Thursday, 28 June 2012

Jim Kolbe

b. June 28, 1942
Jim Kolbe (R-Arizona) served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 to 2007 and was the second openly gay Republican member of the House.
" The cause for all gay persons . . . will be advanced when we focus not on what sets us apart from our fellow Americans but on what we share in common. "
Congressman Kolbe is the first Republican to represent southern Arizona since statehood. He is recognized as a leading proponent of free trade. He serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs of the House Appropriations Committee, which funds most U.S. foreign aid programs, narcotics interdiction efforts, and counter-terrorism activities. Kolbe is known for his advocacy of Social Security and immigration reforms.
The Congressman's interest in politics began early in life. At 15 he left the family ranch in Arizona to serve as a Senate page for Senator Barry Goldwater. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Northwestern University and an MBA from Stanford University. He was awarded the Navy commendation medal, "V" for valor, for his service in Vietnam. Prior to his election to Congress, he served in the Arizona state senate.
Kolbe was for a time the only openly gay Republican serving in Congress. When he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality in 1996, Kolbe said,
"This is the best day of my life, really. I feel a tremendous burden lifted. It's a relief. I'm being totally honest about myself to friends and family. It feels wonderful."
In 2000, Kolbe became the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention.
After completing his eleventh term in Congress, Kolbe announced that he would not seek reelection for a twelfth term in 2006.

Sunil Babu Pant, Nepalese Politician

b. June 28, 1972

"People in general do not wish to discriminate against their fellow neighbors."

Sunil Babu Pant is the first openly gay politician in Nepal. His 2008 election to the national  legislature followed years of activism on behalf of the Nepalese GLBT community.
Trained as a computer engineer, Pant received a scholarship to study in Belarus. It was there that he first heard the word "homosexual" and identified as a gay man. It was also where he was first exposed to entrenched homophobia, inspiring him to fight for equality in his home country.
In 2002, Pant founded the Blue Diamond Society. The group consists of more than 20 organizations and 120,000 members representing the interests of the country’s GLBT and HIV/AIDS communities. Leaders and members of the society have continued their advocacy in the face of threats of arrest and violence.
The Blue Diamond Society was party to a 2007 case that led Nepal’s highest court to declare that GLBT individuals were “natural persons” who deserve protection and civil rights. The court also ordered the establishment of a commission to study same-sex marriage as well as the addition of a third gender option on official government documents.
Pant was elected to Nepal’s Constituent Assembly as a member of Nepal’s Communist Party United. His legislative goals include equal justice and economic rights. He serves on a committee charged with rewriting Nepal’s constitution. In spite of his many accomplishments, Pant insists that his work is far from complete: "With our progress, however, is the awareness that so many more need to be served."
In 2005, Pant and the Blue Diamond Society were awarded the Utopia Award, Asia’s leading GLBT honor. In 2007, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission bestowed the group with its Felippa de Souza Award.
Pant, who lives in Nepal's capital city, Kathmandu, recently founded Pink Mountain, a company that offers GLBT-geared travel packages to Nepal.
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Monday, 25 June 2012

Larry Kramer

b. June 25, 1935
Larry Kramer is an award-winning playwright, commentator and pioneering AIDS activist.
"We're all going to go crazy, living this epidemic every minute, while the rest of the world goes on out there, all around us, as if nothing is happening, going on with their own lives and not knowing what it's like, what we're going through. We're living through war, but where they're living it's peacetime, and we're all in the same country."
After graduating from Yale University in 1957, Larry Kramer began his professional life in the film industry. He co-produced and co-wrote Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, which became the number one film in Britain. He wrote the screenplay for and produced Women in Love, based on D. H. Lawrence's novel. The film received three Academy Award nominations, including Best Screenplay.
Faggots, Kramer's 1978 novel, continues to be one of the best selling of all gay-themed novels. The Normal Heart, his 1985 play about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, holds the record as the longest-running play at Joseph Papp's Public Theater in New York. His non-fiction book Reports from the Holocaust: The Making of an AIDS Activist, published in 1989, is an important record of AIDS activism.
Kramer's 1992 play The Destiny of Me was awarded an Obie, the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, and the Hull-Warriner Award by the Dramatists' Guild.
Kramer was a founder of the AIDS advocacy organization Gay Men's Health Crisis. In 1987, he helped found ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).
Kramer is a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the first creative artist and the first openly gay person to be honored by a Public Service Award from Common Cause.
Susan Sontag said of him, "Larry Kramer is one of America's most valuable troublemakers. I hope he never lowers his voice."
Selected works by Larry Kramer:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Steven Davies – Cricketer

b. 17 June 1986

English cricketer, a wicket-keeper-batsman who plays for Surrey. A stylish and aggressive left-handed batsman who can open the batting in both first-class and limited-overs cricket (though in the former he generally now bats in the middle order). He has played ODI and Twenty20 cricket for England.

Davies is openly gay. He came out publicly on 27 February 2011 in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. He had come out to his family five years earlier, and he was also already out to his teammates. He became the first international cricketer to announce his homosexuality.

He was named at number 12 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011
It’s been long assumed that the world of team sports has more closet cases than Ikea. It stood to reason there were many football fags and rugger buggers hiding away behind closed changing room doors and lingering in the team baths a little longer than everyone else. But what about the middle-class world of cricket? Few gave it any thought until Sussex batsman Steven Davies became the first professional cricketer to admit he literally batted for the other side too.

“If more people come out, the more acceptable it will become,” said the 25-year-old. “That must be a good thing. To speak out is a massive relief for me, but if I can just help one person to deal with their sexuality then that’s all I care about.”
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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Adele Anderson, Actress and singer

(born 14 June, 1952)

Olivier Award-nominated singer and actress, best known as a third of the cabaret group Fascinating Aida.

Anderson has appeared internationally in concerts, in theatrical plays, on the BBC Television television program Gemma Masters. In addition, sometimes with Dillie Keane, Anderson writes lyrics to most of Fascinating Aida's songs and has contributed to the songs of several hit musicals, including The Challenge (Shaw Theatre) and The Ten Commandments (The Place).

She was born as a male in Southampton, England, and changed her sex after graduating from university. She lived and worked as a woman for some time before speaking publicly about being transsexual[

Featured on the Independent on Sunday Pink List in 2006, and in 2011, as a "National Treasure"

Monday, 11 June 2012

Dustin Lance Black - Screenwriter

b. June 10, 1974
“I heard the story of Harvey Milk and it gave me hope that I could live my life openly as who I am.”

Dustin Lance Black is a screenwriter, director and producer. In 2009, he received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for “Milk,” about openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

Black grew up in a devout Mormon household in San Antonio, Texas. After his mother remarried, he moved to Salinas, California. As a young boy, Black knew he was gay. He believed he would be “hurt and brought down” because of it and that he was going to hell. He says his “acute awareness” of his sexual orientation made him gloomy and sometimes suicidal.

In high school he fostered a love of the dramatic arts and began working on theatrical productions. He enrolled at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and graduated with honors. In 2000, he wrote and directed two gay-themed films, “The Journey of Jared Price” and “Something Close to Heaven.” Black was the only Mormon writer for the HBO series about polygamy, “Big Love,” for which he received two Writers Guild of America Awards.

Captivated by the story of Harvey Milk, Black researched Milk’s life for three years, culminating in a screenplay. Academy Award-nominated director Gus Van Sant signed on with the project. In 2009, “Milk” received eight Academy Award nominations and won two. Black received an Oscar for his screenplay and Sean Penn won for best actor.

Black’s recent works include the screenplay for “Pedro,” profiling AIDS activist and MTV personality Pedro Zamora. He is the screenwriter for “J. Edgar,” a film about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 2009, Black topped The Advocate’s list of the “Forty under 40” most influential openly gay people. He is an outspoken LGBT activist, serving on the boards of The Trevor Project and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Black frequently speaks about gay rights to college students across the country.
He resides in Los Angeles.


  • "Dustin Lance Black.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 19 May 2011.
  • Leonard, Gary. "Dustin Lance Black: Black & Proud.” LA Weekly. 19 May 2011.
  • "Milk Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black on Milk, 30 Years Later.” Towleroad. 19 May 2011.


  • IMDB


  • Something Close to Heaven (2000)
  • The Journey of Jared Price (2000)
  • Big Love (2006-2009)
  • Pedro (2008)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

June 10: Maurice Sendak, Writer and Illustrator

b. June 10, 1928

"Inside all of us is a Wild Thing."

Hailed as the Picasso of children’s literature, Maurice Sendak has captured the imagination of readers young and old for more than 40 years. A prolific author and illustrator, he has published over 100 works of children's fiction.

Sendak has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Caldecott Medal, the National Book Award and the National Medal of Arts. PBS describes him as “one of the most consistently inventive and challenging voices in children’s literature. His books and productions are among the best-loved, imaginative works of their time.”

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish immigrants, Sendak was plagued with illness in his early childhood. He spent most of his time indoors where he occupied himself with books. Having discovered his creative voice at a young age, Sendak found a perfect outlet in drawing and illustration. At the age of 12, after seeing Disney’s "Fantasia," the awestruck Sendak decided to become an illustrator.

Sendak is best known for his book "Where the Wild Things Are" (1963). Over 10 million copies have been sold worldwide. In 2009, it was adapted into a critically acclaimed film directed by Spike Jonze.

Sendak’s work has often generated controversy, despite his celebrated career as an illustrator. Over the years, his children’s book, "In the Night Kitchen" (1970) has been censored in several states due to illustrations deemed inappropriate. "Where the Wild Things Are" has been condemned by conservatives who claim the book involves witchcraft and supernatural elements. "I thought my career was over,” recalls Sendak. "The kids saved me. They loved the books because they are not afraid of life."

In addition to writing and illustrating, Sendak has created award-winning set designs for dance, opera and theater, including Mozart’s "The Magic Flute," Prokofiev’s "Love for Three Oranges" and Tchaikovsky’s ballet "The Nutcracker." In the 1970’s, he donated nearly 10,000 works of art, photographs, manuscripts and books to the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia.

For decades, Sendak hid his sexuality from the public, fearing it would ruin his career. "All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy. They never, never, never knew." In a 2008 interview with The New York Times, Sendak opened up about his private life and revealed his 50-year relationship with Eugene Glynn, who passed away in 2007.
In 2009, filmmakers Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze teamed up to produce "Tell Them What You Want," a documentary about the life of Maurice Sendak.

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Sharon Farmer

White House Photographer
b. June 10, 1951
“Never turn down a chance to show what you can do.”
Sharon Farmer was a White House photographer during both terms of the Clinton presidency. She was the first woman and first African-American to direct the office charged with chronicling nearly every second—from the mundane to the monumental—of the nation’s highest office.
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1951, Farmer was interested in photography from a young age. She discovered the power of the medium looking at pictures in her family’s encyclopedia. Farmer attended Ohio State University, intending to study bassoon. She quickly switched her major to photography and honed her skills on the staff of the yearbook.
The Associated Press hired Farmer for a photojournalism internship during her senior year. After graduation, she returned to her hometown of Washington, D.C., where she became a freelancer and photographer for album covers.
In 1993, she was hired as a White House photographer, a fast-paced job in which she used approximately 3,000 rolls of film per year and traveled the globe on a moment’s notice. In 1999, she was promoted to director of White House photography.
During her stint at the White House, Farmer captured many prominent events, including the handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and the swearing in of Nelson Mandela as the president of South Africa.  
Farmer also chronicled many political races, from local to national. In 2004, she served as the head photographer for Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign.
In addition to being featured in individual shows and group exhibitions nationwide, Farmer has lectured for National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institution and has taught at American University. She resides in Washington, D.C.
Anand, Vineeta. "Former White House Photographer Describes ‘Helluva Ride.’" National Press Club. 1 May 2009.
"Behind the lens to center focus: First African American Female Photographer in the White House visits N.C. State.” The Nubian Message. 7 February 2009.
Gillis, Casey. "Shooting history: Former White House photographer to exhibit in Lynchburg."Lynchburg News Advance. 5 September 2009.
"Inside the White House." The White House. 24 May 2010.
"Sharon Farmer." The History Makers. 24 May 2010.
Published Work by Sharon Farmer
John Kerry: Our 44th President (2004)
The Exposure Group
Meet White House Photographer Sharon Farmer

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Harvey Fierstein, Actor, playwright and screenwriter

b. June 6, 1952

“Prejudice tolerated is intolerance encouraged.”

Distinguished by his signature gravelly voice, Harvey Fierstein is a celebrated playwright, actor and producer. He is the only entertainer to have won Tony Awards as an actor and writer in both dramatic and musical categories.

Fierstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a handkerchief manufacturer and a school librarian. He graduated from Pratt Institute of Art with a B.F.A. in painting.

Fierstein wrote “Torch Song Trilogy,” one of the first Broadway shows to feature a gay theme. It focused on a gay family and their struggle for acceptance and love. Anne Bancroft and Matthew Broderick starred in the film adaptation, which was among the first mainstream movies to address gay issues.

His play “Safe Sex” (1987), another trilogy, was written in response to the AIDS crisis. “Tidy Endings,” the third of the short plays, was adapted for an HBO television movie.

Fierstein narrated “The Times of Harvey Milk” (1984) and appeared in the films “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993), “Bullets Over Broadway” (1994) and “Independence Day” (1996), among others. He was featured in the television series “Ellen,” “Miami Vice,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “Cheers.” He develops commentaries for the GLBT documentary series “In the Life” and writes op-ed articles on gay themes that have been published in The New York Times. Fierstein also authored “The Sissy Duckling,” a children’s book about a duck who is teased for being a sissy, but ultimately demonstrates his bravery. In 2001, its film adaptation won a Humanitas Prize. 

Fierstein has received four Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards and a Theatre World Award for acting and writing.

Clarke, Gerald. “No Opened Doors for Me.” Time. June 20,1983,9171,926075,00.html
Collins, Glenn. “In ‘Safe Sex’ Harvey Fierstein Turns Serious.” The New York Times. April 5, 1987
Fierstein, Harvey. “Our Prejudices, Ourselves.” The New York Times. April 13, 2007
Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein.” The Gallery Players. November 2, 2006      
Welsh, Anne Marie. “The Harvey ‘Affair’” The San Diego Union Tribune. September 16, 2007
“Times Topics: Harvey Fierstein.” The New York Times.
La Cage aux Folles (1984)
Torch Song Trilogy (1983)
Safe Sex (1987)
Hairspray (2003)
Hair (2005)
A Catered Affair (2008)