09-02-1946 – 06-06-2006 Billy Preston – Born in Houston, Texas. He was an American rhythm and blues musician whose work included R&B, rock, soul, funk, and gospel. A virtuoso keyboardist, especially on the Hammond organ, Preston was recognized as a top session musician in the 1960s. He backed artists like Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and the Beatles. The only outsiders to perform with the Beatles were Eric Clapton and Billy Preston. Preston was the only musician to be credited on a Beatles recording other than the group’s four members: the song Get Back – The Beatles with Billy Preston. He also achieved fame as a solo artist. Preston was known to be gay but did not speak about it publicly. He died of complications of malignant hypertension that resulted in kidney failure and other complications in 2006.
09-02-1948 Linda “Tui” Tillery – Born in San Francisco, California. She is an American singer, percussionist, producer, songwriter, and music arranger. She is recognized as a pioneer in Women’s music with the release of her second album in 1977 by Olivia Records. Tillery was also the producer on three of Olivia’s first eight albums. In 1997 Tillery was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children. She has been a professional musician for her entire adult life and has been a backup vocalist for Santana, Bobby McFerrin, Huey Lewis, and the News, and others. In the early 1990s, she began exploring the roots music of African slaves and African diaspora, forming the group The Cultural Heritage Choir which is active today. Tillery is openly lesbian. Her life-partner is Ann Jefferson, a director of Community Life and Spiritual Care at Pacific School of Religion.
09-02-1821 Anne Whitney – Born in Watertown, Massachusetts. She was an American sculptor and poet. In the 1860s she exhibited her work in the Boston gallery of De Vries, Ibarra & Co. She was well known as a supporter of both the abolitionist and suffragette movements. Whitney herself felt the brunt of the sexism of the day when, in 1875, the commission for a statue of Charles Sumner that won a competition was taken away from her when it was discovered that the winning model was created by a woman. Whitney and her companion, Addy Manning, lived abroad in the 1860s and 1870s, in Rome, Florence, and Paris. Her relationship with Abby Manning lasted over forty years and was frequently called a “Boston marriage.” Manning and Whitney were buried next to one another under the same headstone. Whitney’s life abroad is well documented by more than 400 letters she sent to her family, now among the more than 4,000 letters, photographs, and other documentation in the Anne Whitney Archive at Wellesley College. Among her well known public sculptures is the statue of Samuel Adams (1876) located in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US Capitol, Washington DC and the statue of Leif Ericsson (1887) in Boston.
09-02-1894 – 01-28-1983 Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman) – Born in Margate, United Kingdom. She was an English novelist, poet, memoirist, and magazine editor. Her father was the shipowner and financier John Ellerman, who at the time of his death in 1933, was the richest Englishman who had ever lived. Bryher knew from an early age that she was a lesbian. In 1918 she met and became lovers with poet Hilda Doolittle (better known by her initials H.D.) The relationship was an open one and although they didn’t live together after 1946, their relationship continued until Doolittle’s death in 1961. During the 1920s, Bryher lived in Paris. Her circle of friends included Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach, and Berenice Abbott. Her wealth enabled her to give financial support to struggling writers, including James Joyce and Edith Sitwell. She also helped financially with Sylvia Beach’s bookstore, Shakespeare and Company.
09-02-1907 – 11-18-1996 Evelyn Hooker – Born in North Platte, Nebraska. She was an American psychologist most notable for her 1957 paper “The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual” in which she administered several psychological tests to groups of self-identified male homosexuals and heterosexuals and asked experts to identify the homosexuals and rate their mental health. The experiment, which other researcher repeated, argues that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, as there was no detectable difference between homosexual and heterosexual men in terms of mental adjustment. Her demonstration that it is not an illness led the way to the eventual removal of homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In 1973, the weight of empirical data, coupled with changing social norms and the development of a politically active gay community in the United States, led the Board of Directors of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder. Its decision was ratified by the Board in 1974. Dr. Hooker’s story has been chronicled in a documentary, Changing Our Minds: The Story of Dr. Evelyn Hooker.
09-02-1944 John Roman Baker – Raised in Brighton, England. He is a British poet, playwright, and novelist and is mainly associated with the work of Aputheatre (formerly AIDS Positive Underground Theatre). Winner of the Brighton Festival award for Best Theatre in 1990 for his play The Ice Pick. As a playwright, his work is characterized by a focus on contemporary issues presented from a gay point of view. His concern for gay rights and its expression through literature remain paramount in his life. Baker is openly gay.
09-02-1950 Harvey Levin – Born in Los Angeles County, California. He is an American television producer, lawyer, legal analyst, and celebrity reporter. Levin is the founder of celebrity news website TMZ. His broadcast work has won him nine Emmys. In April 2010, he appeared as an event speaker for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in which he publicly confirmed that he is gay. Levin’s longtime partner is Dr. Andy Mauer, a Southern California chiropractor.
09-02-1955 Eric Allman – Born in El Cerrito, California. He is an American computer programmer who developed sendmail in the late 1970s and early 1980s at UC Berkeley. He was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in August 2006 and in 2009, he was recognized as a Distinguished Engineer by the Association for Computing Machinery. In April 2014 Allman was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. He is openly gay. He lives in Berkeley, California with Marshall Kirk McKusick, his partner for more than 30 years before they married in October 2013. Allman said, “There is some sort of perverse pleasure in knowing that it’s basically impossible to send a piece of hate mail through the Internet without its being touched by a gay program. That’s kind of funny.”