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Celebrity Sex Workers: Malcom X

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Malcom X was an African American Muslim Minister and Human Rights Activist, born in 1925. He fought for black rights in America and was a prominent figure during the civil rights movement. He quickly gained popularity and traction as a public speaker, as many people resonated with his feelings on black empowerment and racial justice. He was assassinated in 1965 as he was preparing to address a crowd of 400 at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. On February 19th, Malcom told an interviewer that the Nation of Islam was trying to kill him. Two days later on February 21st, he was attacked by three gunmen hidden in the crowd. The autopsy report found 21 bullet wounds. One of the gunmen was captured and beaten by the crowd before police arrived, the other two were identified by witnesses - all three were members of the Nation of Islam. They were all convicted of murder in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison.

Reports of Malcom X's possible queerness were first made in a 1991 biography 'Malcom: The Life of a Man who Changed Black America', according to author Bruce Perry, Malcom's same-sex exploration dates back to young-adulthood, experimenting in his late teens, followed by a long-term relationship with a trans person named Willie Mae, as well as apparently talking openly about having sex with gay men and trans people for money. Whether he was queer or 'gay for pay' is somewhat unclear, although as a human rights activist he was definitely at least considered an ally to the queer community. Regardless, his life as a sex worker is often overlooked by historians.


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