an LGBT rights activist. Although not queer herself, she supported her gay son
in a tumultuous time for the LGBT community, and helped numerous others obtain
acceptance and rights.
She participated in the 1972 Pride March in
New York supporting her son, and the sign she was carrying inspired the
creation of PFLAG – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She was
posthumously awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for her activism.
Patricia Ireland (b.
1945) was the president of the National Organization for Women for a decade,
1991-2001. She is also an attorney and an administrator.
During her time working as a flight attendant
for Pan Am, she noticed the discrepancies in the treatment of men and women
regarding insurance coverage, and brought a formal complaint. The US Department
of Labor ruled in her favour, marking an important victory for equal rights.
She is a strong advocate for the rights of women, African-Americans and the
Jennell Jaquays (b. 1956) is an artist and designer of video games and table-top RPGs. She has worked on immensely popular games such as Dungeons & Dragons, Age of Empires and Quake.
She contributed artwork for many beloved games, and designed arcade conversions for others, such as Pac-Man or Donkey Kong. She is a trans woman and the creative director of the Transgender Human Rights in Seattle. Her activism efforts led to the banning of conversion therapy for minors in the United States.
(1930-2012) was a photojournalist who documented numerous crucial events
in American history, mostly as part of the movements for civil rights, gay
rights and feminism.
After being assigned to cover the first Women’s Strike for Equality in
1970, she made it her mission to attend and document every single march and
rally. She was one of the few who photographed the Stonewall riots, an important
part of the movement for LGBT rights. Her work is permanently exhibited at the
National Museum of Women in Arts, as well as the New York Public Library and
Harvard University, among others.
1934) is a former tennis player and transgender rights activist. Following sex
reassignment surgery, she fought to be allowed to compete as a woman in the 1976
She sued the United States Tennis
Association over the fact that athletes had their chromosomes tested for their
gender to be determined, and won – a landmark case for transgender rights. She
was one of the first international athletes to openly identify as transgender
and became a spokesperson for the community.
Christine Quinn (b. 1966) is a Democratic politician who served as Speaker of the New York City Council. She was the first woman and first openly gay person in this position.
As part of the New York City Council, she sponsored the Equal Benefits Bill and the Health Care Security Act. All throughout her political career, she championed LGBT rights and urged the state Senate to legalise same-sex marriage. She became the president and CEO of Women in Need in 2015.
Connie Kurtz (1936-2018) was an
LGBT rights activist in New York City. Along with her partner, Ruthie Berman,
she managed to secure important rights for the LGBT community of the city.
She worked as a high school teacher
in Brooklyn. She sued the New York City Board of Education in 1988 for domestic
partner benefits, and won the legal battle in 1994, paving the way for other
gay couples. The two also started the New York and Florida branches of PFLAG
(Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays).
Sidney Abbott (1937-2015) was an activist for women’s rights, particularly lesbian rights. She was one of the most prominent members of the National Organization for Women.
She joined NOW in 1969 and advocated for the establishing of a task force dedicated to promoting the rights of lesbian women. She later founded the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and a nonprofit called Women’s Rights are Human Rights. She wrote the book Sappho Was a Right-on Woman in 1971, which discussed connections between feminism and lesbianism, and was the first nonfiction work to portray female homosexuality in a positive light.
Edith Windsor (1929-2017) was an
LGBT rights activist in the United States. The 2013 civil rights case United States v. Windsor, in which she
was lead plaintiff, is considered a landmark victory for the rights of same-sex
She was a technology manager for
IBM, and helped many LGBT groups become ‘tech literate’. She continued her
activism throughout her life, even after winning the case that ruled that the
definition of marriage only as between one man and one woman is unconstitutional.