GLBT History Month 2010
Published Thursday, 07-Oct-2010 in issue 1189
Annise Parker
Mayor of Houston
b. May 17, 1956
““The voters of Houston have opened the door to history. I know what this means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.””
In 2009, when Annise Parker was elected, Houston became the largest city in the nation with an openly gay mayor.
In 1997, Parker won a seat on the Houston City Council, making her Houston’s first out elected official. In 2003, Parker was elected City Controller. She served two additional terms before being elected mayor.
Catherine Opie
b. April 14, 1961
““Let’s push the boundaries a little bit here about what you guys think normal is.””
For over a decade, photographer Catherine Opie has used the power of her lens to create visibility for queer subcultures existing on society’s fringes. Her raw and honest photographs challenge viewers to reevaluate notions of sexuality and societal norms.
David Huebner
Ambassador to New Zealand
b. May 7, 1960
““I can imagine no higher honor and privilege than to serve my country.””
President Obama nominated Huebner as an ambassador on October 8, 2009. With his partner by his side, he was sworn in by Vice President Biden, who told the newly confirmed Huebner, ““You’ve lived the American dream. I can think of nobody better to represent our nation to the people of New Zealand and Samoa than you.”” He is the third openly gay ambassador in United States history.
David Sedaris
b. December 26, 1956
“A good short story would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.”
David Sedaris is an award-winning, best-selling author whose short stories depict the life of a young gay man in 20th century America, the experience of an American living abroad and the comedy of family life.
E. Lynn Harris
b. June 20, 1955
d. July 23, 2009
““I want people to know they don’t have to live their lives in a permanent ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ existence. Truth is a powerful tool.””
E. Lynn Harris was one of the nation’s most popular authors. Considered a literary pioneer, Harris introduced millions of readers to characters rarely seen in literature –black gay men who were affluent, complex and sometimes troubled. With 10 consecutive New York Times Best Sellers, he was one of the most successful African-American novelists.
Eleanor Roosevelt
First Lady
b. October 11, 1884
d. November 7, 1962
““No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.””
Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the role of First Lady. She served as a diplomat and was a tireless champion of international human rights. While First Lady, Roosevelt developed an intimate relationship with Lorena Hickock, a journalist who covered the White House. This relationship lasted through Roosevelt’s lifetime.
Emanuel Xavier
b. May 3, 1971
““Being Latino and gay gives me much to write about. Anything that oppresses us as artists is always great fodder for art.””
Emanuel Xavier is a poet, author and editor. He is one of the most significant openly gay Latino spoken word artists of his generation. ““Americano”” (2002), a poetry collection, was Xavier’s first official published work, and advanced his prominence within the literary community of color.
Eric Fidelis Alva
b. April 1, 1971
““I joined the military because I wanted to serve. I was patriotic, idealistic; I was also gay.””
Eric Alva was the first American soldier wounded in the Iraq War. Retired Staff Sergeant Alva is a GLBT civil rights activist and a national spokesperson for the repeal of ““Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”” He was the Iraq War’s first Purple Heart recipient.
George Eastman
b. July 12, 1854
d. March 14, 1932
““What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are.””
George Eastman is the father of modern photography and the inventor of motion picture film. He founded the Eastman Kodak Company and was a philanthropist to organizations involved in technology, medicine, music, and theatre.
George Washington Carver
b. January, 1864
d. January 5, 1943
““Where there is no vision, there is no hope.””
George Washington Carver was a groundbreaking agricultural scientist, known for discovering innovative uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes and clay. A black man born during the Civil War, Carver overcame racism to establish himself as a preeminent scientist and renowned academic.
Tom Ford
Fashion Designer/Filmmaker
b. August 27, 1961
““All I’ve done my entire life is fulfill my destiny.””
Tom Ford is a prominent creative entrepreneur whose accomplishments starting at a young age in the fashion world and later endeavors in the film industry have earned him worldwide fame and high-profile accolades.
Cynthia Nixon
b. April 9, 1966
““I never felt like there was an unconscious part of me that woke up or came out of the closet. I met this woman and I fell in love with her.””
Cynthia Nixon is a television, film and Broadway actress best known for her role as Miranda on ““Sex and the City.”” She is one of only 15 performers to receive a Tony, an Emmy, and a Grammy Award.
Jalal Al-din Rumi
Sufi Mystic
b. September 30, 1207
d. December 17, 1273
““Only from the heart can you touch the sky.””
Jalal Al-din Rumi was a poet, theologian and Sufi mystic. He founded the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, a branch of the Sufi tradition involving a whirling dance ritual to represent the revolving stages of life.
Jamie Nabozny
Youth Activist
b. October 14, 1975
““Kids are becoming a lot stronger, and with my case I hope they realize that they’re not alone.””
Jamie Nabozny was the first student to successfully sue a school district for its failure to protect a student from anti-gay harassment. His 1995 lawsuit helped pioneer the safe-school movement for GLBT students.
Jane Lynch
b. July 14, 1960
““As for being out in Hollywood - I never thought about it. I never hid who I was.””
Jane Lynch is an award-winning theatre, film and television actress. In 2010, she received a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy nomination for her role on the hit television series ““Glee.””
Jóóhanna Sigur?_ardóóttir
Icelandic Prime Minister
b. October 4, 1942
““Egalitarian policies are the best way to unite and empower people.””
Johanna Sigur?_ardóóttir is the Prime Minister of Iceland. She is the nation’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly GLBT national leader.
John A. Pérez
Speaker of California Assembly
b. September 28, 1969
““Yes I’m gay, and I’m a politician. It’s a descriptor. I don’t think it’s a definer.””
John A. Péérez is the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly. He is the first GLBT person of color to hold such a position and only the third out leader of a legislative body in United States history.
Kevin Jennings
b. May 8, 1963
““We know that students learn best in a school where they feel truly safe. I am here to make that happen for more kids.””
A monumental leader and crusader, Kevin Jennings has dedicated his career to ensuring safe schools for all students. In 1990, he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the nation’s first organization’s combating discrimination against GLBT students.
Kiyoshi Kuromiya
Author/ AIDS Activist
b. May 9, 1943
d. May 10, 2000
““I really believe that activism is therapeutic.””
Kiyoshi Kuromiya was a Gay Pioneer and an early HIV/AIDS expert.
Kuromiya was born in a Japanese internment camp in rural Wyoming during World War II. He became active in the civil rights and anti-war movements as a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Leslie Feinberg
b. September 1, 1949
“Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught.”
Leslie Feinberg is a leading transgender activist, speaker and writer. Feinberg is a national leader in the Workers World Party, and a managing editor of Workers World newspaper.
Mara Keisling
b. September 29, 1959
““What`s important is that transgender people are respected as members of the community, that they are safe from discrimination and violence and disrespect.””
Mara Keisling is a leading transgender activist. She is the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the largest transgender rights organization.
Matthew Mitcham
Olympic Athlete
b. March 2, 1988
““Being ‘out”” for me means being just as I am with nothing to be ashamed about and no reasons to hide.””
Australian diver Matthew Mitcham is one of the few openly gay Olympic athletes. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Mitcham won a Gold Medal after executing the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history.
Matthew Shepard
b. December 1, 1976
d. October 12, 1998
““Every American child deserves the strongest protections from some of the country’s most horrifying crimes.”” – Judy Shepard
As a gay college student, Matthew Shepard was the victim of a deadly hate crime. His murder brought national and international attention to the need for GLBT-inclusive hate crimes legislation.
Maurice Sendak
b. June 10, 1928
“Inside all of us is a Wild Thing.”
Hailed the Picasso of children’s literature, Maurice Sendak has inspired the imagination of readers young and old for more than 40 years. A prolific author and illustrator of children’s books, he has published over 100 works of fiction. Sendak has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Caldecott Medal, the National Book Award and the National Medal of Arts.
Mel White
Minister / Activist
b. July 26, 1940
““I am gay. I am proud. And God loves me without reservation.””
Mel White is an ordained minister who left his career as an adviser to prominent Christian evangelists when he came out during the mid-1990’s. White has dedicated his life to gaining acceptance for GLBT Christians.
Patsy Lynch
b. July 21, 1953
““If we don’t know our history we’re going to become forgotten.””
Patsy Lynch is a trailblazing photographer whose work documenting several decades of the GLBT civil rights struggle have provided visibility to the movement and inspired activists worldwide.
Rufus Wainwright
b. July 22, 1973
““It’s important for famous people to be an example for gay teens.””
Known for his unique style and daring artistic endeavors, Rufus Wainwright is one of the most accomplished singer/songwriters of his generation. He has produced six albums and is the recipient of two Juno Awards and five GLAAD Media Awards.
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 African American to direct the office charged with chronicling nearly every second – from the mundane to the monumental – of the nation’s highest office.
Sharon J. Lubinski
United States Marshal
b. July 11, 1952
““Hopefully my coming out will dispel any myths that you can’t be gay and in uniform.””
In 2010, Sharon Lubinski became the nation’s first openly gay U.S. Marshal. She is the first female to hold this post in Minnesota.
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.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
b. May 7, 1840
d. November 6, 1893
““Music’s triumphant power lies in the fact that it reveals to us beauties we find in no other sphere.””
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the most popular composers in history. His best-known works include the ballets ““Swan Lake,”” ““The Sleeping Beauty,”” and ““The Nutcracker.””

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