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Earl Lind (a.k.a. Ralph Werther and Jennie June) was one of the earliest transgender individuals to publish her own autobiography in the United States.

Jennie June was born in 1874 in Connecticut as Earl Lind. She was born in a Puritan family.

By 1895 she met other androgynes in New York City, in a society called Cercle Hermaphroditos, whose aim was "to unite for defense against the world’s bitter persecution."

According to Wayne Koestenbaum in The Queen's Throat, she believed that she could 'diagnose a man sexually simply by hearing him sing', and wanted to be an opera soprano.

An early autobiography of a transvestite, Autobiography of an Androgyne, was first published in 1918. Earl Lind is also the author of The Female Impersonators, first published in 1922.

Originally published in 1922, The Female Impersonators was a sequel to the Autobiography of an Androgyne and an account of some of the author's experiences during his six years' career as an instinctive female-impersonator in New York's underworld. It also includes the life stories of his androgyne associates and an outline of his subsequently acquired knowledge of kindred phenomena of human character and psychology.



Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Lind

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Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer. (Picture: Bessie Smith, 1936, by Carl Van Vechten)

Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.

The 1900 census indicates that Bessie Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July 1892. However, the 1910 census recorded her birthday as April 15, 1894, a date that appears on all subsequent documents and was observed by the entire Smith family. Census data also contributes to controversy about the size of her family. The 1870 and 1880 censuses report three older half-siblings, while later interviews with Smith's family and contemporaries did not include these individuals among her siblings.

Bessie Smith was the daughter of Laura (née Owens) and William Smith. William Smith was a laborer and part-time Baptist preacher (he was listed in the 1870 census as a "minister of the gospel", in Moulton, Lawrence, Alabama.) He died before his daughter could remember him. By the time she was nine, she had lost her mother and a brother as well. Her older sister Viola took charge of caring for her siblings.


Portrait of Bessie Smith by Carl Van Vechten

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessie_Smith

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Marsden Hartley (January 4, 1877 – September 2, 1943) was an American Modernist painter, poet, and essayist. In Berlin, Hartley developed a close relationship with a Prussian lieutenant, Karl von Freyburg, who was the cousin of Hartley's friend Arnold Ronnebeck. References to Freyburg were a recurring motif in Hartley's work, most notably in Portrait of a German Officer (1914). Freyburg's subsequent death during the war hit Hartley hard, and he afterward idealized their relationship. Many scholars believe Hartley to have been gay, and have interpreted his work regarding Freyburg as embodying his homosexual feelings for him.

Hartley was born in Lewiston, Maine, where his English parents had settled. He was the youngest of nine children. His mother died when he was eight, and his father remarried four years later to Martha Marsden. His birth name was Edmund Hartley; he later assumed Marsden as his first name when he was in his early 20s.

Hartley began his art training at the Cleveland Institute of Art after his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1892. He won a scholarship to the Cleveland School of Art.

In 1898, at age 22, Hartley moved to New York City to study painting at the New York School of Art under William Merritt Chase, and then attended the National Academy of Design. Hartley was a great admirer of Albert Pinkham Ryder and visited his studio in Greenwich Village as often as possible. His friendship with Ryder, in addition to the writings of Walt Whitman and American transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, inspired Hartley to view art as a spiritual quest.


Marsden Hartley by Edward Stieglitz


Portrait of a German Office, 1914


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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsden_Hartley

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More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art

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Robert Allan "Laud" Humphreys, (October 16, 1930–August 23, 1988) was an American sociologist and author.

Robert Allen Humphreys was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, to Ira Denver Humphreys and Stella Bernice Humphreys. "Laud" was chosen as his first name when he was baptized again upon entering the Episcopal Church. He graduated from the Seabury-Western Episcopal Theological Seminary in 1955, and served as an Episcopal priest. He earned his Ph.D from Washington University in St. Louis in 1968. Due to the perceived dishonesty of his research methods, there was a failed attempt by some faculty members at Washington University to rescind his PhD. He served as professor of sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California from 1972–1986 and died of lung cancer in 1988.

Humphreys was married to a woman from 1960 to 1980 and eventually came out as a gay man. Humphreys was a founder of the Sociologists' Gay Caucus, established in 1974.

His biography was published in 2004, under the title Laud Humphreys: Prophet of Homosexuality and Sociology.

Humphreys is best known for his published Ph.D. dissertation, Tearoom Trade (1970), an ethnographic study of anonymous male-male sexual encounters in public toilets (a practice known as "tea-rooming" in U.S. gay slang and "cottaging" in British English). Humphreys asserted that the men participating in such activity came from diverse social backgrounds, had differing personal motives for seeking homosexual contact in such venues, and variously self-perceived as "straight," "bisexual," or "gay."

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laud_Humphreys

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Gene Malin (June 30, 1908 – August 10, 1933) was an American actor, emcee, and drag performer during the Jazz Age. He was the first openly gay performer in Prohibition-era Speakeasy culture.

Gene Malin, also known by stage names Jean Malin and Imogene Wilson, reportedly was born Victor Eugene James Malinovsky in Brooklyn, New York, on June 30, 1908. He had two sisters and two brothers, one of whom worked for a sugar refinery, and one who became a police officer.

As a child, Malin attended P.S. 50 in Brooklyn and then went on to Eastern District High School. As a teenager, he was already winning prizes for his costumes at the elaborate Manhattan drag balls of the 1920s. By his late teens Malin had worked as a chorus boy in several Broadway shows ("Princess Flavor”, "Miami”, "Sisters of the Chorus"). Around the same period, Malin worked at several Greenwich Village clubs as a drag performer, most notably the Rubaiyat.

In January 1931, in New York City, Malin married Lucille Heiman/Helman (1901 - 1975, aka Martha Farrell, aka Jeannette Forbes, aka Fay Heiman/Helman). The marriage took place shortly after a raid that closed Malin's employer, Club Abbey; he and the bride had known each other from his days performing in drag at the Rubaiyat. Malin filed for divorce in Mexico in November 1932, though at the time of his death, the couple were still legally married. Between 1936 and 1944, Malin's widow served stints in prison for operating "exclusive call houses" (brothels) and violating the Mann Act.



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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Malin

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Edward Prime-Stevenson Irenæus (Madison, January 29, 1858 - Lausanne, July 23, 1942) was an American writer and journalist.

He was the first American writer to publish an openly gay novel with the pen-name of Xavier Mayne.

Edward Prime-Stevenson was born on January 23, 1858 in Madison, New Jersey, the youngest of five children; his father was a Presbyterian priest and dean of the school and his mother was from a family of writers.

After classical studies he went to law studies that did not ever translate into a job. He chose to write immediately devoting to fiction, poetry and music criticism. He worked with major magazines such as Harper's and The Independent, New York.

At 19 years old he successfully began publishing children's books such as White Cockades (1887) and Left to Themselves (1891), both focused on close homoerotic friendships among adolescent. His name, among other authors of success, was listed in the first edition of Who's Who in America (1899-1900).

In 1901, Prime-Stevenson moved to Europe where he began to write openly homosexual texts using the pen-name of Xavier Mayne.

In 1906 his novel Imre: A Memorandum was privately printed by the publisher Rispoli in Naples. The script, the first by an American author, openly and positively speaks about homosexuality. In 1908, Prime-Stevenson, always under a pseudonym and always in Naples, give to the press an essay on sexology The Intersexes: A History of Similisexualism as Problem in Social Life. The text is a defense of homosexuality in scientific, legal, historical and personal perspective.

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Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Irenaeus_Prime-Stevenson (in Italian)

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Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs (born 28 August 1825 in Aurich, died in L'Aquila, 14 July 1895), is seen today as the pioneer of modern LGBT rights movement.

Ulrichs was born in Aurich, then part of the Kingdom of Hanover, in north-western Germany. Ulrichs recalled that as a young child he wore girls' clothes, preferred playing with girls, and wanted to be a girl. His first homosexual experience was in 1839 at the age of fourteen, in the course of a brief affair with his riding instructor. He graduated in law and theology from Göttingen University in 1846. From 1846 to 1848, he studied history at Berlin University, writing a dissertation in Latin on the Peace of Westphalia.

From 1849 to 1857 Ulrichs worked as an official legal adviser for the district court of Hildesheim in the Kingdom of Hanover. He was dismissed when his homosexuality became open knowledge.

In 1862, Ulrichs took the momentous step of telling his family and friends that he was, in his own words, an Urning, and began writing under the pseudonym of "Numa Numantius". His first five essays, collected as Forschungen über das Rätsel der mannmännlichen Liebe (Researches on the Riddle of Male-Male Love), explained such love as natural and biological, summed up with the Latin phrase anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa (a female psyche confined in a male body). In these essays, Ulrichs coined various terms to describe different sexual orientations/gender identities, including "Urning" for a male who desires men (English "Uranian"), and "Dioning" for a male who is attracted to women. These terms are in reference to a section of Plato's Symposium in which two kinds of love are discussed, symbolised by an Aphrodite who is born from a male (Uranos), and an Aphrodite who is born from a female (Dione). Ulrichs also coined words for the female counterparts, and for bisexuals and intersexuals.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Heinrich_Ulrichs

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Edward Sagarin (September 18, 1913 – June 10, 1986), also known by his pen name Donald Webster Cory, was an American professor of sociology and criminology at the City University of New York, and a writer. His book The Homosexual in America: A Subjective Approach, published in 1951, was considered "one of the most influential works in the history of the gay rights movement," and inspired compassion in others by highlighting the difficulties faced by homosexuals.

He was titled "father of the homophile movement" for asserting that gay men and lesbians deserved civil rights as members of a large, unrecognised minority. However, Vern L. Bullough believes the title is undeserved as Sagarin did not actively participate in resistance and did not join any homophile organisations until 1962, a time when he was seeking a topic to analyse in his thesis.

Sagarin was born in Schenectady, New York to Russian Jewish parents. Sagarin was born with scoliosis, which produced a hump on his back. He attended high school, and after graduating, spent a year in France where he met André Gide. Upon his return to New York, he enrolled at City College of New York, but was forced to drop out of college due to the Great Depression.

In 1934, Sagarin met Gertrude Liphshitz, a woman who shared his left-wing political interests. They married in 1936 and soon after, Gertrude gave birth to a boy. Sagarin established himself in the perfume and cosmetics industry, becoming knowledgeable about the chemistry of perfumes, and publishing The Science and Art of Perfumery in 1945.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Sagarin

The “mysterious bond” between gay men resulted in large part from their participation in the gay subculture and consequent knowledge of its codes and tactics, both almost wholly unfamiliar to the doctors. It resulted as well from their simple attentiveness to the signals that might identify like-minded men; most other city residents were preoccupied with other matters or remained deliberately oblivious to the surfeit of stimuli on the streets. Involvement in the gay world familiarized men with the styles of clothing and grooming, mannerisms, and conventions of speech that had become fashionable in that world but were not stereotypically associated with fairies. Those fashions served as signs, “neither masculine nor feminine, but specifically and peculiarly homosexual,” observed the writer and gay activist Donald Webster Cory in the early 1950s; these were “difficult for [outsiders] to pinpoint,” but enabled men to recognize one another even as they concealed their identities from others.
[...]
The various gay magazines published in the 1950s periodically published articles with titles such as “Can Homosexuals Be Recognized?” One particularly insightful article by that title, although written by Donald Webster Cory twenty-five years after the period under discussion here, noted several of the same signs used by gay men a generation earlier, and it was wryly, but appropriately, illustrated with pictures of men staring into each other’s eyes, men walking in peculiar ways, and articles of clothing and adornment fashionable among gay men: certain kinds of shoes and sandals, large rings, scarves, and the like. (“Can Homosexuals Be Recognized?” ONE Magazine 1 [September 1953]: 7-11.) --Chauncey, George (1995-05-18). Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (Kindle Locations 3702-3708). BASIC. Kindle Edition.

Many gay historians have claimed a connection between homosexual orientation and artistic avocation. However, Edward Sagarin, the first American historian of gay life in the fifties, argued that homosexuals are hardly confined to the arts. He suggested that artists were simply more likely to leave behind hints about their sexuality than "scientists, businessmen, [and] political lead- ers"-men and women who "not only leave no such evidence," but are forced to engage in "vehement denial and deliberate misinformation."
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In October 1968, twelve gay worshippers met at the home of the Reverand Troy D. Perry in Los Angeles. Sixteen months later the tiny group had become the Metropolitan Community Church with 348 members, the first congregation in the country to identify itself publicly as a gay church. As Edward Sagarin had written seventeen years earlier, "Homosexuality is not an anti-religious force, although religion is anti-homosexual." The truth of that statement would become clear as hundreds of gay churches and synagogues of every denomination were founded throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties.
At the same time, the church had lost its direct power over Hollywood after the film censorship office was finally abolished in 1968. It was replaced by the G, R, and X ratings system, which is still administered by the Motion Picture Association of America. --Charles Kaiser. The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America. Kindle Edition.

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Claude McKay (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican-American writer and poet. He was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance and wrote three novels: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller which won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), and Banana Bottom (1933). McKay also authored a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), and two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His book of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922) was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance. His book of collected poems, Selected Poems (1953), was published posthumously.

McKay was attracted to communism in his early life, but he was never a member of the Communist Party.

Claude McKay was born Festus Claudius McKay in Nairne Castle near James Hill, Clarendon, Jamaica. He was the youngest child of Thomas Francis McKay and Hannah Ann Elizabeth Edwards, well-to-do farmers who had enough property to qualify to vote. Thomas McKay's father was of Ashanti descent, and Claude recounted that his father would share stories of Ashanti customs with him. Claude's mother was of Malagasy ancestry.

At four years old, McKay started basic school at the church that he attended. At age seven, he was sent to live with his oldest brother, a school teacher, to be given the best education available. While living with his oldest brother, Uriah Theodore, McKay became an avid reader of classical and British literature, as well as philosophy, science and theology. He started writing poetry at the age of 10.

In 1906, McKay became an apprentice to a carriage and cabinet maker known as Old Brenga. He stayed in his apprenticeship for about two years. During that time, in 1907, McKay met a man named Walter Jekyll who became a mentor and an inspiration for him. He encouraged McKay to concentrate on his writing. Jekyll convinced McKay to write in his native dialect and even later set some of McKay's verses to music. Jekyll helped McKay publish his first book of poems, Songs of Jamaica, in 1912. These were the first poems published in Jamaican Patois (dialect of mainly English words and African structure). McKay's next volume, Constab Ballads, came out in the same year and was based on his experience as a police officer in Jamaica.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_McKay
As cultural historians such as Eric Garber, David Levering Lewis, Amitai Avi-ram, and Alden Reimonenq have begun to show, many of the leading male poets and novelists of the Renaissance were gay-identified or sexually active with men as well as women, including Countee Cullen, Wallace Thurman, Bruce Nugent, Claude McKay, and possibly Langston Hughes. They regularly socialized with each other in gay settings and discussed the affairs they were having with other men. A gay artist from France who was immediately drawn into their circle when he visited New York in the late 1920s recalled that “there was a whole small crowd of rather nice gay blacks around Countee Cullen. They used to meet practically every evening at Caska Bonds’ and sit by the hour playing cards there.” They were also involved in broader gay social circles, attending the gay parties thrown by Bonds, Clinton Moore, Eddie Manchester, and other black gay men, and the extravagant “mixed” parties thrown by the millionaire heiress A’Leila Walker and Van Vechten. --Chauncey, George (1995-05-18). Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (Kindle Locations 5202-5209). BASIC. Kindle Edition.
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James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best-known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue".

Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, the second child of school teacher Carrie (Caroline) Mercer Langston and her husband James Nathaniel Hughes (1871–1934). Both parents were mixed race, and Langston Hughes was of African American, European American and Native American descent. He grew up in a series of Midwestern small towns. Both his paternal and maternal great-grandmothers were African American, and both his paternal and maternal great-grandfathers were white: one of Scottish and one of Jewish descent. Hughes was named after both his father and his grand-uncle, John Mercer Langston who, in 1888, became the first African American to be elected to the United States Congress from Virginia. Hughes's maternal grandmother Mary Patterson was of African American, French, English and Native American descent. One of the first women to attend Oberlin College, she first married Lewis Sheridan Leary, also of mixed race. He joined the men in John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859 and died from his wounds.

In 1869 the widow Mary Patterson Leary married again, into the elite, politically active Langston family. Her second husband was Charles Henry Langston, of African American, Native American, and Euro-American ancestry. He and his younger brother John Mercer Langston worked for the abolitionist cause and helped lead the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society in 1858.

Charles Langston later moved to Kansas where he was active as an educator and activist for voting and rights for African Americans. Charles and Mary's daughter Caroline Mercer Langston was the mother of Langston Hughes. Hughes's father left his family and later divorced Carrie. He went to Cuba, and then Mexico, seeking to escape the enduring racism in the United States.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hughes

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Magnus Hirschfeld (May 14, 1868 – May 14, 1935) was a German physician and sexologist. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, which Dustin Goltz called "the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights."

Hirschfeld was born in Kolberg (now Kołobrzeg, Poland) in a Jewish family, the son of a highly regarded physician and 'Medizinalrat' Hermann Hirschfeld. In 1887-1888 he studied philosophy and philology in Breslau, then from 1888-1892 medicine in Strasbourg, Munich, Heidelberg, and Berlin. In 1892 he took his doctoral degree. After his studies, he traveled through the United States for eight months, visiting the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and living from the proceeds of his writing for German journals. Then he started a naturopathic practice in Magdeburg; in 1896 be moved his practice to Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Magnus Hirschfeld's career successfully found a balance between medicine and writing. After several years as a general practitioner in Magdeburg, in 1896 he issued a pamphlet Sappho and Socrates, on homosexual love (under the pseudonym Th. Ramien). In 1897, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee with the publisher Max Spohr, the lawyer Eduard Oberg, and the writer Max von Bülow. The group aimed to undertake research to defend the rights of homosexuals and to repeal Paragraph 175, the section of the German penal code that since 1871 had criminalized homosexuality. They argued that the law encouraged blackmail, and the motto of the Committee, "Justice through science", reflected Hirschfeld's belief that a better scientific understanding of homosexuality would eliminate hostility toward homosexuals.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Hirschfeld

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Blair Niles (1880 - 1959) was an American novelist and travel writer. She was a founding member of the Society of Woman Geographers. Blair Niles is a pen name of Mary Blair Rice, adopted from her late second husband's name, Robert Niles, Jr.

The first wife of oceanographer William Beebe, Niles also wrote under the name of Mary Blair Beebe. She lived among indigenous peoples in Mexico, South America, and Southeast Asia. In 1923 she published Casual Wanderings in Ecuador. Colombia: Land of Miracles followed in 1924, and Peruvian Pageant in 1937. In these books she linked contemporary culture with the past by exploring history, traditions, and legends. She visited the notorious Devil's Island in 1926 and recorded the life of a prisoner there (René Belbenoit) in her 1928 best selling biography: Condemned to Devil's Island. The international sensation caused by this book led to prison reforms. Her 1931 book, Strange Brother, was a gay-themed novel (her only work in that genre) set in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance. In 1944 Blair Niles was awarded the Gold medal of the Society of Woman Geographers.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blair_Niles
In Strange Brother (1931), author Blair Niles provided her readers with an extensive list of books to read by having her protagonist discover Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Carpenter's Love's Coming of Age, Plato's Symposium, Ellis's Psychology of Sex volumes, and Auguste Forel's The Sexual Question, among other books. She also identified Caesar, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, and James I of England, along with numerous other historical figures, as homosexual. "You find them all the way back," one character explained, "among the artists and intellectuals of their time... Kings and Emperors [are] in the list, too." The regular appearance of such comments in the novels of the 1930s suggests both the currency of such ideas among gay intellectuals and their allies and their determination to disseminate them among gay readers. --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey


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Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (May 2, 1950 – April 12, 2009) was an American academic scholar in the fields of gender studies, queer theory (queer studies), and critical theory. Her critical writings helped create the field of queer studies. Her works reflect an interest in a range of issues, including queer performativity; experimental critical writing; the works of Marcel Proust; non-Lacanian psychoanalysis; artists' books; Buddhism and pedagogy; the affective theories of Silvan Tomkins and Melanie Klein; and material culture, especially textiles and texture.

Drawing on feminist scholarship and the work of Michel Foucault, Sedgwick uncovered what she claimed were concealed homoerotic subplots in writers like Charles Dickens and Henry James. Sedgwick argued that an understanding of virtually any aspect of modern Western culture would be incomplete or damaged if it failed to incorporate a critical analysis of modern homo/heterosexual definition. She coined the terms "homosocial" and "antihomophobic."

Noted works include "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay," "Queer Performativity: Henry James's The Art of the Novel," and "Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl," which was heavily criticised for the "scandalous" interpretation it took.

Eve Kosofsky was raised in a Jewish family in Dayton, Ohio. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her Ph.D from Yale University. She taught writing and literature at Hamilton College, Boston University, and Amherst College. She held a visiting lectureship at University of California, Berkeley and taught at the School of Criticism and Theory when it was located at Dartmouth College. She was also the Newman Ivey White Professor of English at Duke University, and then a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_Kosofsky_Sedgwick
Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick was my first introduction to the world of queer theory and literary criticism and was the foundation of my senior thesis. The section on Charles Dickens "Our Mutual Friend" confirmed my thought that there was something lovely going on between Eugene Wrayburn and Mortimer Lightwood and blew my mind with what was written on the rival relationship between Eugene and Bradley Headstone. --Stephan Schmetterling
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Charles Tomlinson Griffes (Elmira, New York, September 17, 1884 – New York City, April 8, 1920) was an American composer for piano, chamber ensembles and for voice.

After early studies on piano and organ in his home town, he went to Berlin for four years to study composition with Engelbert Humperdinck and piano with Ernst Jedliczka at the Stern conservatory. On returning to the U.S. in 1907 he began teaching at the Hackley School for boys in Tarrytown, New York, a post which he held until his early death 13 years later.

Griffes is the most famous American representative of musical Impressionism. He was fascinated by the exotic, mysterious sound of the French Impressionists, and was compositionally much influenced by them while he was in Europe. He also studied the work of contemporary Russian composers (for example Scriabin), whose influence is also apparent in his work, for example in his use of synthetic scales.

His most famous works are the White Peacock, for piano (1915, orchestrated in 1919); his Piano Sonata (1917–18, revised 1919); a tone poem, The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, after the fragment by Coleridge (1912, revised in 1916), and Poem for Flute and Orchestra (1918). He also wrote numerous programmatic pieces for piano, chamber ensembles, and for voice. The amount and quality of his music is impressive considering his short life and his full-time teaching job, and much of his music is still performed. His unpublished Sho-jo (1917), a one-act pantomimic drama based on Japanese themes, is one of the earliest works by an American composer to show direct inspiration from the music of Japan.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Griffes

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Henry Gerber (June 29, 1892–December 31, 1972) was the founder of Chicago’s Society for Human Rights in 1924, the first gay rights organization in the United States.

Henry Gerber was born in Bavaria as Joseph Henry Dittmar on June 29, 1892, and arrived at Ellis Island in October, 1913. With members of his family, he moved to Chicago because of its large German population. After working briefly at Montgomery Ward, he was interned as an alien during World War I. He wrote that although this was not right, he did receive three meals a day. From 1920 to 1923 he served with the U.S. Army of Occupation of Germany and during this time, he came into contact with the German homosexual emancipation movement. He subscribed to German homophile magazines and was in contact with Magnus Hirschfeld's Scientific-Humanitarian Community in Berlin. In 1924, Gerber returned to Chicago and was hired by the post office. Gerber's return to Chicago was amidst a backdrop of urbanization and an emerging gay subculture.

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Source: http://www.glhalloffame.org/index.pl?item=18&todo=view_item
Even more striking is that a movement for the rights of homosexuals had existed in Germany since the end of the nineteenth century, which at least some gay men, such as the writer Henry Gerber and the composer Charles Tomlinson Griffes, encountered while in Europe before or during the war. Inspired by such European models, Gerber organized a short-lived homosexual-rights group in Chicago in 1924, upon his return from the war (it was promptly suppressed by the police), and although Griffes did not take so dramatic a step, he told his New York friends about the work of the German homosexual emancipationist Magnus Hirschfeld and about how the German movement and Edward Carpenter's books had helped him think more positively about his homosexuality. It is likely that thousands of American gay men were similarly affected by their encounter with a culture in which homosexuals experienced a greater degree of tolerance and had begun to speak and organize on their own behalf, much as thousands of African-American servicemen were politicized by their experience of living in a less racist society while fighting to defend "American democracy". A decade after his return from Europe, and seven years after his fledging Society for Human Rights had been crushed, Henry Gerber denounced American attitudes by contrasting them with those of a supposedly enlightened Europe. Many "homosexuals live in happy, blissful unions, especially in Europe, where homosexuals are unmolested as long as they mind their own business", he insisted in a 1932 essay published in the journal of opinion Modern Thinker, "and are not, as in England and in the United States, driven to the underworld of perversions and crime for satisfaction of their very real craving for love". --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
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Wallace Henry Thurman (1902–1934) was an American novelist during the Harlem Renaissance. He is best known for his novel The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life, which explores discrimination among black people based on skin color.

Thurman was born in Salt Lake City to Beulah and Oscar Thurman. Between his mother's many marriages, Wallace and his mother lived with Emma Jackson, his maternal grandmother. His grandmother's home doubled as a saloon where alcohol was served without a license. When Thurman was less than a month old, his father abandoned his wife and son. It was not until Wallace was 30 years old that he met his father.

Thurman's early life was marked by loneliness, family instability and illness. He began grade school at age six in Boise, Idaho, but his poor health eventually led to a two-year absence from school, during which he returned to Salt Lake City. From 1910 to 1914, Thurman lived in Chicago, but he would have to finish grammar school in Omaha, Nebraska. During this time, he suffered from persistent heart attacks. While living in Pasadena, California's lower altitude in the winter of 1918, Thurman came down with influenza during the worldwide Influenza Pandemic. Considering his history of illness, he surprisingly recovered and then returned to Salt Lake City, where he finished high school.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Thurman
Another bright star of the Renaissance, the novelist Wallace Thurman, also spent years worrying that his homosexuality would be used against him. He had been arrested within weeks of arriving in the city for having sex with a white hairdresser in a 135th Street subway washroom. Although he gave police a false name and address and a minister bailed him out, word of the arrest began to spread. Four years later, having established himself as an editor and leader of young black writers, he still felt dogged by rumors of the arrest and wondered anxiously whether others had heard of it. His fears were exacerbated when his wife, after a short and unsuccessful marriage, threatened to use his homosexuality as grounds for divorce. "You can imagine with what relish a certain group of Negroes in Harlem received and relayed the news that I was a homo. No evidence is needed of course beyond the initial rumor", he wrote a friend in 1929, denying that the rumor was true. --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
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Allan Ronald Bérubé (December 3, 1946 – December 11, 2007) was an American historian, activist, independent scholar, self-described "community-based" researcher and college drop-out, and award-winning author, best known for his research and writing about homosexual members of the American Armed Forces during World War II. He also wrote essays about the intersection of class and race in gay culture, and about growing up in a poor, working class family, his French-Canadian roots, and about his experience of anti-AIDS activism.

Among Bérubé's published works was the 1990 book Coming Out Under Fire, which examined the stories of gay men and women in the U.S. military between 1941 and 1945. The book used interviews with gay veterans, government documents, and other sources to discuss the social and political issues that faced over 9,000 servicemen and women during World War II. The book earned Bérubé the Lambda Literary Award for outstanding Gay Men's Nonfiction book of 1990 and was later adapted as a film in 1994, narrated by Salome Jens and Max Cole, with a screenplay by Bérubé and the film's director, Arthur Dong. The film received a Peabody Award for excellence in documentary media in 1995. Bérubé received a MacArthur Fellowship (often called the "genius grant") from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1996. He received a Rockefeller grant from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in 1994 to research a book on the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union, and he was working on this book at the time of his death.


Allan Bérubé with John D'Emilio

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"I do my work now in the borderlands between social classes, between the university and the community, between heterosexual and homosexual, between educated speech and down-to-earth talk, between Franco-American and Québécois, between my family and the gay community."
"None of us can do our best work until we believe that the life of the mind really does belong to us."
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_B%C3%A9rub%C3%A9
Coming Out Under Fire, by Allan Berube is a non-fiction book, history, really, but so much of it reads like a good detective novel. For gays and lesbians this is just such a good, enlightening and yes, empowering story. It’s also very instructive, as Berube tells us about the coastal origins of what we know today as the American gay community. Today I watched a YouTube video of American soldiers in Afghanistan dancing together to a Lady Gaga song – it’s somehow comforting to know that queer soldiers were doing the equivalent all throughout WWII, and probably long before that! This book was also invaluable research for a WWII period movie script I wrote called “Me and Mamie O’Rourke.” --Jim Arnold
In Coming Out Under Fire, a super study of homosexuals who served in the American military during the Second World War, Allan Bérubé reports that the psychiatric establishment used an economic argument to convince the War Department of the need for psychiatric screenings. The government had spent more than $1 million caring for psychiatric casualties of World War I; in 1940, these victims still occupied more than half the beds in veteran's hospitals.
[...]
Unfortunately, as Bérubé explains, Sullivan and his colleagues "had carved out the territory on which others would build an antihomosexual barrier and the rationale for using it". Sullivan's belief in the relative insignificance of "sexual aberrations" in establishing mental illness was undermined as his plan was digested by the Washington bureaucracy. By the middle of 1941, the army and the Selective Service both included "homosexual proclivities" in their lists of disqualifying "deviations". --The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America by Charles Kaiser
A final reason we have failed to see the gay subculture that existed before World War II is that it has been obscured by the dramatic growth of the gay subculture after the war. As the groundbreaking work of Allan Bérubé and John D'Emilio has shown, the war "created something of a nationwide coming out experience". By freeing men from the supervision of their families and small-town neighborhoods and placing them in a single-sex environment, military mobilization increased the chances that they would meet gay men and explore their homosexual interests. Many recruits saw the sort of gay life they could lead in large cities and chose to stay in those cities after the war. Some women who joined the military, as well as those on the homefront who shared housing and worked in defense industries with other women, had similar experiences. As a result, the war made it possible for gay bars and restaurants to proliferate and for many new gay social networks to form. --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
Millions of young women and men, many of whom may never have heard the words "fairy", "invert", "homosexual", or "lesbian" and may not yet have discovered all aspects of their sexual desires, had enlisted. Being thrown together with so many different people of the same sex gave them an opportunity to understand their lives in new, radical ways. Bérubé weaves a broad, textured tapestry of the lives of same-sex desiring service members during the war. Many speak of erotic, affectional, and sexual relationships with their fellow enlistees. Some of these relationships began before the war and lasted for decades. Others occured during the war, ending when the partners reentered civilian life. Many were brief sexual encounters, similar to heterosexual liaisons on the home front. Many women and men enjoyed same-sex romantic and physical relationship during the war, but for the reminder of their lives engaged in different-sex relationships. --A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
Allan Bérubé, 1994, by Robert Giard )

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Countee Cullen (May 30, 1903 – January 9, 1946) was an American poet who was popular during the Harlem Renaissance.

Cullen was an American poet and a leading figure with Langston Hughes in the Harlem Renaissance. This 1920s artistic movement produced the first large body of work in the United States written by African Americans. However, Cullen considered poetry raceless, although his 'The Black Christ' took a racial theme, lynching of a black youth for a crime he did not commit.

Countee Cullen was very secretive about his life. According to different sources, he was born in Louisville, Kentucky or Baltimore, Maryland. Cullen was possibly abandoned by his mother, and reared by a woman named Mrs. Porter, who was probably his paternal grandmother. Cullen once said that he was born in New York City, but may not have meant it literally. Porter brought young Countee to Harlem when he was nine. She died in 1918. At the age of 15, Cullen was adopted by the Reverend F.A. Cullen, minister of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the largest congregations of Harlem. Later Reverend Cullen became the head of the Harlem chapter of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His real mother did not contact him until he became famous in the 1920s.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countee_Cullen
Although gay social networks played an important role in the construction of the Harlem Renaissance, they were carefully hidden. Most of its writers, like most other middle-class African-Americans, endeavored to keep their homosexuality a secret from the straight world. Even Bruce Nugent, the most audacious of the circle, published his story under the name Richard Bruce to avoid embarassing his parents. Countee Cullen, who had begun to identify himself as gay before he turned twenty and was involved in several long-term relationships with men, twice married women in search of respectability. His first wedding, to Yolande Du Bois, daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois, was one of the major social events of 1928, but their marriage quickly foundered. Yolande appears to have cooperated in making sure that the Harlem press reported Cullen was infatuated with another woman, but she confided to her father that Cullen's homosexuality was the problem. Cullen married again twelve years later, even though he was romantically involved with another man. As Reimonenq has shown, Cullen became increasingly concerned in the 1930s and 1940s to hide his homosexual liaisons, using codes to refer to them in his letters to friends and signing letters to his beloved with a pseudonym. Cullen had quickly become one of the most celebrated poets of the Harlem Renaissance and had no illusions about what the revelation of his homosexuality could do to his career. --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
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