Martina Navratilova is a legendary tennis player, and has been called the "greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who's ever lived." She has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam doubles titles and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She holds the most career titles of any player, male or female. She became a professional tennis player in 1975 at the age of 18, and has been knocking balls around ever since.
Martina is also one of the most famous out lesbians in the world. She came out in 1981, one of the first public figures to do so, and has been a consistent spokesperson on gay and lesbian rights. Her personal life has often been dragged through the courts, most notably by former partner Judy Nelson.
Yesterday Martina announced that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily the prognosis is good and the medics seem confident that it hasn't metastasized and she will make a full recovery. Lesbians all over the world are thinking of you, Martina, and wishing you all the best against this horrible disease.
Annie Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer, most famous for her work with Rolling Stone in the 70's and Vanity Fair in the 80's till the present. She has photographed some of the most recognised magazine covers of the last 30 years. She was involved for many years with the feminist and writer Susan Sontag, but their relationship was only made public after Sontag's death in 2004.
Sadly these days Leibovitz is often in the news for her financial woes, and yesterday faced new accusations of balking at bills, less than a month after she struck a deal intended to fix her money problems.
Here's a selection of some of her most famous photos:
Sugar Lee Hooper (real name: Marja van der Toorn) was a Dutch singer and tv personality who passed away last week from complications after a fall from her scooter. She was known for her shaved head and brightly coloured clothes, as well as being the first Dutch celebrity to be married to a same-sex partner (in 1998). She released 3 best-selling albums and had several top 10 hits in the 1990s.
Condolences to the lesbians of Holland and to her partner Andrea van der Kaap. Sugar Lee will be missed!
Queerty is reporting today that Robin R. Chaurasiya, a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, has been serving since she was 17, keeping her lesbianism secret to avoid falling foul of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Over time she grew sick of serving her country when her country wouldn't treat her as an equal. She had a civil union ceremony with her partner and came out to her superiors in a letter, expecting to be discharged.
However her commander has refused to discharge her, stating that because Lt Chaurasiya made her statements in order to terminate her active service, and she was a valuable asset, she must stay.
As Queerty put it, "If a soldier declares herself to be gay but still wants to serve, she can be dismissed. If she declares herself to be gay but wants to leave, she must stay". It really is time that the U.S. military gets rid of the ridiculous DADT policy! But good on you Robin for going public with this hypocrisy.
Jane Lynch is an out lesbian and actress whose career first took off in the movie Best In Show. She is now up in the pop culture stratosphere with her portrayal of conniving cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester in the hit show Glee.
Jane is engaged to be married to her partner, Dr Lara Embry. Here's a cute video they released on Saturday promoting the National Center for Lesbian Rights anniversary celebration:
It was announced last week that Jane would receive the 14th Annual Achievement Award from OutFest. "As an actor, comedienne and longtime activist for gay rights issues, Jane has had a profound impact on both mainstream and LGBT audiences," said Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of the L.A. based organisation.
Yay Jane! We love you!
Since today, Easter Sunday, is a special day, we have awarded Lesbian Of The Day to a truly holy woman in the lesbian world: Sappho.
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poetess, born on the island of Lesbos sometime between 630 and 612 BC. Little is known about her life as the bulk of her poetry has been lost, but the few surviving fragments have cemented her reputation as one of the ancient world's great poets.
Of course her name and birthplace are the sources of the words "sapphic" and "lesbian".
Here is a fragment of one of her poems:
Some the army of cavalry, others of infantry
or of ships say upon this dark earth
that is the fairest. But I say fairest is that: whoever you love.
It's easy to make this clear to all.
For she who far surpassed all human beings in beauty, Helen
abandoned the finest man and to Troy sailed,
and neither her child nor her beloved parents thought her, not for a moment.
This made me now think of Anaktoria, not being here anymore, Oh I wish I could see the enamoring step and the shiny glare of her face, rather than Lydians' chariots and infantry's battles and armor.
Love shook my soul, like on the mountain the wind upon the oaks falls.
Tammy Baldwin is an American politician, and has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999, representing Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district.
Tammy was the first ever openly gay non-incumbent to be elected to the House of Representatives in the United States, and is is one of three openly gay members of Congress. Her partner is Lauren Azar.
We salute you Tammy, for being a trailblazing lesbian and a fighter for progressive values in that harshest of battlegrounds, the US Congress.
Anna Paquin is a New Zealand actress, most famous for winning an Oscar for The Piano at the tender age of 11, and for her roles in the X-Men movies and hot vampire series, True Blood. (And for being one of my little sister's great childhood friends - NZ is a small place you know)
This morning, WeGiveADamn.org launched their campaign for LGBT equality with video PSAs, and in one Anna declared that she is bisexual! What a nice surprise for us all (and apparently her publicist too). Even though Anna is engaged to a man (her co-star Stephen Moyer), we are happy to recognise her female same-sex desire and bestow upon her our Good Friday Lesbian of the Day.
As Emma Ruby-Sachs commented, "Paquin is a lovely addition to the club and let me say whoever recruited her... your toaster oven is in the mail."
Also good to see a star come out for political reasons in order to promote gay equality. Check out the PSA here, also featuring many other celebs such as Cyndi Lauper, Sharon Osbourne, Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg and more.
Mary Renault was a British writer best known for her wonderful historical novels that recreated in Ancient Greece in magnificent detail (I recommend The King Must Die and The Persian Boy). Renault met her life partner Julie Mullard in 1933 while they were training as nurses and they were together for 50 years, until Renault's death in 1983.