NOVEMBER 21: Jeanne Mammen (1890-1976)


The influential painter and illustrator Jeanne Mammen was born on this day in 1890. Jeanne’s work is most famous for being apart of the New Objectivity and Symbolism artistic movements, as well as for depicting a specifically lesbian perspective of women’s bodies and the Berlin nightlife of the Wiemar Era. 

A self-portrait by Jeanne Mammen c. 1926 (x).

Jeanne Mammen was born on November 21, 1890 in Berlin, Germany. Her father was a wealthy merchant and was able to afford for Jeanne to live out her youth and be educated at a school in Paris. She would eventually go on to advance her artistic studies in both Brussels and Rome. In 1916, her family was facing internment by the French government and so her parents fled to Amsterdam while Jeanne moved back to Berlin. On her own for the first time in her life, Jeanne’s first years as an adult in Berlin were incredibly influential on her life and work. Due to the fact that the French government had confiscated all of the Mammens’ property, she struggled to make ends meet and ended up interacting with people of varying class background for the first time in her life. 

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Jeanne threw herself into Berlin’s LGBT social and artistic scene. She found work illustrating movie posters and caricatures for satirical magazines, but her true passion was her watercolors and illustrations of the lesbian nightclubs and Bohemian bars she frequented in her daily life. Throughout the 1930s, she published what is now considered some of her most important work – a series of 8 lithographs for Pierre Louÿs’s lesbian poetry collection, Les Chansons de Bilitis. When her artwork of women was displayed at a 1933 exhibition, Nazi officials interrupted the event and deemed Jeanne’s work as “degenerate” and “Jewish.” She was forced to revert back to advertising and abandon the leverage she had been making as a distinctly lesbian artist. 

One of Jeanne Mammen’s iconic depictions of Berlin’s popular lesbian clubs, She Represents, c. 1927-1930. Historian Richard Meyer writes, “She Represents, for example, was first published in Curt Moreck’s 1931 Führer durch das ‘lasterhafte’ Berlin (Guide to Immoral Berlin), a delightfully lurid handbook to the sundry, primarily nocturnal, diversions on offer in the metropolis. Mamman’s picture appeared under the heading ‘lesbian locales’, in chapter six of the guidebook, a chapter that also featured sections of ‘get together spots for homosexuals’, ‘night baths’, and ‘here are the transvestites’.” (x).

In the 1940s, Jeanne experimented with Cubism but did not begin exhibiting her work once again until after World War II. In her later years, she focused on collages and designed the sets for the well-known cabaret Die Badewanne. She would pass away fairly unknown on April 22, 1976, but her work began to be rediscovered and admired by German artists in the 2010s. In 2013, her more abstract pieces were featured in an exhibition during Berlin Art Week titled “Painting Forever!”


NOVEMBER 20: Marianne Breslauer (1909-2001)


The famous photographer Marianne Breslauer was born on this day in 1909. Today, Marianne is most well-known for her contributions to the artistic richness of Germany’s Wiemar Era as well as her relationship with the Swiss journalist and photographer Annemarie Schwarzenbach.

A self-portrait by Marianne Breslauer (x).

Marianne Breslauer was born on November 20, 1909 in Berlin, Germany. She inherited an artistic legacy from her parents, her father being the architect Alfred Breslauer and her mother being Doris Lessing, the daughter of the famed art historian Julius Lessing. She began taking photography lessons at age 18 and began to plan for a career as a photographic journalist. Her main inspirations were the well-known German portrait photographer Frieda Riess and the Hungarian photographer André Kertész. Although she had lived and studied in Berlin for all her life, Marianne moved to Paris in 1929 to study under Man Ray. She only stayed briefly, however, and was back in Berlin a year later. Throughout the 1930s, her work was published in esteemed German magazines such as Frankfurter Illustrierten, Der Querschnitt, Die Dame, Zürcher Illustrierten, and Das Magazin

Despite being married to a man named Walter Feilchenfeldt, the center of Marianne’s life was a fellow woman photographer named Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Many historians refer to the two women as simple being “lifelong friends,” but the truth of their relationship was probably something closer to that of lovers. Marianne traveled extensively throughout Europe during her life and created a network of kindred spirits, which is to say, fellow wlw artists. She even became known for her photographs of butch women/”tom boys” throughout the 1930s. It was through one of these lesbian artist friends, Ruth Landshoff, that Marianne and Annemarie were first introduced. The two photographed each other frequently and even traveled to the Pyrenees together in 1933. Annemarie would tragically die in a biking accident in 1942, but Marianne’s legacy would continue to be intertwined with the person she once described as “Neither a woman nor a man, but an angel, an archangel.”

One of Marianne’s multiple photographs of Annemarie Schwarzenbach. In this shot from 1934, Annemarie (left) lies on beach towels with a friend in Potsdam (x).

With the increasing antisemitic climate of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, Marianne’s publishers began pressuring her to publish her photographs under a pseudonym so as to conceal her Jewish identity. When she refused, she, her husband, and children were forced to leave German and emigrate to Amsterdam and then later Zurich. In her later years, Marianne and her husband opened up their own art gallery specializing in French paintings and 19th century art. She took over the business on the occasion of her husband’s death in 1953 and would eventually pass away herself on February 7, 2001.


NOVEMBER 19: Nemir Matos-Cintrón (1949-)


Happy birthday to Nemir
Matos-Cintrón! The Puerto Rican author and poet is known for centering her
lesbian identity in her work.

Nemir Matos-Cintrón speaks at Bilingual Poetry Night at Ana G. Méndez University System, Metro Orlando Campus (x).

Nemir Matos-Cintrón was born on
November 19, 1949 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. She received her B.A. from the
University of Puerto Rico and then later her Master’s from Syracuse University
in New York. She has worked for a time as a television producer and a lecturer,
but Nemir is most famous for her literary work. 

Her first two poetry
collections, Las mujeres no hablan así
and A través del aire y del fuego pero no
del cristal
, were both published in 1981. Las mujeres no hablan así is one the first known works of Puerto
Rican poetry to deal explicity with lesbian themes.

Her first novel, El amordio
de Amanda
, was published in 2007 and tells the semi-autobiographical story of a
young girl growing up in Santurce in the 1960s. Her second novel, Aliens in NYC, deals with the concept of
Puerto Rican migration. Nemir’s latest work was a 2014 short story titled “El
arte de morir” that was a homage to a friend who passed away from AIDS.


NOVEMBER 18: Lauren Jauregui comes out as bise…


On this day in 2016, Fifth Harmony’s
Lauren Jauregui came out as bisexual in an open letter to the then newly
elected President Donald Trump.

In addition to her open letter, Lauren Jauregui spoke on her coming out experience in an interview at 2017 Beauty Con (x).

Lauren was born on June 27, 1996
in Miami, Florida. After being featured on
The X-Factor as a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony and becoming a
household name, she entered the realm of social activism and began speaking on
her experiences as a Cuban-American and as the daughter of immigrants. Since the
2016 election of Donald Trump, Lauren has written many open letters calling out
his perpetuation of xenophobia and white supremacy. The first of her open
letters was published on November 18, 2016 and was also the first instance
of Lauren commenting on her sexuality; she writes that she is a “bisexual
Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it.” Read the letter here!

Since coming out, Lauren has been
awarded “Celebrity of the Year” at the 2017 British LGBT Awards. She was also
featured on the Halsey track “Strangers” and was chosen for the feature
specifically for her bisexual identity. Billboard heralded the song as “a
long-overdue bisexual milestone in mainstream music” and Halsey herself said, “I just love that Lauren and I are just two women who have a mainstream
pop presence doing a love song for the LGBTQ community.”


NOVEMBER 17: Rebecca Walker (1969-)


Happy birthday to Rebecca Walker! The bisexual activist and feminist writer is most well-known for being the first person to coin the term “third wave feminism” in the late 1990s. 

Rebecca’s latest book is Enduring Violence: Everyday Life and Conflict in Eastern Sri Lanka, which was published in 2016 (x).

Rebecca Leventhal was born on
November 17, 1969 in Jackson, Mississippi. Her mother is none other than the
iconic Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker and her father, Mel
Leventhal, is a Jewish American civil rights lawyer. When Rebecca was only 6-years-old,
her parents divorced. She would spend a majority of her childhood alternating
between living with her mother in San Francisco and her father in the Bronx in
New York City. At 15, she legally changed her last name to that of her mother –
Walker. She attended high school at The Urban School of San Francisco and
eventually graduated from Yale University in 1992.

1992 is also the year Rebecca
broke onto the mainstream’s radar with her article “Becoming the Third Wave” in
Ms. Magazine. In the article, she tackles the judicial system and the media’s
treatment of Anita Hill and declares that it is in fact time for a “third wave”
feminist movement. Rebecca writes, “To be a feminist is to integrate an
ideology of equality and female empowerment into the very fiber of life. It is
to search for personal clarity in the midst of systemic destruction, to join in
sisterhood with women when often we are divided, to understand power structures
with the intention of challenging them.” To date, she has written over 10
novels. Her 2001 autobiography was titled Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a
Shifting Self

Rebecca publicly identifies as
bisexual. She had a relationship with the fellow bisexual musician Meshell Ndegeocello,
whose son she also helped raise. In 2007, she had a son of her own with her
partner Choyin Rangdrol. Today, Rebecca travels around the country as a public
speaker and operates the non-profit organization the Third Wave Fund, which
encourages young women’s involvement in political and social activism.


NOVEMBER 16: Queering India is published (2001…


The collection of essays Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society by Ruth Vanita first hit shelves on this day in 2001. Focusing on LGBT subculture in both pre-colonial and post-colonial India, Queering India provides a comprehensive look at real everyday life for LGBT people in India and put Ruth Vanita’s name on the map as a force to be reckoned with in the field of lesbian and gay studies. 

Ruth Vanita was born in Rangoon, Burma in 1955, but her family moved to New Delhi when she was only 2-years-old. Although she has been a practicing Hindu ever since her late 20s, her North Indian mother and Tamilian father originally raised her in a Christian household. Ruth suffered from acute myopia as a child and as a result her 8th grade teacher encouraged her mother to simply take her out of school. Thankfully, both of her parents were teachers themselves and were able to home school Ruth through high school and allowed her to enroll in Miranda House College at Delhi University. 

She eventually received her PhD in the late 1990s, her thesis serving as the foundation of her book Sappho and the Virgin Mary: Same-Sex Love and the English Literary Imagination. She was the co-founder of the influential activist magazine Manushi: A Journal about Women and Society and has written over 50 academic articles and 8 books in the field of English literature, Indian literature, and LGBT studies. She is currently a professor at the University of Montana and serves as the director of the university’s Global Humanities and Religions Program. You can find Queering India here!


NOVEMBER 15: Baka Bukas is released (2016)


On this day in 2016, the film Baka Bukas was first released in the Philippines
at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival. Baka
was the directorial debut of lesbian filmmaker Samantha Lee, who says
that the film is “the story of what happens when you fall in love with your
best friend.”

For its English-language distribution, the title of the film was changed to Maybe Tomorrow (x).

Inspired by the director’s own
life experiences, Baka Bukas follows
two girls named Alex and Jess. Alex, played by Jasmine Curtis-Smith, is a semi-out
lesbian with a successful career as a social media manager. Despite having a
family who embraces her sexuality, the one person she has yet to come out
to is her best friend Jess – played by Louise delos Reyes. Things become
complicated when Jess learns that not only is she the only person who Alex is
not out of the closet to, but that Alex is also secretly in love with her.
Unlike other films which deal with friendships between lesbians and straight
girls, such as Almost Adults, Baka Bukas follows Jess on her own journey
of sexual self-discovery as she realizes that she too may have been in love
with Alex this whole time.

The film became a finalist at the
Cinema One Originals Film Festival and won the overall awards for Audience
Choice, Best Actress for Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Best Sound. It eventually
got a wide release in March on 2017. In an interview with CNN Philippines, director
Samantha Lee said, “I conceptualized the film because I wanted to see a
representation of the LGBT community that went beyond the portrayals that are
shown in mainstream media. The characters in this film are fully flawed
functional human beings. They are more than just an accessory to the plot, they
are the plot.”


NOVEMBER 14: Australia votes “yes” for same-se…


On November 14, 2017, the people
of Australia voted yes to legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the nation.


A crowd celebrates in Melbourne, Australia, as the same-sex marriage survey results are announced. Despite the Yes victory, the outcome is not binding, and the process to change current laws will move to the Australian Parliament in Canberra. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images) (x).

The national poll survey to see if the
Australian legislature should legalize same-sex marriage began in September of
this year. After two months of relentless campaigning by LGBT activists, it has
been reported that a 61% of the population has voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
Over 12.7 million people took part in the poll, roughly 79.5% of the country,
and every state and territory returned a majority “yes” vote.

The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm
Turnbull, has called for Parliament to approve the legalization of same-sex
marriage by Christmas 2017. In response to the poll results, Turnbull said, “They
voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for
love. And now it is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with
it” (x). 


NOVEMBER 13: Gina Parody (1973-)


Happy birthday to Gina Parody! The
current Minister of Education of Colombia recently came out as a lesbian
and made her relationship with the Secretary of
Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Cecilia Álvarez-Correa Glen, public.

Gina Parody gives a speech during her 2011 campaign to be the Mayor of Bogotá. She was eventually defeated by Gustavo Petro (x).

Gina María Parody d’Echeona was
born on November 13, 1973 in the city of Bogotá in Colombia. After graduating
high school, she went on to study law at Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogotá,
criminology at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain, and political theory at
Columbia University in America. After finishing her education and returning to
Colombia, Gina worked on the 2002 presidential campaign of Álvaro Uribe,
running as an independent candidate for the Chamber of Representatives herself
that same year. In 2014, she was appointed as Colombia’s Minister of Education
by President Juan Manuel Santos.

A photo of Gina Parody with her partner Cecilia Álvarez-Correa Glen published by Jet-Set Magazine following their coming out (x).

Gina came out in a letter from her
partner Cecilia following the tragedy of the 2016 Orlando Nightclub shooting. Spurred
on by homophobic tweets, Cecilia Álvarez-Correa Glen, who also works for the
Colombian legislature as the Secretary of Tourism, Industry and Commerce,
tweeted out a photo of she and Gina with an engagement ring on Gina’s hand and
a message calling for peace and empathy.


NOVEMBER 12: LGBT activists protest Time Magaz…


On this day in 1969, members of
the Gay Liberation Front and the lesbian organization The Daughters of Bilitis picketed at the Time-Life
Building in New York City. The protest came about in response to a story run in
Time Magazine
on October 31, 1969 titled “The Homosexual in America.”

TIME Magazine Cover: The Homosexual in America,” Oct. 31, 1969 (x).

When the October 1969 issue of
Time Magazine hit stands and the article “The Homosexual in America” was
finally able to be read, many members of The Gay Liberation Front and The
Daughters of Bilitis felt betrayed. Although taking a slightly more empathetic
angle than articles and essays that preceded it, “The Homosexual in America”
had used interviews with gay and lesbian members of both organizations to ultimately
come to the conclusion that “homosexuality is a serious and sometimes crippling

In response to this sense of
betrayal, gay and lesbian activists crowded the Time-Life building on the
morning of November 12, 1969 with picket signs. They also handed out leaflets to
passersby that read “In characteristic tight-assed fashion, ‘Time’ has
attempted to dictate sexual boundaries for the American public and to define
what is healthy, moral, fun, and good on the basis of its narrow, out-dated,
warped, perverted, and repressed sexual bias.”