09-08-1820 – 07-03-1897 Matilda Hays – Born in London, England. She was an English writer, journalist, and part-time actress. With Elizabeth Ashurst, she translated several of George Sand’s work into English. Hays co-founded the English Woman’s Journal. She had a ten-year affair with actress Charlotte Cushman. She was also involved with the poet Adelaide Anne Procter.
09-08-1862 – Date of death unknown Elisa Sanchez Loriga – Born in A Coruña, Spain. While studying to be a teacher in the Normal School for Teacher Training in A Coruña, she met Marcela Gracia Ibeas. The two women fell in love and began to live together. On June 8, 1901, Elisa adopted a masculine identity (she took the name of Mario, the name of a cousin that had died in a shipwreck) and they were married in the church in A Coruña. When it was discovered that they were both women, the couple made newspaper headlines. As a result, they lost their jobs, were excommunicated, and an arrest warrant was issued. They fled to Portugal and then to Argentina. Their marriage certificate was never annulled. From 1904, the trace of these determined women has been lost. (photo is of Marcela Gracia Ibeas on the left and Elisa Sanchez Loriga on the right)
09-08-1886 – 09-01-1967 Siegfried Sassoon – Born in Matfield, Kent, England. He had a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. His father was from a wealthy family that disowned him for marrying outside his faith. (There is no German ancestry in Siegfried’s family; his mother named him Siegfried because of her love of Wagner’s operas.) He was an English poet, writer, and soldier. Sassoon was decorated for bravery for serving on the Western Front during WWI. His poetry described the horrors of the trenches and it satirized the patriotic hypocrites that were responsible for promoting the war. In 1917, Sassoon made a stand against the conduct of the war. He sent a letter to his commanding officer entitled Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration. His letter was sent to the press and it was read out loud in the House of Commons. He had thrown his Military Cross into the River Mersey. Because of his military decorations and his reputation, he was not court-martialed but sent to a hospital where he was treated for “shell shock.” Sassoon was gay and had a succession of love affairs with men, including, artist William Park “Gabriel” Atkin, actor Ivor Novello, actor Glen Byam Shaw, German aristocrat Prince Philipp of Hesse, writer Beverley Nichols, and British aristocrat Stephen Tennant. He married Teffont Magna in December 1933 and had one child, which he had wanted for a long time. He separated from his wife in 1945. In 1951 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Sassoon died of cancer one week before his 81st birthday.
09-08-1940 Elly de Waard – Born in Bergen, Netherlands. She is a Dutch openly lesbian poet. From 1965 to 1984, she was a rock music critic for the Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant and the magazine Vrj Nederland. In the late 1980s, she founded a female poets group called De Nieuwe Wilden (The New Savages). Her poetry is described from sober to ecstatic and is explicitly lesbian.
09-08-1954 Mark Adam Foley – Born in Newton, Massachusetts. He is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida. Foley resigned from Congress on September 29, 2006, acting on a request by the Republican Leadership after allegations surfaced that he had sent suggestive emails and sexually explicit instant messages to teenage boys who had formerly served and were serving as Congressional pages. No criminal charges were filed. It was revealed by his lawyers, that Foley, a Catholic, was molested by a Catholic priest, Anthony Mercieca, between the ages of 13 and 15. They also added that “Mark Foley wants you to know he is homosexual.” After leaving Congress, Foley came out publicly, and was in a relationship with a Palm Beach dermatologist, Layne Nisenbaum, until Nisenbaum’s death in 2012.
09-08-1977 Mark Kenneth Woods – Born in Montreal, Canada. He is a Canadian comedy writer, actor, producer, director, and TV host. His first feature film, Deb and Sisi, premiered at the Out On Screen Vancouver Queer Film Festival in August 2008 and was released on DVD May 25, 2010. Drawing from feminist, queer, and post-colonial theory (Canada was a British colony until 1982), his works, in both TV and film, often combine comedy, parody, and camp with ideas about gender, sexuality, and race. He is openly gay.