of the New Zealand Parliament for Te Atatu until September 2011 when he resigned following his appointment to a United Nations position in Afghanistan. Carter was the first out gay man ever appointed as a New Zealand Cabinet minister. He has been a strong advocate for gay equality for some time and also started one of the first branches of New Zealand Rainbow Labour for center-left LGBT people and others during the 1996-1999 term.