E.M. Forster (1879-1970) After you've finished the novels (Howards End, A Passage to India, A Room With a View, Maurice), and his openly gay story collection The Life To Come, your mandatory reading is Wendy K. Moffat's NYT notable A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E. M. Forster [Kindle]. Biographer Tripp Evans wrote: "Not only is this a truly groundbreaking study of Forster's life and work -- and an eye-opening read for any student of twentieth-century gay social history -- but it's also beautifully written. Moffat is one of those rare writers able to combine elegant prose with a style that engages the reader in an intimate conversation (she is, in other words, the very best sort of company). By illuminating the previously underexamined terrain of Forster's private life, Moffat has restored an important figure, along with his era, to a deeply satisfying wholeness. It is a remarkable achievement." Get ready for Damon Galgut's new novel, Arctic Summer, which reimagines Forster's first trip to India.
J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) American FBI director and closet case of unsurpassed twistedness.
William Haines (1900-1973) Hollywood hero, one of the top five grossing movie stars annually from 1928 - 32 for charming films like The Smart Set, The Duke Steps Out, and Just a Gigolo. In 1933 he was busted for picking up a sailor and taking him to a YMCA, prompting his studio to demand a sham marriage to a woman. Haines refused to betray his partner of seven years Jimmie Shields that way, and quit films for a very successful career as an interior designer. Read William Mann's extraordinary biography, Wisecracker.
Maurice Béjart (1927-2007) French-Swiss choreographer who directed maverick ballets and all-male homoerotic dances long before Matthew Bourne. Watch this at least until 2:20.
James Hormel (1933 -) The grandson of SPAM, American philanthropist, ambassador, gay rights activist, and current political hot potato is 80 today. His partner Michael P. Nguyen graduated from Swarthmore in 2008.
Joe Orton (1933-1967) randy British playwright of explicitly gay hits like Entertaining Mr. Sloane and What the Butler Saw, murdered by his unstable lover. Subject of Stephen Frears' fine biopic Prick Up Your Ears starring Gary Oldman and Vanessa Redgrave.
Eloy de la Iglesia (1944-2006) Spanish writer - director of the gay festival favorites like Bulgarian Lovers [right].
Joey Stefano (1968-1994) Porn superstar. After you've satisfied yourself with his film acting, read Wonder Bread & Ecstasy: The Life and Death of Joey Stefano.