10-09-1940 – 12-08-1980 John Lennon – Born in Liverpool, England. He was an English singer, songwriter, and activist, as well as the founder of the Beatles. His most famous post-Beatle song is Imagine. In 1963, Lennon and manager Brian Epstein (who was gay) vacationed in Spain together. When he was later questioned about it, Lennon said, “Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But it was a pretty intense relationship. It was my first experience with a homosexual that I was conscious was a homosexual.” According to Yoko Ono, “I think he had a desire to [have sex with other men], but I think he was too inhibited. No, not inhibited. He said, ‘I don’t mind if there’s an incredibly attractive guy.’” Ono said: “I used to say to him, ‘I think you’re a closet fag, you know.’ Because after we started to live together, John would say to me, ‘Do you know why I like you? Because you look like a bloke in drag. You’re like a mate.’” Whether Lennon was straight or bisexual we’ll never know. For sure he was a supporter of LGBT rights. In 1973, John Lennon contributed a limerick to Len Richmond’s The Gay Liberation Book. “Why make it sad to be gay? Doing your thing is okay. Our body’s our own, so leave us alone, and play with yourself today.” In 1975, John Lennon asked Elton John to be Sean Lennon’s godfather.
10-09-1944 Nona Hendryx – Born in Trenton, New Jersey. She is an American vocalist, record producer, songwriter, musician, author, and actress. Member of the group Labelle, they had a hit with Lady Marmalade. In 2001 she discussed her bisexuality in an interview with The Advocate. She was one of the first artists to agree to perform at the NYC Gay Men’s Health Crisis Dance-a-thon created to raise funds to support people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2008 she joined Cyndi Lauper on her True Colors Tour, raising awareness of discrimination and the LGBT community.
10-09-1830 – 02-21-1908 Harriet Hosmer – Born in Watertown, Massachusetts. She was a neoclassical sculptor, considered the most distinguished female sculptor in America during the 19th century. Hosmer discovered a process for turning limestone into marble. From 1853 to 1860, she lived in Rome where she studied with Welsh sculptor John Gibson. While in Rome, she had an affair with English writer Matilda Hays. For twenty-five years she had a relationship with Lady Ashburton. Hosmer died in her hometown in 1908.
10-09-1840 – 08-14-1905 Simeon Solomon – Born into a prominent Jewish family in London, England. He was an English Pre-Raphaelite noted for his painting of Jewish life and same-sex desire. He took painting lessons from his older brother about 1850. As a student at the Royal Academy Schools, he was introduced to members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. His first exhibit at the Royal Academy was in 1858 and continued to 1872. In 1873 he was arrested in a public urinal at Stratford Place Mews, in London, and charged with attempting to commit sodomy. He paid a fine and didn’t serve jail time but in 1874 in Paris, he was arrested again and sentenced to three months in prison. After his prosecution, he no longer exhibited his work but he did achieve some celebrity among those who were also gay: Oscar Wilde, John Addington Symonds, Count Eric Stenbock, and Walter Pater all bought his paintings. He died from complications brought on by his alcoholism. Examples of his work are on permanent display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as other museums. (1864 Watercolor of Sappho & Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene)
10-09-1975 Brandy Clark – American country music singer-songwriter. Her songs have been recorded by Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, and Kacey Musgraves. She was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2015 Grammy Awards. She is an out lesbian. Clark said, “ I feel fortunate to be in a time where I am embraced completely as who I am and I don’t have to hide who I am in any way. I hope that we’ve (including Chely Wright) broken some boundaries and things are changing. I feel very included in the country music community.”
10-09-1893 – 02-25-1945 Mário de Andrade – Born in São Paulo, Sã Paulo, Brazil. Brazilian poet, novelist, musicologist, art historian, critic, and photographer. One of the founders of Brazilian modernism, he had an enormous influence on modern Brazilian literature. Andrade was the central figure in the avant-garde movement of São Paulo for twenty years. Trained as a musician, he is best known as a poet and novelist. Andrade was personally involved in virtually every discipline that was connected with São Paulo modernism. His photography and essays on a wide variety of subjects, from history to literature and music, were widely published. He was the driving force behind the Week of Modern Art, the 1922 event that reshaped both literature and the visual arts in Brazil. Andrade remained very protective of his private life. Although it is widely acknowledged that he experienced strong sexual attractions towards other men, few details have been published about this aspect of his life. One of his short stories, Frederico Paciēncia deals directly with his own homosexuality. Written and revised many times between 1924 and 1942, it was published posthumously in 1947.
10-09-1960 – 12-11-2008 Maddie Blaustein – Born in Long Island, New York. She was born intersex and was assigned male at birth. She lived as a male for many years before transitioning to female. As an activist in the transgender community, she organized and supported the group Second Life. She was an American voice actress and was known for her voice-actor work for 4Kids Entertainment, DuArt Film and Video, and NYAV Post. She was also a comic book writer and artist, having worked for both Marvel Comics and Milestone Comics, and an animation director. Blaustein died on December 11, 2008, from an untreated stomach virus.
10-09-1968 James Dreyfus – Born in France (place unknown) but moved to England at an early age. He is an English actor. His most known roles are on the television sitcoms The Thin Blue Line as Constable Kevin Goody, and Gimme Gimme Gimme as Tom Farrell. He is most recently known for his role as Reverend Roger in Mount Pleasant. Dreyfus’ first television break came with the BBC comedy series Absolutely Fabulous. Dreyfus is openly gay.