October 31st People

October 31st

10-31-1896 – 09-01-1977 Ethel Waters – Born in Chester, Pennsylvania. She was an American blues, jazz, and gospel vocalist, and actress. Her best known recordings include Dinah, Stormy Weather, Taking a Chance on Love and Am I Blue?. Waters was the second African-American, after Hattie McDaniel, to be nominated for an Academy Award. She is also the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award in 1962. She kept her lesbian relationship with dancer Ethel Williams private, even making sure biographies didn’t mention that they lived together.

10-31-1876 – 02-02-1972 Natalie Clifford Barney – Born in Dayton, Ohio. She was an American playwright, poet and novelist who lived as an natalie-clifford-barneyexpatriate in Paris. Barney’s salon was held at her home in Paris for more than 60 years and brought together writers and artists from around the world. She worked to promote writing by women. She was an out lesbian and began publishing love poems to women under her own name as early as 1900. She had many affairs that included a 50 year relationship with artist Romain Brooks.

10-31-1883 – 06-08-1956 Marie Laurencin – Born in Paris, France. She was a French marie-laurencinpainter and printmaker. As a member of the Cubists artists, she was an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde. Laurencin is known as one of the few female Cubist painters. She became romantically involved with the poet Guillaume Apolinaire and knew many of those that attended the salon of the American expatriate and famous lesbian writer Natalie Clifford Barney. She had affairs with both men and women.

10-31-1885 – 04-??-1975 Clara Sipprell – Born in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada. She was a Canadian-born, early photographer who lived most of her lifeclara-sipprell in the United States. Sipprell was well known for her pictorial landscapes and for her portraits of many famous actors, artists, writers, and scientists. Her portraits included Pearl S. Buck, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Maxfield Parrish, and Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1937 she moved from New York to Manchester, Vermont. There she met Phyllis Fenner (1899-1982), a writer, librarian, and anthologist for children’s books. The two women lived together for thirty-eight years until the death of Sipprell in 1975.

10-31-1940 – 06-18-1993   Craig L. Rodwell – Born in Chicago, Illinois. He was an American gay rights activist known for founding the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in New York City on November 14, 1967. It was the first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors. Rodwell also was one of the first to conceive of a yearly gay rights pride parade, now called New York City pride. He was also at the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Rodwell’s first serious relationship was with Harvey Milk. In 1992, Rodwell received the Lambda Literary Award for Publisher’s Service. In March 1993, Rodwell sold his bookshop. He died on June 18, 1993, of stomach cancer. In June 2019, he was one of the inaugural fifty American “pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes” inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor within the Stonewall National Monument in New York City’s Stonewall Inn. 

10-31-1955   Jenifer Levin  Place of birth unknown. She is an American fiction writer noted for her contribution to lesbian fiction. As well as writing fiction, she has contributed to the New York Times and Washington Post. The Washington Post called her a member of the “lesbian literati.” Her novel The Sea of Light (1993) was voted in the top 10 most important lesbian novels of the 20th century by a poll taken by lesbian publisher, Bywater Books. Levin was a former competitive swimmer. She is Jewish and her third novel, Shimoni’s Lover, is set in Israel. Levin adopted two boys from Cambodia and has spoken several times of her experiences adopting as a single gay woman, from a country that doesn’t formally allow foreign adoptions.  

10-31-1955 – 07-25-2009 Jacques Teyssier – Born in Annonay, France. He was a French and German citizen. Teyssier was a German LGBT rights jacquest-teyssieractivist. He was a member of the board of directors of LSVD (lesbian and gay association in Germany). One of his achievements was the recognition of LSVD by the UN. He was also involved in the building of the human rights organization Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation. From 1992 he lived with his partner Volker Beck, a German politician and one of the most famous gay activists in Germany. Teyssier died of cancer in 2009.

10-31-1985   Kerron Clement – Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. His family moved to La Porte, Texas in 1998. Clement became a U.S. citizen in 2004. In 2007 he won a gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the World Championship in Osaka, Japan. Clement won the hurdles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He also runs in the 4×400-meter relay and is a two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist in the event. On October 11, 2019, National Coming Out Day, Clement came out as gay during a Nike event, saying, “It’s who I am and it’s what made me the athlete I am today.” He had struggled with his sexuality since his teens and decided it was time “to be free.” 

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