Angela Bowen (1936-2018) was a dancer and teacher, as well
as a prominent LGBT activist. She served on the board of the National Coalition
of Black Lesbians and Gays.
She started dancing at
the age of 14 and later co-founded the Bowen/Peters School of Dance in New
Haven, Connecticut. She came out as lesbian late in life, but always spoke out
against homophobia, racism and sexism. She is the subject of the 2016 documentary The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen.
was an author, actress, and lesbian rights activist from London. She worked throughout
her life for better representation and extended rights for homosexual women.
She was not
aware of her own sexual identity for a long time, but eventually came out
publicly in 1969, joining the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. She was one of
the founders of Sappho in 1972, one of the longest-running lesbian publications
in the UK.
Szyszkowska (b. 1937)
is a Polish politician and the leader of the left-wing party Reason of the
Polish Left. She was previously a member of the Alliance of the Democrat Left
and chaired the Party’s Ethics Committee.
She has worked
to improve the rights of LGBT people in Poland and, as a Senator, introduced
legislation to recognise civil unions for gay couples.
was a Brazilian human rights activist. An outspoken campaigner against police
brutality, she was eventually murdered by two former police officers.
born in a slum of Rio de Janeiro, began working at 11 and became a single
mother at the age of 19. Yet, she later obtained a degree in social sciences
and a master’s in public administration, becoming a councillor for the city. She
coordinated the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship, and
fought against gender violence and LGBT discrimination.
Ruth Ellis (1899-2000)
was an important LGBT rights activist in the United States. At the time of her
death at the age of 101, she was the oldest ‘out’ lesbian in the world.
She was born in Illinois, but moved to Detroit,
Michigan later in life, with her partner Ceciline Franklin. Their house became
a safe haven for the African-American LGBT community. Today, a centre that
bears her name is dedicated to helping homeless LGBT youth.
Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) was a legendary figure of the gay rights and trans
rights movements in the United States. She was a founding member of the Gay
Liberation Front and of STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries).
Her activism began in 1970, when she
started advocating not only for gay rights, but for the inclusion of drag queens
such as herself in the LGBT community. The same year, she founded STAR along
with Marsha P. Johnson, in order to help homeless LGBT youth.
Vesna Pusić (b. 1953) is a politician
and sociologist from Croatia. She has previously served as First Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the country.
She has served five consecutive terms in the
Croatian Parliament, from 2000 onwards. She is a dedicated activist for civil
rights, especially LGBT rights, and serves as the President of the Civic
Committee for Human Rights and chairman of the Anti-Fascist League of the
Republic of Croatia.
(1946-2005) was a
sex-positive feminist and activist for bisexual rights. She was very active in
the LGBT rights movement in the United States.
She is known as the
“Mother of Pride” for her initiative to celebrate LGBT identity in a
series of events that eventually became Pride Month in June. She was chair of
the Gay Activists Alliance’s Speakers Bureau and helped found the New York Area
Bisexual Network. A memorial award in her name was created in 2005 to honour
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.