On This Gay Day: Author Charles Beaumont was born

Author who challenged Playboy’s audience on their attitudes towards homosexuality was born on this day.

On this day in 1929 author Charles Beaumont was born, and while he was not (as far as we know) LGBTIQ+, he wrote a story that had an significant effect on the fight for gay liberation.

Born Charles Nutt in Chicago he began his writing career in the 1950’s, and legally changed his name to Beaumont. He sold his first short story to sci-fi magazine Amazing Stories in 1950, beginning a career in speculative fiction.

Beaumont is remembered as the first author to have a short story published in Playboy magazine. His work Black Country was the first of hundreds of pieces short fiction the magazine would publish over the decades.

Acclaimed authors including Norman Mailer, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Gabriel García Márquez, Joseph Heller and Margaret Atwood would be published in it’s pages, but Beaumont was the first.

The author’s relevance to the fight for gay liberation came in 1955 when Playboy published another of his short stories A Crooked Man. 

It presented a flipside world, where heterosexuality was stigmatised. It told the tale of a man trying to meet his heterosexual lover in a gay venue, she has come in disguise dressed as a man. The couple meet illicitly behind closed door but are discovered.

Printed four years before the Stonewall Riots, it drew a lot of complaints from the magazine’s readers. The magazine’s founder Hugh Hefner voiced his support for the story saying “if it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society, then the reverse was wrong too.”

Beaumont went on to write many scripts for TV show The Twilight Zone, and also wrote many sci-fi movies.

The authors life was tragically cut short, in 1963 at just 34 years of age he was struck down by a mysterious illness that saw him age rapidly. He died four years later in 1967, he was 38 but friends have recounted that he looked closer to 90 when he passed.

If Charles Beaumont has lived to today, he would have been celebrating his 90th birthday. Beaumont was survived by his wife and four children.

Also on this day in history    

Actor William ‘Billy’ Haines was born on this day in 1900, he was one of the first celebrities who refused to stay in the closet for the sake of their career. A film star of the black and white movie era, Haines gave up acting in the mid 1930’s, choosing his partner Jimmie Shields over fame and fortune.

He went to have a successful career as an interior designer. The couple remained together until Haines death in 1973. Actress Joan Crawford famously described them as “the happiest married couple in Hollywood.”

The company Haines founded, William Haines Designs, still exists today.

In 2014 on this day Russia’s popular gay nightclub Central Station was attacked when unknown people fired bullets at the venue. It was just one of a series of attacks the club faced, including the venue being attacked by an unknown gas substance.

The attacks came as Russia introduced it’s anti-propaganda laws against the LGBTIQ+ community. Within a few weeks the club was forced to close, but it later reopened at a new location with improved security including bullet-proof glass.

OIP Staff, this post was originally published on 2nd January 2020. 

Tags: , ,

You must be logged in to post a comment Login