LGBT Foreign Stamp Gallery
Below is a sampling of the many foreign LGBT themed stamps available. Shown are primarily stamps with subject matter that relates to the country of issue. Unless there is no other source, topical issues having themes with no connection to the issuing entity, usually promoted by philatelic agents, are not included here. Otherwise, if your favorite(s) are missing, help add to this page by contacting the webmaster who is listed on the “Contact Us” page of this website. He can accept either high resolution scans or actual items; the latter will be scanned and returned if desired. Be sure to provide a brief description of the subject matter, to include how it relates to a LGBT theme.
The sexuality of famous personalities is often open to debate. Even today, many remain in the closet for fear of ruining their career and relationships. For some individuals depicted on the stamps listed below, all we have are clues as their being or possibly being gay, lesbian or bisexual; correspondence that would reveal homosexual relationships was often destroyed after the death of those involved. Also included are some LGBT icons. The biographical sketches below are drawn from Wikipedia, Biography.com, Britannica.com, the Gay and Lesbian History on Stamps Journal, the Lambda Philatelic Journal, and various LGBT websites.
The topic AIDS on stamps is not explored here. This subject matter is comprehensively covered on the AIDS on Stamps website.
Antigua & Barbuda, Scott #1671a
Best known for marrying Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, Antony Armstrong-Jones, first Earl of Snowdon (1930-2017), was a British photographer and filmmaker. He attended Eton and Jesus College, Cambridge, coxing the eights to televised victory in 1950. He was inventive in design, making tiny crystal wireless sets, a gadget for rolling cigarettes, a photographic enlarger from tomato soup cans, and a radiogram. Having suffered polio as a teenager, he would become a tireless advocate for disabled people. Despite marrying twice, Lord Snowdon continually had affairs with both women and men, including Jeremy Fry.
Argentina 2010 Census
Argentina, Scott #2593
Argentina's 2010 Census stamp includes two same-sex couples among the various silouettes of individuals depicted.
Argentina 2014 Marriage Equality
Argentina, Scott #22702
Among 20 stamps issued in 2014 relating to new Argentine laws, policies and regulations was a 50¢ value noting Law 26-618 that established marriage equality in the South American nation.
Armenia, Scott #588
Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) was a Soviet film director who made significant contributions to Soviet cinematography, using a style totally out of step with socialist realism, through Ukrainian, Georgian, and Armenian cinema. Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, to Armenian parents, he enrolled in Moscow’s VGIK, one of the oldest and highly respected film schools in Europe. In 1948, he was arrested for homosexual acts with an MGB officer and sentenced to five years, but he was released after three months. He made his first professional film in 1954. Abandoning socialist realism in 1965, he became somewhat a celebrity. He created Sayat Nova in 1969 (re-edited as The Color of Pomegranates). The Soviet film administration sabotaged or banned his projects and plans until he was charged with homosexuality in 1973 and improspmed four year. He returned to film creation in the late 1980s.
Australia, Scott #222
Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson (1867-1922) was an Australian writer and bush poet. He is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period and is often called Australia's “greatest short story writer.”. According to a book released in 2017 by Frank Moorehouse, Lawson may have had a gay relationship with a fellow bush poet, Jim Gordon. (Also known as Jim Grahame.) They met in 1892 when Lawson was 25 and Gordon was 17 or 18. What was supposed to be a three week trip together covering 200 kilometers turned into three months, the men sleeping under the stars. The trip became a significant event for both men. They parted thereafter and did not meet again until 1916. Both men married and fathered several children. Lawson's stormy marriage ended after six years and most of his relationships ended abruptly. Gordon's wife was leery of their friendship.
Australia, Scott #2268
Ian Thorpe (born 1982) is an Australian retired swimmer who won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian. He qualified for the Australian Championships in 1996 and made his international debut in 1997. The next year, he won an individual and a team gold medal at the World Championships. His first individual world record was set in 1999. He competed at both the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics. Ian came out as gay during a 2014 televised interview.
Australia, Scott #2925
Retired diver and trampolinist Mathew Mitcham (born 1988) was the first openly gay man to win an Olympic gold medal. Competing in the 10-meter platform during the 2008 Olympics, he received the highest single-dive score in Olympic history and was the first Australian to receive a gold medal in diving since 1924. He narrowly failed to make the 10-meter platform finals in the 2012 Olympics and has since retired from sports to pursue a showbiz career, appearing sporadically on Australian television and LGBT promotional events.
Australia, Scott #3202, 3203
An openly gay Australian writer born in Brisbane, David Malouf (born 1934) graduated from the University of Queensland and published his first novel, Johnno, in 1975. His Remembering Babylon was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1993. He has also written short stories, poetry, opera libretti, and a play.
Australia, Scott #3754
Patrick White (1912-1990) is the only Australian to have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Between boarding school in England and study at King’s College, Cambridge, he worked as a stockman at Bolaro, near Adaminaby, New South Wales, for two years. After joining the British Royal Air Force in World War II, he met his life partner, Greek army officer Manoly Lascaris. Patrick’s novel Voss won the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1957. During his career, he published twelve novels, three short-story collections, and eight plays.
Australia, Scott #3836
Openly gay Australian music critic, journalist, record producer, and musical entrepreneur Molly Meldrum (born 1943) was born in Orbost, Victoria, and moved to Melbourne intending to become a disc jockey. In 1966, he started writing for the weekly pop music newspaper Go-Set, and became editor of Gas. He produced Russell Morris’ single, “The Real Thing,“ widely acknowledged as one of the finest Australian pop-rock recordings. Molly worked for the successful and popular television music series Countdown from 1974 to 1987, initially as talent coordinator, then onscreen in his “Humdrum” weekly segment. In 1986, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia. He is openly gay.
Australia, Scott #4038, 4043
Celebrity chef Kylie Kwong (born 1969) was one of the honorees in the 2014 Legends of Australia stamp series that honors living Australians. Kwong opened her first restaurant in 1999 and has since hosted several Australian television shows as well as appear on the Australian version of Master Chef. She and the artist known as Nell have been together since 2006.
Australia, Scott #4905, 4910
English born Australian author Morris Gleitzman (born 1953) writes children’s and young adult fiction, having more than 40 books under his belt, many of which have serious themes. The most controversial at the time of publication was Two Weeks with the Queen (1990) in which the young protagonist meets two gay men, one of whom eventually dies from AIDS. In February 2018 Gleitzman was named the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2018/2019.
Australia, Scott #4906, 4911
Leigh Hobbs (born 1953) is an artist and author of humorous and gently subversive children’s books that are popular in Australia and the United Kingdom. His books principally feature the characters Old Tom, Horrible Harriet, Fiona the Pig, Mr. Badger and Mr. Chicken, plus characters from the 4F for FREAKS books. He was the Australian Children's Laureate for 2016-17 and lives in Melbourne with his partner Dmetri Kakmi. He appeared on one of the 2019 Legends of Australia stamps.
Following a 2017 survey that showed about 61.6% of almost 12.7 million respondents favored the removal of discrimination against same sex couples, Liberal senator Dean Smith introduced just a day after the release of the survey results a marriage equality bill to the Australian parliament. The bill passed the parliament on December 7, 2017 and received royal assent from the Governor-General the following day, coming into effect on December 9, 2017. The first same-sex wedding under the law occurred six days later.
Australia, Scott #s to come
Originally from Liverpool, England, Magda Szubanski (born 1961) is an Australian television and film actress, comedian and writer. Her mother is Scottish-Irish and her father was Polish, having been in the counter-intelligence branch of the Polish resistance during World War II. She attended school in Australia and got her start in comedy on television, where she has produced much-loved characters, especially the people-pleasing, accident-prone Sharon Strzelecki in Kath and Kim, depicted on the stamp. She also played Esme Hoggett in both Babe movies, and voiced Miss Voila in the two Happy Feet films. She came out in 2012 and was a leading voice in support of same-sex marriage. She released her award winning memoir in 2015.
Prince Eugene of Savoy
Austria, Scott #709
A field marshal of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Austrian Hapsburg dynasties, Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) was born in Paris and grew up around the court of King Louis XIV. His homosexuality was widely known to his contemporaries, even referenced in a letter by Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine. Denied military service by the King of France, Eugene sought service abroad, beginning his military career under Emperor Leopold I. Twenty years later, in collaboration with the Duke of Marlborough, Prince Eugene would defeat the French at Blenheim. Over six decades, under Leopold I, Joseph I, and Charles VI, he fought in the Great Turkish War, the War of the Holy League, the Nine Years War, the War of the Spanish Succession, the Austro-Turkish War, and the War of the Polish Succession. He was one of the most successful military commanders of his time.
Austria, Scott #915, #1525
A writer mostly known for dramas, Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872) was born in Vienna and attended the University of Vienna. For over 40 years he was in the civil service, spending almost 25 of them as director of the archives at the Imperial Hofkammer. He had a relationship with physicist Georg Altmútter. He wrote Sappho in 1818, Waves of the Sea of Love in 1831, and The Dream, a Life, in 1834. After 1850, he became the most popular author of the day, ranked with Goethe and Schiller, and was lauded as the national poet of Austria. His 80th birthday was a national festival.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Austria, Scott #1049
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was born in Prague and was treated as if he were a girl by his mother in early childhood. He passed the university entrance exam and studied in Prague and Munich. He became infatuated with a married woman, and made two extended trips to Russia. He married sculptor Clara Westhoff, though a mutually-agreed-upon divorce was bureaucratically hindered the rest of his life. He moved to Paris and happened to be in Germany when World War I started, preventing his return to Paris. He had an affair with the painter Lou Albert-Lasard. After the war, he moved to Switzerland and completed the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheu in 1922. Books by Martin Grief, A. L. Rowse and Ralph Freedman indicate he was a repressed homosexual, though others dispute this. Rilkee was a signatory to Hirschfelds Committees 1897 petition against paragraph 175, a provision of the German Criminal Code that made male homosexuality a crime.
Austria, Scott #2269
Austria issued a stamp in 2010 to note the 15th anniversary of Vienna’s Rainbow Parade.
Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine
Belgium, Scott #2416
French poets’ Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) and Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) are forever linked due to a short but tempestuous relationship that began in 1871 when 16-year old Rimbaud sent copies of his poems to Verlaine, already an eminent symbolist poet 10 years older than Rimbaud. Verlaine, though married at the time, sent a one-way ticket to Paris for Rembaud, who moved into their home. Verlaine, unlike Rimbaud, had repressed his homosexuality; he quit his regular job, began drinking and abandoned his wife. The pair’s ensuing wild and torrid affair was spiced by absinthe, opium and hashish. While in London, Verlaine decided he had enough and left Rimbaud to meet his abandoned wife but quickly missed Rimbaud. An attempt by the pair to reconcile in Brussels ended badly, with Verlaine shooting Rimbaud during a drunken rage. Rimbaud survived while Verlaine ended up in prison for two years. Rimbaud quit writing poetry at age 21 in favor of a steady working life. Verlaine continued to write verse but by the 1880s his best days had passed.
Belgium, Scott #1989; France, Scott #B654
Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine de Crayencour (1903-1987) was one of the most famous French writers of the 20th Century. Born in Brussels, her mother died a little over a week after giving birth to her. She inherited her love of books from her father. Her first book was published in 1921 under the pen name, Marguerite Yourcenar, which she took as her official name in 1947. Her masterpiece is Mémoires d’Hadrien, a historical novel constituting the fictionalized memoirs of 2nd-century Roman emperor Hadrian. In 1939, a planned short vacation to visit Grace Frick, whom she met two years earlier, became permanent due to World War II. The couple settled on Mount Desert Island in Maine and Marguerite became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1947. In 1980, she was the first female elected to the Academie Francaise, with the president of France granting her dual U.S.-French citizenship so she could meet the French citizenship requirement of the Academie.
Bosnia & Herzegovina (Serb Administration), Scott #607a
A Serbian mathematician and inventor, Mihailo Petrovic (1868-1943) received his PhD degree from the University of Paris, Sorbonne, in 1894 and became a professor at the University of Belgrade until his retirement in 1938. He was very interested in fishery, played the violin, and won a Gold medal at the World Exposition in Paris in 1900 for his hidrointegrator. He had an erotic relationship with Crown Prince George of Serbia, signing one of his personal letters to George as Your dog on a chain.
Brazil, Scott #2298
An openly bisexual Brazilian singer and songwriter, Cazuza (1958-1990) was born in Rio de Janeiro, son of a record producer and an amateur singer. He began to write lyrics and poems in about 1975. His singing career began with the 1980s successful rock band, Barão Vermelho. In 1985, they appeared in the first Rock in Rio festival. Cazuza contracted HIV and spent the rest of the decade singing solo.
Brazil, Scott #3413
Renato Russo (1960-1996) was the lead singer of alternative rock band Legião Urbana (translates as Urban Legion). He was the subject of the biographical Brazilian film, Somos Tão Jovens. He publicly came out as bisexual in 1988 in his song, “Meninos e Meninas.” He died due to complications from AIDS.
Bulgaria, Scott #130-33
Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria (1861-1948) was the second monarch of the Third Bulgarian State until his abdication in 1918. He was born in Vienna as a German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Kohary and later became an officer in the Austrian-Hungarian army. In desperation to prevent Russian occupation, he was elected Prince of Bulgaria by its Grand National Assembly in 1887. To the amazement of most of the royal houses in Europe, Ferdinand generally made a success during his first two decades of reign. In 1893, he entered a marriage of convenience with Marie-Louise of Bourbon-Parma. His second marriage in 1908 was similarly devoid of love. Instead, he had trysts and affairs with both women and men. In 1908, he proclaimed de jure independence from the Ottoman Empire (de facto since 1878) and made himself Tsar. In 1910, he became the first head of state to fly in an airplane. (click on image to see entire set of four in a new window)
Canada, Scott #1422
Born Eric Rutherford in Edinburgh, Scotland, Erica Rutherford (1923-2008) attended Dartmouth Royal Navy College before beginning an acting career at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at age 16. She produced African Jim, the first feature film made in South Africa with an all-African cast, in 1949. In London in 1959, she met her life partner, Australian-born artist Gail Turner, with whom she had a daughter. After reassignment surgery in 1976, Erica settled on Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1985, beginning a career as a children’s book illustrator. In 1988, she wrote and illustrated her most popular book, Yoga for Cats.
Canada, Scott #1615c, 2738, Great Britain, Scott #3294a
Scottish-Canadian animator, director and producer Norman McLaren (1914-1987) began his work and experimentation in animation in the early 1930s. He was hired in 1936 by the UK General Post Office film unit on the recommendation of a fellow Scot, John Grierson, who was familiar with McLaren’s work. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, McLaren moved to New York City. Grierson invited him to Canada in 1941 to work for the National Film Board of Canada. McLaren’s His most famous film Neighbors (1952), won the best documentary Academy Award in 1953, a scene from which appears on a 1996 Canadian stamp. On the centenary of his birth in 2014, both Canada and Great Britain issued stamps noting two of his other films. In London in 1937, McLaren met his life-long partner, Guy Glover; they remained in a committed relationship until McLaren’s death in 1987.
Canada, Scott #1827d
William Hutts (1920-2007) acting career spanned 50 years. He was born in Toronto and served as a medic during World War II, receiving a Military Medal for bravery in the field. After the war, he graduated from Trinity College, University of Toronto and joined the Stratford Festival of Canada for its first season in 1953. He spent most of his career performing in Stratford, but he also appeared at the UK:s Chichester Festival and on television. In 1969, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, and he was awarded the 1996 Sam Wanamaker Prize. He was openly gay.
Canada, Scott #1966
Cecil Youngfox (1942-1987) was born to Ojibway and Metis parents in Blind River, Ontario, Canada. He was awarded the Aboriginal Order of Canada for his work in preserving his native heritage. Youngfox and his partner, Alberto Decastro, were active in the Toronto gay community according to his great-niece. Youngfox died in 1987 due to complications from AIDS. His painting, Winter Travel, is depicted on the 2002 Canadian Christmas U.S. rate stamp.
Canada, Scott #1778, #2215
A Canadian architect and urban planner, Arthur Erickson’s (1924-2009) buildings can be found throughout Canada and the world. He resided in Vancouver, British Columbia with his life partner, Francisco Kripacz, until the early 1980s. Though they separated romantically, they remained business partners until Kripacz’s death. Erickson eventually returned to Vancouver where he remained until his passing. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window).
Canada, Scott #2279d
Canadian-American actor Raymond William Stacy Burr (1917-1993) is primarily known for his title roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside. Before television, Burr starred in more than 50 films, usually as a villain. Scenes including him were spliced into the 1954 and 1956 American versions of Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. Burr’s homosexuality, an open secret, was not reported until his death. By then, he had been living with his life partner, former actor Robert Benavides, for more than 30 years. A U.S. stamp with Burr as Perry Mason was included in the 2009 Early TV Memories issue.
Canada, Scott #2270
Pop and country singer Kathryn Dawn Lang (born 1961) goes by her stage name k.d. lang is best known for her hits Constant Craving (1993) and Miss Chatelaine (1994). She has contributed songs to movie soundtracks and has occasionally appeared in films as well on television. She has collaborated with musicians such as Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, Elton John, Anne Murray, Ann Wilson, and Jane Siberry. Lang, who came out as a lesbian in June 1992, is also known for being an animal rights, gay rights, and Tibetan human rights activist.
Canada Marriage Equality
Canada, Scott #2999h, #3007
After several Canadian provinces legalized same-sex marriage in prior years, the right was legally recognized nationwide with the Civil Marriage Act of July 20, 2005. A stamp within a souvenir sheet and inside a self-adhesive booklet, issued in 2017, noted the landmark gay rights legislation.
Chile, Scott #300, 1149
Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Chilean national narrative, especially during the Pinochet years, elevated her as “Schoolteacher of America,” a celibate, saintly, and suffering heterosexual national icon. The publication of her letters to lover Doris Dana revealed otherwise. Gabriela was an accomplished poet, educator, and consul to Mexico, Europe, Brazil, and the United States. In addition to those shown, she has appeared on nine other Chilean stamps, Scott #826-29, #C192 and #1541a-d.
China, Republic of, Scott #4473
Zheng Xie (1693-1765) was born in poverty and rose through the exam system to become a magistrate. He painted and wrote poetry, becoming one of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou. He was the official calligrapher and painter for the Qianlong Emperor. Zheng Xie had a celebrated homosexual relationship with his young page.
Fight Against Discrimination
Cuba, Scott #5439
One of four AMERICA (UPAEP) stamps highlighting the fight against discrimation includes the topic of homophobia. The stamps were first distributed on October 12, 2013.
Zeno of Citium
Cypress, Scott #534
Zeno of Citium (c. 334 – c. 262 BC) was a Hellenistic philosopher of Phoenician origin from Citium, Cyprus. He founded the Stoic school of philosophy; it laid great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of virtue in accordance with nature. From about 300 BC, he taught at Athens, beginning in the Stoa Poikile on the north side of the Agora. According to contemporaries, Zeno was exclusively homosexual, beloved by Parmenides and devoted to his disciple Persaeus, with whom he lived.
Czechoslovakia, Scott #2432
Czech writer Jaroslav Haek (1883-1923) authored The Good Soldier vejk, an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier in World War I and a satire on the ineptitude of authority figures. Based on his experiences as a Czech soldier during the war, the work has been translated into 58 languages as of 2013, making it the most available novel in Czech literature. While writing short stories for varied publications, Haek led a vagabond, bohemian life style, first favoring anarchist ideas, then after the war’s end embracing socialism while in the Soviet Union. His two marriages, first in 1910 in his homeland and again in 1920 in Russia, were brief; though he never legally ended the first one, due to the lack of order after the war, he avoided being tried for polygamy upon his return to Czechoslovakia in late 1920. His sexual orientation is disputed by scholars, but literary historian Jindřich Chalupecký in The Strange Haek Study in Expressionists writes about the subject based on the testimony of Haek’s friend Rudolf imanovský. Morbidly obese, Haek began writing The Good Soldier vejk in 1921, dictating the text after he could no longer write and continuing until his passing.
Denmark, Scott #1770-71
In 2017 The Danish postal service, PostNord, introduced two rainbow-colored stamps to highlight the fight for LGBTQ equality and celebrate diversity. The Swedish division of PostNord issued a pride stamp the previous year.
Finland, Scott #1455
A Swedish-speaking Finnish author who created the Moomins in 1945, Tove Jansson (1914-2001 won the 1966 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of childrens books. Her lifelong partner was graphic artist and professor Tuulikki Pietila.
Tom of Finland
Finland, Scott #1467
Homoerotic artist Touko Laarksonen (1920-1991), who used the pseudonym as Tom of Finland, attributed his fetishistic interest in uniformed men to encounters with men in army uniform, especially soldiers of the German Wehrmacht while he was serving in the Finnish army during World War II. He gave up his day job with an advertising agency in 1973 to devote full time to his drawings; gay pornography had become more popular in the U.S. after being decriminalized a decade earlier. The 2014 stamp sheet depicting his art was the most popular Finnish issue ever, garnering orders from 178 countries, and generating only minimal controversy that was limited to Finnish conservatives.
France, Scott #666
Poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. He was born in Paris and attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand before voyaging to Kolkata, India, and back. He became known as a dandy and free-spender and took part in the Revolutions of 1848. In 1857, he finally finished Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), his most famous work. The themes of sex and death were scandalous for the period, touching on lesbianism, sadomasochism, sacred love, and profane love. Jonathan to Gide: the Homosexual in History by Noel Garde points to his probable homosexuality.
France, Scott #1381, #B179
Playwright Moliere (1622-1673) is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and in universal literature. He was born in Paris and attended the Collège de Clermont (a.k.a. Lycée Louis-le-Grand). At age 21, he decided to abandon his social class and pursue a career in the theatre. He toured the provinces for 12 years before performing for the King in the Louvre. Moliere fell in love with fellow actor Michel Baron. He became famous for his farces. In 1662, he married Armande Béart and premiered his masterpiece, The School for Wives. His Tartuffe premiered in 1664, creating his greatest scandal, depicting the hypocrisy of the dominant classes. Other masterpieces include The Misanthrope (1666), The Learned Ladies (1672), and The Imaginary Invalid (1673).
France, Scott #3006, #B316
Novelist, satirist, and Socialist Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin (1804-1876), best known by her pen name George Sand, was born in Paris, but raised at her grandmothers estate, Nohant, province of Berry. She chose to wear male attire in public without bothering to obtain a permit. At age 18, she married Casimir Dudevant. In 1831, she left him and had affairs with several men, including Frédéric Chopin, plus the actress Marie Dorval and Adah Isaacs Menken. She was the most popular writer in Europe by the age of 27.
France, Scott #4257, #B618
Known as Frances national chanteuse, Édith Piaf (1915-1963) was a singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, and film actress. She was born in Belleville, Paris, and was raised in her grandmothers brothel. At age 14, she first began to sing in public when she joined her father in his acrobatic street performances all over France. In 1932, she fell in love with Louis Dupont, the first of several romances throughout her life, including one with Marlene Dietrich. In 1935, she was discovered by nightclub owner Louis Laplée, leading to her first two record recordings the same year. She wrote and performed her signature song, La Vie en rose, in 1945. After the war, she became internationally known, touring Europe, the United States, and South America. After a series of famous concerts at the Paris Olympia music hall, she recorded her last song, LHomme de Berlin, in 1963. The 2012 French stamp (Scott #4257) was part of a joint issue with the U.S. See the entry in the U.S. Stamp Gallery
France, Scott #4671
Keith Haring (1958-1990) was an American pop artist who first gained public attention during the late 1970s with chalk outline figures sketched on unused black advertising space in New York City subways. He pursued the outline figure style throughout his brief career, gaining international acclaim in the early 1980s. His later works often included political and societal themes, such as homosexuality and AIDS; he died due to complications from the latter. This stamp in the long-running French art series depicts a mural he created for the Paris’ Necker Hospital, the world’s first pediatric hospital.
France, Scott #B99
Joseph Gallieni (1849-1916) was a French soldier, commander, and administrator, infamous in Madagascar for exiling Queen Ranavalona III and abolishing the islands 350-year monarchy. He was born at Saint-Beat in the central Pyranees and was educated at the Prytanéd Militaire and the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. He served in the Franco-Prussian War and was taken prisoner at Bazeilles. In the colonial service he went to Senegal, Reunion, Martinique, the French Sudan, French Indochina, and Madagascar. Returning to France, he commanded the Fifth Army until retirement in April 1914. At beginning of World War I, he was Military Governor of Paris. It was his order that used taxicabs to ferry troops to the First Battle of the Marne. In October 1915, he became Minister of War. Never married, he is mentioned in Noel Gardes Jonathan to Gide: The Homosexual in History.
Louis, Grand Conde
France, Scott #B182
General Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (1621-1686) the most famous member of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon. For his military prowess he was known as le Grand Condé. He was born in Paris and entered the Royal Academy. At age 17, he governed Burgundy. He was compelled by his father to marry 13-year-old Claire-Clémence de Maillé-Brézé. He fought in the siege of Arras, the Siege of Perpignan, the Thirty YearsWar, the Reapers War, and the Fronde. Arrested during the Fronde, he managed to receive a pardon in the Treaty of the Pyrenees. He loyally supported King Louis XIV, but did not hold military command again until 1667. He fought in the War of Devolution and the Franco-Dutch War. In a letter authored by Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine, she mentions Louis lifelong homosexuality, having several affairs with his soldiers.
France, Scott #B280
Historian Jules Michelet (1798-1874) was born in Paris, and at 12 years old, met Paul Poinsot, his soulmate, beginning the most intimate friendship of his life. Paul died prematurely in 1821. Jules attended the Lyc&$233;e Charlemagne and was appointed professor of history in the Collège Rollin. He married in 1824 (and again in 1849), and in 1830 he obtained a place in the Record Office, beginning his 30-year masterpiece, Histoire de France. In 1838, he was appointed to the chair of history in the Collège de France.
France, Scott #B281
Born in Nancy, capital of Lorraine, Army general and colonial administrator Hubert Lyautey (1854-1934) was educated at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. He was posted to Algiers, French Indochina, and Madagascar before he became the first French Resident-General in Morocco from 1912 to 1925. In 1909, he married Inés Fortoul, though his homosexuality was widely regarded as an open secret. He was commissioner of the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931, and he received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.
France, Scott #B396
Novelist, critic, and essayist Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is best known for his monumental novel Á la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), published between 1913 and 1927. He is considered one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. He was a dilettante and a social climber and lived most of his life in his familys home in Paris. He had a romantic relationship with composer Reynaldo Hahn and was infatuated with his chauffeur and secretary, Alfred Agostinelli.
France, Scott #B465
Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont (1873-1932) is one of the very few people to have contributed significantly to the development of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft. He was born in the town of Palmira (now known as Santos Dumont), Minas Gerais, and attended the Escola de Minas in Minas Gerais. He moved to Paris in 1892 and studied physics, chemistry, mechanics, and electricity. He won the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize for the first flight from the Parc Saint Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in less than 30 minutes using his ship, No. 6, in 1901, making him an international celebrity. His first successful heavier-than-air flight happened in 1906 in his 14-bis, winning the Deutsch-Archdeacon Prize. The following month, he established the first world record recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, becoming the first person filmed in an airplane in flight. In 1932, his suicide note included I have loved men and women; Im both male and female, in my heart as well as mind; for better or worse, I couldnt ever separate such complementary, integral categories.
France, Scott #B466
Author Colette (1873-1954) was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. In 1893, she married author and publisher Henry Gauthier-Villars. Her first four novels, the Claudine stories, appeared under his name. She had relationships with women, including Mathilde de Morny, Marquise de Belbeuf. Colette was frequently acclaimed as Frances greatest female writer. In 1944, she published Gigi, which was adapted to the stage and a successful film.
France, Scott #B474
Composer and pianist Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) started piano lessons at the age of five. He made his debut as a composer in 1917 with Rapsodie négre, and his Trois mouvements perpétuel became an international success the following year. In 1923 for Sergei Diaghilev, he wrote the ballet, Les biches, one of his best-known scores. His first serious affair was with painter Richard Chanlaire. In 1932, his music was among the first to be broadcast on television, by the BBC. He had a relationship with chauffer Raymond Destouches. He was a soldier in World War II until the French surrender, and he set music to the words of poets active in the French Resistance. In the 1950s, his partner was salesman Lucien Robert. His successful opera, Dialogues des Carmélites, premiered in 1957. His last romantic relationship was with former soldier Louis Gautier.
France, Scott #B575
François Arago (1786-1853) was a French mathematician, physicist, astronomer, freemason, supporter of the Carbonari, and politician. He was born at Estagel, near Perpignan, in Pyrénées-Orientales, and in 1804, became secretary to the Paris Observatory. He worked until 1809 on median arc measurements to determine the exact length of a meter. A bizarre adventure that involved imprisonment and multiple attempts to get to Marseilles from Algiers led to the beginning of his 44-year connection with Alexander von Humboldt. He was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences at only age 33, chosen for the chair of analytical geometry at the École Polytechnique, and named by the emperor as astronomer at the Paris Observatory. He delivered a remarkably successful series of popular lectures on astronomy from 1812 to 1845. He discovered rotatory magnetism, invented the first polarization filter, and was co-discoverer of eddy currents. Its not clear how much François felt about Alexander, though in one letter François wrote, Apart from my family, you are without comparison the person I like the most fondly in the world. … There will be a bed for you at the Observatory.
France, Scott #B616
Actor, cabaret singer, and entertainer Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972) was born in Paris and started his career in 1901 when he got a part in a local musical. During World War I, he was wounded and taken prisoner for two years, where he learned English. After the war, he performed in Paris, then made his Broadway debut in 1922s operetta, Dédé. Making his way to Hollywood, he starred in 1929s Innocents of Paris. In 1930, he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for The Love Parade and The Big Pond. During World War II, he performed on stage in France, including in a successful Nazi propaganda revue in 1941. Despite harboring a Jewish family in the south of France, performing for prisoners of war in Germany (at the same camp where he was held prisoner), and succeeding in getting ten French soldiers freed, he was named on a list of French collaborators in 1942. He was formally accused and acquitted of collaboration in 1944. Upon appearing in the film, Gigi, he was awarded an Honorary Oscar for achievements in entertainment. He married and divorced twice. He also had a relationship with his valet, Felix Paquet, the beneficiary of his estate.
France, Scott #B651: Monaco, Scott #1678
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was a poet, novelist, painter, playwright, film maker, set designer, and actor. He began writing at age 10 and was a published poet by age 16. His exploration of theater began with “Ballets Russes”, the company of Sergei Diaghile. During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver on the Belgian front. After the war, he met 16-year old poet and novelist prodigy Raymond Radiguet, who died five years later and left Cocteau in profound grief. Consequently, Cocteau became addicted to opium and wound up in a sanatorium. Recovering by the mid-1920s, he produced the play Orphée (1926) and his best known novel Les Enfants terribles (1929), followed by his greatest play La Machine infernale (1934). Though he always remained a poet at heart, he turned to films, all rich with symbolism and surreal imagery. His favorite actor was Jean Marais, who was Cocteau’s lover from 1937-47. Marais appeared in almost every one of Cocteau’s dozen films. Cocteau is regarded as one of the most important avant-garde directors in cinema.
France, Scott #B658
St. Louis, Missouri, native Josephine Baker (1906-1975) dropped out of school by age 12, and headed to New York City with a vaudeville troupe at the age of 15 She became he highest paid chorus girl in vaudeville. In 1925, she moved to Paris and became an instant success, known for exotic dancing and appearing practically nude onstage. She was the first African-American to star in a major motion picture, 1927s Siren of the Tropics. Josephine became a French citizen in 1937 and collected information for French military intelligence during World War II, for which she received the Croix de Guerre and the Rosette de la Résistance. While she had four marriages to men, she had several relationships with women, including singer Clara Smith and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Germany, Scott #746, #1267c; GDR #301, #1626
Thomas Mann (1875-1955) was a German novelist who won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was born in Lûbeck and attended the Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich and the Technical University of Munich. He first published in 1898 a short story, Little Mr. Friedermann. In 1905, he married Katia Pringsheim. His diaries revealed his struggles with his homosexuality. In 1933, he emigrated to Switzerland and obtained Czechoslovak citizenship. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Mann emigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Los Angeles and becoming an American citizen in 1944. He made anti-Nazi speeches broadcasted to Germany via BBC radio. (click on image to see additional stamp issues)
George Frideric Handel
Germany, Scott #804a
Baroque composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) spent most of his career in London. He was born in Halle, Brandenburg-Prussia, and sometime between ages seven and nine began lessons with a church organist, learning organ, harpsicord, violin, and oboe, and started composing. In 1702, he matriculated at the only recently founded University of Halle and met Georg Philipp Telemann. Handel moved to Hamburg and travelled to Italy, premiering all-Italian operas, Rodrigo and Agrippina. He moved permanently to England in 1712. He composed 42 operas, 25 oratorios, more than 120 cantatas, 18 concerti grossi, 12 organ concertos, and many other pieces. His oratorio Messiah debuted in 1742 and is among the most popular choral works. Some of his largely ignored cantatas give rich expression to the pleasures and dangers of same-sex love. Handel never came anywhere close to marriage, and spent a great deal of time in private, all male social circles.
Germany Scott #827; Berlin, #9N179 (shown)
Painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was born in Nuremberg and established his reputation in his twenties due to high-quality woodcuts. In 1494, he married Agnes Frey, but the marriage was disastrous. His correspondence with lifelong partner Willibald Prickheimer discussed Albrechts dual lust for German girls and soldiers. Several of his works display homoeroticism. Through his communication with and knowledge of Italian artists, he introduced classical motifs into Northern art. He was one of the first European landscape artists and is credited with inventing the basic principle of ray tracing.
Henrich von Kleist
Germany Scott #836; Berlin, #9N188 (shown)
Poet, dramatist, novelist, short story writer, and journalist Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) was born in Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg, and entered the Prussian army in 1792. He had a relationship with officer August Otto Rüle von Lilienstern and wrote a love letter to general Ernst von Pfuel. He retired from service in 1799 before studying law and philosophy at the Viadrina University. His restless spirit led him to rove between Paris and Prague before settling in Berlin.
Germany, Scott #1016, #1791
Poet and philosopher Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) was born in Lauffen am Neckar, Württemberg, and in 1784, entered the Lower Monastery in Denkendorf in preparation for entry into the Lutheran ministry. While there, he started composing verses. In 1788, he began theological studies at Tübinger Stift, obtaining his magister degree in 1793. He worked as a tutor and began writing his epistolary novel, Hyperion. In 1795, he enrolled at the University of Jena where he met Isaac von Sinclair, represented by the character Alabanda in Hyperion. Friedrichs poem, An Eduard (To Eduard) reveals their brotherhood. In 1796, he fell in love with the married Susette Gontard. In the late 1790s, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and while visiting Bordeaux, wrote his poem, Andenken (Remembrance). Discharged from a Tûrbingen clinic as incurable in 1807, he was taken in by carpenter Ernst Zimmer and given a room, in which he stayed for 36 years, in Zimmers house, which had been a tower in the old city wall.
Germany, Scott #1293
Anne Frank (1929-1945) was born in Frankfurt am Main and lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam. In July 1942, she and her family went into hiding in concealed rooms in the building where her father worked. From then until they were arrested by the Gestapo in August 1944, she kept a diary. While in hiding, she had a brief infatuation with Peter van Pels, who was a few years older than her. Franks diary records a passionate adolescent attachment to another young woman, Jacqueline, prior to going into hiding. After arrest, she was deported first to Auschwitz, then to Bergen-Belsen, where she died.
Germany, Scott #1395
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was born in Prague, Czechoslavakia, and studied law at the Deutsche Karl-Ferdinands-Universität (the German language Charles University). In 1908, he found a position with the Workers Accident Insurance Institute that was amenable to his writing ambitions. His most famous work, Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) was written in 1912 and published in 1915. Critics regard it as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century. He began Der Process (The Trial) in 1914, but never finished it. In 1917, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, given a pension, and spent most of the rest of his life in sanatoriums. Throughout his life, Franz maintained an aversion to physical sexual contact. According to lifetime close friend Max Brod, he was tortured by his sexual desires. His dreams were filled with both opposite-sex and same-sex fantasies, and they appeared in his works. He had relationships with several women, sometimes getting engaged, but he ended them all without intimacy.
King Ludwig of Bavaria
Germany, Scott #1236, #1460
The King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death, Ludwig II (1845-1886) spent his childhood at Castle Hohenschwangau. After accession, the introverted and creative king summoned Richard Wagner to his court, beginning his patronage of the composer. Ludwigs diaries and correspondence revealed his strong homosexual desires. Bavaria lost in the Austro-Prussian War and joined the North German Confederation in 1870, essentially ending the independent monarchy. Using his personal fortune, Ludwig built Schloss Linderhof, and Herrenchiemsee and Schloss Neuschwanstein, the latter being Germanys most famous tourist attraction. He died in a still controversial drowning.
Frederick the Great
Germany, Scott #1469, #9N515
Frederick the Great (1712-1786) ruled the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786, the longest reign of any Hohenzollern king. Effete, he was frequently beaten and humiliated by his father. After an affair with one of his fathers pages, he began a relationship with officer Hans Hermann von Katte. They were arrested for plotting to flee to Britain. His father forced him to witness his lovers beheading. His marriage to Elisabeth Christine of Brunwick-Bevern was political, and after his accession, he refused to allow her to enter his court at Potsdam. Frederick patronized the arts and sustained military victories, winning the First, Second, and Third Silesian Wars and the Seven Years War.
Germany, Scott #1727
Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) was born in Berlin and studied violin. In 1922, she started work as a chorus girl. The following year, she made her film debut in The Little Napoleon and married Rudolf Sieber. She would have an unending string of affairs with both men and women, including Mercedes de Acosta. Her stage and film roles grew until her breakthrough role in The Blue Angel. She moved to the United States in 1930 to star in Hollywood films until she was dubbed box office poison in 1938. She became an American citizen, helped refugees fleeing Germany, and entertained troops during World War II, for which she received the Medal of Freedom and the Légion dhonneur.
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
Germany, Scott #1877, 9N455
In 1777 a former Prussian military officer, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730-1794), was approached by Benjamin Franklin, then in France, about joining the rag-tag Continental Army. Steuben declined as he would have to come as a volunteer and upon returning to Prussia found that he was being threatened with prosecution for homosexuality. He returned to Paris and accepted the Franklin’s offer, arriving in America in December of that year. George Washington first appointed Steuben temporary inspector general and, impressed with his organizational skills, recommended to the Continental Congress that Steuben be appointed permanent inspector general of the army with the rank of major general. Steuben served in the army throughout the Revolutionary War and his training program, which was used for decades thereafter, is credited with helping make the Continental Army a credible fighting force that was able to win the war. At Valley Forge, he began close relationships with Benjamin Walker and William North, officers both in their 20s, whom he later adopted and lived with until his death. Towards the end of his life, Steuben indicated in a letter that “an inconsiderate step and an implacable personal enemy” led to his leaving the Prussian army. The U.S. honored Steuben with a stamp on his birth bicentennial.
Germany, Scott #1990; GDR #362-63
Theatre practitioner, playwright, and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was born in Augsburg, Bavaria. Between the ages of 16 and 20 he simultaneously pursued eight girls. He is known to have engaged in homosexuality, inviting literary and musically inclined male friends to his room on weekends to read erotic compositions. His diaries made mention of his need for both males and females to fulfill his sexual desires. Three of his first four plays portray sexual relationships between men, including In the Jungle (1923) and Edward II (1924). For his first three plays, Brecht won the prestigious Kleist Prize, probably Germanys most significant literary award before it was abolished in 1932. He wrote the scenario for a slapstick film, Mysteries of a Barbershop, now considered one of the most important films in German film history. In 1927, he started collaboration with composer Kurt Weill leading to their masterpieces, The Threepenny Opera (1928) and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930). Eventually settling in the United States, his most famous plays appeared during the war years were Mother Courage and Her Children, The Good Person of Szechwan, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ri and The Caucasian Chalk Circle. After the war he was blacklisted by Hollywood, and on the day after testifying in front of HUAC, he returned to Europe.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Germany, Scott #2052
An established writer by age 25, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. His two-part drama Faust is lauded as one of the greatest in Western literature. From 1775 on, he lived in Weimer, where he also became involved in public service. In 1806, he legitimized an 18-year relationship with Christianne Vulpius. They produced five children, four of whom died young. Although Goethe celebrated the feminine in verse and courted some of Europe’s most beautiful women, in a 1997 book, German historian and journalist Karl Hugo Pruys posited the literary giant was at heart not a ladies’ man. “I wanted to write a book about the love that Goethe felt, about love in general in Goethe’s life,” Pruys said in an interview. “Then I got onto a trail dominated by homosexuality.” His source was 2,500 surviving letters to and from Goethe. Other scholars say Pruys simply misunderstands the “Sturm und Drang” (storm and stress) spirit of the times, when young, intellectual dandies expressed strong, even erotic emotion toward each other. Goethe has appeared over the years on numerous German, DDR and occupation zone stamps.
Justus von Liebig
Germany, Scott #2240
Scientist Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) is considered the founder of organic chemistry. Born in Darmstadt, he lived through 1816, the year without a summer&$148; that caused famine, shaping his later work. He apprenticed with an apothecary before attending the University of Bonn and the University of Erlangen. He became sexually involved with poet August von Platen-Hallermünde, an older fellow student. In 1824, he became a professor at the University of Glessen and appointed to the Ordentlicher chair in chemistry the following year. The next year he married Henriette Moldenhauer. While continuing to lecture, he opened his own laboratory institute for pharmacy and manufacturing, engaging in empirical research on a large scale. It became renown as a model institution for the teaching of practical chemistry. In 1832, he founded what became the leading journal of chemistry, Annalen der Chemie. He invented an apparatus to determine the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen content of organic substances. He popularized use of a counter-current water-cooling system for distillation, still called a Liebig condenser He also proposed a process of silvering that eventually became the basis for modern mirror-making. He developed nitrogen-based fertilizer for agriculture. Justus is the source for the widely-held false idea that searing meat seals in the juices. His discovery that yeast could be concentrated made possible the invention of Marmite.
Johann Joachim Winckelmann
Germany, Scott #2996
Art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) was a pioneering Hellenist who first articulated the difference between Greek, Greco-Roman and Roman art. Winckelmann’s private letters reveal his quest for ideal love relationships with cultured young men. In his works and correspondence Winckelmann sought to revive the ancient ideal love between males. The German Democratic Republic also issued a stamp depicting Winckelmann (Scott #939).
Germany, Scott #3053
One of the most important theorists of sexuality and gay rights advocates of the early 20th century was Mangus Hirschfeld (1868-1935). Born to Jewish parents, he obtained a medical degree in 1892, first establishing a medical practice in Magdeburg in 1894 and then moving to Berlin two years later, where he became actively involved in the study of sexuality. He maintained that sexual orientation was innate and not a deliberate choice. Along with Max Sphor, Franz Josef von Bülow and Eduard Oberg, he established the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, the world’s first gay rights organization. His most notable publications were Yearbook of Sexual Types (1899-1923), The Transvestites (1910) and Homosexuality in Men and Women (1914). In 1919, he opened the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, whose library and archives were destroyed in 1933 by Nazi demonstrators. Different from the Others (1919), a film he helped produced that called for decriminalization and acceptance of homosexuality, was banned within a year. A gay man himself, he was regularly assaulted and his lectures disrupted by Nazi supporters. Upon completing an international speaking tour in 1932, he settled in Switzerland and then in 1934 moved to France, where he died the following year.
Germany, Scott #3134
Fritz Bauer (1903-1968) was a closeted high-profile West German state prosecutor during the 1960s. He was Germanys first Nazi hunter, bringing Adolf Eichmann to trial and putting Nazis who ran Auschwitz in court for the first time. He founded the Humanist Union in 1961.
Germany, Scott #3144
Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) music is among the most performed of the classical repertoire. Born in Bonn, he began strenuous music lessons at age five on piano, violin, and viola. In 1780 or 1781, he started lessons in composition and published his first work in 1783. Moving to Vienna in 1792, Beethoven established his reputation as a piano virtuoso. He dated the beginning of his gradual hearing loss as 1798. His 8th piano sonata, Pathétique, appeared in 1799, and his First Symphony debuted the following year. By 1802, his deafness made playing at concerts difficult and contributed to social withdrawal. He began his heroic period with his Third Symphony in 1804. In 1812, Beethoven wrote a ten-page love letter addressed to Immortal Beloved which was never sent; the addressees identity is still unknown. After the death of his beloved brother Kaspar in 1815, he fought his sister-in-law to ultimately become the sole guardian of his nephew Karl in 1820. Beethoven never had a sexual relationship with a woman and had a complicated relationship with Karl, becoming angry when his nephew would bring other men home. (click on image to see a small selection of numerous other Beethoven stamps from Germany)
Alexander von Humboldt
Germany Berlin, Scott #9N281; Mexico Scott #2176
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a Prussian polymath, geographer, naturalist, explorer, and influential proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. He traveled extensively during his lifetime and between 1799 and 1804 explored and subsequently described the Americas for the first time from a modern scientific point of view. His description of the journey was written up and published in an enormous set of volumes over 21 years. He became one of the most famous men in Europe, and among many other things, proposed that the South American and Africa continents were once joined and that humans could induce climate change. Humboldt never married and early biographers described him as asexual; contemporary biographers don't agree on the issue. However, his sister-in-law Caroline von Humboldt stated “nothing will ever have a great influence on Alexander that doesn't come through men.” He had many strong male friendships, and at times had romances with men. He destroyed his private letters before his death. During the bicentennial of his exploration of the Americas, he was postally feted by many of the countries he visited.
Gibralter, Scott #735-38
John Charles Galliano (born 1960) is a Gibraltar-born British-Spanish fashion designer. He was head designer for his own label, Givenchy and Christian Dior. In 2011, he was suspended from Dior after reports of anti-Semitic outbursts in Paris. In 2013, he made a comeback and is currently the creative director at Maison Margiela. He resides in Paris with his long-term boyfriend Alexis Roche, a style consultant.
Gibralter, Scott #1436
Field Marshal Lord Herbert Kitchener (1850-1916) was a British Army officer who won notoriety for his imperial campaigns, especially for his scorched earth policy and concentration camps against the South African Boers and for his early role in World War I. He was born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland, before being raised in Switzerland and attending the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He surveyed western Palestine, helped reconstruct the Egyptian Army, invaded Sudan, commanded the Second Boer War, and was Commander-in-Chief in India. At the beginning of World War I, he was appointed Secretary of State for War with responsibility of raising new armies and running the war effort. Lord Kitchener had no interest in women and had relationships with railway builder Sir Percy Girouard, officer Francis Aylmer Maxwell, and aide-de-camp Oswald Fitzgerald, with whom he lived and died.
Sir Cecil Beaton
Gibralter, Scott #1668
British fashion, portrait, and war photographer, diarist, and costume designer Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is probably most famous for designing the costumes for the Broadway and West End original stage productions of My Fair Lady, as well as for its film adaptation. In philately, he is probably best known for taking the official coronation photos of Queen Elizabeth II. More than 150 unique stamp designs have been based on images from the 1953 photo session at Buckingham Palace on the afternoon following the ceremony. Beaton had a relationship with Greta Garbo, and his last male lover was Olympic fencer Kinmont Hoitsma.
Great Britain, Scott #652
Poet, letter-writer, classical scholar, and professor Thomas Gray (1716-1771) was born in Cornhill, London, and attended Eton, where he met close friend Horace Walpole. He studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge, before accompanying Horace on his Grand Tour. He began seriously writing poetry in 1742 after the death of close friend Richard West. He moved to Cambridge and became Fellow first at Peterhouse, then Pembroke College. He completed his masterpiece, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, in 1750. He had a passionate friendship with Thomas Wharton, loved Norton Nicholls, and loved Charles Victor de Bonstetten.
Great Britain, Scott #1027
Poet, novelist, and garden designer Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) attended Helen Wolffs exclusive day school for girls in Mayfair, where she met her first loves Rosamund Grosvenor and Violet Keppel. She wrote eight unpublished novels between 190 and 1910. In 1913, she married Harold Nicolson. Both had same-sex relationships before and after the beginning of their open marriage. In 1930, they acquired and moved to Sissingthurst Castle in Kent. Vita designed the gardens which were first opened to the public in 1938. In 1947, she began writing a very popular column, In Your Garden, in The Observer newspaper.
Great Britain, Scott #1122, #3002
A successful British theatre photographer, Angus McBean (1904-1990) was known for surrealized portraits and astonishingly creative montage Christmas cards. He was born in Newbridge, Monmouthshire, and moved to London in 1924. Working for society photographer Hugh Cecil in 1934, Angus took the photos of the Prince of Wales that became the official accession photos of King Edward VIII. He first met Vivien Leigh in 1936, beginning her thirty-year love affair with the McBean camera. During World War II, a cover photo of Diana Churchills disembodied head under a kitchen chair was used by the Germans for propaganda, mistakenly believing she was Winston Churchills daughter and not the unrelated actress. In late November 1941, Angus was arrested in Bath for criminal acts of homosexuality. He served 2½ years in prison. Between 1945 and 1955, he provided the world with its images of Olivier, Gielgud, Redgrave, Richardson, Quayle, Schofield, and Burton, plus Leigh, Ashcroft, Wynyard, Worth, Bloom, Jefford, Gingold, and Baddeley. Angus met lifetime companion David Ball in 1947.
Great Britain, Scott #1172-75
Widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) laid the foundations of classical mechanics, made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit for developing the infinitesimal calculus. Born in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, Lancashire, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. After graduation and the schools temporary closure due to the Great Plague, Newston was elected Fellow at Trinity, where he shared a room for 20 years with John Wickens. He never married and had no romantic involvement with the opposite sex. He had a nervous breakdown in 1693, shortly after the end of his relationship with mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier. He moved to London and became Master of the Mint for 30 years. (click on image to see entire set of four in a new window)
Great Britain, Scott #1226-29
Artist, illustrator, musician, author, and poet Edward Lear (1812-1888) is now known mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and his limericks. He was born at Holloway, North London, was raised by his older sister, and suffered from lifelong afflictions, including epilepsy and asthma. He became an ornithological draughtsman and the first major bird artist to draw from real live birds. Lear developed an infatuation for Franklin Lushington, whom he met in Malta and with whom he toured Greece. His travels continued to Egypt and India, painting landscapes. He illustrated his excursions to Italy and realized a lifelong ambition to illustrate some of good friend Alfred Lord Tennysons poems. (click on image to see entire set of four in a new window)
Great Britain, Scott #1441-44
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was the Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victorias reign. He was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, and studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he met Arthur Hallam. He published his first solo collection of poems in 1830. Upon his father’s death, he returned to Somersby. Hallum came to stay and became engaged to Tennysons sister. In 1833, Hallums sudden death prompted Tennysons masterpiece, In Memoriam A.H.H., finally published in 1850. It announced his profound emotional attachment, explicitly equating his love for Hallum to that between men and women. He married Emily Sellwood in 1850. One of his best-known works, The Charge of the Light Brigade, appeared in 1855. (click on image to see entire set of four in a new window)
Great Britain, Scott #1458-62
Composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) is most known for his 14 operatic collaborations with dramatist W. S. Gilbert. He wrote 24 operas, 11 major orchestral works, ten choral works and oratorios, and two ballets. He was born in Lambeth, London, composed an anthem at age eight, and joined the choir of the Chapel Royal. He was awarded the first Mendelssohn Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, and he also studied at the Leipzig Conservatoire. Gilbert and Sullivan’s first collaboration was a burlesque-style comic opera, Thespis, in 1870. Their 1878 H.M.S. Pinafore turned them into an international phenomenon. Despite an affair with married socialite Fanny Ronalds, Sullivans homosexuality was widely known and discretely exercised. (click on image to see entire set of five in a new window)
Great Britain, Scott #1467, #1856
A important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, David Hockney (born 1937) is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. He was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and graduated from Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art. He was featured in the 1960 Young Contemporaries exhibition that announced the arrival of British Pop art. Hockney moved to Los Angeles in 1964 where he was inspired to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in acrylic using vibrant colors. He was a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1979. He had lengthy relationships with Peter Schlesinger and Gregory Evans.
Great Britain, Scott #1503, new # to come
Publius Aelius Hadrianus (76-138) is known as the third of the Five Good Roman Emperors, the other being Nerva, Trajan, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Rather than pursuing the expansionist policies of Trajan, his predecessor, he preferred development of stable, defensible borders and the unification of the empire's disparate peoples. Reigning for 21 years, Hadrian undertook substantial building projects throughout the Roman Empire, including rebuilding the Pantheon in Rome and erecting Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britain. He married around the year 100 as a political expediency; the marriage proved childless and unhappy. Over the years, he had a number of favorites, but his intense relationship with Greek youth Antinous is evidenced by numerous surviving statues of the teenager. Hadrian met the Antinous around 123 and they soon became companions. Hadrian was devasted by the youth’s untimely death in 130 in Egypt. Antinous was deified, the Egyptian city of Antinopolis was established, and an Antinous cult was propagated throughout the empire.
Great Britain, Scott #1602.
Socialite and author Violet Trefusis (1894-1972) was most known for her lengthy affair with poet Vita Sackville-West. Growing up in Portman Square, Marylebone, London, she met Vita when she was ten. At 14, she confessed her love to Vita, giving her a ring. Vita married, but refreshed and intensified her bond with Violet in 1918, eloping to France for several months prior to Violets marriage. Violet made Denys Trefusis promise to never have sex with her as a condition of marriage. Another elopement to France occurred after Violet marriage. They ended their affair in 1921 after a third elopement. During World War II, Violet participated in the broadcasting of La France Libre, earning her a Légion dhonneur. She was the inspiration for several fictional characters by various authors, including Princess Sasha in Orlando by Virginia Woolf.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Great Britain, Scott #1756
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a novelist and travel writer who was born in Edinburgh, studied engineering and then law at the University of Edinburgh, but never practiced law, spending his energies on travel and writing. He married the divorced Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne in 1880. They and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne lived in Westbourne, Dorset, and the French Alps, during which he wrote Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island, and Kidnapped, all with homoerotic subtext. Robert and Lloyds correspondence and Lloyds memoirs left little doubt of their romantic devotion to each other. The two collaborated on three novels, also with homoerotic subtexts. In 1888, the three sailed from San Francisco, roaming the central and eastern Pacific for three years, before settling in Upolu, an island of Samoa.
Great Britain, Scott #1859
British singer, songwriter, and record producer Freddie Mercury (1946-1991), is regarded as one of the greatest lead singers in the history of rock music. Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar to Parsi parents from India, he attended English-style boarding schools in India from the age of eight and returned to Zanzibar after secondary school. His family fled the Zanzibar Revolution, moving to Middlesex, England. Having studied and written music for years, he formed Queen in 1970 with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. He wrote numerous hits for Queen, including Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love, We Are the Champions, Don't Stop Me Now, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Mercury died in 1991 at age 45 due to complications from AIDS. Though his relationships with other men are well documented, Mercury remained closeted to the end, referring to Mary Austin, to whom he was married from 1970-1976, as “the love of his life.
Great Britain, Scott #2391
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. His extant works consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, and two long narrative poems. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, he married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway in haste in 1582. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he left his family and moved to London where he began a successful career as actor, writer, and part-owner of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Expressions of homoerotic feeling, gender confusion, and male couples exist in several of his plays. Two narrative poems on sexual themes, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, are dedicated to William’s beloved (platonic) patron, Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton. The first 126 of his sonnets are addressed to a handsome young man referred to as “better angel” and “master-mistress of [his] passion.” The last 26 sonnets concern the “dark woman” who took the handsome young man away. On the 400th anniversary of his birth in 1964, numerous stamps with his image, or scenes from his plays, were issued worldwide, including a set of five stamps from his native land.
Great Britain, Scott #2901
Mario Testino (born 1954) is a successful and influential fashion photographer whose images have redefined the auras of Madonna, Princess Diana, and Kate Moss. He was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to London in 1976. He lived with designer Patrick Kinmonth, and the two collaborated for over 25 years. In 1995, he was called by Madonna to create Versace Presents Madonna by Testino, starting his celebrity portrait career. He first photographed Kate Moss when she was 16. Their continued professional relationship helped her reach supermodel status. In 1997, he photographed Princess Diana for Vanity Fair prior to a planned auction of her gowns at Christies for charity. It was Diana’s last official portrait sitting, just five months before her death. In 2010, Testino was appointed the Grand Cross rank of the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service in Peru, the highest award bestowed by the nation of Peru to commend notable civil and military merit. In 2014, Testino received an honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in recognition of services in photography and charity.
Great Britain, Scott #3005
The man who cracked the code to win World War II was mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954). In 1936, he published his paper, On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, establishing what became to be known as Turing machines, leading to the central concept of the modern computer. During World War II, Turing worked at Bletchley Park to break German ciphers, concentrating on cryptanalysis of the German Enigma machine. Shortly after the war's end, he was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. In 1952, he published his masterpiece, The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis, partially explaining things like spots and stripes on animals and why the human heart is on the left side of the chest. During a police investigation for a burglary at his home that same year, Alan disclosed his homosexuality. At trial for gross indecency, he was given the choice of either imprisonment or probation conditioned on chemical castration. He chose the latter; his housekeeper found him dead 14 months later, the cause being either suicide, as per the official inquest, or from accidental cyanide poisoning, as others have theorized. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 included what is commonly known as the “Alan Turing” law, pardoning those convicted for acts that are no longer considered offences.
Sir Hardy Amies
Great Britain, Scott #3018
Sir Hardy Amies (1909-2003) was one of only three couturiers supplying fashions to Queen Elizabeth II. He was born in Maida Vale, Westminster, and after school, taught English in France and worked in Germany. He began work at Mayfair dressmaker Lachasse in 1934, eventually doing all the design work and most of the managing. He began a relationship with married antiques dealer Alexis ffrench that lasted until after the war. During World War II, Hardy headed the Belgian Section of the Intelligence Corps, responsible for organizing sabotage, subversion, and resistance. Shortly after D-Day, he parachuted into Belgium to set up headquarters in Brussels. He opened his own fashion house in 1945 and prepared a wardrobe for the 1951 State visit to Canada of Princess Elizabeth. Virtually all the clothes Hardy made for Queen Elizabeth II have been for the royal tours abroad. In 1952, Hardy began a relationship with designer Kenneth Fleetwood, living together until Fleetwoods death in 1996. The two worked with Stanley Kubrick to design costumes for the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Great Britain, Scott #3019
A leading fashion designer, Sir Norman Hartnell (1901-1979) is probably most famous for designing the 1947 wedding dress and the 1953 coronation dress of Queen Elizabeth II. His own embroidery workrooms became known for romantic, full-skirted evening dresses. His first royal commission was in 1935, and he achieved international acclaim for his all-white wardrobe for the Queen Mother for the 1938 State Visit to France (the nearly completed colorful wardrobe had to be remade in the royal-prerogative-for-mourning white in the weeks before travel). Norman remained quiet and discreet about his homosexuality.
Great Britain, Scott #3163
Benjamin Britten (1913-1975), born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music. He began piano lessons at age seven and viola lessons at age ten and graduated from the Royal College of Music in 1933. He worked for the GPO Film Unit, providing music for documentaries, including Night Mail. In 1937, he met his lifetime companion, tenor Peter Pears. In 1945, he premiered his opera, Peter Grimes, and his most popular work, The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra. He and Peter launched the annual Aldeburgh Festival in 1948, and his opera, Billy Budd, premiered in 1951. Gloriana was written for Queen Elizabeth IIs coronation. His War Requiem premiered in 1962. Benjamins last opera, Death in Venice, was completed in 1973.
Great Britain, Scott #3289
An archaeologist, army officer, diplomat, and writer, T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935) was renown for his role in the Arab Revolt and the Sinai and Palestine campaign against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, a story told in the 1962 epic film Lawrence of Arabia. He was born in Tremadog, Camarvonshire, Wales, and in summer 1906 and 1907, he and a friend toured France by bicycle before he read History at Jesus College, Oxford, graduating with First Class Honors. From 1910 until the beginning of 1914, he excavated at Charchemish in northern Syria. There, he met and fell in love with teenager Selim Ahmed, known as Dahoum. The dedication of his 1926 major work, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, was addressed to S. A. and began. I loved you, … In 1914, he was co-opted by the British military to survey the Negev Desert. After enlisting, he was summoned to the new Arab Bureau Intelligence unit in Cairo, beginning his liaison role with the Arab push north to Damascus. On November 20, 1917, while reconnoitering Deraa in disguise, he was captured, heavily beaten, and sexually abused by the local bey and guardsmen. He wrote later, In Deraa that night the citadel of my integrity had been irrevocably lost. His description of the beating suggested he was a masochist. While serving in the Royal Air Force from 1925 to 1935, he arranged to pay military colleague John Bruce to administer beatings to him.
Great Britain, Scott #3294a
W. H. Auden (1907-1973) was born at York and grew up in a suburb of Birmingham. At boarding school, he befriended Christopher Isherwood, before attending Christ Church College, Oxford. Thereafter, he reunited with Isherwood, becoming lovers until 1939. The two collaborated on plays while Wystan published poems, his first book appearing in 1930. In 1936, he worked with the General Post Office (GPO) Film Unit making the 24-minute documentary, Night Mail, which ends with his poem of the same name recited to the accompaniment of music by Benjamin Britten. He emigrated to the United States where he met the love of his life, Chester Kallman. His last long poem, The Age of Anxiety, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948.
Great Britain, Scott #3388
Comedian, writer, actor, author Graham Chapman (1941-1989) was one of the six members of the surreal comedy group, Monty Python. Born in Leicester, he began studying medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he met John Cleese. He toured New Zealand in the Footlights show, Cambridge Circus, before entering St. Bartholomew’s Medical College. Chapman and Cleese began to write professionally for the BBC. Despite success on the television show, At Last the 1948 Show, he graduated and became a registered doctor. He met his long-term partner, David Sherlock, in 1966. In 1969, Monty Python was born, beginning with the sketch comedy series, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Five feature films followed. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s.
Great Britain, Scott #3591
Singer, songwriter and actor David Robert Jones (1947-2016), known professionally as David Bowie, was a leading figure in the music industry and is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Born in Brixton, a district of London, Bowie formed his first band, the Konrads, in 1962 at the age of 15. He finally achieved his commercial breakthrough in 1969 with the song Space Oddity. His career then fell into decline until one the first of many comebacks, 1972s Ziggy Stardust, a concept album about a space-age rock star. His 100-million plus worldwide record sales made him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Following his death in 2016, Bowie was dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine as The Greatest Rock Star Ever. Bowie, perhaps for shock value, declared himself gay in an interview with Michael Watts for a 1972 issue of Melody Maker, a weekly British music magazine. But in a September 1976 interview with Playboy, he declared Its trueI am a bisexual. Finally, In a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, Bowie said his public declaration of bisexuality was the biggest mistake I ever made. and I was always a closet heterosexual. In later years, he neither confirmed or denied that he had been in gay relationships. Bowie was married twice, from 1970 to 1980 and then from 1992 until his death.
Great Britain, Scott #3764
Actor and director Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) was a dominate force in the British stage during the middle of the 20th century. He was born in Dorking, Surrey, and briefly studied at the Royal Central School of Speech Training and Drama. In 1926, he joined the Birmingham Repertory Company. In 1930, he married lesbian Jill Esmond. His first successful West End role was Victor Prynne in Private Lives. His first Hollywood film was Friends and Lovers in 1931. He began an affair with Vivien Leigh in 1936 and they were married in 1940, but by the following year, the relationship was already waning. In a letter to Vivien, he revealed the nature of his ten-year relationship with Danny Kaye. He received Oscar nominations for Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Henry V, Hamlet, Richard II, The Entertainer, Othello, Sleuth, Marathon Man, and The Boys from Brazil, winning for Hamlet. He married Joan Plowright in 1961. In 1962, he became the first director of the United Kingdom’s National Theatre. In 1970, he became the first actor to be made a peer for services to the theater.
Great Britain, Scott #3768
Actor and director Sir John Gielguds (1904-2000) career spanned eight decades. In 1921, he made his professional debut in Henry V at the Old Vic. He made his screen debut the following year in Who Is the Man? In 1953, he was arrested in Chelsea for cruising a public lavatory, resulting in fines. In support, the audience greeted him with a standing ovation upon his next entrance on stage. In 1962, he met his longtime partner, interior designer Martin Hensler. Gielgud is one of the few actors to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. The stamp depicts Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.
Great Britain, Scott #3769
Actor, musician, writer, and theater director Simon Callow (born 1949) was born in Streatham, London, and studied at Queens University Belfast. He made his stage debut in 1973 in The Three Estates in Edinburgh. He created the role of Mozart in the premiere of Amadeus at the National Theatre. He received BAFTA Film Award nominations for 1985s A Room with a View and 1994s Four Weddings and a Funeral. In June 2016, he married Sebastian Fox.
Great Britain, Scott #3770
Franco Zeffirelli (1923-2019) was an Italian director and producer of operas, films, and television. He graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze and entered the University of Florence. After World War II started, he fought as a partisan before becoming an interpreter for British soldiers. He famously directed Liz and Dick in The Taming of the Shrew, followed by Romeo and Juliet, his major breakthrough. In 1996, Franco came out as homosexual.
Great Britain, Scott #3771
Theater director Michael Benthall (1919-1974) was born in London, attended Eton, and studied at Christ Church, Oxford, where he met his lifetime companion, dancer Robert Helpmann. During World War II, he was with the Royal Artillery. He was artistic director of the Old Vic from 1953 to 1962.
Great Britain, Scott #3773
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) is regarded by many as the greatest poet of the First World War. He was born at Plas Wilmon, near Oswestry, Shropshire. He discovered his poetic vocation in about 1904 and attended classes at the University of Reading. From 1913 until the war, he worked as a private tutor at the Berlitz School of Languages in Bordeaux, France. He enlisted, was diagnosed with shell shock, and was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, where he met fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon. After discharge from Craiglockhart, he was posted to Ripon, North Yorkshire, in 1918. He returned to France, was awarded the Military Cross, and was killed almost exactly one week before the Armistice. Homoeroticism is a central element in much of his poetry.
Great Britain, Scott #3790
Miriam Margolyes (born 1941) was born in Oxford, graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, and is the first person to say f*** on British television. In 1993, she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Age of Innocence. She received her OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2002. Miriam became an Australian citizen in 2013, referring to herself as a dyke on live television in front of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She lives with retired professor of Indonesian Studies Heather Sutherland, her partner since 1967
Great Britain, Scott #3898a, #3898d
Georgia Elwiss (born 1991) is an international cricketer, currently playing for the Melbourne Stars. She was raised in Wolverhampton and is a right-arm medium fast bowler and right-handed batsman. Her girlfriend, British footballer Carly Telford, revealed their relationship in a 2017 BBC Sport interview.
Great Britain, Scott #3876-3883, #3884a
Sir Elton John (born 1947) is one of the world’s best-selling musical artists with more than fifty Top 40 hits. His debut album, Empty Sky, appeared in 1969. His first hit single, “Your Song,” appeared the following year. He has received five Grammy Awards, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. Receiving knighthood in 1998, John has been openly gay since 1988 and is married to Canadian filmmaker and former advertising executive David Furnish. (Click on image to see a larger one in a new window)
Great Britain: Guernsey, Scott #24-26, #1172a
Born at Saint Peter Port, Guernsey, army officer and colonial administrator Sir Isaac Brock (1769-1812) joined the 8th Regiment of Foot at age 15. He assumed substantial command of the 49th Regiment of Foot in 1798 and saw his first combat the following year. In 1802, the Regiment was ordered to Canada. He was temporarily in charge of the entire British army there. He bolstered defenses, strengthened the fortifications of Quebec, and strengthened the Provincial Marine. In 1810, he took command of all forces in Upper Canada and prepared for war. He ordered the attack on Fort Mackinac, captured Detroit, secured the support of Tecumseh, and died at the Battle of Queenston Heights. The papers of John Montgomery, who served under Isaac, said he would choose a stalwart soldier often the youngest and tenderest…each and every night to lie by him. One, James FitzGibbon, would stay with him in his private quarters for days at a time. (click on image to see entire set and an additional issue)
Great Britain: Guernsey, Scott #1201
Olympian Carl Hester (born 1967) was raised on the Channel Island of Sark where a mail box is painted gold in his honor. He won the 1985 Young Dressage Rider Championship on Jolly Dolly before riding in the 1990 World Championships on Rubelit von Unkenriff. In 2012 at Barcelona, Carl became the youngest British rider to ever compete in an Olympic Games. As part of the dressage team, he won a gold medal riding Uthopia. In 2013, he was appointed as a Member of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Carl won a silver medal riding Nip Tuck as part of the dressage team. He currently owns an equestrian yard in Gloucestershire. Carl is openly gay. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Jersey, Scott #505
Born in Wigan, Lancashire, Kenneth Fleetwood (1930-1996) won a BBC Children’s Hour competition and attended Saint Martins School of Art in London. In 1952, he began to work for couturier Hardy Amies, helping with sketches. The two began a relationship that lasted until Fleetwoods death. During the 1960s and 1970s, Amies spent more and more time designing menswear. As a result, Kenneths responsibility for designing womens wear grew. The two worked with Stanley Kubrick to design costumes for the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Jersey, Scott # to come
A French surrealist photographer, sculptor, and writer, Claude Cahun (1894-1954) is best known for her androgynous self-portraits. Born Lucy Schwob in Nantes, France, she attended a private school in Surrey, Great Britain, before attending the University of Paris, Sorbonne. She began making photographic self-portraits as early as 1912. She adopted the gender-ambiguous name of Claude Cahun in about 1919 and during the 1920s settled in Paris with lifelong partner and stepsibling Suzanne Malherbe, who subsequently adopted the pseudonym Marcel Moore. They collaborated on written works, sculptures, photomontages, and collages. In 1937, they moved to Jersey where they became resistance workers and propagandists during World War II. They were arrested and sentenced to death, but the island was liberated before the sentence could be completed. (click on image to see entire set of eight in a new window)
Great Britain: Isle of Man, Scott #1836-41
Christopher Kenneth Biggins (born 1948) is a British stage actor and television personality. He has also made a few film appearances, appearing as a Transylvanian in the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). He was married to Beatrice Aston for a few years in the 1970s, but is now openly gay. He entered into a civil partnership with Neil Sinclair in 2006. Christmas Pantomimes by Christopher Biggins appeared on Isle of Man stamps in 2016. Pantomime is a musical comedy stage production designed for family entertainment, performed mainly in Britain during the Christmas and New Year’s season. Although Biggins is not mentioned on the stamps, his name does appear on the Isle of Man’s official first day cover. (click on image to see the entire set of six in a new window)
Arthur C. Clark
Great Britain: Isle of Man, Scott #1950
Joining Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov as one of the “Big Three” of science fiction writers of the 20th century, Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s (1917-2008) biggest claim to fame was as a co-writer of the 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) screenplay. Clarke married in 1953, but separated within six months; not until 1964 was a divorce finalized. In 1956, he moved to Sri Lanka and remained there until his death. He had an extremely close relationship with a Sri Lankan man, Leslie Ekanayake. They are buried next to each other in Colombos Central Cemetery. Clarke did not publicize his sexuality, but would answer truthfully if asked. In addition to the 2018 Jersey issue shown here, he also appears on a Sri Lankan stamp issued in 1998.
Greece, Scott #316
British poet, peer, and politician Lord Byron (1788-1824) became a revolutionary in the Greek War of Independence and is considered of Rochdale at age ten, inheriting Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. He attended Harrow, then studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he fell in love with chorister John Edleston. While on his Grand Tour, he had a relationship with Nicolo Giraud in Greece. With the publication of the first two cantos of Childe Harolds Pilgrimmage in 1812, he became a celebrity. He had an affair with Lady Caroline Lamb and married Annabella Millbanke, though she left him after learning of his affairs with both women and men. He permanently left England for Switzerland, then Italy, and finally, Greece, where he fell in love (unrequited) with page Lukas Chalandritsanos.
Alexander the Great
Greece, Scott #638
By the age of 30, Alexander the Great’s (356BC - 323BC) had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, spending most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa. His sexuality continues to be debated as ancient Greeks were quite fluid in their relationships. His life-long close companionship with his boyhood friend Hephaestion is well documented, though he did marry to produce an heir. Alexander has appeared on numerous Greek stamps, including Scott #2854, a souvenir sheet issued in 2018.
Greece, Scott #1835
Widely regarded in ancient times as one of the greatest lyric poets, Sapphos (circa 630 -570 BC) works were written to be sung to the accompaniment of a lyre. Only about 650 of her approximately 10,000 lines of poetry exist today. Only one poem, Ode to Aphrodite, survives complete. Sappho 31 (fragment 31) describes her love for a young woman. She is well known as a symbol of love and desire between women, with the English words sapphic and lesbian derived from her name and the name of her home island of Lesbos.
Greece, Scott #2740Aristotle (384-322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period of Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he founded the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy. He was born in Stagira in Northern Greece, joining Plato’s Academy at age 17 or 18. Practitioner of pederasty, he loved youths Theodectes and Hermias. He tutored Alexander the Great and travelled to Asia Minor and Lesbos, where he married Pythias, before returning to Athens. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic.
Greece, Scott #2798An Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet, Solon (circa 630-560 BC) was made leader of Athenian forces when contesting the possession of Salamis. He was able to improve the morale of troops with a poem and defeated the Megarians in battle around 595 BC. He was chosen archon, or chief magistrate, in 594. Practitioner of pederasty, he loved Peisistratos. He also celebrated the love of youths in his poetry. He enacted reforms, then travelled to Egypt, then Cyprus, and finally, Sardis, capital of Lydia. He returned to Athens, opposed Tyrant Peisistratos, and died in Cyprus.
Greece, Scott #2879A Greek philosopher, historian, soldier, and student of Socrates, Xenophon (431-354 B.C.) commanded the Ten Thousand that marched into modern day Turkey and was one of the greatest commanders of antiquity. He was among the first to use flanking maneuvers and feints. He was an authority on Socrates, with his works presenting Socrates dialogues, including his teaching on same-sex love. A practitioner of pederasty, Xenophon loved youths Clinias and Autolycus.
Greece, Scott #2880
Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought, Socrates (circa 470–399 BC) was born in Athens. Plato and Xenophon were his students. His lover, Alcibiades, was also his student. He participated in the battles of Potidaea (432), Delium (424) and Amphipolis (422). In his 50s, he married Xanthippe. In 399, he went on trial, was found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of impiety, and was sentenced to death via a drink containing the poison hemlock.
Greece, Scott #2882
Euripides (circa 480–406 BC) was a tragedian of classical Athens. Of his over 90 plays, only 18 or 19 have survived more-or-less complete. His plays won first prize only five times (Aeschylus won 13 victories, and Sophocles won at least 20). He loved poet Agathon, and he and Sophocles had a male prostitute in common.
Nuuk Gay Pride
Greenland, Scott #700
Greenland’s gay pride stamp was issued in 2015. Nuuk Gay Pride, held annually in June, began in 2010 and features concerts, films and a parade.
Grenada, Scott #4032
Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), the great French animal painter, was hailed as the most popular artist, male or female, of the 19th century. She met her life partner Nathalie Micas while they were both teenagers. She was one of only 12 women to obtain a cross-dressing permit in the 1850s. Her most famous work is The Horse Fair, first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1853. Rosa was the first female artist to earn admittance to the once exclusively male club founded by Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Legion of Honor. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Hong Kong, Scott #1167One of the founding fathers of Cantopop, Leslie Cheung (1956-2003) achieved huge success in music and film. He released his breakthrough album, Wind Blows On, in 1982. Two years later, his song, Monica, became the best-selling single in Hong Kong history, making him a superstar. He starred in John Woo’s 1986 film, A Better Tomorrow, breaking Hong Kongs box office record. Leslie moved to Vancouver in 1990 and became a Canadian citizen. In 1993, he won a Golden Horse Film Award for Best Original Song. Although he said he was bisexual, he announced his same-sex relationship with Daffy Tong Hok-tak during a 1997 concert. Cheung was diagnosed with depression and later died by suicide, jumping off the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong.
Hungary, Scott #3668
American film director George Cukor (1899-1983) was born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the only son of his Hungarian-Jewish parents. In 1920, he became stage manager of the Knickerbocker Players, then general manager of the Lyceum Players in upstate New York. He made his Broadway directorial debut in 1925 with Antonia. He went to Hollywood in 1929, making his solo directorial debut in 1931 with the film, Tarnished Lady. He quickly earned a reputation for coaxing great performances from actresses. Clark Gable got Cukor fired from Gone with the Wind because Clark had earlier been a male hustler and Cukor knew (or was one of his clients). It was an open secret that George was gay. He received directing Oscar nominations for Little Women, The Philadelphia Story,A Double Life and Born Yesterday, before finally winning the statue in 1964 for My Fair Lady.
Reykjavic Pride Parade
Iceland, Scott #1304
Reykjavics annual pride event was launched in 1999 and attracts 100,000 visitors, almost one-third the population of the entire country. The week-long event that includes a parade that was featured on one of the stamps in the 2013 town festivals issue.
Ireland, Scott #479, #1232
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900) is best known for his wit and flamboyance, and his literary efforts, with his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and the play The Importance of Being Ernest his most lasting legacies. His criminal conviction for “gross indecency” and subsequent imprisonment led to his early death at age 46 in France, where he was buried. (Click on images to see more Oscar Wilde stamps)
Ireland, Scott #2085-88
Eileen Gray (1878-1976) was an Irish-born and French-based architect and furniture designer. Born Kathleen Eileen Moray Smith, after the death of a maternal uncle in 1895 she became the 19th Baroness Gray and was known as Eileen Gray thereafter. Gray’s art education began in London in 1900, but she moved to Paris in 1902 then returned to London a few years later to be with her ailing mother. By 1907, she was back in Paris, training with Seizo Sugawara in the art of lacquer furniture; both left France after the beginning of the World War I. Returning to Paris in 1917, she soon opened her own shop. Gray and Jean Badovici had a romantic relationship. Badovici encouraged Grays growing interest in architecture, resulting in the modernist E-1027 villa, built in the south of France near Monaco. Badovici and Gray split in 1931, and Gray designed and built another house nearby. Gray was bisexual, mixing in the lesbian circles of the time, being associated with Romaine Brooks, Loie Fuller, Marie-Louise Damien, and Natalie Barney. Her intermittent relationship with the singer Damien ended in 1938.
Patrick Henry Pearse
Ireland, Scott #2107b
After his execution, Patrick Henry Pearse (1879-1916) was seen by many as the embodiment of the Irish quest for independence. He grew up surrounded by books where he promised God that he would dedicate his life to Irish freedom from British rule. A schoolmaster and an advocate of the suppressed Irish language, his Irish Volunteers joined the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly and 200 women of Cumann na mBan, in seizing key locations in Dublin on Easter Sunday in 2016. In front of the main post office in Dublin, he proclaimed an Irish Republic. After six days of fighting, he ordered a surrender and was executed the following month. His lack of sexual interest in women has been speculated by some psychologists as due to Asperger’s syndrome. Other historians and biographers have noted that his interest in boys and extracts from some to his poetry indicate he was not asexual. Pearse shows up on two other Irish stamps, released in 1966 (Scott #209) and 1979 (Scott #460).
Kathleen Lynn and Elizabeth O’Farrell
Ireland, Scott #2107g
Kathleen Lynn (1874-1955), shown with Elizabeth O’Farrell (1883-1957) on a 2016 Irish issue noting the centenary of the failed Easter Uprising for Irish independence, was chief medical officer for the Irish Citizen Army. She met Madeleine ffrench-Mullen in 1913 and together they founded St. Ultans Hospital in 1919, living together until ffrench-Mullens death in 1944. Lynn died in 1955. OFarrell was a nurse along with Julia Grenan during the Easter Rising. OFarrell delivered the surrender along with Pearse, depicted on another stamp in the 2016 issue. A photograph was taken though she had taken a step back. Her feet were airbrushed from the photo. She and Grenan are buried next to each other in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland.
Ireland, Scott #2107p
Diplomat and Irish revolutionary Roger Casement (1864-1916) worked for Henry Morton Stanley in the Congo, where he met Joseph Conrad. He joined the Colonial Service before working for the British Foreign Office as consul. Commissioned by the Balfour Government, he produced the hugely influential 1904 Casement Report, detailing human rights violations in the Congo Free State. Sent to Brazil, Roger reported in 1910 on abuses against natives in Putumayo, Peru. He was knighted in 1911 for these investigations. Retired from consular service, he helped form the Irish Volunteers in 1913. Hoping to recruit an Irish Brigade from Irish prisoners of war, he traveled to Germany where he helped secure arms that were later intercepted at sea. Three days before the 1916 Easter Rising, he arrived back in Ireland via German U-boat. He was shortly discovered and arrested before he was charged, tried, and finally executed in August 1916. While at trial, the prosecution produced Casement’s diaries from 1903, 1910, and 1911, rife with detailed homosexual activity. He also appears on Irish stamps issued in 1966 (Scott #214-15) as well as another 2016 stamp not shown (Scott #2099).
Ireland, Scott #2245
Dublin, Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was awarded a first-class honors degree from Somerville College, Oxford, in 1942. She studied philosophy postgraduate at Newnham College, Cambridge, before becoming a fellow of Saint Annes College, Oxford, teaching philosophy until 1963. She married John Bayley, a man who thought that sex was inescapably ridiculous. Iris had multiple affairs with both men and women. She wrote more than 25 novels.
Ireland, Scott # to come
Sarah Purser (1848-1943) attended the Institution Evangélique de Montmirail, Switzerland, learning fluent French, and then the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. She studied at the Académie Julian in Paris where she met lifelong friend, painter Louise Catherine Breslau. She worked mostly as a portraitist and regularly exhibited. She financed a stained-glass cooperative and ran it from 1903 until 1940. In 1924, Sarah became the first female Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. For many years, she hosted a Tuesday afternoon salonat her home on the banks of the Grand Canal.
Italy, Scott #529
A Latin poet of the late Roman Republic, Catullus (circa 84–54 BC) wrote chiefly in the neoteric style, about personal life rather than classical heroes. He was born in Verona, Cisalpine Gaul, and spent his young adult years in Rome. Many of his poems address love to Lesbia, possibly identified as the married Clodia Metelli, who had several other simultaneous suitors. He also wrote explicitly sexual love poems to Juventius.
Italy, Scott #1118
Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He was born in Florence, initially trained as a goldsmith, and apprenticed with painter Fra Filippo Lippi. By 1470, Sandro had his own workshop. In 1481, Pope Sixtus IV summoned him and others to fresco the walls of the Sistine Chapel, where Sandro contributed three of the fourteen large scenes. He returned to Florence to paint his masterpieces, Primavera (circa 1482) and The Birth of Venus (circa 1485). In 1502, he was accused of sodomy with one of his assistants.
Italy, Scott #1127
An Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, Raphael (1483-1520) was born in Urbino, Marche region, and apprenticed with painter Pietro Perugino. His first documented work was the Baronci Altarpiece. He was much in demand and led a nomadic life, though he spent a great deal of time in Florence. In 1508, he moved to Rome, commissioned by Pope Julius II to fresco the private library at the Vatican Palace, the first of three Raphael Rooms. In 1514, he was named architect of the new Saint Peters, though most of his work was altered or demolished after his death. He lived with his two favorite students, Giulio Romano and Gianfrancesco Penni, to whom he left his fortune.
Italy, Scott # to come
Lucio Dalla (1943-2012) played clarinet in a Bologna jazz band and made his first record in 1961 with the Second Roman New Orleans Jazz Band. His first vocal hit was 4 Marzo 1943, released in 1970. His song, Caruso, released in 1986, has been covered by international artists like Luciano Pavarotti, Julio Iglesias, and Andrea Bocelli. He was made a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2003. Lucios long-term partner was Marco Alemanno.
Japan, Scott #1783-86
Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan, is recognized as the greatest master of haiku. Born near Ueno, in Iga Province (now western Mie Prefecture), the first extant poem by him was published in 1662. He wrote, “there was a time when I was fascinated with the ways of homosexual love. Biographers note that he was involved in same-sex affairs throughout all his life and that among his lovers were several of his disciples. The Narrow Road to the Interior (Oku no Hosomichi), considered his finest achievement was finished in 1694 and published in 1702.
KyrgyzExpress Post, Scott #55
Li Bai (701-762) was a Chinese poet acclaimed as a genius and as a romantic figure who took traditional poetic forms to new heights. He was born in Suyab, present-day Kyrgyzstan, and spent his childhood in Jiangyou, near Chengdu, Sichuan. He lived a mostly restless life, wandering China, loving drink. He is known to have married four times. He was summoned to the court in Chang’an by Emperor Xuanzong to be employed as a translator and at the Hanlin Academy. He left the court, wandered for 10 years, then shared a room with poet Du Fu in 744 and 745. Late in life, he was arrested and sentenced to exile, but was reprieved before reaching his destination. Due to the content of his poems, he was a favorite poet among homosexual reading clubs and social gatherings in post WWI Germany. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Liechtenstein, Scott #1802
In 2019, Liechtenstein and Switzerland jointly issued four stamps commemorating Social Diversity, including two stamps featuring Throng, by Luigi Olivadoti, which appears to depict a Pride gathering with a Rainbow Flag, created by Gilbert Baker.
Luxembourg, Scott #1407b
In Nazi concentration camps, each prisoner wore a downward-pointing triangle cloth badge, or in the case of Jews, the Star of David (i.e. superimposed upward and downward triangles). The color of the badge identified the reason for imprisonment. Eventually a pink triangle designated for homosexual men, bisexual men, and transgender women. Lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender men, when imprisoned and identified as such, were classified as “asocial”, designated with a black triangle. The stamp shown here is part of a Luxembourg set marking the end of World War II.
Luxembourg, Scott #1425
Gender equality and principles of equal treatment are priciples of European law, with the Center for Equal Treatment being established in 2006 to support victims of discriminations on all grounds.
Malaysia, Scott #1824
Sir James Brooke (1803-1868) was a British soldier and adventurer who ruled as the first White Rajah of Sarawak from 1841 until his death. He was born in Bandel near Kolkata, India. In 1819, he enlisted as an ensign in the Bengal Army of the British East India Company and was seriously wounded in the First Anglo-Burmese War in 1825. After he bought a 142-ton schooner, he arrived in Kuching in 1838 and helped end an uprising against the Sultan of Brunei. In gratitude, James was offered the governorship of Sarawak in 1841. He was granted knighthood in 1847. He had relationships with a Sarawak prince named Badruddin and with Charles T. C. Grant. He died eight months before the first Sarawak stamp appeared depicting him. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Malta, Scott #1297
Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi Da Caravaggio (1571-1610) was born in Milan and apprenticed to painter Simone Peterzano. In 1592, he moved to Rome after certain quarrels and the wounding of a police officer. He worked in the workshop of Pope Clement VIIIs favorite artist, Giuseppe Cesari. Caravaggios innovation was a radical naturalism that combined a close physical observation with tenebrism, a violent shift from light to dark. He shared rooms for years with his young model, Mario Minniti. In testimony during a 1603 libel suit, he acknowledged Giovanni Battista as a sexual partner. He was notorious for brawling and fled first to Naples, then Malta, where he painted in 1608 The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist replicated on the Malta stamp shown here. He escaped prison and went to Sicily before dying in Naples. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Mexico, Scott #1440
Ramon Novarro (1899-1968) was born in Durango, Mexico, and accompanied his family to Los Angeles in 1913 to escape the revolution. He began his career in silent films in 1917, and his first major success was 1923’s Scaramouche. His greatest success was starring in 1925’s Ben-Hur. His career continued in the talkies, including starring with Greta Garbo in 1931’s Mata Hari, and in television into the 1960s. He had romantic relationships with composer Harry Partch, journalist Herbert Howe, and Noël Sullivan.
Mexico, Scott #2228
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón, painted mainly folk-art style portraits or self-portraits inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. Twice married to fellow artist Diego Rivera, both were ardent communists and Frida has a particular disdain for capitalist America, where both worked during the early 1930s. Frida’s health was always fragile as were her marriages to Rivera; both pursued extra marital activities. She had numerous affairs, with Georgia O’Keeffe, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Josephine Baker, and Leon Trotsky being some better known names. Her artwork was largely ignored until being discovered in the late 1970s. The Mexican stamp was to be a part of an official joint issue with the U.S. Although the joint issue idea was aborted because of Kahlos communist ties, the U.S. issued its stamp anyway. See the entry in the U.S. Stamp Gallery
Euro Pride 2016
Netherlands, Scott #1517
These stamps appeared on July 18, 2016 to celebrate EuroPride being held in Amsterdam. EuroPride is a pan-European international event dedicated to LGBTQ pride. The first EuroPride was held in London in 1992.
Netherlands, Scott #1593
Erwin Olaf Springvelds (born 1959) often daring and provocative photos have been exhibited around the world. Known professionally as Erwin Olaf, he has provided advertising campaigns for Levi, Microsoft, and Nokia, and designed the 2014 Dutch euro coins featuring King Willem-Alexander. In a 2008 interview for The Telegraph, he said I could never hide being gay, even when I was six. (Click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
New Zealand, Scott #1750, #1837, #1901
Sir Ian Murray Kellen (born 1939) is an English actor now widely known for his film roles. However, his early successes were in the theater, his first professional role being a Roper in the Belgrade Theater’s production of A Man for All Seasons. Four years later, he debuted in Londons West End district and by the 1970s and 1980s was performing frequently at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. Early on, McKellen began taking film and television roles as well, but his appearances in Hollywood blockbuster film like the X-Men series and the Lord of the Rings trilogy extended his fame. His stepmother was unfazed when he told her he was gay. He has had several long term relationships over the years and publicly came out during a 1988 BBC radio program debate over an anti-gay law proposed in parliament. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Norway, Scott #255-58
Composer and pianist Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was born in Bergen and started piano lessons at age six. He studied the instrument at the Leipzig Conservatory and made his concert debut in 1861. He moved to Copenhagen and married his first cousin, Nina Hagerup, in 1867. From 1874 to 1876, he composed incidental music to accompany Henrik Ibsen’s play, Peer Gynt, including the famous excerpt, “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” He was music director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra from 1880 to 1882. Late in life, he met and fell in love with Australian composer Percy Grainger. (click on image to see the entire set of four in a new window)
Love Knows No Gender
Philippines, Scott # to come
On February 6, 2020, the Philippines released four stamps celebrating Valentine’s Day, including one featuring a rainbow heart with the text, “Love Knows No Gender.” The country name and denomination are also in rainbow colors, unlike the other three stamps with inscriptions of “Love Nature,” “Love for Country” and “Love Yourself.”
Poland, Scott #1061, #2125, #3080, #3793
A Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era, Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Zelazowa Wola, west of Warsaw, grew up in Warsaw, and began professional piano tutoring in 1816. A child prodigy, he began public performances at age seven, and in 1817, he composed two polonaises. In his youth, he had two unrequited same-sex loves. Starting in 1826, he studied music theory, figured bass, and composition at the Warsaw Conservatory. His passionate letters to Tytus Woyciechowski suggested a homoerotic relationship. He made his debut in Vienna, then moved to Paris, receiving French citizenship in 1835. In 1838, he and George Sand became lovers, their relationship lasting until 1847.
Poland, Scott #2514, #3861
Not as well known as Chopin, Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was also a Polish composer and pianist. Born in what is now Tymoshivka, Ukraine, he studied music privately with his father, and in 1901, attended the Warsaw Conservatory. Musical opportunities in Russian-occupied Poland were quite limited, so he travelled. He had relationships with chemist Stefan Kazimierz Spiess and dancer Boris Kochno. In Vienna, he composed the opera, Hagith, and song cycles, The Love Songs of Hafiz. In 1918, he completed a two-volume novel, Efebos, with homosexuality as its subject. From 1926 to 1930, he was Director of the Warsaw Conservatory. He died of tuberculosis at a sanatorium in Lausanne.
Poland, No Scott # for 2019 postal card
Narcyza Żmichowska (1819-1876) was a novelist and poet considered the precursor of feminism in Poland. She enrolled at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and became one of the first women ever at the Académie Française. In Poland, she worked as a governess, wrote, published, founded a group of Suffragettes, and took part in anti-Tsarist activities. In her first novel, Poganka (The Heathen) she is known to have expressed interest in her friend Paulina Zbyszewska. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Poland, No Scott # for 2019 postal card
A mime artist and theater director, Henryk Tomaszewski (1919-2001) was born in Poznań and after World War II, settled in Kraków to study theater and ballet. In 1949, he moved to Wrocław to teach ballet. His Mime Studio had its first performance in 1956, and the renamed Wrocław Mime Theatre was granted State theater status in 1959. During the 1960s, he collaborated with the Służba Bezpieczeństwa (State Counterintelligence Service), possibly under blackmail over his homosexuality. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Romania, Scott #4695
Fashion designer Christian Dior (1905-1957) was born in Granville, Normandy, and grew up in Paris. In 1928, he and Jacques Bonjean opened an art gallery that shuttered in 1931. There, he met intimate friend, Pierre Colle. From 1937, he was employed by fashion designer Robert Piguet until the war. After leaving the army in 1942, he worked at the fashion house of Lucien Lelong. He opened his own fashion house in 1946. His first collection was named the New Look by Carmel Snow, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar. He was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky / Van Cliburn
Russia, Scott #2046
The inaugural Tchaikovsky Piano and Violin Competition was held in 1958, with the upset piano winner being Van Cliburn, then a 23-year old Fort Worth, Texas, native. Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1993), whose works are familiar even to those who have no interest in classical music, kept his homosexuality private. He did have a 13-year association with widow Nadezhda von Meck, who was his benefactor despite the pair having never met. He suffered from depression and died early, the cause officially being cholera while others say his death was either accidental or self-inflicted. Like Tchaikovsky, Harvey Lvan “Van” Cliburn (1934-2013) was private about his sexuality, which became public when a palimony suit was filed by his partner of 17 years. Russia has issued numerous stamps over the years honoring Tchaikovsky.
Russia, Scott #2144, #4369
Lyric poet Sergei Yesenin (1895-1925) was raised by his grandparents in Konstantinovo, Ryazan. He began to write poetry at age nine. In 1912, with a teacher’s diploma, he moved to Moscow. He enrolled in Chanyavsky University, but had to leave after 18 months due to lack of funds. His three-year marriage to Anna Izryadnova began in 1913. He first published a poem in 1914, and in 1915, he moved to St. Petersburg, where he met and lived with intimate friend, Nikolai Klyuev. Sergeis rise to fame was meteoric. He was drafted in 1916, and in the following year, began his four-year marriage to Zinaida Raikh. In 1918, he met and shared a flat with Anatoly Marienhof. They founded the Russian literary movement of imaginism. His less-than-a-year marriage to Isadora Duncan began in 1922. In 1925, he married Sophia Andreyevna Tolstaya, but died less than a year later. His most meaningful love poems are addressed to men, including his suicide poem, Farewell, my friend, farewell.
Russia, Scott #5611
John Reed (1887-1920) was an American journalist, poet, and communist activist. He was born in Portland, Oregon, and enrolled at Harvard in 1906. After graduation, he started with The American Magazine in New York. Hoping to establish himself as a freelance journalist, his breakthrough arrived with The Saturday Evening Post. In 1913, he joined the staff of The Massed, and the same year, he suffered his first arrest for attempting to speak on behalf of New Jersey silk mills strikers. He shared the perils of Pancho Villas army to report on the Mexican Revolution and went to Colorado to investigate the Ludlow massacre. He had an affair with Mabel Dodge, and at the beginning of World War I, he travelled Europe, reporting as war correspondent. His book, The War in Eastern Europe, was published in 1916. Later that year, he married Louise Bryant. The following year, the pair travelled to St. Petersburg and witnessed the October Revolution. He went to work for the new Peoples Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and gave a speech to the Third Congress of Soviets promising to bring the news of the revolution to America. His book, 10 Days that Shook the World, was published in 1919. Indicted for sedition, he fled America for Moscow. He attempted to return but got only as far as Finland. He died of typhus in Moscow. While in New York, he lived in the bohemian Greenwhich Village and associated with some LGBTQ friends, notably Emma Goldman, Frances Perkins, Carl Van Vechten, Charles Demuth and Amy Lowell.
Russia, Scott #5754
Born in Karevo, Pskov, Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) started piano lessons at age six, and entered the Cadet School of the Guards at age 13. Upon graduation he received a commission with the Preobrazhensky Regiment, the foremost regiment of the Russian Imperial Guard. He became a fixture at composer Alexander Dargomyzhskys soirées. In 1858, he resigned his commission to devote himself to music while working as a civil servant for income. In 1867, he finished the original orchestral version of Night on Bald Mountain. His opera, Boris Godunov, premiered in 1874. The piano suite, Pictures at an Exhibition, was completed in the same year. Objects of Modests affections include composer Mily Balakirev, painter Viktor Hartmann, and poet Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov. He described his furtive homosexual liaisons, forever within an ace of discovery, within an inch of love.
Russia, Scott #7133; Ukraine Scott #765
Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) was a dramatist born in Sorochyntsi, Poltava, Ukraine, and from 1820 to 1828, he studied at what is now known as Nizhyn Gogol State University. He moved to St. Petersburg and published his first volume of Ukrainian stories in 1831. He wrote the novel, Taras Bulba, in 1835, and his comedy, The Government Inspector, was first performed the following year. He spent twelve years abroad before returning to publish his novel, Dead Souls, in 1842. It established his reputation as the greatest prose writer in the Russian language. While in Italy, he fell in love with Count Iosif Vielhorsky. (click on image to see a larger one in a new window)
Spain, Scott #1387
One of the foremost Spanish dramatists of the 20th century, Jacinto Benavente (1866-1954) was born in Madrid and was elected to the Spanish Royal Academy in 1912. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1922. In the late 1940s, he was blacklisted by the Franco government, possibly because of his homosexuality: his name could not appear in Spanish press. His plays, however, were not banned. He wrote 172 works. He never married and according to many sources, he was homosexual.
Fredrico Garcia Lorca
Spain, Scott #2946; Mexico, Scott #2078
Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (1898-1936) was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theater director. He left his native Granada in 1919 for Madrid to study music, but turned to writing poetry and plays, achieving international recognition as a member of the Generation of ’ 27, a group of mostly Spanish poets. By 1929 he was in New York, publishing a collection Poet in New York. Returning to Spain in 1930, he directed theater for the new Republic government and by the mid-1930s produced his greatest works, the trilogy Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernard Alba. The Spanish civil war broke out in July, 1936 when conservative generals rose against the leftist Republican government. Lorca was executed the following month, probably due to his Republican sympathies. His body or bones have never been found. A Franco-era report dated July 9, 1965, described the writer as a “socialist” and “freemason belonging to the Alhambra lodge,” who engaged in “homosexual and abnormal practices.”
Spain, Scott #3163
Luis Cernuda (1902-1963) was born in Seville, Spain, and graduated from the University of Seville with a law degree. In 1927 he moved to Madrid and met other young writers, including Federico García Lorca and Vicente Aleixandre, and his poems were read in homage to the great Spanish poet Luis de Góngora. Because of these homages, the group of young poets became known as the Generation of 1927. After reading Louis Aragon and other French writers and recognizing the social stigma attached to his homosexuality, he was drawn toward surrealism. It would allow him to express himself more freely in his books Un río, un amor (A River, A Love) (1929) and Los placers prohibidos (Forbidden Pleasures) (1931). Abandoning surrealism, his most famous book, La realidad y el deseo (Reality and Desire) was published in April 1936. Fleeing the Civil War, Cernuda taught at the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge before lecturing at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and at UCLA.
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba
Spain, Scott #4094
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba (1453-1515) was a Spanish general and statesman who led successful campaigns during the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars. He was born at Montilla, Córdoba, and he fought for Isabella during the civil war over her accession. He married Mara de Sotomayor in 1474 and María Manrique de Lara y Figueroa in 1489. Córdoba revolutionized military strategy by integrating firearms into the Spanish infantry and directed the first battle in history won by gunpowder small arms, the Battle of Cerignola in 1503. Various sources from the 16th century cite his homosexuality.
Mariano Eusebio Gonzáles García, aka Luis Mariano
Spain, Scott #4156b
Mariano Eusebio Gonzáles García (1914-1970), better known as Luis Mariano, was a popular Spanish singer in both Spain and France. His family fled from Spain to Bordeaux, France at the start of the Spanish Civil War. He took up singing and sang in numerous stage shows and became known as the “King of Operetta”. In 1943, he appeared in his first major film. Never married, Mariano’s family and avid fans deny he was gay; several biographers have come to a different conclusion.
Spain, Scott #4283
Gloria Fuertes García (1917-1998) was a Spanish poet, short story writer, playright and author of children’s literature. She is linked to the first Spanish literary movement after the Civil War, 1950’s Generation or postism. She worked in children’s magazines in the 1940s and 1950s, and she was co-founder of “Verses in Skirts,” a group that organized concerts and poetry readings in bars and cafes. One of her most known works is Three Wise Queens: Melchora, Gaspara y Baltasara, published in 1978 and now a childrens literature classic in Spain. She became better known in the 1970s, after her collaborations on Spanish children’s television shows. Academic sources indicate she was a a pacifist lesbian, defending equality between men and women, and fighting for the environment.
Spain, Scott #4447
Spains 2020 rainbow flag stamp commemorates the Pasaje Begoña, an alley in Torremolinos, a beach town on the Costa del Sol where the country first gay bar opened in 1962. By 1971, the alley had become an epicenter of a thriving gay scene in conservative Spain, then ruled by the oppressive dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco. On June 24, of that year, a massive police raid resulted in as many as 400 persons being arrested and fined astronomical amounts. As many of those arrested were tourists, the raid brought international condemnation. Decades passed before Torremolinos regained popularity as a tourist destination. The last line on the stamp translates Cradle of Gay Rights.
Sweden, Scott #532-34
Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was constantly writing poetry as a child and was educated at the Royal Seminary in Stockholm. She taught school for ten years before meeting her companion, Sophie Elkan. One of her most popular books, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, was published in 1902. (click on image to see entire set of three)
Sweden, Scott #1386c, #2517
Swedish-American actress Greta Lovisa Gustafsson (1905-1990), who adopted the stage name Greta Garbo, was popular in the 1920s and 1930s, earning three Oscar nominations during that time. Her later films faltered, prompting her to retire from the screen after 1941. She had many love affairs throughout her life. She thrilled audiences dressed in men’s tuxedos, and wearing pants before it was the style. Both men and women flocked to Garbo’s movies. Garbo is quoted as saying: “I could not choose between love for a man or love for a woman ... I became a slave to both sexes ... I was equally fascinated by both female and male bodies.” For the centennial of her birth in 2005, the U.S. issued a stamp almost identical to one in the pair shown here.
King Gustav III of Sweden
Sweden, Scott #2069
Gustav III (1746-1792) was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was born in Stockholm, and he grew precociously experienced in the art of dissimulation. He married Danish Princess Sophia Magdalena in 1766, and for consummation, his parents requested actual physical instruction, reportedly because of anatomical problems of both spouses. Gustav had relationships with courtiers Axel von Fersen the Younger, Gustav Mauritz Armfelt, and Johan Fredrik Aminoff. He travelled to Paris and visited his uncle, Frederick the Great, before accession. After he quelled a coup d’état, he delivered his famous philippic, viewed as one of the masterpieces of Swedish oratory. Enthusiastic for the ideas of the French enlightenment, he worked towards reform. As a prelude to obtaining Norway from Denmark, he first conducted the Russo-Swedish War, which included the greatest naval victory ever achieved by the Swedish Navy. The war and his abolishment of the old privileges of the nobility led to his assassination at a masked ball at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm.
Sweden, Scott #2141
Jan Rikard Wolff (1958-2017) was a Swedish stage and screen actor and singer. His career included film roles in House of Angels (1992) and its two sequels. He was openly gay and in those movies played the gay sidekick of a granddaughter who inherits a mansion in a small community that is divided by their presence. A scene from the movie appears on a 1995 Swedish motion picture centennial stamp.
Sweden, Scott #2774
Christina (1626-1689) became Queen of Sweden at the age of almost six. She is remembered as one of the most learned women of the 17th century. Before her father died in the Thirty Years’ War, he secured that Christina should receive an education of the type normally afforded only to boys. She learned at least seven languages besides Swedish. Her closest female friend was Ebba Sparre, with whom she shared a bed. In 1645, she founded Ordinari Post Tijdender, the oldest currently published newspaper in the world. In 1649, Christina announced that she had decided not to marry. She suffered a nervous breakdown in 1651, and in 1654 she abdicated her throne, probably because she planned to become Roman Catholic and because she had become unpopular. She left the country dressed in men’s clothes, eventually settling in Rome. She wrote passionate letters to Ebba Sparre, and while visiting Paris, ladies were shocked by her masculine appearance and demeanor. Near the end of her life, she wrote that she was neither Male nor Hermaphrodite, as some People in the world have pass’d me for.
Sweden, Scott #2493c
Eva Dahlgren (born 1960) is a Swedish pop musician. Her debut album was released in 1978. Her breakthrough in Sweden came in 1991 with the hit album En blekt blondins hjärta. She married jewelry designer Efva Attling in 2009. .
Sweden Rainbow Flag
Sweden, Scott #2774
The rainbow flag made its philatelic debut on this 2016 Swedish stamp. According to the news release announcing the stamp, more than 30 localities had pride events the prior year. PostNord, jointly owned by the Swedish and Danish governments, issued two pride stamps (Scott #1770-71) for Denmark the following year.
Switzerland, Scott #1743
In 2019, Liechtenstein and Switzerland jointly issued four stamps commemorating Social Diversity, including two stamps featuring Throng, by Luigi Olivadoti, which appears to depict a Pride gathering with a Rainbow Flag, created by Gilbert Baker.
Saints Sergius and Bacchus
Ukraine, Scott #434c
Saints Sergius (or Serge) and Bacchus were early fourth-century Roman Christian soldiers revered as martyrs and military saints by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. According to the Greek text known as The Passion of Sergius and Bacchus, their covert Christianity was discovered when they attempted to avoid accompanying a Roman official into a pagan temple. Refusing to sacrifice to Jupiter, they were publicly humiliated by being chained, dressed in female attire and paraded around town. They were sent to Barbalissos in Mesopotamia to be tried by Antiochus, the military commander there and an old friend of Sergius. Antiochus could not convince them to give up their faith, however, and Bacchus was beaten to death. The next day Bacchusֺ spirit appeared to Sergius and encouraged him to remain strong so they could be together forever. Over the next days, Sergius was also brutally tortured and finally executed at Resafa, where his death was marked by miraculous happenings. Although most historians reject the theory their relationship was a romantic one, the possibility has led to popular veneration of Sergius and Bacchus in the gay Christian community.
Uruguay, Scott #2661
Angela Davis (born 1944) graduated from Brandeis University, University of California at San Diego, and Humboldt University (East Berlin), and is professor emerita at University of California at Santa Cruz. She worked with the Black Panther Party during the civil rights movement. She was a member of the Communist Party until 1991 and was twice their candidate for vice president of the United States. She is an accomplished writer, lecturer/speaker, and political activist. She identified as lesbian in 1997 in Out magazine.
Free and Equal
UN-NY Scott #1127-28; UN-Geneva Scott #613-14; UN-Vienna Scott #579-80
In 2016, the United Nations issued six stamps, two for each of its main offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna, to publicize its Free and Equal campaign to stand up for equal rights and fair treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. The stamps were designed by out artist Sergio Badarat, a graphic designer of Cuban descent who often creates works in the French Art Deco style and is currently the U.N. Postal Administration’s art director.
United Nations, Scott #1132-33
Marcos Chin is an openly gay, award-winning illustrator. He was born in Mozambique, but his family emigrated in the mid-1970s due to civil war. After spending some time in Portugal, they eventualy wound up in Toronoto, Canada, where he grew up and spent much of his life. He said he didn't come from an artistic family but always liked to draw, so he went to art college and chose the path of illustration. His illustrations were widely praised and he currently teaches at New York’s School of Visual Arts. (click on image to see a larger version in a new window)
Vatican City, Scott #387
Michelangelo (1475-1564) was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. While attending the Humanist academy founded by the Medicis in Florence, he sculpted his first work in marble, Madonna of the Stairs. He went to Rome in 1496 and completed his masterpiece, Pietô, at age 24. He returned to Florence to complete another masterpiece, David, in 1504. Back in Rome he started work on Pope Julius IIs tomb and spent four years painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, completed in 1512. Pope Paul III ensured that he completed The Last Judgement in 1541. Michelangelo wrote over 300 sonnets and madrigals. The longest sequence of sonnets and personal correspondence reveal his romance with Tommaso dei Cavalieri.
Vatican City, Scott #1683
Gaius Octavius (63 BC – 14 AD) was a Roman statesman and military leader who became the first emperor of the Roman Empire in 27 BC. Octavious was born in Rome and raised in Velletri and elected to the College of Pontiffs in 47 BC. The following year, he joined Julius Caesar in Hispania. He was named as heir and prime beneficiary of Caesars will. Afterwards, Octavius took the name Gaius Julius Caesar and was called Octavian. After Caesars assassination, he assembled an army, returned to Rome, and defeated Mark Antony in Cisalpine Gaul. He, Mark Antony, and Marcus Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate in 43 BC. They defeated Caesars assassins at the Battle of Philippi. Octavian divorced Clodia Pulchra, claiming the marriage was never consummated. He married Scribonia, then after little more than a year, divorced her to marry Livia Drusilla. Lepidus was ejected from the Triumvirate, and Octavian defeated Antony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium in 30 BC. In 27 BC, the Senate proclaimed him Augustus, and by 23 BC, he was effectively emperor. According to Mark Antony, Augustus was sexually available to Julius Caesar in Hispania. Augustus prostituted himself to Aulus Hirtius in Hispania for gold, and his constant companion was Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.