10-12-1932 – 08-19-2017 Dick Gregory – Born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was an African-American comedian civil rights activist, social critic, writer, and occasional actor. During the 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. Until 1961, he performed mainly to black audiences in segregated clubs. He became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences. His first big break was an appearance on the Tonight Show in 1962. He only agreed to go on the show if he could sit down with host Jack Paar afterward. Prior to this, African-American performers would have to leave the set immediately after performing. He protested the Vietnam War. Another issue that Gregory didn’t shy away from was homosexuality in Christianity. Speaking about King James – the English King who commissioned the translation of the Bible, which is now known as the King James version — and referring to the well-documented theory that the 16th century monarch was gay, Gregory said he was bemused by the fact that so many Christians – particularly black Christians – condemn homosexuality, yet vehemently follow the Bible. ” My mother, who’s been dead for years, was so spiritual and pure, you’d think that God had literally spat her out. But she didn’t know that King James was the King of England – or that he was a homosexual. King James hated women so much that he killed his own mother, and his lover was Lord Buckingham, who Buckingham Palace was named after. So when there was all this emphasis on how black Christians were condemning President Obama for supporting same-sex marriage, I was thinking, ‘But it’s [homosexuality] in the book y’all read!’ I’ve been going to black churches all my life, and in every church, everybody knew who the gay preachers were and which members of the congregation were gay. So I’m like, ‘Why, all of a sudden, are you condemning homosexuality like you didn’t know what was going on under your noses all that time?’”
10-12-1933 – 10-04-2018 Jinx Beers – Born in Pasadena, California. In 1975, she created Lesbian News (LN). It always came out on the first of the month and readers stood in line to pick it up at its various distribution points. It was entirely run by volunteers and went from four mimeographed stapled pages to 62 pages, and per Jinx’s insistence, the LN was always free. In 1975, she couldn’t even get a checking account in the name Lesbian News because no bank would allow the word “Lesbian” on the account. Also, it was impossible to get a P.O. Box or phone number with the word Lesbian, that’s how it became LN. It’s now a national magazine available online. In 1951, Beers joined the Air Force in order to earn assistance in getting a college degree. She earned a psychology degree from UCLA. In 1970, she taught a class called the Lesbian Experience. In 2009, Beers published her book, “Memories of an Old Dyke.” She is included in Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons’ Gay LA: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbian and she is listed in Barbara Love’s book Feminists Who Changed America: 1953-1975.
10-12-1903 – 06-04-1998 Josephine Hutchinson – Born in Seattle, Washington. Her mother was Leona Roberts, an actress best known for her role as Mrs. Meade in Gone With the Wind. Through her mother’s connections, Hutchinson made her film debut at the age of 13 in The Little Princess (1917), starring Mary Pickford. By the late 1920s, she was one of the actors able to make the transition from silent movies to talkies. She also acted on Broadway. On television, she made four guest appearances on Perry Mason. Hutchinson also appeared in The Rifleman, Little House on the Prairie, Rawhide, The Twilight Zone, and Gunsmoke. In 1926, she met actress Eva Le Gallienne and by 1927 the two women were involved in an affair. The press dubbed her Le Gallienne’s “shadow,” a term which at the time meant lesbian. Both actresses survived the scandal and had successful careers.
10-12-1974 Shane McAnally – Born in Mineral Wells, Texas. He is an American country music singer, songwriter, and record producer. In 2001, McAnally moved to Los Angeles, where he came out as gay. He married his partner of five years, Michael Baum, in September 2012. The Academy of Country Music named him Songwriter of the Year in 2014. In January 2017, the couple was legally married by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. (Photo courtesy of Megmcree)
10-12-1969 – 05-14-2016 Balázs Birtalan – Born in Budapest, Hungary. He was a Hungarian author, poet, publicist, and psychotherapist. Birtalan is mostly known for his participation in the gay Christian movement in Hungary. Between 1995 and 2003 he fought both homophobias of the Church and the anti-religious stance of the gay communities. His book Halállal lakoljanak? (Shall They Be Put to Death?) was published in 1997. A documentary of the same name was made in 2003. He died in 2016 of cancer.