11-22-1943 Billie Jean King – Born in Long Beach, California. She is an American former World No. 1 champion professional tennis player. She won 39 Grand Slam titles and was the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association. In 1973, she won the so-called Battle of the Sexes tennis match against Bobby Riggs. In May, 1981, her relationship with her secretary became public knowledge. Marilyn Barnett, her secretary had filed a palimony lawsuit, making her the first prominent professional female forced to come out as a lesbian. In 1987, King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. On August 12, 2009, President Obama awarded King the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work advocating for the rights of women and the LGBT communtiy. In December 2013, President Obama appointed King and out gay hockey player Caitlin Cahow to represent the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. King has residences in New York and Chicago with her life partner, Ilana Kloss. In 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center in New York City was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
11-22-1869 – 02-19-1951 Andre Gide – Born in Paris, France. He was a French writer and winner of Nobel Prize in literature in 1947, “for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight.” Gide is known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works. He befriended Oscar Wilde in Paris, and in 1895 Gide and Wilde met in Algiers. Wilde had the impression that he had introduced Gide to homosexuality, but, in fact, Gide had already discovered this on his own.
1888 (DOB Unknown) – 11-22-1975 Solita Solano (born Sarah Wilkinson) – Place of birth unknown. She was an American writer, poet, and journalist. In 1908 she worked as a theatre critic and drama editor at the New York Tribune and as a freelance contributor to the National Geographic Society. It was at this time she changed her name. In 1919, Solano got to know the journalist Janet Flanner in Greenwich Village with whom she started a relationship. In 1922, the couple went to Paris where they joined the intellectual-lesbian circle of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. After she broke up with Flanner, she fell in love with Elizabeth Jenks Clark. After WWII, Solano returned to France, where she died at the age of 87. Photo is of Solita Soland & Djuna Barnes in Paris 1922.
11-22-1913 – 12-04-1976 Benjamin Britten – Born in Lowestoft, United Kingdom. He was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, and wrote in many genres, from film scores to opera. Best known works: Peter Grimes and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. In 1937 he met tenor Peter Pears. In 1939 the couple sailed to North America, going first to Canada and then to New York. They remained together until Britten’s death in 1976. Britten was also a friend of Aaron Copland, whose works Billy the Kid and An Outdoor Overture influenced his own music.
11-22-1940 Anthony Heilbut – Place of birth unknown. He is a gay American writer and record producer of gospel music. He in known for his biography of Thomas Mann. His production of How I Got Over by Mahalia Jackson won a Grammy Award. Heilbut’s first book, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times, was published in 1971 and has been updated several times since then; a “25th Anniversary Edition” was published in 1997. James Baldwin said, “It’s a beautiful book, with love and precision, no pity — a little like a gospel song . . . I didn’t know that anybody knew that much about it, or cared that much, or could be so tough and lucid.” Counter-Punch magazine selected it as one of its top 100 books of the 20th century.
11-22-1943 – 06-27-1996 Peter Adair – Born in Los Angeles County, California. He was an American filmmaker and artist, best known for his pioneering gay and lesbian documentary, Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977). The film, the first of its kind to present gays and lesbians in a positive lights, was a critical hit nationwide. Peter’s lesbian sister Nancy Adair and their mother Casey wrote the companion book, Word Is Out, published in 1978. He wrote and directed Absolutely Positive, when he became aware of his HIV status. He died in 1996 from AIDS complications.
11-22-1981 Jenny Owen Youngs – Born in Montclair, New Jersey. She is an American singer-songwriter and has released three albums, four EPs and a few singles. Youngs has performed internationally both as headliner and support act. Her song, Fuck Was I, was used in the second season premiere of Showtime’s Weeds. She came out as “super gay” on June 12, 2013. On August 25th, 2013 she married her girlfriend Kristin Russo.