10-04-1941 Anne Rice – Born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is an American author of gothic fiction, Christian literature, and erotica. She is best known for her popular and influential series of novels, The Vampire Chronicles. In the mid-2000s Rice returned to Catholicism. Several years later she distanced herself from organized Christianity, citing disagreement with the Church’s stances on social issues. Rice is a vocal supporter of equality for gay men and lesbians, including marriage rights. She also supports abortion rights and birth control and has written extensively on those issues. She considers herself a secular humanist. Rice’s novels are popular in the LGBT community, some of whom have perceived her vampire character as allegorical symbols of isolations and social alienation. Rice commented, “From the beginning, I’ve had gay fans and gay readers who felt that my work involved a sustained gay allegory…I didn’t set out to do that, but that was what they perceived. So even when Christopher (her son) was a baby, I had gay readers and gay friends and knew gay people, and lived in the Castro district of San Francisco, which was a gay neighborhood.” Rice’s son Christopher is gay.
10-04-1942 Jóhanna Siguroardottir – Born in Reykjavik, Iceland. She is a former politician and former Prime Minister of Iceland. In 2009, she became the Prime Minister and Forbes listed her among the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. In September 2012, Johanna announced she would not seek re-election and would retire from politics. She has been married and divorced. In 2002, she joined a civil union with Jónína Leósdóttir (born 1954), an author and playwright. In 2010, when same-sex marriage was legalized in Iceland, the couple changed their civil union into a marriage, becoming one of the first married same-sex couples in Iceland. She was the world’s first out gay head of government of the modern era. When asked what the most important gender issue of today is, she answered, “To fight the pay gap between men and women.”
10-04-1946 Susan Sarandon – Born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. She is an American actress. She is an Academy Award and BAFTA Award Winner. She has been nominated five times for Best Actress and won the Academy Award for Dead Man Walking (1995). She is also a five-time Emmy Award nominee for her work in television. Sarandon is also well known for her social and political activism. She was appointed a UNICEF Ambassador in 1999 and received the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in 2006. In 1995, she was one of many Hollywood actors, directors and writers interviewed for the documentary The Celluloid Closet, which looked at how Hollywood film have depicted homosexuality. In 1983 she was in the film The Hunger, which generated controversy due to her lesbian love scene with Catherine Deneuve. In the film, she was originally supposed to be drunk but said, “Who needs to be drunk to go to bed with Catherine Deneuve?” She became a public advocate for the gay community in the early days of the AIDS epidemic “when there were huge demonstrations that didn’t even find their way into the New York Times. Having lost a lot of very close friends, who were given the message to die in shame somewhere out of sight, that activated me very quickly.”
10-04-1887 – 01-17-1974 Miriam Van Waters – Born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. She was an American feminist best known for her prison reform. In 1932, Van Waters began a long-term appointment as superintendent at the Massachusetts Reformatory for Women at Framingham. Most of the inmates were serving time for prostitution, extramarital sex, or alcoholism. She emphasized rehabilitation. She also developed a donor base amongst female philanthropists, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Addams, Margaret Mead, and Frances Perkins. While inmates worked on manufacturing clothing and flags or worked in the kitchen or prison farm unit, Van Waters developed educational opportunities for the inmates as well, that included an art and crafts course, literary class, drama class, prison newspaper, hikers club, and a parole club. She also pioneered separate accommodation for younger inmates as well as nursing mothers. When the state legislature tried to separate infants from nursing mothers, Van Waters successfully lobbied against the proposed legislation. Van Waters was a lesbian and had to remain in the closet. In 1949 ‘moral panic’ against ‘prison lesbianism’ almost got her dismissed as superintendent. It was her female network that prompted widespread protest of her firing. Van Waters eluded being outed and destroyed two decades of romantic letters from her lifelong companion, Geraldine Morgan Thompson (1872-1967). She retired in 1957, remaining lovers with Thompson until Thompson’s death in 1967. (Photo of Miriam Van Waters with Eleanor Roosevelt)
10-04-1907 – 01-27-1994 Alain Daniélou – Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France (just west of Paris). He was a French historian, intellectual, musicologist, Indologist. Daniélou converted to Shaivite Hinduism and became an expert. He studied piano and singing. Daniélou and his lover, Swiss photographer, Raymond Burnier, went to India in 1932. They were fascinated by the art and culture and were among the first Westerners to visit India’s famed erotic temples in the village of Khajuraho. Burnier’s photographs made the temples internationally known. In 1935, Daniélou enrolled at the Banaras Hindu University, where he studied Hindu music, Sanskrit, Indian philosophy, and Hindu religion for the next fifteen years. He was taught to play the veena, a stringed instrument (the Hindu goddess Saraswati plays one), by Shivendranath Basu and was able to play professionally. Upon his return to Europe in 1960, he was appointed an advisor to UNESCO’s International Music Council. He is the author of over thirty books on Indian music and culture.
10-04-1972 Racheline Maltese – Born in New York City, New York. She is an American actress and writer. She has written a gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry. It’s published by Torquere Press. She has a degree in journalism from George Washington University. Maltese has also studied acting and has been in an extra in films. Maltese did get film credit for the 2008 film Revolutionary Road. She is an out lesbian and lives with her partner in New York City.