Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Austrian composer. Although Schubert's homosexuality had long been rumored in gay musical circles, it was not explicitly argued in print until 1981,when Maynard Solomon published an article in American Imago, later expanded in 19th Century Music. Citing the composer's dissipation, his lack of female love interests, his passionate male friendships, and several oblique references in his surviving correspondence, Solomon argued that Schubert's primary erotic orientation was homosexual. In recent years, however, the notion of a gay Schubert has become if not commonplace, at least much less controversial. Schubert's alleged homosexuality and its effect on his music are subjects of continuing debate among music historians and critics.

Alan Bennett (9 May 1934) is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. His collaboration as writer and performer with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival brought him instant fame. His work includes The Madness of George III and its film adaptation, the series of monologues Talking Heads, the play and subsequent film The History Boys. In September 2005, Bennett revealed that, in 1997, he had undergone treatment for cancer, and described the illness as a “bore.” His chances of survival were given as being "much less" than 50 percent. He began Untold Stories (published 2005) thinking it would be published posthumously, but his cancer went into remission. In the autobiographical sketches which form a large part of the book Bennett writes openly for the first time about his homosexuality (Bennett has had relationships with women as well, although this is only touched upon in Untold Stories). Previously Bennett had referred to questions about his sexuality as like asking a man who has just crawled across the Sahara desert to choose between Perrier or Malvern mineral water. Bennett lives in Camden Town in London, and shares his home with Rupert Thomas, the editor of World of Interiors magazine.

Nicola "Nichi" Vendola (26 August 1958) is an Italian left-wing politician and LGBT activist who has been President of Apulia since 2005. Vendola had been a member of the Italian Communist Youth Federation since the age of 14. He studied literature in university, presenting a dissertation about the poet and gay film director Pier Paolo Pasolini. In 1992, Vendola was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, to a seat which he held until 2005. As a member of the Antimafia Commission, he came to prominence as a strong opponent of the Mafia and organized crime presence in the economy and society. In 2005, Vendola ran for the first primary election ever held in Italy, held by the center-left coalition The Union to choose their candidate for the presidency of the Apulia region. Many moderates in the alliance criticized the choice, since it appeared impossible that a homosexual could be elected president of a southern Italian region such as Apulia, generally considered to be conservative and strongly Catholic. In the end he was the first gay member of the Communist Refoundation Party to be elected as president of any Italian region.

Sandra Bernhard (June 6, 1955) Jewish comedian, singer, actress and author. She first gained attention in the late 1970s with her stand-up comedy in which she often bitterly critiques celebrity culture and political figures. Bernhard is number 97 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand-ups of all time. On July 4, 1998, Bernhard gave birth to her daughter Cicely Yasin Bernhard. She is openly bisexual and she is a strong supporter of gay rights

Robert Biedron (13 April 1976) already made history once, in Poland, by becoming the first openly gay lawmaker of parliament in 2011. November 2014, he celebrated another first, becoming the country's first openly gay mayor. The 38-year-old's political successes are a marker of how quickly this deeply conservative and Catholic country has changed in the decade since it joined the European Union. Back then, in 2004, gay rights marches were still being banned and homosexuality was treated as a huge taboo. Since then a growing acceptance of gays and lesbians has arrived hand-in-hand with a flourishing economy.

The Sambia are a tribe of mountain-dwelling people who live in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. The Sambia — a pseudonym created by American anthropologist Gilbert Herdt — are well for their acts of "ritualized homosexuality" and semen ingestion practices with pubescent boys. Sambia males consider contact with females highly polluting. Their social structures are organized to limit exposure. The men and boys sleep on one side of the village, the women and girls on the other. The men go into the women's longhouse only to procreate. The Sambia word for vagina literally translates as “that thing which is truly no good.”

If you want to learn more about your gay heritage and those who paved the way, through activism, sacrifice, courage, civil disobedience to give us a better and freer life you can visit The Stonewall Museum & Archives in Wilton Manors. We should all know who our gay heroes are and be thankful for what they did on our behalf.


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