This year great strides have been made regarding LGBT issues, culminating with the most recent ruling in the US granting same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry. That has made the gay pride festivals taking place all over the world this summer even more upbeat. In solidarity, we’re taking a moment below to recognize all the LGBT pioneers that got us to this place, and those who are still working hard to push equality even further.
Baldwin was a playwright, poet, civil rights activist and widely considered one of his generation’s greatest authors. Discrimination, both of sexuality and race was a recurring theme in his work, as seen in his seminal novel Giovanni’s Room, published in 1956.
Cox is an actress on the popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black, and the first openly transgender person nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in acting. She’s an advocate for the LGBTQ community and her prominence in the media has helped spark a growing conversation and acceptance about transgender people.
Baker was the designer of the Rainbow flag that has now become the most iconic symbol of gay pride. A flag maker by trade, his colorful design is meant to reflect the diversity of the LGBT community.
Wright became a country music pioneer in the 90s, but it wasn’t until 2010 when she came out as the first openly lesbian country singer, that she really made her mark. Since then, she’s been a mentor for children and teens helping combat the number of gay related suicides among this demographic.
The Stonewall Rioters
This crowd of drag queens, trans people and queer youth gathered in June 1969 in New York City to fight police harassment based on their sexual orientation. Their act of resistance spread and gay activists banded together all over New York City sparking the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement in the US.
Milk was the first opening gay politician to be elected in California, winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. While in office he passed a string of gay rights ordinances for the city making San Francisco what it is today for the LGBT community.
Rocero is a Filipino transgender model and advocate. She famously came out as transgender in a TED talk last year and has since founded Gender Proud, an advocacy and aid organization that stands up for the right of transgender people all over the world.
Stein was an American writer and poet, who became known not just for her beautiful prose, but for her honest portrayals of lesbian relationships—at a time when it was very taboo to do.