The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the names of its 2014 "genius grant" recipients, and 12 men and nine women have been named fellows this year--each of whom will received a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend over five years. Of considerable note, two lesbians and a gay man have earned the award for artists, scholars, and professionals at the tops of their fields.
Graphic novelist Alison Bechdel, Mary L. Bonauto, a civil rights attorney with the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in Boston, and author and playwright Samuel D. Hunter represent the queer community in this year's crop of fellows.
Bechdel's 2006 award-winning graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy, was turned into a musical last year and Hunter's 2012 play The Whale found widespread critical acclaim and the recently wed playwright has premiered three new plays during 2013-2014 season. His next, Pocatello, will premiere at Playwrights Horizons Nov. 21 in New York City.
Bonauto's been with the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders since 1990. The North Eastern University School of Law graduate has been a tireless advocate champion of LGBT rights. Her winning the 1999 case Baker v. State of Vermont lead to the nation's first civil union law and coordinated amici briefs for the Windsor case that overturned DOMA.
Congratulations to all of 2014's MacArthur fellows.
Photos courtesy M. Sharkey (left) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (center, right).