Robert Leopold Spitzer

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Robert Spitzer | 15512

Robert Leopold Spitzer, an influential psychiatrist who played a defining role in creating agreed-upon standards to describe mental disorders, died on Friday 25 December 2015 in Seattle. He is credited with helping to stop homosexuality being regarded as a pathological condition.

Mr Spitzer died from complications related to heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. He was born on May 22, 1932, in White Plains, New York. He was 83.

In the early 1970s, Spitzer met with gay-rights activists and determined that homosexuality could not be called a disorder if homosexuals were comfortable with their sexuality. At the American Psychological Conference in 1973, he pushed for the association to drop homosexuality as a medical disorder from its manual. It became a major turning point for the gay rights movement.

“A medical disorder either had to be associated with subjective distress — pain — or general impairment in social function,” he told the Washington Post, explaining his reasoning. Since gay people were comfortable and happy being gay, and functioned like everyone else in their daily lives, they did not suffer from any disorder.

In 2001, after two years of interviews with 200 ‘ex-gay’ men and women who had been through sexual reorientation therapy, he courted controversy when he concluded that gay people can turn straight if they really wanted to, but in 2012 he publicly said that he wanted to redact that paper, because the study was flawed.

Some gay rights activists attribute the U.S. Supreme Court’s judgment allowing gay marriages in 2015 partially to the work done by Mr Spitzer.

http://www.ibtimes.com/robert-spitzer-psychiatrist-who-helped-transform-gay-rights-dies-83-2240335

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David Maxwell Fyfe

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David Maxwell Fyfe | Date: 1954 | Press Association | 15492

Sir David Maxwell Fyfe was a British Conservative politician, lawyer and judge who combined a legal career with politics as Solicitor General, Attorney General, Home Secretary and Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

It was as Home Secretary that David Maxwell Fyfe oversaw the crackdown on homosexual men in Britain. Prior to becoming Home Secretary he was one of the prosecutors at the Nuremberg Trials and was instrumental in drafting the European Convention on Human Rights.

As Home Secretary his decisions were often controversial, such as his decision not to grant clemency to Derek Bentley. He was removed from Government in 1962 by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, during a Cabinet reshuffle.

For the homosexual community he was a puzzling figure at the time of the purges, for he as Home Secretary was responsible for setting up the Wolfenden Committee and giving it the job of reviewing the laws surrounding homosexuality. Then, elevated to the House of Lords, he led the opposition to implementing the findings of the very same Committee he had set up!

As late as 1965 – just two years before the 67 Act – he still opposed law reform for homosexuals, saying he was against licensing ‘buggers’ clubs’ which he claimed were operating behind innocent-looking doors all over London and telling Sir Robert Boothby that it was not his intention to legalise homosexuality: “I am not going down in history as the man who made sodomy legal.”

Not exactly a gay icon, then, he died in January 1967, so he did not live to see the 67 Act being passed.

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Patricia Highsmith and The Price of Salt

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“Carol” | The Weinstein Company – Rooney Mara, left, and Cate Blanchett | Wilson Webb/AP | 15489

Fans of the unsettling thrillers of Patricia Highsmith – and their many movie adaptations – should prepare for a new classic among Highsmith movies in Carol, Todd Haynes’s sombrely rapturous filming of the most atypical work in the author’s oeuvre, her early lesbian romance The Price Of Salt. Published in 1952 under a pseudonym, it enjoyed cult bestseller status with a largely lesbian readership for 30 years,

writes John Patterson in The Guardian reviewing the new film “Carol” which is an adaptation of her 1950s book “The Price of Salt”.

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The original edition | 15490

When The Price of Salt was first published in paperback in 1953, Highsmith was flooded with thousands of letters from readers. The letters came addressed to the author “Claire Morgan,” the pseudonym she had used for the book. Highsmith had been working in a department store while submitting mystery stories to digest-size magazines.

While by no means the first novel to tackle lesbian issues, the book became successful. Nathan Smith commented,

“The Price of Salt” was a landmark book for queer America, offering readers a powerful and hopeful ending.”

Moreover it started a publishing phenomenon.

As a 25-cent paperback with a lurid cover, The Price of Salt entered a growing market. A wave of lesbian pulp novels had first begun being published in the early 1950s, notably Women’s Barracks (1950) and Spring Fire (1952), both of which sold more of than a million copies each. Although these paperbacks were marketed as a cheap and tawdry form of entertainment, they offered many women solace and comfort in the knowledge that they were not the only ones struggling with their sexual identity. As an act of secretive reading, the lesbian pulp novel formed an invisible lesbian community,

explains Smith in New Republic.

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Patricia Highsmith | Uncredited/Denver Library | 15491

American novelist and short story writer Mary Patricia Plangman (Patricia Highsmith) was born on January 19, 1921 in Texas and died on February 4 1995. Her grandmother taught her to read and write and by the age of 9 she is said to have read and enjoyed The Human Mind by Karl Menninger, about Freudian analysis. Her short stories started appearing in print from 1942. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was published in 1950 and became a famous Hitchcock film. The Price of Salt was her second novel, although she did not associate herself with it publicly for many years.

Patricia Highsmith was an unusual individual who was fonder of cats than other people yet had the ability to communicate so well with so many people. She may have been an alcoholic. Wikipedia records that

Highsmith had sexual relationships with women and men. She never married or had children.

Highsmith died of aplastic anemia and cancer in Locarno, Switzerland, aged 74, with her place and importance in gay history and gay literature, assured.

http://www.centredaily.com/entertainment/celebrities/article47542225.html

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/nov/23/carol-patricia-highsmith-todd-haynes

https://newrepublic.com/article/124220/patricia-highsmith-offered-gay-readers-hopeful-ending

https://www.denverlibrary.org/blog/patricia-highsmith

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Holly Woodlawn

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Holly Woodlawn | Getty Images | 15479

Holly Woodlawn, the transgender actress made famous by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in their 1970s films Trash and Women in Revolt, has died after a battle with cancer at the age of 69 in Los Angeles. Holly was born Haroldo Santiago Franceschi Rodriguez Danhakl in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, in 1946.

At the age of 15, she took on the name Holly Woodlawn after running away from home and hitchhiking to New York City, where she became one of Warhol’s drag queen ‘superstars’.

These were a collection of New York personalities who appeared in Warhol’s artworks and accompanied him on social outings.
Holly’s story was immortalized in the first lines of the Lou Reed song Walk on the Wild Side.

‘Holly came from Miami, F.L.A. Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A. Plucked her eyebrows on the way. Shaved her legs and then he was a she. She says, “Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side.”‘

She took her first name from Holly Golightly, the heroine in Truman Capote’s novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The last name came from the Woodlawn Cemetery.

Holly Woodlawn, actress, born October 26, 1946, Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, died December 6, 2015, Los Angeles.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3349368/Transgender-actress-Andy-Warhol-muse-Holly-Woodlawn-69-dies-battle-cancer.html

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