Friday, 20 January 2017

Out of Their Presidential Trees

I don’t think there has ever been such a big controversy over lgbt rights during a US Presidential election than there was last year. The final election results also saw a reduced number of elected lgbt legislators. Whatever political party takes office in the White House and how much support they do or do not show to the lgbt community one fact remains. The White House has seen its fair share of lgbt residents and members of presidential families.

To celebrate today’s Presidential Inauguration Day (regardless of who is to be inaugurated) let’s have a look at some queer presidential relatives.

Many lgbt people are related to US Presidents. More than half of them are descended from King Edward I of England so the many thousands of lgbt people who also descend from him, including myself, can claim to be “family”. For the purposes of today’s article I’ll restrict myself to actual Presidents and their descendants or near kin. They can be divided into the four groups as given below.

1) THE PRESIDENTS
There has never been any conclusive proof that any US President was gay. Some suspicions and circumstantial evidence exists for two of them.

President James Buchanan (1791-1868)
Buchanan was elected in 1857. The current belief among many historians is that his romantic partner was William Rufus DeVane King (1786-1853) who was been US President pro tempore twice. Both men were bachelors (the only men to serve full terms as bachelors in their respective offices). Surviving letters by Buchanan express deep emotional feelings towards King. The debate on his sexuality continues, even at his Pennsylvania mansion where staff are advised to only give personal opinions rather than claim they have the authoritative answers.

President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
The sexuality of Buchanan’s presidential successor, Abraham Lincoln, is so hotly debated that the topic even has its own Wikipedia page, so I suggest you go there for a more complete discussion. Speaking personally I am undecided on the issue though open-minded. There’s little to prove that his behaviour, particularly the bed-sharing between men that was common and had no sexual connotation in his lifetime, was an indication one way or the other. I include Lincoln in this list purely because of the continuing debate. I can, however, be more open to the possibility that Lincoln was bisexual.

2) FIRST LADIES
Rose Cleveland (1846-1918)
During President Cleveland’s first year in office (1885-6) he was unmarried. For a First Lady he chose his youngest unmarried sister Rose. She had previously acted as First lady of New York State when her brother was governor. Rose’s last act as First Lady of America was to oversee her presidential brother’s wedding in 1886. In 1890 she met a wealthy widow named Mrs. Evangeline Simpson. After a while, during which time very erotic letters were exchanged between them, they moved into a house together. Mrs. Simpson went on to marry a bishop nearly twice her own age, but after the bishop’s death she and Rose Cleveland got back together and moved to Italy in 1910 where they died. They are buried side by side.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
Eleanor Roosevelt holds a unique place in the history of First Ladies. She is the one and only woman who belonged to a presidential family before becoming a presidential First Lady. I wrote briefly about Eleanor and the Roosevelts a couple of years ago and gave some indication of her romantic involvement with Lorena Hickok, so I won’t repeat myself here.

3) DESCENDANTS OF PRESIDENTIAL FAMILIES
Joseph Alsop (1910-1989)
Joseph, the son of Eleanor Roosevelt’s cousin, has close family links to 3 US Presidents. The family tree below shows you which ones they are.


Joseph Alsop was a journalist and because of his family connections became known as a top insider into US political reporting. Even though he married he was a closeted gay man who was the victim of blackmail by the KGB.

Doris Fielding Reid (1895-1973)
Even though the first US President George Washington never left any descendants his siblings did and Doris Fielding Reid is one of 2 lgbt descendants of his sister Mrs. Betty Washington Lewis. Betty’s great-grand-daughter married Andrew Reid and they were the ancestors of both Doris Fielding Reid and John Arthur Holmes (below). Doris was an author who wrote about her partner in “Edith Hamilton: An Intimate Portrait”.

Gavin Arthur (1902-1972)
Gavin was the grandson of Chester Arthur, the 21st US President. Like Eleanor Roosevelt I’ve written about Gavin before.

4) DESCENDANTS OF PRESIDENTIAL FAMILIES (LIVING)
Cyrus Cassells (b.1957)
Poet Cyrus Cassells is a descendant of President Thomas Jefferson. Two years ago I gave a genealogical account of him in my “Out of Their Trees” series. Since that article was written it has been proven through DNA testing that Cyrus’s ancestor Frances Woodson was the grand-daughter of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sarah Hemmings.

John Arthur Holmes III (b.1984)
Next week is the first anniversary of the first known same-sex marriage of a Presidential descendant. John Holmes married Hugh Eastwood last January. Like Doris Fielding Reid John is descended from Betty Washington Lewis. It was the announcement of their marriage which prompted an invitation to John and Hugh to be guests of honour at the National LGBT 50th anniversary celebrations in Philadelphia in July 2016.

I’m sure there are other lgbt descendants of Presidential families. It is an area which I would be interested in researching more fully if I had the time.

Monday, 16 January 2017

LGBT Olympians List 2017

As I promised last month here is the brand new version of my lgbt Olympic and Paralympic list. A big leap forward was made with the record-breaking number of out lgb athletes in Rio.

To add an extra dimension to my research I’ve also produced an infographic of some of the many facts surrounding lgbt Olympians (I haven’t included the Paralympians). You will find this infographic at the end of today’s article.

This summer I identified more lgbt athletes from previous Olympics during my research than in the whole of the previous 4 years. I have also been greatly helped by my friends at Outsports.com.

This time next year, in advance of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea, there will be a new addition to my list. This will be athletes who competed in Olympic trials and qualifying events. Since London 2012 several lgbt athletes were heralded as Olympic hopefuls. Their progress to Olympism was followed closely during the various trials and qualifying events. Some were successful and made it to Rio (e.g. Spencer Wilton) while others were not (e.g. Samantha Sendel).

My method of determining who to include on the full list in the future can be summed up in the following 3 points.

1) Athletes officially selected for national teams for any Olympic or Paralympic games, whether they actually competed or not (e.g. this includes substitutes on team events who were not called upon to compete; this section excludes named athletes who were dropped from the official team or disqualified by the IOC prior to the games).

2) Athletes who were officially selected as reserve or alternate members of the national team; also athletes selected for national Olympic teams but who withdrew injured, or who were forced to boycott the games (this does not include athletes who were disqualified by the IOC or national teams prior to the games).

3) Athletes who competed in Olympic and Paralympic trials or qualifying competitions who were not selected for the national teams; this section includes those athletes who were selected but dropped from their team or disqualified by the IOC prior to the games.

In a lot of cases athletes compete in trials and qualifying events but do not envisage being selected for an Olympic team. Quite often national championships are held as trial events. Some athletes compete to achieve national rankings rather than Olympic selection. Many who do achieve national ranking see this as a step towards future Olympic success. However, the fact that a national championship is given official status by the IOC as a trial or qualifying event is enough justification for me to include all known lgbt athletes who competed at those championships as those who went on to Olympic success.

I’ll give one example to explain this. In figure skating the Canadian Championships are divided into three categories – senior, junior and novice. At the 1998 championships which served as the Olympic selection event for the Nagano Winter Games Jeff Buttle competed in the Junior category. He finished 6th and earned a place on the national junior team but not the Olympics. Four year later he competed in the Canadian Championship again which served as the Olympic selection event for Salt Lake City. This time he finished second in the senior event and was selected as a reserve for the skaters who were chosen for the Olympic team (I won’t go into why he didn’t compete when one of the selected skaters was dropped). Another four years later and Jeff competed in the 2006 championships which again acted as the selection event. This time he made the team and made his Olympic debut in Turin. He won a bronze medal. Jeff retired from competitive skating two years later, but returned to the Olympics as choreographer to the gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu. I hope this example gives you an idea of far before and beyond the actual Olympic games an Olympic career can span. There are more examples like this in other sports.

I hope that hasn’t confused you! So, here’s the new lgbt Olympian list followed by the new infographic.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzq5fAOpKeVcdlVVU0U4T2hrdWM/view?usp=sharing

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Deadliest Killers-Queers

When it comes to naming members of the lgbt community who will go down in history as villains perhaps those highest on the list would be murderers and serial killers. Some of the most infamous serial killers have been gay. The names of Jeffrey Dahmer, Denis Nielsen and John Wayne Gacy send shivers down my spine when I recall their horrific treatment of their victims.

The conviction last month of the serial killer Stephen Port reminds us that we cannot claim to be perfect (not that anyone ever has claimed that).

Because of the horrific nature of some murders we have a morbid desire to learn about them. This desire has produced hundreds of television series devoted to murder. Many of these programmes have featured lgbt murderers and serial killers. For me a serial killer is any person (with or without an accomplice) who deliberately murders more than two victims at different times. The motives and methods need not necessarily be the same.

The first two of the three serial killers I want to mention today have gone down in history as legendary figures and subjects of popular fiction – Bluebeard and “Countess Dracula”. Both are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as being among the most prolific murderers in, and of, their respective gender. The total combined number of their victims may never be known but both are known to have killed several hundred people each.

The name of Bluebeard has become synonymous with serial wife-killers. He even became the main character in a fairy tale by the man who brought us the likes of Cinderella. One of the real serial killers onto which some people say Bluebeard was based was somewhat different. Gilles de Montmorency-Laval, Sire de Rais (1407-1440) was a French aristocrat who was a companion of St. Joan of Arc, and like her became a national hero of the French resistance to English rule.

Most often referred to as simply Gilles de Rais this “hero” retired to his family estate and substituted killing Englishmen with killing French boys. During the 1430s he is said to have lured hundreds of peasant boys to their deaths at his hand. His usual method was to sexually assault them then slit their throats. Sometimes he would decapitate them and fondle the severed head. Even though he was personally responsible for their deaths Gilles was not alone in procuring the boys. His steward and two of his cousins scouted the countryside for his victims and also sexually abused the boys.

Fortunately, Gilles de Rais was arrested for hitting a priest. His trial revealed the fate of many of his young victims. He confessed to 400 murders though the actual number is probably less, albeit still over 300.

Topping that number by over a hundred is the “Blood Countess” who inspired the famous Hammer horror film “Countess Dracula”. Her real name was Countess Erzsébet Bathori (1560-1614), and she was number 79 in my 2015 series “Around the World in 80Gays”. As with Gilles de Rais the Countess’s victims were from the lower classes in society and were lured to their place of torture and death with promises of work. Also, like Gilles de Rais, the victims of the Countess were of the same gender, in her case all female.

There’s no evidence that Countess Erzsébet ever has sex with her victims, unlike Gilles, but both serial killers are recorded as displaying erotic behaviour towards severed heads. It is this sexual aspect which was developed overtly in the Hammer film.

The usual number of the Countess’s victims is given as around 650. This is based on the evidence given by a witness at her trial of a now long-long written account of the murders by the countess herself. The Guinness Book of World Records accepts this figure.

A more recent lgbt serial killer also preyed on the vulnerable classes. Unlike Gilles de Rais and Erzsébet Bathori Luis Alfredo Garavito (b.1957) was not a rich aristocrat. He came from a working-class family in Colombia. He, too, lured his victims to their deaths with promises, in Garavito’s case with gifts of money. The poor street children he entrapped were tortured and raped before being murdered.

For four years Garavito continued his horrific crimes until he was arrested for the rape of a 12-year-old. He admitted to killing over 140 boys. However, in prison he made maps which showed the locations where he killed a possible total of over 300 victims.

The recent conviction of Stephen Port and the stories of dozens of other serial killers throughout history just goes to show that no matter how vigilant we are against homophobic murders there is always the presence of danger lurking within our community.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Flower Power : Sissinghurst Succession

In these dark and dreary days of midwinter in the northern hemisphere we need a bit of colour. What better way than to think about the summer and gardens full of brightly-coloured flowers and some sunshine. One of the most popular and well-known public gardens in the UK are those at Sissinghurst Castle. This year sees the 50th anniversary of its purchase by the National Trust, even though it has been open to the public since 1938. What makes it significant to lgbt heritage is that it was created and looked after by a succession of lgbt couples.

Sissinghurst itself is not a genuine castle. It began life as a medieval manor house and was expanded during several centuries into the stately property it is now. In 1930 it came into the possession of a famous British literary couple, Sir Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) and Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962).

Their marriage became one of the most famous, even infamous, marriages in British history, not only because it lasted over 50 years and produced the wonderful Sissinghurst gardens, but also because both accepted from the outset that they would have same-sex relationships outside their marriage. As Vita Sackville-West himself might have said, love is love regardless of gender.
Harold and Vita lived in a medieval house in the village of Sevenoaks Weald until 1930. They had heard that their property was about to be redeveloped by a local farmer and they looked for a new home. Sissinghurst was recommended to them by a local agent and even though it was very run down the couple decided to buy it and move in.

The garden, in total disarray and overgrown, was to be a passion for Harold and Vita even more than the restoration of the building itself. Harold planned the new gardens and Vita did the planting. Their original plans no longer exist but we can get a taste of their ideas through the work of a succession of talented couples who have looked after the gardens ever since.

Both Harold and Vita had highly successful careers which often took them away from Sissinghurst. Yet they created a distinctive garden and regenerated the small working farm on the estate at the same time.

In 1959 Vita decided to appoint a head gardener. In the end she appointed two, Pamela Schwerdt (1931-2009) and Sibylle Kreutzberger. These two women had met at the Waterperry School of Horticulture for Ladies and established a life-long companionship. At Sissinghurst they “tidied up” the gardens and introduced new planting schemes that were more contemporary while still in keeping with Harold’s and Vita’s original ideas. The garden, which was open to the public, soon gained national attention and in the first nine years of Pamela’s and Sibylle’s time at Sissinghurst visitor figures jumped from 6,000 a year to 57,000.
In 1967 Harold gave Sissinghurst to the National Trust. The family were allowed to live there (as their grandson still does) and Pamela and Sybille were kept on as Head Gardeners. By the time they retired in 1991 they had assembled a talented team of gardeners under them who ensured Sissinghurst’s reputation would carry on into the 21st century.

The successor as Head Gardener appointed an assistant who was herself her eventual successor. The assistant, Alexis Datta, was recruited from the gardens of Cliveden House, another of the great stately homes in England. Alexis’s partner, Jacqueline Ruthven, became Head Propagator.

During Alexis’s tenure as Head Gardener from 2005 the visitor figure at Sissinghurst rose to around 195,000 a year. This is partly due to the general rise in visitor figures to heritage sites across the whole of the UK but also to the sustained reputation and increasing interest in the Sissinghurst gardens.

Not many public gardens have remained basically the same as originally planned. Many modern trends and fashions have come and gone in the gardening world but Sissinghurst has remained as a window into the world of a couple of the 1930s. While changing to reflect modern growing techniques and becoming an organic garden Sissinghurst has provided a refreshing change to those large over-flowered public gardens of larger properties. It is seen as a traditional English garden. That is its main appeal, as the photos I've included of the gardens show.

In 2013 Alexis and Jacqueline retired from their positions. Both went on to other garden projects but they left Sissinghurst with the 83-year legacy of Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson intact for future generations to enjoy.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Out Of Their Trees: A Report on the Wolfendens

For the first of this year’s themed articles I want to look at the family whose name was given to the parliamentary committee which paved the way for the Sexual Offences Act 1967. This Act partly decriminalised homosexual activity in England and Wales and was influenced by the recommendations made in the final report from that committee – the Wolfenden Report.

The chairman of the committee was John Wolfenden (1902-1985), at that time he was Vice-Chancellor of Reading University and later became Lord Wolfenden. I’ll give a full account of his report and the Sexual Offences Act in July. But for today I want to look at one aspect of his life which is not generally known and which surely had some influence on his opinion. John Wolfenden’s own son was gay.

Jeremy Wolfenden was born in 1934 He was the only son of John Wolfenden and his wife Eileen. Jeremy was open about his sexuality at Eton college. While he was working as the Daily Telegraph’s Moscow correspondent he found himself trapped between East and West double-espionage, having been blackmailed by both MI5 and the KGB into spying for them in return for the non-disclosure of his sexuality. Jeremy was later transferred to Washington DC where he died just after Christmas 1965.
Jeremy Wolfenden
(1934-1965)
Jeremy’s ancestry reveals large amount of legal heritage apart from his father’s contribution to the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Lord Wolfenden’s ancestry is very firmly based in Yorkshire. They were solid working-class folk who worked in the flour and cotton mills around Leeds and Halifax. Lord Wolfenden’s father George worked his way up from working class roots to become a college registrar to the local government education authority. It shows the fluidity of social mobility in England whereby George Wolfenden, a man whose father was a working-class cotton mill worker can have a son who went on to have a seat in the House of Lords.

George’s wife Emily Hannah Gawkroger (1880-1956) brings a personal link between myself and the Wolfendens. Even though I cannot find any conclusive information beyond her grandfather, Joseph Gawkroger of Sowerby near Halifax, there is little doubt that he belongs to the same family from which I, myself, descend (as do both Presidents Bush and lgbt Olympic swimmers Mark Chatfield and Susan Gray McGreivy).

Back to Jeremy Wolfenden. His mother, Lady Wolfenden, came from a different social background. She was born Eileen Le Messurier Spilsbury (1908-2004) and her ancestry could not be more varied. Her own mother was the English-born daughter of a Turkish merchant who became a naturalised British citizen in 1847.

The Spilsburys were no stranger to international geography. Eileen’s ancestor Thomas Spilsbury (1734-1795) was a member of a family of printers and engravers. Thomas’s younger brother John printed maps and is credited as the inventor of the jigsaw. In fact, the very first jigsaw was of Europe with all its nations as the interlocking pieces. On that jigsaw you can just make out the little island group which supplied the ancestry of Lady Wolfenden’s grandmother – the Channel Islands.

Lady Wolfenden’s grandmother was born Marie Susannah le Mesurier in Islington but her ancestors can be traced back for over a thousand years in Guernsey. The le Mesurier’s ancestors included highly influential people from the Saumarez, Dobree, Carye, Blondel, de Havilland and de Beauvoir families. These ancestors provided Lady Wolfenden and her son Jeremy with dozens of men who held legal offices across several of the Channel Islands. Dozens of them were appointed as jurats.

In the legal systems of Guernsey and Jersey a jurat is a judge of the royal court. The Channel Islands are not part of the UK (they are possessions of the crown, not the state) and aren’t subject to UK laws. In the time when Jeremy Wolfenden’s ancestor held these positions they were held for life (they aren’t today). Jurats didn’t need any official legal training. Their job was to determine just the facts of a legal case and make judgements on the advice of a qualified clerk or a presiding judge or island bailiff. The earliest ancestor of Jeremy Wolfenden I can find as a jurat is Guillaume de Beauvoir in the mid-1400s (incidentally, this is not the same family to which the French lgbt philosopher Simone de Beauvoir belongs).

Last year the UK celebrated the 950th anniversary of the Norman invasion of England in 1066. We should also celebrate the fact that the Channel Islands are the only part of the medieval duchy of Normandy which still belongs to the British crown. The heritage of a bloodline through the Channel Islands and their legacy within the islands’ legal system flowed down to Jeremy Wolfenden. Lord Wolfenden’s contribution to the sexual reform committee was surely influenced by the homosexuality of his son. History could have turned out very different if a less-than-enlightened chairman of the committee, one who had no known homosexual family member, had produced a report that didn’t reflect the changing attitudes to sexuality in the 1960s.

Monday, 2 January 2017

An Arresting Theme for 2017

2017 is a landmark year for the lgbt community in the UK. It marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act which partly decriminalised homosexual activity in England and Wales. It was influenced by the Wolfenden Report published ten years earlier. To commemorate these anniversaries the UK’s LGBT History Month in February 2017 has taken Citizenship and Law as its theme.

The Wolfenden Report of 1957 can be said to be England’s “Stonewall” event. After its publication many gay rights organisations began to appear and the issue of homosexuality was discussed more openly. It also led to a higher rate of portrayals of gay men in films and on television and radio. Sir Dirk Bogarde won high acclaim for his portrayal of a blackmail victim in the 1961 film “Victim”, and BBC radio has been praised for the creation of the sympathetic gay characters of Julian and Sandy in the comedy series “Round the Horne”.

I’ll be giving more detailed coverage of the Wolfenden Report and the Sex Offences Act on 27th July, the actual 50th anniversary of the Act receiving Royal assent.

This year I’ll be adapting the LGBT History Month theme as my special sub-theme throughout this year. As in previous years I’ll write several special articles throughout each month connected with the theme. My adaptation of the Citizenship and Law will include other aspects of justice and crime in connection with the lgbt community.

I have divided the theme into five sections which are listed below. I’ve put a link to a previous article to illustrate the range of topics I will be including in this new series this year.

Courts and the Judiciary – famous court cases; judges and lawyers; lgbt law societies.
Extraordinary Lives : Sir Francis Bacon.

Parliament and Legislation – laws; parliament; MPs and elected legislators.
 
Campaigns and Activism – lgbt rights organisations; campaigners and activists
 
Police and Law Enforcement – police forces; lgbt police organisations

Crime and Detection – anti-gay crimes and victims; lgbt criminals; jails and prison life

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Remembering the People we Lost This Year

As we reach the end of another year we remember those members of the lgbt community who have left us in the past twelve months. This is by no means a comprehensive list and there are many, many people from local communities who have died this year.

January 2016
5th       Pierre Boulez (aged 90), composer.
6th       Francis King, CBE (aged 86), novelist and theatre critic
10th     Jeanne Cordova (aged 67), activist, author and publisher
10th     David Bowie (aged 69), singer-songwriter and actor
12th     David St. Vincent (aged 48), writer and activist in Romania
13th     Brian Bedford (aged 80), Tony award-winning actor
13th     Bryn Kelly (aged 35), transgender advocate and writer

March 2016
2nd      Tony Warren (aged 79), creator of “Coronation Street”, the world’s longest-running tv soap
13th     Sir Peter Maxwell Davis (aged 81), composer
18th     Guido Westerwelle (aged 54), Vice-Chancellor of Germany 2009-13

April 2016
11th     Miss Shangay Lily (Enrique Vásquez) (aged 53), drag queen and activist
12th     David Gest (aged 62), television producer, ex-husband of Liza Minnelli
14th     Dan Ireland (aged 57), film director and producer
16th     Maurice Kenny (aged 69), poet of Mohawk heritage
18th     Brian Asawa (aged 49), opera singer
28th     Jim Morris (aged 80), bodybuilding multi-champion, including Mr Universe 1977
28th     Demetrius Mallisham (aged 46), lgbt community liaison to the Mayor of Baltimore

May 2016
6th       Candye Kane (aged 54), singer, entertainer and porn star
16th     Donald Eckert (aged 74), photographer and chronicler of the Gay Games
19th     Mario Pannella (aged 86), Italian Member of the European Parliament 1979-2009
26th     Angelo D’Agostino (aged 52), figure skater, Olympic reserve, and Gay Games competitor
28th     Connie Kopelov (aged 90), became the first same-sex spouse in New York City

June 2016
4th       Paul Walentowicz (aged 65), Labour Party campaigner, mayoral spouse of Ealing 2011
10th     Desmond Healey (aged 85), theatre designer
17th     Peter Feuchtwanger (aged 86), concert piano tutor and mentor

July 2016
11th     Bruce Littrell (aged 61), tennis umpire, Chief Umpire at the 2015 US Open
18th     Antony Copley (aged 79), historian of sexuality and of Indian religions
18th     Jeffrey Montgomery (aged 63), activist and anti-violence campaigner
26th     Miss Cleo (Youree Dell Harris) (aged 53), television psychic

August 2016
3rd       Elliot Tiber (aged 81), co-founder of the Woodstock Festival
12th     Mark Thompson (aged 63), former senior editor of The Advocate
14th     Alan Wilkinson (aged 60), Zimbabwean activist and campaigner
28th     Juan Gabriel (aged 66), Mexican star singer

September 2016
8th       Lady Chablis (aged 59), cabaret performer and actor
11th     Alexis Arquette (aged 47), actor
16th     Edward Albee (aged 88), playwright
18th     Stephanie Anne Lloyd (aged 70), businesswoman and reality tv celebrity
24th     John Michael Gray (aged 66), hat-maker who, with partner, was known as The Hat Sisters

October 2016
10th     Marnix Kappers (aged 73), Dutch cabaret singer and actor
23rd     Peter Burns (aged 57), singer with Dead or Alive

November 2016
5th       Giles Waterfield (aged 67), novelist and art gallery director
14th     David Manusco (aged 72), DJ and pioneer of disco music

December 2016
19th     Lionel Blue (aged 86), Reform Rabbi; television and radio personality
19th     German man killed in the Berlin Christmas Market Terror attack (his name withheld by his injured American partner and family)
25th     George Michael (aged 53), singer songwriter

The man killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack reminds us all that we live in troubling times when anyone can become a victim regardless of sexuality. This year we have seen a truly horrific attack aimed at the lgbt community which resulted in the deaths of many lgbt and non-lgbt people.

The Pulse club in Orlando, a well-known gay club in Florida, was attacked on 12th June by a lone gunman in an obvious anti-gay hate crime. The list of victims is as follows:

Stanley Almodovar III, aged 23
Amanda Alvear, aged 25
Oscar Aracena-Montero, aged 26
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, aged 33
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, aged 21
Martin Benitez Torres, aged 33
Antonio Brown, aged 30
Darryl Burt II, aged 29
Jonathan Camuy Vega, aged 24
Angel Candelario-Padro, aged 28
Simon Carrillo Fernandez, aged 31
Juan Chevez-Martinez, aged 25
Luis Conde, aged 39
Cory Connell, aged 21
Tevin Crosby, aged 25
Franky Dejesus Velazquez, aged 50
Deonka Drayton, aged 32
Mercedez Flores, aged 26
Juan Guerrero, aged 22
Peter Gonzalez-Cruz, aged 22
Paul Henry, aged 41
Frank Hernandez, aged 27
Miguel Honorato, aged 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, aged 40
Jason Josaphat, aged 19
Eddie Justice, aged 30
Anthony Laureano Disla, aged 25
Christopher Leinonen, aged 32
Brenda Marquez McCool, aged 49
Jean Mendez Perez, aged 35
Akyra Monet Murray, aged 18
Kimberly Morris, aged 37
Jean Nieves Rodriguez, aged 27
Luis Ocasio-Capo, aged 20
Geraldo Ortiz-Jimenez, aged 25
Eric Ortiz-Rivera, aged 36
Joel Rayon Paniagua, aged 32
Enrique Rios Jr., aged 25
Juan Rivera Velazquez, aged 37
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, aged 24
Christopher Sanfeliz, aged 24
Xavier Serrano Rosado, aged 35
Gilberto Silva Menendez, aged 25
Edward Sotomayor Jr., aged 34
Shane Tomlinson, aged 33
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, aged 25
Luis Vielma, aged 22
Luis Wilson-Leon, aged 37
Jerald Wright, aged 31