Category: wlw

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 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 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 11: Maude Adams (1872-1953)


Actress and Broadway star, Maude Adams,
was born on this day in 1872. During her run as Broadway’s Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up,
Maude was the highest paid performer in the country and raked in an annual
income of one million dollars.

Maude Adams photographed by an unnamed photographer in 1900 (x).

Maude Ewing Adams Kiskadden was
born on November 11, 1872 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was raised in a
hardworking Mormon family; her father worked two jobs for a bank and
for a local mine before passing away when Maude was a child. Her very first
stage appearance happened when she was only 2 months old, starring in The Lost Baby at Brigham Young Theatre. Her mother Annie
Kiskadden had a penchant for the theater and would star in several productions
with her infant daughter on her hip as well. This paved the way for Maude’s
theater career to start in earnest when she joined a traveling theater troupe
as a small child.

Her life became consumed by
performing and she would work steadily as an actress for many years. Maude’s
big break came, however, when her path crossed with that of English writer J.M.
Barrie. Barrie had been being pressured to make his novel The Little Minister
into a play, but he had resisted for fear that no actress could accurately
capture the role of Lady Babbie. After attending a performance of Rosemary in
which Maude starred, Barrie decided immediately that she was the perfect choice
for Lady Babbie. The two’s working relationship would culminate in Maude receiving
the role of a lifetime – Peter Pan in the very first Broadway adaptation of the
iconic novel in 1905.

Maude Adams: Fashion icon and America’s first Peter Pan (x).

The public’s reception of Maude
was as eternally-virginal and virtuous, but the truth of the matter was that
Maude avoided relationships with men not because she was childlike, but because
she was a lesbian. She had two serious relationships throughout her lifetime. Her
first partner was a woman named Lillie Florence, whom she was with from the
1890s to the early 1900s. She met a woman named Louise Boynton in 1905 and the
two stayed together until Louise’s death in 1951. In her later years, Maude became
known as a renowned drama teacher and served as the head of the drama
department at Stephens College. She would pass away at the age of 80 on July
17, 1953. She is buried next to Louise in New York.


NOVEMBER 10: Marion Morgan (1881-1971)


Famed screenwriter and
choreographer, Marion Morgan, passed away on this day in 1971. She is most
well-known for being the longtime partner of the out lesbian director Dorothy

An undated portrait of Marion Morgan (x).

Marion Cahill was born on January
4, 1881 in Paterson, New Jersey. Little is known about her early years aside
from the fact that her father was an attorney and she was raised in an upper-middle-class household. In 1900, Marion married a man named Matthew A. Morgan and
became Marion Morgan. The two had ason named Roderick before separating in
1905. In 1910, Marion left New Jersey to have a fresh start with her son in Long
Island, California. She was able to find a job as a P.E. teacher at Manual Arts
High School in Los Angeles, which eventually evolved into a position as a
choreographer for the Orpheum Circuit, a popular chain of Vaudeville theaters, and then a studio of her own.

Marion first discovered her
passion for choreography when she was offered the position as a dance
instructor for a summer program at the University of California, Berkeley. From
there, she was hired by the Orpheum Circuit as a full-time choreographer and spearheaded
a troupe of 25 dancers. Marion traveled back and forth between Los Angeles and
New York City with her troupe performing interpretive dance routines that were
often based on Egyptian or classical Greek and Roman themes. She cultivated a reputation
for being very strict with her dancers; she required all of her dancers to be vegetarian
and would often require them to study classic literature so that they could
understand the source material for their routines.

Marion (right) photographed with her partner Dorothy Arzner in 1927 (x).

Marion first met Dorothy Arzner in
1921 on the set for the film Man-Woman-Marriage,
which the Marion Morgan dancers were featured in. Dorothy was one of the few
powerful women directors in Hollywood and she and Marion worked together often
on such films as Fashions for Women, Get Your Man, and Manhattan Cocktail. Her breakout film was 1929′s The Wild Party. Their business relationship eventually
blossomed into a romance and they became known around Hollywood as dedicated
partners. In her later years, Marion became involved in other areas of the
theater; she graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1934 and wrote several
short stories and screenplays throughout her lifetime.

In the 1950s, Marion and Dorothy
retired and moved to Palm Springs and lived there together until Marion’s death
on November 10, 1971. Today, all of her dance archives are preserved at the
Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing


NOVEMBER 9: Erika Mann (1905-1969)


The German actress and writer Erika
Mann was born on this day in 1905. She is most well-known for her fearless
anti-fascist artistic and journalistic work during World War II and for starting the cabaret Die Pfeffermühle,
which was a safe haven for Munich’s LGBT community during the 1930s.

During her lifetime, Erika Mann wrote three different novels and multiple plays (x).

Erika Mann was born on November 9,
1905 in Munich, Germany. She was the first child born to Thomas Mann and his wife
Katia. Although she was Jewish on her mother’s side and named after her
maternal uncle Erik, she was baptized Protestant. Her father was a Nobel-prize
winning author and afforded Erika a comfortable and privileged upbringing, but he
confessed to his brother in several letters his disappointment at having a
daughter as his first-born. A son named Klaus would follow soon, however. Klaus and Erika would have an incredibly close relationship for
their whole lives and were bonded by their shared experiences of same-gender attraction. Although not a strong student, Erika was interested
in theater and the arts from a very early age and even started a theater troupe
at her high school. After graduating by the skin of her teeth, she moved to
Berlin and began to further her studies in theater.

“Klaus und Erika Mann, Berlin,” 1930 by

Lotte Jacobi. Often nicknamed “the twins” by family members, Erika (right) and her younger brother Klaus (left) were kindred spirits in a multitude of ways. Klaus was a gay man and Erika was a lesbian and their shared experiences bonded the two for life (x).

Throughout the 1920s, Erika moved
between Berlin and Bremen working with two different theater troupes. She was
married twice in her lifetime; first to the famous German actor Gustaf
Gründgens and then later to the iconic poet W.H. Auden, but they were both lavender marriages – marriages between a gay man and a lesbian that
allowed them to conveniently move about the world of the early 20th century. One of her first lovers was an
actress named Pamela Wedekind who she met while performing in her brother Klaus’s
play Anja und Esther. While Klaus, Pamela,
Erika, and Erika’s first husband Gustaf worked on Anja und Esther, Klaus was engaged to Pamela and Erika was engaged
to Gustaf. These engagements were cover-ups for the real relationships: Klaus
and Gustav and Erika and Pamela. The foursome eventually parted ways in

Erika Mann, Klaus Mann, and Pamela Wedekind photographed in the 1920s. Although Pamela was briefly married to Klaus, it was a cover-up for her relationship with Erika (x).

Erika’s other notable affairs would include Therese Giehse, Annemarie
Schwarzenbach and Betty Knox. Erika was in the landmark lesbian
film Mädchen in Uniform in 1931
founded the iconic cabaret establishment Die
with her lover Therese Giehse in 1933. Most of the material performed
at the cabaret was penned by Erika herself and was staunchly anti-Fascist. It
only lasted two months before being shut down by the Nazi Party, but during its
short lifespan, Die Pfeffermühle
became a hub for the underground resistance fighters and LGBT community in

Erika (far right) poses with other female war corespondents in 1944. One of Erika’s lovers who was also a popular war corespondent, Betty Knox, is pictured fourth from the left (x).

Erika eventually fled Germany and
worked as a journalist and war corespondent for the majority of World War II. After the
war, she, her parents, and Klaus moved to America. Tragically, Erika and Klaus
would soon come under FBI investigation for their illegal “homosexual
activities” and socialist political leanings, the stress of which would result in
Klaus committing suicide. The grief of losing her brother and closest confidant
would never leave Erika. For the rest of her life, she was dedicated to
preserving the work and memory of both her brother and father. Erika herself
passed away on August 27, 1969 from a brain tumor.


NOVEMBER 8: Blue is the Warmest Colour is rele…


The film Blue is the Warmest Colour was first released in the United Kingdom
on this day in 2013. After becoming the breakout film of the 2013 Cannes Film
Festival, lesbians everywhere waited with baited breath for the roll out of Blue is the Warmest Colour into theaters.


Blue is the Warmest Colour was first released in its home country of France on October 9, 2013 (x).

Based on Julie Maroh’s 2010
graphic novel of the same name, Blue is the Warmest Colour tells the story of a
15-year-old girl named Adèle whose life gets turned upside down when she meets
and falls in love with a blue-haired girl named Emma. After bumping into Emma
on the street one day, Adèle becomes fixated on her and daydreams of her at school, home, and even during sex with her boyfriend. While partying at a gay club with her friends, Adèle
wanders off and finds herself at a lesbian bar and in the presence of the
mysterious blue-haired girl once again. The two enter
into an exciting new relationship, but one that eventually becomes a rocky adult
relationship as Adèle and Emma struggle with keeping the spark between them throughout
the years.


In May of 2013, Blue is the Warmest Colour unanimously
won the Palme d’Or and the FIPRESCI
Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It also made history by its two lead
actresses – Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos – being just the second and
third actresses to ever be awarded the Palme
. Although the film came into great controversy for its use of the
straight male gaze and the sexually exploitative working conditions established
by director Abdellatif Kechiche, it still placed at the top of many
publications “Best of 2013” lists and was even nominated for a BAFTA and Golden
Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In spite of its flaws both in front
of and behind the camera, the success of Blue
is the Warmest Colour
has afforded it a place in lesbian culture and film


NOVEMBER 7: Edythe Eyde (1921-2015)


Edythe Eyde, better
known as her pen name Lisa Ben, was born on this day in 1921. She was a
literary editor, publisher, and musician who created the very first known
lesbian publication in America – Vice Versa – which was printed and distributed
in the 1940s.

“Edythe Eyde looking glamorous in an undated photo. Courtesy of ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.” Listen to Edythe’s interview with the Making Gay History podcast! 

Edythe was born on November 7,
1921 in San Francisco, California. She was an only child and grew up on an
apricot farm in the rural town of Frement Township, California. Her love of
music began as a young child when she entered violin lessons, which she would
take for 8 years. Although she would not become aware of the word lesbian until
well into her adulthood, Edythe had her first relationship with another girl
when she was in high school. Heartbroken after her girlfriend broke off the relationship,
Edythe attempted to open up to her mother, but her mother reacted poorly to the news that Edythe had been in love with another girl. The event
effectively ruined any personal connection Edythe had previously had with her

Edythe Eyde, c. 1950s. Lisa Ben Papers. ONE Archives at the USC Libraries (x).

After three years of saving up
money and two years of taking secretarial courses at her parents’ insistence,
Edythe finally left the nest and moved to Palo Alto. She would not stay in Palo
Alto for long and eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1945. Finally in a city
with an active gay and lesbian community, Edyth first learned the word lesbian and began identifying as so in 1946. She discovered that there were
several other lesbians living in her apartment complex and she had soon found
herself a close-knit group of friends. While working as a secretary at RKO Studios,
Edythe’s boss told her that it was important for her to look busy at all times.
In need of something to keep her fingers busy, Edythe began typing Vice Versa.

A friend photographs Edythe after visiting an ice cream struck in 1950 (x).

A fun passion project for Edythe,
she initially just distributed Vice Versa
around to her close friends, but she soon began mailing copies to her
long-distance friends and even passing them out to the patrons of the lesbian club, If Club. She personally wrote and published nine issues of Vice Versa from 1947
to 1948. She eventually lost her secretary job at RKO when the company went under and was forced to take on a new
job that left her with no free time to continue creating Vice Versa. When the lesbian
magazine The Ladder began in the 1950s, Edythe was a frequent contributor under
the name Lisa Ben, an anagram of the word lesbian. Copies of Vice Versa can
still be read today at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.

Edythe smiling with her guitar in 1964 (x).

Dubbed by the Daughters of Bilitis
as “the first gay folk singer,” Edythe enjoyed a successful music career in
lesbian circles throughout her life. Her music was also featured on
several documentary films. She was honored in 1972 by ONE Archives as one of
the “fathers of the homophile movement,” was featured in the 1984 documentary
Before Stonewall
, and was also inducted into the National Lesbian and Gay
Journalists Association’s hall of fame in 2010. Edyth passed away on December
22, 2015 at the age of 94.


NOVEMBER 6: LGBT activists attend the Demonstr…


On this day in 1971, a small group of
LGBT activists marched in the Demonstration Against the Vietnam War in Toronto,
Ontario in Canada. Although not leading the parade, multiple activists
associated with the LGBT newspaper The
Body Politic
were present at the demonstration.

Art Whitaker and other gay and lesbian contingent members hold picket signs reading “War Is Not Gay” & “Better Blatent Than Latent” at the Demonstration Against the Vietnam War, Toronto, Ontario, November 6, 1971. Photo by Jearld Moldenhauer (x).

very first “gay liberation” newspaper in Canadian history, The Body Politic, was founded in 1971. It was spearheaded by Jearld Moldenhauer and the first issue was
published on November 1, 1971. It was that momentum from the paper’s big coming out party which resulted in the
writers and staff of The Body Politic
protesting alongside anti-war activists in Toronto’s Demonstration Against the
Vietnam War on November 6, 1971. 

The headline to the October 1981 issue of Body Politic includes the headline “In search of the perfect any lesbian bar: A thirsty Chris Bearchell scouts the (few) options for gay women in Toronto” (x).

The Body
 ran for 16 years before ceasing publication in 1987 and
became a central tenet of Toronto’s LGBT and activist community. One of the
newspaper’s most active contributors was Sue Golding, one of the leaders of
Canada’s lesbian activist scene.


NOVEMBER 5: Fire is released (1998)


On this day in 1998, the movie Fire was first released in India. The
first of Deepa Mehta’s Elements
trilogy and loosely based on Ismat Chughtai’s 1942 story, The Quilt, it was one of the very first mainstream Bollywood movies
to feature a same-gender love story.

Although it first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 1996, Fire was not shown in India until November 5, 1998 (x).

Starring Nandita Das and Shabana
Azmi, the movie features two young women named Radha and Sita who fall into a
relationship with each other after becoming dissatisfied with their husbands.
The two women are sisters-in-laws who live together in a traditional joint-living
situation. Sita’s husband feels no love for her and constantly leaves her alone while he is out with his younger girlfriend, while Radha’s husband
has come under the influence of a local preacher who has convinced him that
sexual desire should be suppressed. Continually abandoned sexually and
emotionally by their husbands, Radha and Sita begin an affair. The titular
scene of the film is shown in the climax of the story when Radha announces to
her husband that she plans to move out and start a home with Sita and her sari
catches fire.

Fire became a controversial film upon its release. Although it
passed India’s censorship laws, more than 200 people stormed a theater in
suburban Mumbai in a December 2nd  riot and burned Fire movie posters. Multiple
protests of the film rippled out from that and other theaters were forced to
cancel their showing of the film. However, despite the riots and protests, many
Indian film critics and gay activists praised the film for its “gutsy”
portrayal of love between two women. Today in 2017, Fire is seen as one of the tenets of lesbian culture in India and
remains a mainstay in the hearts of Indian women who love women.