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BIOGRAPHIES
 

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Info: Famous LGBTQ People

 

 

Oscar Wilde | Writer
 

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900) was a gay Irish author, poet and playwright, born in Dublin, Ireland. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. He is regarded as one of the greatest playwrights of the Victorian Era. In his lifetime he wrote nine plays, one novel, and numerous poems, short stories, and essays. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversational skill, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. He is best remembered for his epigrams, his novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray," his play "The Importance of Being Earnest," and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for "gross indecency", imprisonment, and early death at age 46, in Paris, France.

 

Biographical Notes: Oscar Wilde

Video Bio: Oscar Wilde

Official Oscar Wilde Website

Oscar Wilde Biography

Cool History: Oscar Wilde

 

 

Billie Jean King | Athlete
 

Billie Jean King (Moffitt), born in 1943, is a lesbian American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. She often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, she was the United States' captain in the Federation Cup. King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. In 1973, at age 29, she won the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs. She was also the founder of the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Foundation. Regarded by many in the sport as one of the greatest women's tennis players of all time, King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.


Biographical Notes: Billie Jean King

Official Billie Jean King Website

ESPN: Billie Jean King Won For All Women

 

 

James Baldwin | Writer
 

James Arthur Baldwin (1924-1987) was a gay American novelist, playwright, and activist, born in Harlem, New York. His essays, as collected in "Notes of a Native Son" (1955), explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century North America. Some of Baldwin's essays are book-length, including "The Fire Next Time" (1963), "No Name in the Street" (1972), and "The Devil Finds Work" (1976). An unfinished manuscript, "Remember This House," was expanded and adapted for cinema as the Academy Award–nominated documentary film "I Am Not Your Negro." One of his novels, "If Beale Street Could Talk," was adapted into an Academy Award-winning dramatic film in 2018. Baldwin's novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration of not only African Americans, but also gay and bisexual men, while depicting some internalized obstacles to such individuals' quests for acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, "Giovanni's Room," written in 1956, well before the gay liberation movement.
 

Biographical Notes: James Baldwin

Encyclopedia Brittanica: James Baldwin

Chicago Public Library: James Baldwin

 

 

Ellen DeGeneres | Comedian
 

Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born 1958) is a lesbian American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer. She starred in the popular sitcom "Ellen" from 1994 to 1998 and has hosted her syndicated TV talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," since 2003. Her stand-up comedy career started in the early 1980s, and included a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As a film actress, DeGeneres starred in Mr. Wrong (1996), EDtv (1999), and The Love Letter (1999), and provided the voice of Dory in the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory (2016). During the fourth season of "Ellen" in 1997, she came out as a lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her character, Ellen Morgan, also came out to a therapist played by Winfrey, and the series went on to explore various LGBTQ issues, including the coming-out process. In 2008, she married her longtime girlfriend Portia de Rossi. She has authored four books. She has won 30 Emmys, 20 People's Choice Awards (more than any other person), and numerous other awards for her work and charitable efforts. In 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 

Biographical Notes: Ellen DeGeneres

Official Ellen DeGeneres Website

The Ellen Show: YouTube Channel

 

 

Harvey Milk | Politician
 

Harvey Bernard Milk (1930–1978) was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk moved from New York City (where he was born) to the Castro District of San Francisco in 1972 amid a migration of gay and bisexual men. He took advantage of the growing political and economic power of the neighborhood to promote his interests and unsuccessfully ran three times for political office. Milk served almost 11 months in office, during which he sponsored a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supervisors passed the bill by a vote of 11-1 and was signed into law by Mayor Moscone. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, who was another city supervisor.  Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. In 2002, Milk was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBTQ official ever elected in the United States".  Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
 

Biographical Notes: Harvey Milk

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Harvey Milk

NPR News: Harvey Milk 40 Years Later

 

 

Laverne Cox | Actor
 

Laverne Cox (born 1972 in Mobile, Alabama) is a transgender American actress and LGBTQ advocate. She rose to prominence with her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black," becoming the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category, and one of the first to be nominated for an Emmy Award. In 2015, she won a Daytime Emmy Award in Outstanding Special Class Special as executive producer for "Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word," making her the first openly transgender woman to win the award. In 2017, she became the first transgender person to play a transgender series regular on broadcast TV as Cameron Wirth on CBS's "Doubt." In April 2014, Cox was honored by GLAAD with its Stephen F. Kolzak Award for her work as an advocate for the transgender community. In June 2014, Cox became the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine. Cox is the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of a Cosmopolitan magazine.

 

Biographical Notes: Laverne Cox

Official Laverne Cox Website

IMDB: Laverne Cox

 

 

Sally Ride | Astronaut
 

Sally Kristen Ride (1951-2012) was a lesbian American astronaut and physicist. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32. After flying twice on the Orbiter Challenger, she left NASA in 1987. Ride worked for two years at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control, then at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics, primarily researching nonlinear optics and Thomson scattering. She served on the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia Space Shuttle disasters, the only person to participate in both. Ride died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.

 

Biographical Notes: Sally Ride

National Women's History Museum: Sally Ride

Sally Ride: First American Woman in Space

 

 

Gene Robinson | Bishop
 

Vicky Gene Robinson (born 1947 in Lexington, Kentucky) is a gay former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. Robinson is widely known for being the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate, a matter of significant controversy. As a schoolboy, Robinson began to realize that he might be different. He suspected he was gay but said it was not something to be open about. Bishop Robinson says he had relationships with women but admitted that he was also attracted to men.  He met Isabella Martin during an internship at the University of Vermont. He says a month into their relationship, he explained his concerns about his sexuality. But, never the less, they married in 1972 and he took a job as a curate in New Jersey before they moved to New Hampshire in 1975. The couple had two daughters, Jamee and Ella. In 1985, after seeking counseling, he and his wife decided they should separate. He went public with his sexuality and they divorced. 18 months later, Bishop Robinson began to date Mark Andrew, who subsequently moved to New Hampshire. They married in 2003. In 2014, after 25 years together, they divorced. Bishop Robinson retired in 2012.

 

Biographical Notes: Gene Robinson

YouTube: First Openly Gay Bishop in Episcopal Church

BBC: Profile of Gene Robinson

 

 

Brandi Carlile | Musician
 

Brandi M. Carlile (born 1981) is a lesbian American singer-songwriter and producer whose music spans multiple genres. As of 2018, Carlile has released six albums and earned seven Grammy Award nominations, including one for "The Firewatcher's Daughter" and six for "By the Way, I Forgive You." She was the most nominated woman at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards (six) including nominations for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. In 2019, Carlile formed an all-female quartet with Amanda Shires, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby called The Highwomen. Born in Ravensdale, Washington, a rural town outside of Seattle, Carlile dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, teaching herself piano and guitar. Carlile garnered recognition with her 2007 single "The Story", from her album of the same name. "The Story" was awarded gold status in 2017, having sold more than 500,000 copies to date. "The Firewatcher's Daughter" earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album and peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. Carlile's music has been categorized in several genres, including pop, rock, alternative country, and folk. Carlile has been a part of several activism campaigns and an advocate for causes ranging from spreading awareness for health issues to LGBTQ rights and empowerment of women.  Carlile identified herself as a lesbian in 2002. In June 2012 she announced she was engaged to Catherine Shepherd. The two were married in Boston, Massachusetts in September 2012. The couple have two daughters, Evangeline and Elijah.
 

Biographical Notes: Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile YouTube Channel

NPR: Brandi Carlile Stories

 

 

Tim Cook | Business Executive
 

Timothy Donald Cook (born 1960) is a gay American business executive and industrial engineer (Net worth: $1.3 billion). He was born in Mobile, Alabama (Auburn University graduate) and resides in Palo Alto, California. Cook is the chief executive officer of Apple Inc., and previously served as the company's chief operating officer under its cofounder Steve Jobs. Cook joined Apple in March 1998 as a senior vice president for worldwide operations, and then served as the executive vice president for worldwide sales and operations. He was made the chief executive in 2011, prior to Jobs' death. During his tenure as the chief executive, he has advocated for the political reformation of international and domestic surveillance, cybersecurity, corporate taxation, American manufacturing, and environmental preservation. In 2014, Cook became the first chief executive of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out as gay.

 

Biographical Notes: Tim Cook

Information Cradle: Tim Cook

People: No Regrets for Apple CEO Tim Cook

 

 

Annie Leibovitz | Photographer
 

Anna-Lou "Annie" Leibovitz (born 1949) is a lesbian American portrait photographer. She is best known for her engaging portraits of celebrities, which often feature subjects in intimate settings and poses. She is renowned for her dramatic, quirky, and iconic portraits. Her signature style is crisp and well lighted. She was the key photographer for Rolling Stone magazine and Vanity Fair magazine. She photographed John Lennon on the day he was murdered. Her work has been used on numerous album covers and magazines. She became the first woman to hold an exhibition at Washington's National Portrait Gallery in 1991. She was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and resides in Manhattan, New York City. Her partner of 15 years was playwright Susan Sontag.
 

Biographical Notes: Annie Leibovitz

Biography of Annie Leibovitz

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Annie Leibovitz

 

 

Jim Parsons | Actor
 

James Joseph Parsons (born 1973) is a gay American actor and producer. Parsons is known for playing Sheldon Cooper in the CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" (2007–2019). He has received several awards for his performance, including four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. In 2018, Forbes estimated his annual salary to be $26.5 million and named him the world's highest-paid television actor. Parsons made his Broadway debut in 2011 portraying Tommy Boatwright in the play "The Normal Heart," for which he shared a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. He reprised the role in the film adaptation of the play, and received his seventh Emmy nomination, this time in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. In film, Parsons has voiced the lead character in "Home" (2015) and played supporting roles in "Hidden Figures" (2016) and "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" (2019). He was born in Houston, Texas. He received his BA degree from the University of Houston and his MFA degree from the University of San Diego. He resides in Manhattan, New York City. He married Todd Spiewak in 2017. 
 

Biographical Notes: Jim Parsons

IMDB: Jim Parsons

Rotten Tomatoes: Jim Parsons

 

 

Wanda Sykes | Comedian
 

Wanda Yvette Sykes (born 1964) is a lesbian American actress, comedian, and writer. She was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America. She is also known for her roles on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS 2006–10), "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO 2001–11), and "Black-ish" (ABC 2015–present). Aside from her television appearances, Sykes has also had a career in film, appearing in "Monster-in-Law" (2005), "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" (2006), "Evan Almighty" (2007) and "License to Wed" (2007), as well as voicing characters in animated films such as "Over the Hedg" (2006), Barnyard (2006), "Brother Bear 2" (2006), "Rio" (2011), "Ice Age: Continental Drift" (2012), "Ice Age: Collision Course" (2016) and "Ugly Dolls" (2019). She was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and graduated from Hampton University.  She resides in California, New York, and Pennsylvania.  She married Alex Niedbalski in 2008).

 

Biographical Notes: Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes Website

IMDB: Wanda Sykes

 

 

Alan Turing | Mathematician
 

Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954) was a gay English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite these accomplishments, he was not fully recognized in his home country during his lifetime, due to his homosexuality, and because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act. During World War II, Turing worked for Britain's codebreaking centre that was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Here, he devised a number of techniques for speeding the breaking of German ciphers, which included an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, the criminal of "gross indecency." He accepted chemical castration treatment as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning, a possible suicide. In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated". Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013. In July 2019 the Bank of England announced that Turing would be depicted on the United Kingdom's new £50 note.

 

Biographical Notes: Alan Turing

Alan Turing: Short Biography

Video Bio: Alan Turning

New York Times: Alan Turing a Computer Visionary

 

 

Caitlyn Jenner | Athlete
 

Caitlyn Marie Jenner (born William Bruce Jenner, 1949) is a transgender American television personality and retired Olympic gold medal–winning decathlete.  Jenner played college football before becoming a track star. Jenner won the men's decathlon event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, setting a third successive world record and gaining fame as "an all-American hero". Given the unofficial title of "world's greatest athlete", Jenner established a career in television, film, writing, auto racing, business, and as a Playgirl cover model. Jenner has six children with three successive wives (Chrystie Crownover, Linda Thompson, Kris Jenner) and has since 2007 appeared on the reality television series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Assigned male at birth, Caitlyn Jenner publicly came out as a trans woman in 2015. Her new name was publicly announced in July of that year, with her name and gender being legally changed the following September. In January 2017, she underwent sex reassignment surgery. Jenner has been called the most famous transgender woman in the world.
 

Biographical Notes: Caitlyn Jenner

UK Mirror: All About Caitlyn Jenner

Us Mag: Caitlyn Jenner Archives

 

 

Leonard Bernstein | Songwriter
 

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a gay American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was born Louis Bernstein in Massachusetts, the son of Ukrainian Jewish parents. He died in New York. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. He is regarded as one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history. His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for "West Side Story," "Peter Pan," "Candide," "Wonderful Town," "On the Town," "On the Waterfront, and a range of other compositions, including three symphonies and many shorter chamber and solo works. As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are regularly performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and critical success of the Broadway play, "West Side Story."
 

Biographical Notes: Leonard Bernstein

About Leonard Bernstein

NPR News: Complex Life of Leonard Bernstein

 

 

Rachel Maddow | Commentator
 

Rachel Anne Maddow (born 1973) is a lesbian American television news program host and liberal political commentator. She hosts "The Rachel Maddow Show," a nightly television show on MSNBC, and serves as the cable network's special event co-anchor alongside Brian Williams. Her syndicated talk radio program of the same name aired on Air America Radio. Maddow holds a bachelor's degree in public policy from Stanford University and a doctorate in political science from Oxford University and is the first openly lesbian anchor to host a major prime-time news program in the United States. Maddow was born in Castro Valley, California. Her father is a former Air Force captain and lawyer. Her mother was a school administrator. Her father's family is of Eastern European (Polish, Russian) Jewish decent. Her paternal grandmother was of Dutch (Protestant) descent. Her Canadian mother has English and Irish roots. Maddow says that her family is "very very Catholic" and she grew up in a "very conservative" community. She was a competitive athlete and participated in high school volleyball, basketball, and swimming. Currently, Maddow splits her time between Manhattan, New York and West Cummington, Massachusetts. Her partner is artist and photographer Susan Mikula.

 

Biographical Notes: Rachel Maddow

NY Times Mag: Feature Story on Rachel Maddow

MS NBC: Rachel Maddow Show

 

 

Jason Collins | Athlete
 

Jason Paul Collins (born 1978) is a gay American retired professional basketball player who played 13 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A center, Collins played college basketball for Stanford University, where he was an All-American in 2000–01. Collins was selected by the Houston Rockets as the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He went on to play for the New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets. After the 2012–13 NBA season concluded, Collins publicly came out as gay. He became a free agent and did not play again until February 2014, when he signed with the Nets and became the first openly gay athlete to play in any of four major North American pro sports leagues. In April 2014, Collins was featured on the cover of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World."
 

Biographical Notes: Jason Collins

Outsports: Jason Collins is Athlete with Stonewall Spirit

Jason Collins Video: First Openly Gay Athlete in Major Sports

 

 

K D Lang | Musician
 

Kathryn Dawn Lang (born 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta), known by her stylized stage name k.d. lang, is a lesbian Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and record producer. She is of English, Irish, Scottish, German, Russian, Jewish, Icelandic, and Sioux ancestry. Lang has won both Juno Awards and Grammy Awards for her musical performances. Hits include "Constant Craving" and "Miss Chatelaine." She has contributed songs to movie soundtracks and has collaborated with a variety of musicians. With her crooning style, campy approach, androgynous appearance, and edgy, rock-inflected music, very few observers knew what to make of her or her music, although no one questioned her considerable vocal talents. Lang, who always appears barefooted in her concerts, began to establish an appearance and style referred to as "cowboy punk." Lang is also known for being an animal rights activist, LGBTQ rights activist, and Tibetan human rights activist. She is a vegetarian and tantric practitioner of the old school of Tibetan Buddhism. She performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" live at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Lang possesses the vocal range of a mezzo-soprano. Canadians consider her one of our most accomplished singer-songwriters of all time. She has appeared occasionally in film and television. Lang appeared on the cover of the August 1993 issue of Vanity Fair photographed by Herb Ritts, in which she in a barber chair while model Cindy Crawford shaved her face with a straight razor. Lang, who came out as a lesbian in a June 1992 article of The Advocate, has championed gay rights causes. 

 

Biographical Notes: KD Lang

All Music: KD Lang

IMDB: KD Lang

 

 

George Takei | Actor
 

George Hosato Takei (born Hosato Takei, 1937, in Los Angeles, California) is a gay American actor, author, and activist. He was educated at UC Berkely and UC Los Angeles. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series "Star Trek." He also portrayed the character in six "Star Trek" feature films and one episode of "Star Trek: Voyager." His Facebook page has attracted over 10 million followers since he joined in 2011, and the account frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary. Takei is a proponent of LGBTQ rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum. Takei's work on the Broadway show "Allegiance," as well as his own internment in a US-run internment camp during World War II, has given him a platform to speak out against the Trump administration's rhetoric about immigrants and immigration policies. He was married to Brad Altman in 2008.

 

Biographical Notes: George Takei

IMDB: George Takei

Washington Post: Extraordinary Trek of George Takei

 

 

Lily Tomlin | Actor
 

Mary Jean "Lily" Tomlin (born 1939 in Detroit) is a lesbian American actress, comedian, writer, singer and producer. Tomlin started her career as a stand-up comedian (improvisational and observational) as well as performing Off-Broadway during the 1960s. Her breakout role was on the variety show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" from 1969 until 1973. She currently stars as Frankie Bergstein on the Netflix series "Grace and Frankie," which debuted in 2015 and has earned her nominations for four Primetime Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe Award. In 1974, Tomlin was cast by Robert Altman in her first film, "Nashville" won her several awards and nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Over the years, she has appeared in several notable films, including 9 to 5 (1980), All of Me (1984), Big Business (1988), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Tea with Mussolini (1999), I Heart Huckabees (2004), and Grandma (2015). Her signature role was written by her then partner (now wife), Jane Wagner, in a show titled "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" which opened on Broadway in 1985 and won Tomlin the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play.

 

Biographical Notes: Lily Tomlin

IMDB: Lily Tomlin

CNN: Interview with Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner

 

 

Barney Frank | Politician
 

Barnett Frank (born 1940) is a gay American politician. He served as a member of the US House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. A Democrat, Frank served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (2007–2011) and was a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, a sweeping reform of the US financial industry. Frank, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, was considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States. Frank is known for his quick wit and rapid-fire speaking style. Capitol Hill staffers describe him as brainy, funny, eloquent, hard working, and one of the brightest and most energetic defenders of civil rights issues. Born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey to a working-class Jewish family, Frank graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He worked as a political aide before winning election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1972. He was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1980 with 52 percent of the vote. He was re-elected every term thereafter by wide margins. In 1987, he publicly came out as gay, becoming the first member of Congress to do so voluntarily. From 2003 until his retirement, Frank was the leading Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and he served as committee chairman when his party held a House majority from 2007 to 2011. In July 2012, he married his long-time partner, James Ready, becoming the first member of Congress to marry someone of the same sex while in office. Frank did not seek re-election in 2012, and retired from Congress at the end of his term in January 2013.

 

Biographical Notes: Barney Frank

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Barney Frank

New Yorker: Barney's Great Adventure

 

 

Kate Bornstein | Writer
 

Katherine Vandam "Kate" Bornstein (born Albert 1948) is a transgender American author, playwright, performance artist, actress, and gender theorist. Born in Asbury Park, New Jersey in upper middle-class Conservative Jewish family of Russian and Dutch descent, she now resides in New York City. She was educated at Brown University. In 1986, Bornstein identified as gender non-conforming and has stated "I don't call myself a woman, and I know I'm not a man" after having been assigned male at birth and receiving gender affirmation surgery. She now identifies with the pronouns they/them or she/her. Bornstein has also written about having anorexia, being a survivor of PTSD and being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Bornstein has chronic lymphocytic leukemia and in 2012 was diagnosed with lung cancer. In 1989, Bornstein created a theatre production, "Hidden: A Gender," based on parallels between her own life. In 2009, Bornstein's "Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws" was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for LGBTQ Nonfiction and Honorbook for the Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature. Bornstein edited the anthology "Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation," winning the Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards in 2011. Bornstein's autobiography, titled "A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir," was released in 2012. In 2013, she released "My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity." Kate's work is taught in five languages, in over 300 high schools, colleges, and universities around the world. Her partner is Barbara Carrellas.
 

Biographical Notes: Kate Bornstein

NY Times Reflection: Kate Bornstein

Speak Out: Kate Bornstein

 

 

Tennessee Williams | Playwright
 

Thomas Lanier Williams III (1911-1983), known by his pen name Tennessee Williams, was a Depression Era gay American playwright. He was born in Mississippi and died in New York. Along with contemporaries Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama. After years of obscurity, at age 33 he became suddenly famous with the success of "The Glass Menagerie" (1944). This play closely reflected his own unhappy family background. It was the first of a string of successes, including "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955), "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1959), and "The Night of the Iguana" (1961). His plays reveal a world of human frustration in which sex and violence underlie an atmosphere of romantic gentility. His drama "A Streetcar Named Desire" is often numbered on short lists of the finest American plays of the 20th century. Much of Williams' most acclaimed work has been adapted for the cinema. He also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, Williams was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Among his partners were Pancho Rodríguez y González, Frank Merlo, and Robert Carroll.

 

Biographical Notes: Tennessee Williams

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Tennessee Williams

Famous Authors: Tennessee Williams

 

 

Annise Parker | Politician
 

Annise Danette Parker (born 1956 in Houston, Texas) is a lesbian American politician who served as the 61st Mayor of Houston, from 2010 until 2016. She also served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council from 1998 to 2003 and city controller from 2004 to 2010. Parker was Houston's second female mayor (after Kathy Whitmire), and one of the first openly gay mayors of a major US city, with Houston being the most populous US city to date to elect an openly gay mayor, until Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago in 2019. Parker attended Rice University on a National Merit scholarship in 1974 and graduated from Jones College in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology, psychology and sociology. In 1986-87, she was president of the Houston LGBTQ Political Caucus. Parker is currently CEO and President of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute. Parker and her partner, Kathy Hubbard, have been together since 1990. In January 2014, Parker and Hubbard were married in Palm Springs, California. Parker and Hubbard reside in Houston.
 

Biographical Notes: Annise Parker

Harvard Institute of Politics: Annise Parker

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Annise Parker

 

 

Neil Patrick Harris | Actor
 

Neil Patrick Harris (born 1973) is a gay American actor, comedian, writer, producer, magician, and singer. He is known primarily for his comedy roles on television and his dramatic and musical stage roles. On television, he is known for playing the title character on "Doogie Howser MD" (1989–93), Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother" (2005–14, for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards), and Count Olaf in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2017–19). His films include "Starship Troopers" (1997), "Beastly" (2011), "The Smurfs" (2011), "The Smurfs 2" (2013), "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (2014), and "Gone Girl" (2014). In 2014, he starred in the title role in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" on Broadway, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Harris was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2010. Harris came out as gay publicly in November 2006, saying, "I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." He is married to David Burtka. In 2010, they had twins via surrogacy.
 

Biographical Notes: Neil Patrick Harris

IMDB: Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris: It's Not Just for Gays Anymore

 

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