IMDB: Famous LGBTQ Celebrities

List: Notable Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People

Great Queers of History: Parts 1, 2, 3

Info: LGBTQ History

Video List: Famous LGBTQ Folk

Listal: Gay and Lesbian Celebrities

Famous LGBTQ People: Queer Historical Icons

Gay Kings and Queens of Europe

Huff Post: Queer Celebrities

Video List: Top Ten Most Influential LGBTQ Celebrities

Info: Famous LGBTQ People



Oscar Wilde | Writer

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900) was a gay Irish author, poet and playwright, born in Dublin, Ireland. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. He is regarded as one of the greatest playwrights of the Victorian Era. In his lifetime he wrote nine plays, one novel, and numerous poems, short stories, and essays. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversational skill, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. He is best remembered for his epigrams, his novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray," his play "The Importance of Being Earnest," and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for "gross indecency", imprisonment, and early death at age 46, in Paris, France. He was romantically linked with Lord Alfred Douglas, to whom he sent many love letters.


Biographical Notes: Oscar Wilde

Video Bio: Oscar Wilde

Official Oscar Wilde Website

Oscar Wilde Biography

Cool History: Oscar Wilde



Billie Jean King | Athlete

Billie Jean King (Moffitt), born in 1943, is a lesbian American world no. 1 professional tennis player. King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. She often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, she was the United States' captain in the Federation Cup. King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. In 1973, at age 29, she won the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs. She was also the founder of the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Foundation. Regarded by many in the sport as one of the greatest women's tennis players of all time, King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.

Biographical Notes: Billie Jean King

Official Billie Jean King Website

ESPN: Billie Jean King Won For All Women



James Baldwin | Writer

James Arthur Baldwin (1924-1987) was a gay American novelist, playwright, and activist, born in Harlem, New York. His essays, as collected in "Notes of a Native Son" (1955), explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century North America. Some of Baldwin's essays are book-length, including "The Fire Next Time" (1963), "No Name in the Street" (1972), and "The Devil Finds Work" (1976). An unfinished manuscript, "Remember This House," was expanded and adapted for cinema as the Academy Award–nominated documentary film "I Am Not Your Negro." One of his novels, "If Beale Street Could Talk," was adapted into an Academy Award-winning dramatic film in 2018. Baldwin's novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration of not only African Americans, but also gay and bisexual men, while depicting some internalized obstacles to such individuals' quests for acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, "Giovanni's Room," written in 1956, well before the gay liberation movement.


Biographical Notes: James Baldwin

James Baldwin: Explaining the Riots of 1968

Encyclopedia Brittanica: James Baldwin

James Baldwin: Speaking on Dick Cavett Show

Chicago Public Library: James Baldwin

James Baldwin: Heartfelt Plea for Racial Justice and Equality



Rachel Levine | Physician

Dr. Rachel Levine (born 1957) is a transgender American pediatrician who has served as the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health since 2017. She also serves as Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She was previously Pennsylvania's Physician General. Levine is originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts. She is Jewish, grew up attending Hebrew School, and had a Bar Mitzvah. While growing up, she did not speak to her Rabbi about LGBTQ issues. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine and completed a residency in pediatrics and fellowship in adolescent medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. As the state secretary of health, she led the public health response on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. She worked closely on a daily basis with the FEMA director and led daily press briefings. She is one of only a handful of openly transgender government officials in the United States.


Biographical Notes: Rachel Levine

Meet the Transgender Doctor Who is Leading the Fight Against COVID-19

COVID 19 Hero: Dr. Rachel Levine



Pete Buttigieg | Politician

Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg (born 1982) is a gay American politician who was mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election. Buttigieg is a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University, attending the latter on a Rhodes Scholarship. He worked as a consultant at the management consulting firm McKinsey. He served as a naval intelligence officer in the US Navy, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Buttigieg served as the 32nd mayor of South Bend, Indiana, from 2012 to 2020, as the youngest mayor of a city with a population of over 100,000. In 2015, Buttigieg publicly came out as gay and was reelected with over 80% of the vote. He became the first openly gay person to launch a major presidential campaign. Despite initially low expectations, he gained significant momentum in mid-2019 when he participated in several town halls, forums, and debates. At the Iowa caucuses, Buttigieg narrowly won the pledged delegate count that a majority of news organizations use to determine the winner. With this win, he became the first openly gay candidate to earn presidential primary delegates from a major American political party.


Buttigieg can speak 8 different foreign languages. Buttigieg is a Christian, and he has said his faith has had a strong influence in his life. His parents baptized him in a Catholic church as an infant and he attended Catholic schools. Now a member of the Episcopal Church, Buttigieg is a congregant at the Cathedral of St. James in downtown South Bend. In December 2017, Buttigieg announced his engagement to Chasten Glezman, a junior high school teacher. They had been dating since August 2015. They were married in 2018, in a private ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend.


Pete Buttigieg: Rolling Stone Special Interview
Pete Buttigieg: Meet Pete

Pete for America: Official Presidential Campaign

Pete Buttigieg: First LGBTQ Person to Win Delegates in Any Presidential Contest

Pete Buttigieg: Advocate Magazine Interview

Pete Buttigieg: Unlikely Unprecedented Presidential Campaign



Ellen DeGeneres | Comedian

Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born 1958) is a lesbian American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer. She starred in the popular sitcom "Ellen" from 1994 to 1998 and has hosted her syndicated TV talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," since 2003. Her stand-up comedy career started in the early 1980s, and included a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As a film actress, DeGeneres starred in Mr. Wrong (1996), EDtv (1999), and The Love Letter (1999), and provided the voice of Dory in the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory (2016). During the fourth season of "Ellen" in 1997, she came out as a lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her character, Ellen Morgan, also came out to a therapist played by Winfrey, and the series went on to explore various LGBTQ issues, including the coming-out process.


In 2008, she married her longtime girlfriend Portia de Rossi. She has authored four books. She has won 30 Emmys, 20 People's Choice Awards (more than any other person), and numerous other awards for her work and charitable efforts. In 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2020, she received the Golden Globes Carol Burnett Achievement in Television Award.


Biographical Notes: Ellen DeGeneres

Golden Globes Honor Ellen's Incredible Career

Official Ellen DeGeneres Website

Golden Globes: Kate McKinnon's Tribute to Ellen DeGeneres

The Ellen Show: YouTube Channel

Ellen DeGeneres Accepts Carol Burnett Award at Golden Globes Event

Golden Globes: Ellen DeGeneres Receives Achievement in Television Award



Harvey Milk | Politician

Harvey Bernard Milk (1930–1978) was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk moved from New York City (where he was born) to the Castro District of San Francisco in 1972 amid a migration of gay and bisexual men. He took advantage of the growing political and economic power of the neighborhood to promote his interests and unsuccessfully ran three times for political office. Milk served almost 11 months in office, during which he sponsored a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supervisors passed the bill by a vote of 11-1 and was signed into law by Mayor Moscone. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, who was another city supervisor.  Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. In 2002, Milk was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBTQ official ever elected in the United States".  Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Biographical Notes: Harvey Milk

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Harvey Milk

NPR News: Harvey Milk 40 Years Later

The Activism of Harvey Milk

Ian McKellan Reading Harvey Milk's Hope Speech



Laverne Cox | Actor

Laverne Cox (born 1972 in Mobile, Alabama) is a transgender American actress and LGBTQ advocate. She rose to prominence with her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black," becoming the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category, and one of the first to be nominated for an Emmy Award. In 2015, she won a Daytime Emmy Award in Outstanding Special Class Special as executive producer for "Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word," making her the first openly transgender woman to win the award. In 2017, she became the first transgender person to play a transgender series regular on broadcast TV as Cameron Wirth on CBS's "Doubt." In April 2014, Cox was honored by GLAAD with its Stephen F. Kolzak Award for her work as an advocate for the transgender community. In June 2014, Cox became the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine. Cox is the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of a Cosmopolitan magazine.


Biographical Notes: Laverne Cox

Official Laverne Cox Website

IMDB: Laverne Cox



Larry Kramer | Activist

Laurence David Kramer (1935-2020) was a gay American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and LGBTQ rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts for films, including Women in Love (1969) for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Kramer introduced a controversial and confrontational style in his novel Faggots (1978), which earned mixed reviews and emphatic denunciations from elements within the gay community for Kramer's portrayal of what he characterized as shallow, promiscuous gay relationships in the 1970s. Kramer witnessed the spread of the disease later known as AIDS among his friends in 1980. He co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis, which has become the world's largest private organization assisting people living with AIDS. Kramer grew frustrated with bureaucratic paralysis and the apathy of gay men to the AIDS crisis, and wished to engage in further action than the social services GMHC provided.


He expressed his frustration by writing a play titled The Normal Heart in 1985. His political activism continued with the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in 1987, an influential direct action protest organization with the aim of gaining more public action to fight the AIDS crisis. ACT UP has been widely credited with changing public health policy and the perception of people living with AIDS, and with raising awareness of HIV and AIDS-related diseases.


Kramer was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Destiny of Me (1992), and he was a two-time recipient of the Obie Award. Kramer lived in Manhattan, near Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, and in Connecticut. Kramer and his partner, architectural designer David Webster, were together from 1991 until Kramer's death. He died of pneumonia in 2020.

Biographical Notes: Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer: Hero, Mentor, Prophet

Larry Kramer, Gay Author and AIDS Activist, Dies

Remembering AIDS Activist Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer's Loud and Proud Activism Remains Necessary

Larry Kramer: One of the Fiercest Voices in AIDS Activism

Iconic Gay Activist Passes Away at 84

Larry Kramer, Playwright and Activist, Dead at 84

Larry Kramer: True LGBTQ Radical



Mark Bingham | Hero


Mark Kendall Bingham (1970-2001) was a gay American rugby player, public relations executive, and founder of the Bingham Group. During the September 11 attacks in 2001, he was a passenger on board United Airlines Flight 93. Bingham was among the passengers who, along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed the plan to retake the plane from the hijackers, and led the effort that resulted in the crash of the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, thwarting the hijackers' plan to crash the plane into a target in Washington DC, most likely either the Capitol Building or the White House. Bingham's heroic efforts on United 93, as well as his athletic physique, have been noted for having diminished the gay stereotype.


A large athlete at 6 ft 4 in and 225 pounds, Bingham also played for the gay-inclusive rugby union team San Francisco Fog RFC. Bingham played played in their first tournament, and taught his teammates his favorite rugby songs. Bingham had recently opened a satellite office of his public relations firm in New York City and was spending more time on the East Coast. He discussed plans with his friend Scott Glaessgen to form a New York City rugby team, the Gotham Knights.


On the morning of September 11, on board United Airlines Flight 93, Bingham and the other passengers learned that the pilots received an alert on their ACARS device, "Beware of cockpit intrusion." Three minutes later, air traffic controllers could hear screams over the cockpit's open microphone. Moments later, the hijackers took over the plane's controls and told passengers, "Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board". Bingham and the other passengers were herded into the back of the plane. Within six minutes, the plane changed course and headed for Washington DC. After the hijackers veered the plane sharply south, the passengers decided to act. Bingham, along with Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers. Bingham, Burnett, and Glick were each more than 6 feet tall, well-built and fit. They were joined by Todd Beamer, Lou Nacke, Rich Guadagno, Alan Beaven, Honor Elizabeth Wainio, Linda Gronlund, and William Cashman, along with flight attendants Sandra Bradshaw and Cee Cee Ross-Lyles who stormed the cockpit and in an effort to take over the plane. The 9-11 Commission later reported that the plane's control wheel was turned hard to the right, causing it to roll on its back and plow into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles an hour, killing everyone on board. The plane was 20 minutes away from its suspected targets in Washington DC.


Mark Bingham: Biographical Notes

Remembering Fearless Gay Hero Mark Bingham, Who Saved Hundreds of Lives on 9-11
Rugby Star, 9-11 Hero Mark Bingham Leaves Lasting Legacy 20 Years After United Flight 93 Crash
How Mark Bingham Left a Legacy On and Off the Rugby Field
9-11 Flight 93: Mark Bingham's Mother Speaks


Hans Christian Andersen | Writer

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a bisexual Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, he is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's fairy tales, consisting of 156 stories across nine volumes, and translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West's collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. His most famous fairy tales include "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Little Mermaid," "The Nightingale," "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Red Shoes", "The Princess and the Pea," "The Snow Queen," "The Ugly Duckling," "The Little Match Girl," and "Thumbelina." His stories have inspired ballets, plays, and animated and live-action films.


He was born into a low income, uneducated family in Denmark and received basic education at a local school for poor children. At the age of 14, he moved to Copenhagen to seek employment as an actor with the Royal Danish Theatre. He attended grammar school in Slagelse. Though not a stellar student, he also attended school at the prestigious Elsinore, where he was abused by the schoolmaster. He later said, that his years at this school were the darkest and most bitter years of his life. He eventually attended the University of Copenhagen. Although he fell in love many times, Andersen never married. He directed his unrequited affections at both men and women, including the famed singer Jenny Lind and Danish dancer Harald Scharff. Andersen's personal life has fueled academic analyses of possible homoerotic themes in his work. Andersen was internationally revered. The Danish Government paid him an annual stipend as a "national treasure." One of Copenhagen's widest and busiest streets is named HC Andersen Boulevard. Located there is larger-than-life bronze statue of Andersen.


Biographical Notes: Hans Christian Andersen

Mental Floss: Surprising Facts About Hans Christian Andersen

Biography: Hans Christian Andersen

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Hand Christian Andersen



Megan Rapinoe | Athlete

Megan Anna Rapinoe (born 1985) is a lesbian American professional soccer player who plays as a winger and captains OL Reign in the National Women's Soccer League and the United States national team. Winner of the Ballon d'Or Féminin and named The Best FIFA Women's Player in 2019, Rapinoe won gold with the national team at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and she played for the team at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup where the US finished in second place. Since 2018, she co-captains the national team alongside Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan. She previously played for the Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence, and MagicJack in Women's Professional Soccer, as well as Olympique Lyonnais in France's Division 1 Féminine.


Rapinoe is internationally known for her crafty style of play and activism. During the 2012 London Olympics, she scored three goals and tallied a team-high four assists to lead the United States to a gold medal. She is the first player, male or female, to score a goal directly from a corner at the Olympic Games. She won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.


Rapinoe is an advocate for numerous LGBTQ organizations, including the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Athlete Ally. Rapinoe knew that she was lesbian by her first year in college. She publicly came out in the July 2012 edition of Out magazine, stating that she had been in a relationship with Australian soccer player Sarah Walsh since 2009. Rapinoe later dated Sub Pop recording artist Sera Cahoone. In July 2017, Rapinoe and basketball player Sue Bird of Seattle Storm confirmed that they had been dating since late 2016. In 2018, Bird and Rapinoe became the first same-sex couple on the cover of ESPN's The Body Issue.


NBC News: USA Wins Third Women's World Cup Title

Megan Rapinoe: Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year

USA Today: Megan Rapinoe and the US Women's Soccer Team

Sports Illustrated: Megan Rapinoe's Pride Shines

Washington Post: Rapinoe Delivers Rousing Victory Speech

Video: Megan Rapinoe's Speech at US Women's World Cup Champion's Parade

Biographical Notes: Megan Rapinoe


Edward Albee | Playwright

Edward Franklin Albee III (1928-2016) was a gay American playwright known for works such as The Zoo Story (1958), The Sandbox (1959), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), and A Delicate Balance (1966). Three of his plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and two of his other works won the Tony Award for Best Play. His works are often considered as frank examinations of the modern condition. His early works reflect a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights such as Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, and Jean Genet. According to The New York Times, Albee was "widely considered to be the foremost American playwright of his generation."


Albee was born in Virginia (near Washington DC) and placed for adoption and taken to New York, where he grew up. Albee moved into Greenwich Village, where he supported himself with odd jobs while learning to write plays. Primarily in his early plays, Albee's work had various representations of the LGBTQ community often challenging the image of a heterosexual marriage. He was openly gay and stated that he first knew he was gay at age 12. Albee insisted that he did not want to be known as a "gay writer," saying in his acceptance speech for the 2011 Lambda Literary Foundation's Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement: "A writer who happens to be gay or lesbian must be able to transcend self. I am not a gay writer. I am a writer who happens to be gay." His longtime partner, Jonathan Richard Thomas, a sculptor, died in 2005 from cancer. They had been partners from 1971 until Thomas's death. Albee also had a relationship of several years with playwright Terrence McNally during the 1950s. Albee died at his home in Montauk, New York.


Biographical Notes: Edward Albee

The History of Edward Albee

Biography: Edward Albee



Sally Ride | Astronaut

Sally Kristen Ride (1951-2012) was a lesbian American astronaut and physicist. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32. After flying twice on the Orbiter Challenger, she left NASA in 1987. Ride worked for two years at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control, then at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics, primarily researching nonlinear optics and Thomson scattering. She served on the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia Space Shuttle disasters, the only person to participate in both. Ride died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.


Biographical Notes: Sally Ride

National Women's History Museum: Sally Ride

Sally Ride: First American Woman in Space



Randall Kenan | Writer

Randall Kenan (1963-2020) was a gay American author who was born in Brooklyn, New York. At only six weeks old, Kenan moved to Duplin County, North Carolina, a small rural community, where he lived with his grandparents in a small town named Wallace. The settings of many of Kenan's novels are centered around his home area of North Carolina. The focus of much of Kenan's work centers around what it means to be black and gay in the southern United States. Kenan’s first novel was A Visitation of Spirits, published in 1989. Some of Kenan's most notable works include the collection of short stories Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, named a New York Times Notable Book in 1992, A Visitation of Spirits, and The Fire This Time. Kenan was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and the John Dos Passos Prize. Another collection of short fiction, If I Had Two Wings, was published in 2020. He also just the 2020 essay, “Letter from North Carolina: Learning from Ghosts of the Civil War,” about Chapel Hill in “the season for toppling Confederate monuments.” Kenan was described as an "unapologetically Black, gay Southerner who used all his identities to tell the stories only he could tell." He was a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and had also taught at Duke University.

Biographical Notes: Randall Kenan

NC Writer Randall Kenan: Voice of Southern Literature

Randall Kenan: North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame



Liat Ben-Zur | Business Executive


Liat Ben-Zur (born 1978) is a lesbian business executive in the field of technology.  She is the Corporate Vice President of Modern Life & Devices Product Marketing Management with Microsoft. Liat has been named as one of "The Female Mentors Making a Difference in Silicon Valley" and "One of the Fifty Most Inspirational Women in Technology.” And she was named as one of only seven “Rising Stars of Wireless." Liat Ben-Zur was previously Senior Vice President of Connected Digital Platforms & Propositions at Royal Philips. Prior to that, Liat led Qualcomm’s AllJoyn business as Senior Director, Product Management in the Netherlands. Prior to joining Qualcomm, Liat worked as a hardware engineer at Intel and for a wireless startup in Israel.


Liat holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UC Davis and a master’s in business administration from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Liat describes herself thusly, "I work in tech. I am a mother. I am a manager. I am a wife. I am a colleague. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am an ally. Like you, I am many things. The reality of today is that we ALL are many things at once. Since Covid-19, my daily journey of managing, parenting, working, chauffeuring, cooking, and planning has become even more chaotic. I have even taken on a few new roles, such as teacher, mentor, and activist." Liat is a mother of two and an avid foodie who, before having kids, would travel the world in search of the best food, wine and chefs. She says, "I also like to write raps and listen to conscious hip hop. As in early 90’s shit.


I’m passionate about the intersection of internet services and mobile, digital health, the connected home, connected car, and everything else in our lives which are about to get more connected."  Liat is also Founder and Managing Director of Geek Sheek Beats, a marketing agency that develops custom hip hop marketing campaigns for brands, non-profits, conferences or events. Liat formed Geek Sheek Beats to help bridge companies with contemporary culture via authentic, credible and original music campaigns.

Liat Ben Zur: Microsoft CVP Blog

Oy Gevalt: About Liat Ben-Zur

A Day in the Life of Microsoft CVP Liat Ben-Zur

Working Mother: Balancing Work and Family

Liat Ben-Zur: Microsoft CVP and Mom

Muck Rack: Liat Ben-Zur



James Beard | Chef


James Andrews Beard (1903-1985) was a gay American chef, cookbook author, teacher and television personality. As a culinary icon, he pioneered television cooking shows, taught at The James Beard Cooking School in New York City and Seaside, Oregon, and lectured widely. He emphasized American cooking, prepared with fresh, wholesome, American ingredients, to a country just becoming aware of its own culinary heritage. Beard taught and mentored generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. He published more than 20 books, and his memory is honored by his foundation's annual James Beard awards.


He was born in Portland, Oregon to Elizabeth and John Beard. The family vacationed on the Pacific coast in Gearhart, Oregon, where Beard was exposed to Pacific Northwest cuisine. According to Beard he was raised by Jue-Let, the family's Chinese cook, who instilled in him a passion for Chinese culture. Beard reportedly attributes much of his upbringing to Jue-Let, whom he refers to as his Chinese godfather. Beard briefly attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He was expelled for homosexuality in 1922, having had relationships with one or more male students and a professor. However the college granted Beard an honorary degree in 1976. He traveled from Portland to Liverpool aboard a British freighter, spending subsequent years living and traveling in Europe. In 1923, he joined a theatrical troupe and studied voice and theater. He also spent time in Paris, where he experienced French cuisine at its bistros and central market, Les Halles. In France, he also had the opportunity to enjoy sexual freedom, having a short relationship with a young man. From this period and the widespread influence of French food culture, he became a Francophile. Julia Child summed up Beard's personal life: Beard was the quintessential American cook. Well-educated and well-traveled during his eighty-two years, he was familiar with many cuisines but he remained fundamentally American.


He was a big man, over six feet tall, with a big belly, and huge hands. An endearing and always lively teacher, he loved people, loved his work, loved gossip, loved to eat, loved a good time. According to Beard's memoir, "By the time I was seven, I knew that I was gay. I think it's time to talk about that now." Beard came out in 1981, in Delights and Prejudices, a revised version of his memoir. Of Beard’s most significant romantic attachments was his lifetime companion of 30 years, Gino Cofacci, and Beard’s former cooking school assistant Carl Jerome.


LGBTQ Nation: Culinary Icon James Beard was the Gay Male Julia Child

Biographical Notes: James Beard

James Beard Foundation and Awards

PBS American Masters: James Beard America's First Foodie



Barbara Jordan | Politician


Barbara Charline Jordan (1936-1996) was a lesbian American lawyer, educator and politician who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. A Democrat, she was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. She was best known for her eloquent opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearings during the impeachment process against former president Richard Nixon, and as the first African-American and the first woman to deliver a keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.  She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors. Jordan's companion of twenty years was Nancy Earl, an educational psychologist, whom she met on a camping trip in the late 1960s. Earl was an occasional speechwriter for Jordan, and later was a caregiver when Jordan began to suffer from multiple sclerosis in 1973. Considerable speculation exists as to Jordan's sexuality and the nature of her and Earl's relationship, something that neither Jordan nor Earl is known to have addressed, recorded or shared with others.


Biographical Notes: Barbara Jordan

History: Barbara Jordan

US House of Representatives: Barbara Jordan


Dan Levy | Actor

Daniel Joseph Levy (born 1983) is a gay Canadian actor, writer, director, and producer. Born in Toronto to parents Eugene Levy and Deborah Divine, he began his career as a television host on MTV Canada. Levy received international prominence and critical acclaim for starring as David Rose in the CBC sitcom Schitt's Creek (2015–2020), which he also co-created and co-starred in with his father. For producing, writing, directing, and acting in the final season of Schitt's Creek, Levy became the first person to win a Primetime Emmy Award in all four major disciplines in a single year. His work on the show has additionally earned him four Canadian Screen Awards out of eighteen nominations, among several other accolades. Levy was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is the older brother of actress Sarah Levy, who plays waitress Twyla Sands in Schitt's Creek. He also had a role in the holiday film, Happiest Season (2020). Levy attended high school at North Toronto Collegiate Institute and later pursued film production at York University and Ryerson University. His family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah.  Levy's father is Jewish (his mother is not), and he had a Bar Mitzvah.


Biographical Notes: Dan Levy

Dan Levy: Interview with Vogue

IMDB: Dan Levy



Moms Mabley | Comedian

Loretta Mary Aiken (1894-1975), known by her stage name Jackie "Moms" Mabley, was a lesbian American stand-up comedian and actor. Beginning her career on the theater stage in the 1920s, Mabley became a veteran entertainer of the Chitlin' Circuit of African-American vaudeville. Mabley later recorded comedy albums and appeared in films and on television programs including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Moms Mabley was born in Brevard, North Carolina. She had a rough childhood. She was one of 16 children. When she was 11 years old, her father, a firefighter, was killed on the job. Her mother was run over by a truck and died as well a couple years later. At 14, she had been sexually assaulted twice and had to put her two children up for adoption. In her teens, Mabley ran away to join the African American vaudeville circuit as a comedian. In the 1920s, she worked with duo Butterbeans and Susie for a while and grew in popularity. As her popularity grew, she moved her New York City, and worked her way into television, movies, and stage performances such as the Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. In the 1930s, she became the first woman comedian to be featured at the Apollo Theater. Mabley was also openly lesbian for most of her adult life. Her routines were edgy for their time speaking to the struggles of African Americans, and also raunchy stand up touching on female sexuality. Over her career, Mabley recorded over 20 albums of comedy. She is also the oldest person to have a US Top 40 hit with a cover song she recorded in 1969 at the age of 75. She overcame much to become billed as, “The Funniest Woman in the World.”

Biographical Notes: Moms Mabley

Moms Mabley on the Ed Sullivan Show

Brittania: Moms Mabley

IMDB: Moms Mabley

Moms Mabley Singing Abraham Martin and John



Elton John | Musician

Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, 1947) is a gay English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967 and hey have collaborated on more than 30 albums. John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits in the UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100, including seven number ones in the UK and nine in the US, as well as seven consecutive number-one albums in the US.


Raised in London, John learned to play piano at an early age, and by 1962 had formed Bluesology, an R&B band with whom he played until 1967. He met his longtime musical partner Taupin in 1967. For two years, they wrote songs for other artists. In 1970, his first hit single, "Your Song," reached the top ten in the UK and the US. John has also had success in musical films and theatre, composing for The Lion King and its stage adaptation, Aida and Billy Elliot the Musical. John has received five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Tony Award, a Disney Legends award, and the Kennedy Center Honor. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 49th on its list of 100 influential musicians of the rock and roll era. In 2013, Billboard ranked him the most successful male solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists, and third overall, behind the Beatles and Madonna. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, and is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. He was knighted by Elizabeth II for "services to music and charitable services" in 1998.


John has been involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s, establishing the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992. John, who announced he was bisexual in 1976 and has been openly gay since 1988, entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish in 2005. They married after same-sex marriage became legal in England in 2014. Presenting John with France's highest civilian award, the Legion d'honneur, in 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron called him a "melodic genius" and praised his work on behalf of the LGBTQ community. In 2018, John embarked on a three-year farewell tour.


Biographical Notes: Elton John

Elton John's Website

Biography: Elton John

Elton John Performing "Rocket Man" in London, 1972



Chaz Bono | Writer

Chaz Salvatore Bono (born Chastity Sun Bono, 1969) is a transgender American writer, musician and actor. His parents are entertainers Sonny Bono and Cher. Bono is a trans man. In 1995, while then identifying as a woman, and several years after being outed as lesbian by the tabloid press, he publicly self-identified as a lesbian in a cover story in a leading American gay monthly magazine, The Advocate, eventually going on to discuss the process of coming out to oneself and to others in two books. Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families (1998) includes his coming-out account. The memoir The End of Innocence (2003) discusses his outing, music career, and partner Joan's death from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Between 2008 and 2010, Bono underwent female-to-male gender transition. A two-part Entertainment Tonight feature in June 2009 explained that his transition had started a year before. In May 2010, he legally changed his gender and name. A documentary on Bono's experience, Becoming Chaz, was screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and later made its television debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Chaz lives in Los Angeles.


Biographical Notes: Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono: The Pain of Looking at Old Photographs

Daily News: Chaz Bono Changing Gender From Female to Male
Chaz Bono: When I Knew I was Transgender

Sonny & Cher Show 1975: Cher and Chaz

Chaz Bono Opens Up About Becoming a Man

Chastity Bono (dn) on the Cher Show

E On-Line: Chaz Bono Transition
Sonny & Cher Christmas Special 1975 with Chastity (dn)

ABC News: Chaz Bono Gives Voice to Invisible Community
Sonny & Cher with Chastity (dn)

MSNBC: Cher's Child Undergoing Sex Reassignment



Melissa Etheridge | Musician

Melissa Lou Etheridge (born 1961 in Levenworth, Kansas) is a lesbian American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist. Her self-titled debut album "Melissa Etheridge" was released in 1988 and became an underground success. The album peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200, and its lead single, "Bring Me Some Water", garnered Etheridge her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female. In 1993, Etheridge won her first Grammy award for her single "Ain't It Heavy" from her third album, "Never Enough." Later that year, she released what would become her mainstream breakthrough album, "Yes I Am." Its tracks "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window" both reached the top 30 in the United States, and the latter earned Etheridge her second Grammy award. "Yes I Am" peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200, and spent 138 weeks on the chart, earning a RIAA certification of 6× Platinum, her largest to date. In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, she made a return to the stage and, while bald from chemotherapy, performed a tribute to Janis Joplin with the song "Piece of My Heart".  Later that year, Etheridge released her first compilation album, "Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled." The album was a success, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard 200, and going Gold almost immediately. Her latest studio album is The Medicine Show. Etheridge is known for her mixture of "confessional lyrics, pop-based folk-rock, and raspy, smoky vocals." She has also been a gay and lesbian activist since her public coming out in January 1993. She has received fifteen Grammy Award nominations throughout her career, winning two, in 1993 and 1995. In 2007, she won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "I Need to Wake Up" from the film "An Inconvenient Truth." In September 2011, Etheridge received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Etheridge had a long-term partnership with Julie Cypher. During this partnership, Cypher gave birth to two children, Bailey Jean and Beckett, via artificial insemination using sperm donated by musician David Crosby. In September 2000, Etheridge and Cypher announced they were separating. In 2002, Etheridge began dating actress Tammy Lynn Michaels. The two had a commitment ceremony in September 2003. In October 2006, Michaels gave birth to twins. In April 2010 Etheridge and Michaels announced they had separated. In 2014 Etheridge married her partner, Linda Wallem, two days after they both turned 53.

Official Website: Melissa Etheridge

Biographical Notes: Melissa Etheridge

Discography: Melissa Etheridge



Bayard Rustin | Activist

Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was a gay American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Rustin worked with Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement in 1941 to press for an end to racial discrimination in employment. Rustin later organized Freedom Rides and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen Martin Luther King Jr's leadership, teaching King about nonviolence and later serving as an organizer for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. After the passage of the civil rights legislation of 1964–65, Rustin became the head of the AFL–CIO's Randolph Institute, which promoted the integration of formerly all-white unions and promoted the unionization of African Americans. During the 1970s and 1980s, Rustin served on many humanitarian missions, such as aiding refugees from Communist Vietnam and Cambodia. At the time of his death in 1987, he was on a humanitarian mission in Haiti. Rustin had been arrested early in his career (1953) for engaging in consensual sex, convicted under a “vagrancy” law long used to prosecute LGBTQ people. Due to criticism over his sexuality, he usually acted as an influential adviser behind the scenes to civil-rights leaders. In the 1980s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay causes. Later in life, while still devoted to securing workers' rights, Rustin joined other union leaders in aligning with ideological neoconservatism, for which President Ronald Reagan posthumously praised him after his death in 1987. In November 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Walter Naegle is the surviving partner of the late American Civil Rights leader, and the executive director of the Bayard Rustin Fund, which commemorates Rustin's life, values, and legacy.


Biography: Bayard Rustin, Advisor to Martin Luther King
Biographical Notes: Bayard Rustin

CNN: Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin Pardoned After 67 Years

PBS: Bayard Rustin, Designer of the March on Washington

Posthumous Pardon for Bayard Rustin

Huff Post: LGBTQ Rights Icon Granted Pardon

The Gay Man Black History Erased



Lil Nas X | Musician

Montero Lamar Hill (born 1999), known by his stage name Lil Nas is a gay American rapper and singer-songwriter. He rose to prominence with the release of his country rap single "Old Town Road", which first achieved viral popularity in early 2019 before climbing music charts internationally and becoming diamond certified by November of that same year. "Old Town Road" spent 19 weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the longest-running number-one song.  Lil Nas X came out as gay while "Old Town Road" was atop the Hot 100, becoming the only artist to do so while having a number-one record. Lil Nas X released his debut extended play, titled 7, which spawned two further singles, with "Panini" peaking at number 5 and "Rodeo." His debut studio album, Montero, was preceded by the chart-topping single "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)", and the singles "Sun Goes Down" and "Industry Baby". Lil Nas X was the most-nominated male artist at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, where he won awards for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. "Old Town Road" earned him two MTV Video Music Awards including Song of the Year, and the American Music Award for Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Song.  Lil Nas X is also the first openly LGBTQ Black artist to win a Country Music Association award. Time Magazine named him as one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet in 2019, and he was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2020.


Montero Lamar Hill was born in Lithia Springs, Georgia, a small city outside Atlanta. He was named after the Mitsubishi Montero. His parents divorced when he was 6, and he settled in the Bankhead Courts housing project with his mother and grandmother. Three years later, he moved in with his father, a gospel singer, in Austell, Georgia. Although initially reluctant to leave, he later regarded it as an important decision: "There's so much shit going on in Atlanta. If I would have stayed there, I would have fallen in with the wrong crowd." He spent much of his teenage years alone, and turned to the Internet, creating memes that showed his disarming wit and pop-culture savvy. His teenage years also saw him struggling with his coming out to himself as being gay. He prayed that it was just a phase, but around 16 or 17 he came to accept it. He began playing trumpet in the fourth grade and was first chair by his junior high years, but quit out of fear of looking uncool. He graduated from Lithia Springs High School in 2017. He attended the University of West Georgia, where he majored in computer science but later dropped out to pursue a musical career. During this time, he stayed with his sister and supported himself with jobs at Zaxby's restaurants and the Six Flags Over Georgia theme park.

Lil Nas X: Biographical Notes
Lil Nas X Music Video: That's What I Want
NPR: Learning Curve of Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X and Friends at the Grammys
Variety: Lil Nas X Revolutionizing Hip Hop
Lil Nas X Music Video: Montero (Call Me By Your Name)


Valentina Sampaio | Model

Valentina Sampaio (born 1996) is a transgender Brazilian model and actress. She became Victoria's Secret's first openly transgender model in August 2019 and became the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue's first openly transgender model in 2020. Valentina Sampaio was born male in a fishing village in Aquiraz, Ceará, which is in Northeastern Brazil. Her mother is a schoolteacher and her father is a fisherman. At eight years of age, her psychologist identified her as transgender, but she did not start calling herself Valentina until she was 12. She has said in many interviews that she was not bullied for her gender identification. A 2017 New York Times profile of Sampaio mentioned that her parents "were always supportive and are very proud" of her, and her classmates were also very accepting because she said that "they already saw me as a little girl."


Sampaio initially studied architecture in Fortaleza, but she dropped out at 16 to study fashion. It was there that a makeup artist discovered her and signed her with a São Paulo modeling agency. In 2014, a clothing company fired Sampaio from her first modeling job because of her transgender identification. Despite this hurdle at the very beginning of her career, she left her home state of Ceará for the first time to act in an independent film in Rio de Janeiro that later debuted at São Paulo Fashion Week. In November 2016, she first walked her first runway at São Paulo Fashion Week. Soon after, L'Oréal made a short film about Sampaio, which they released on International Women's Day, and later the company made her one of the company's brand ambassadors. In February 2017, Sampaio received international media attention after appearing on the cover of Vogue Paris and becoming the first transgender model to appear on the magazine's cover. Later that year, she also appeared on the covers of Vogue Brasil and Vogue Germany. She is the first openly transgender woman to be featured on both magazines' covers as well. Other magazine cover appearances of Sampaio's include Vanity Fair Italia, Elle Mexico, and L'Officiel Turkiye. She has also worked with brands such as Dior, H&M, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, L'Oréal, and Philipp Plein. On August 2, 2019, Sampaio indicated her association with Victoria's Secret PINK on her Instagram account, making her the first openly transgender Victoria's Secret model. Her agent confirmed that VS PINK had hired Sampaio for a catalog photo shoot to be released sometime in August 2019.


CNN: Valentina Sampaio Becomes SI's First Trans Model
ABC News: Trailblazing Model

Biographical Notes: Valentina Sampaio

Valentina Sampaio: Interview With Trans Fashion Model

Brazil Trans Model Fighting for a Better World



Joel Schumacher | Film Maker

Joel T Schumacher (1939-2020) was a gay American filmmaker. Schumacher rose to fame after directing three hit films: St Elmo's Fire (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), and Flatliners (1990). He later went on to direct the John Grisham adaptations The Client (1994) and A Time to Kill (1996). In 1993, he signed on to direct the next installments of the Batman film series, Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). Known for casting young performers, Schumacher helped several actors including Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, and Matthew McConaughey advance their careers. He also wrote the screenplays for the 1976 low-budget hit movie Car Wash, 1978's The Wiz, and a number of other minor successes. His film directorial debut was The Incredible Shrinking Woman in 1981, which starred Lily Tomlin. The Brat Pack film St Elmo's Fire (Starring Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Andie McDowell) was one of Schumacher's biggest hits. Its style impressed audiences and the financial success of the movie allowed studios to trust him with ever-larger projects.


He received his BFA degree from Fashion Institute of Technology and his MFA degree from University of California, Los Angeles. Schumacher, who is from New York, was openly gay throughout most of his career. According to Schumacher, this fact was purposely reflected as a statement in many of his films. Schumacher claimed that he had had sex with up to 20,000 men. Politically, Schumacher donated thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates. Schumacher died from cancer in 2020, in New York City. He was 80.


Biographical Notes: Joel Schumsacher

Gay Film Director Joel Schumacher Dies

IMDB: Joel Schumacher

NPR: Film Director Joel Schumacher Dies at 80

Joel Schumacher: Reluctant and Conflicted Gay Trailblazer



Jonathan Capehart | Journalist

Jonathan T. Capehart (born 1967) is a gay American journalist and television personality. He writes for The Washington Post's Post Partisan blog and is a contributor for MSNBC. Capehart grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and attended Saint Benedict's Preparatory School. He received a BA degree  in political science from Carleton College. Before his work with The Washington Post and MSNBC, Capehart was a researcher for NBC's The Today Show. Subsequently, he worked for the New York Daily News, serving as a member of its editorial board from 1993 to 2000. At the time of his hiring, Capehart was youngest ever member of that newspaper's editorial board. In 2000, he left the NYDN to work at Bloomberg News. Afterward, he advised and wrote speeches for Michael Bloomberg, during Bloomberg's 2001 run for the mayoralty of New York City. In 2002, he returned to the NYDN, serving as deputy editor of the editorial page until 2004. He joined the staff of The Washington Post as a journalist and member of the editorial board in 2007. He continues in that capacity and is a contributing commentator for MSNBC. He also hosts the Cape Up podcast, in which he talks to newsmakers about race, religion, age, gender, and cultural identity in politics. Capehart was a key contributor to a New York Daily News staff entry that received the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing in 1999. The series of editorials condemned the financial mismanagement of Harlem's Apollo Theater.


He was a 2011 Esteem Honoree, a distinction given to individuals in recognition of efforts in supporting the African American and LGBTQ communities in the areas of entertainment, media, civil rights, business, and art. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named him among the fifty heroes "leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people". In May 2016, Capehart became engaged to his boyfriend of over five years, Nick Schmit, who was the assistant chief of protocol at the State Department. In 2017, Capehart and Schmit were married by former US attorney general Eric Holder.

Biographical Notes: Jonathan Capehart

Jonathan Capehart's Commentary: Media's Post Trump Future

Washington Post Articles by Jonathan Capehart



Janet Mock | Writer

Janet Mock (born 1983) is a transgender American writer, television host, director, producer and transgender rights activist. Her debut book, the memoir Redefining Realness, became a New York Times bestseller. She is a contributing editor for Marie Claire and a former staff editor of People magazine's website. Janet Mock was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her father, Charlie Mock III, is African-American, and her mother, Elizabeth (Barrett), is of half Portuguese descent, part Asian descent and part Native Hawaiian descent. Mock lived for most of her youth in her native Hawaii, with portions in Oakland CA and Dallas TX. She began her transition as a freshman in high school. She chose her name Janet after Janet Jackson. She was the first person in her family to go to college. She underwent sex reassignment surgery in Thailand at the age of 18 in the middle of her first year in college. Mock earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2004 and a Master of Arts in Journalism from New York University in 2006.


After graduating from New York University, Mock started working at People magazine, where she was a staff editor for more than five years. Her career in journalism shifted from editor to media advocate when she came out publicly as a trans woman in a 2011 Marie Claire article. Mock has an impressive writing and media career. In addition to People and Marie Claire, she has written articles for other magazines like Elle, The Advocate, and Huffington Post. She has published several books. And she has appeared on numerous documentaries and talk shows. And she is the writer, director, and producer of the television series Pose. Mock lives in New York City. She married photographer Aaron Tredwell in 2015 and divorced in 2019.


Biographical Notes: Janet Mock

Janet Mock: You Tube Channel

IMDB: Janet Mock

Janet Mock: Knowing Her Gender Identity With Certainty

Janet Mock Website



Jim Obergefell | Activist

Jim Obergefell (born 1966) is a gay American civil rights activist known as the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. After his husband, John Arthur, died in 2013, and his inability to legally be considered Arthur's surviving spouse on his death certificate, Obergefell took to court, beginning his years of fighting for LGBTQ rights. Mere months after their wedding, Obergefell's husband John was diagnosed with ALS. Upon meeting with a local civil rights attorney, they were told that due to Ohio's same-sex marriage ban, Obergefell could not be listed as Arthur's surviving spouse on his death certificate. They later filed a lawsuit, and the Ohio case became known as Obergefell v. Kasich.  A federal judge agreed to hear the case the following court day due to Arthur's illness. The judge ruled in Obergefell's favor, but the state of Ohio appealed to a higher court and won, resulting in Obergefell's appeal to the Supreme Court. Arthur died and soon, Obergefell devoted his time and became committed to legalizing same-sex marriage for all with the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges.


Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion for the case, stated in the court: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.” After winning the case, Obergefell stated: “This affirms what millions across the country already know to be true in their hearts: our love is equal. The four words etched onto the front of the Supreme Court ‘equal justice under law’ apply to us, too.” President Barack Obama reached out to congratulate Obergefell and thanked him for “his leadership that has changed our country.”


After years of being together, Arthur was diagnosed with ALS. Obergefell acted as Arthur’s caretaker for the rest of their relationship. By 2013, Arthur became bed bound, and Obergefell and Arthur decided to get married. Same-sex marriage was illegal in their home state of Ohio, so in order to get married, they traveled to another state. After 22 years of being together, Arthur died in October 2013.


Biographical Notes: Jim Obergefell

Washington Post: Obergefell Became the Face of the Gay Marriage Court Case

NPR: Five Year Anniversary of Marriage Equality

Jim Obergefell: We Still Don't Enjoy True Marriage Equality



Isaac Newton | Scientist

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was an asexual English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author. He was described as a "natural philosopher" who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus. Among many other impressive feats, Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until it was superseded by the theory of relativity. Newton used his mathematical description of gravity to prove Kepler's laws of planetary motion, account for tides, the trajectories of comets, the precession of the equinoxes and other phenomena. Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian. Newton served two brief terms as Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint, and president of the Royal Society.


According to popular legend, while on his deathbed, Newton confessed that he had never "known" a woman. This has generally been interpreted that he died a virgin. The general consensus is that Newton was completely asexual, with no sexual interest in women or men, shunning physical affection and preferring to make himself intimate with the workings of the universe than with another human being. While in his later life he received countless awards and much adulation for his scientific discoveries and publications, this didn’t translate into popularity or even love. Newton was famously reclusive and private and did interact with other people, women or men. According to some biographer’s Newton was simply too busy to pursue romantic liaisons. He himself famously remarked: “If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” However, it seems more likely he was simply asexual.


Biographical Notes: Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton Institute: Isaac Newton's Life

The Newton Project: Isaac Newton's Personal Life

Biography: Isaac Newton



Suze Orman | Financial Advisor

Susan Lynn "Suze" Orman (born 1951) is a lesbian American financial advisor, author, and podcast host. She was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's degree ion social work. After finishing school, Orman moved to Berkeley, California, where she worked as a waitress. In 1980, she borrowed $52,000 and invested that money through a representative at Merrill Lynch, who promptly lost her entire investment in trading options. Later, Orman trained as an account executive for Merrill Lynch, where she learned that the type of investment her broker had put her in was not suitable for her needs, as option trading is considered a high-risk but high-reward investment suitable only for high net worth individuals. It was explained to her that because her broker was the highest producing representative in the office, his actions went unchecked. After completing her training with Merrill Lynch, she remained at the firm until 1983, when she left to become a vice president of investments at Prudential Bache Securities. In 1987, she founded the Suze Orman Financial Group. The Suze Orman Show began airing on CNBC in 2002, running for 13 years in the US and internationally. Orman has written nine New York Times bestsellers about personal finance. She was named twice to the Time 100 list of influential people, has won two Emmy Awards, and eight Gracie Awards. Orman has written, co-produced and hosted 8 PBS specials, and has appeared on multiple additional television shows. She has been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show approximately 29 times and Larry King Live over 30 times. Orman is currently the podcast host of the "Suze Orman Women & Money Podcast." As of 2020, her net worth is $50 million. In February 2007, Orman stated that she is a lesbian. Orman has been married to Kathy Travis, who is also her business partner.

Biographical Notes: Suze Orman

Suze Orman: Personal Finance Expert

CNBC: Susan Orman Starts a New Chapter

Suze Orman: Being Gay is the Foundation of My Success



Little Richard | Musician

Little Richard (1932-2020) was a gay pop musician and the screaming, preening, scene-stealing wild man and pioneer of rock n roll with hits like "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally." The self-described "king and queen" of rock n roll was a huge influence on countless musicians, including the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix,  David Bowie, and Prince. This musical innovator would have stood out in any era. But in the 1950s, when Little Richard came to prominence, he was like no other. With his ferocious piano playing, growling and gospel-strong vocals, pancake makeup, and outlandish costumes, Little Richard tore down barriers starting in the 1950s. That is no small feat for any artist — let alone a black, openly gay man who grew up in the South. Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits. “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” came our later that same year. “Lucille” hit the charts in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958. Little Richard is credited with opening doors and bringing the races together. His music and social influence crossed many boundaries. And he knew his power. "They saw me as something like a deliverer, a way out," he once said. "My means of expression, my music, was a way in which a lot of people wished they could express themselves and couldn't." He also emphatically explained, "I created rock n roll! I'm the innovator! I'm the emancipator! I'm the architect! I am the originator! I'm the one that started it!" Little Richard was among the first class of inductees into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.


He was born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932, in Macon, Georgia. The third of 12 children, he clashed with his moonshine-selling father and was ordered out of the family home as a teenager. Aside from music, Little Richard's most noted ambivalence was in his attitude toward his sexuality. In the early days, he covered by exaggerating his freakishness and accentuating his flamboyance. He later called homosexuality "unnatural." And then he said he was "omnisexual." A decade later, he admitted he always knew he was gay. Little Richard died of bone cancer in May 2020 at age 87 in Tennessee.


CNN: Little Richard, Flamboyant Architect of Rock n Roll, Dead at 87

NPR: Little Richard, King and Queen of Rock n Roll, Dead at 87

Rolling Stone: Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock n Roll, Dead at 87

Tutti Frutti: Little Richard Performs at Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

Biographical Notes: Little Richard



Lilly Singh | Comedian

Lilly Singh (born 1988) is a bisexual Canadian YouTuber, comedian, talk show host, writer, and actress, who initially gained fame on social media under the pseudonym IISuperwomanII. Born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, Singh began making YouTube videos in 2010. By 2017, she was ranked tenth on the Forbes list of the world's highest paid YouTube stars, earning a reported $10.5 million; as of September 2019 she has fourteen million subscribers, and over three billion video views. Forbes named her one of the 40 most powerful people in comedy in 2019. Singh has received an MTV Fandom Award, four Streamy Awards, two Teen Choice Awards, and a People's Choice Award. In 2016, Singh released her first film, a documentary chronicling her world tour, entitled A Trip to Unicorn Island. In March 2017, she released her first book, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life, which reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list. Since September 2019, Singh acts as executive producer and host of the NBC late-night talk show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh.


As a bisexual, Singh is the only openly LGBTQ person, as well as the first person of Indian descent, hosting an American major broadcast network late-night talk show. Her parents emigrated from Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India, and raised her as a Sikh. As a child, Singh has said she was a tomboy. She attended Mary Shadd Public School during her elementary years, and in 2006, she graduated from Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Toronto. In 2010, she graduated from York University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

Lilly Singh Featured in Advocate Mag's Women of the Year Issue

Lilly Singh: Bisexual Indian Comedian and New Late Night Host

Biographical Notes: Lilly Singh

Lilly Singh YouTube Channel

IMDB: Lilly Singh



Gene Robinson | Bishop

Vicky Gene Robinson (born 1947 in Lexington, Kentucky) is a gay former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. Robinson is widely known for being the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate, a matter of significant controversy. As a schoolboy, Robinson began to realize that he might be different. He suspected he was gay but said it was not something to be open about. Bishop Robinson says he had relationships with women but admitted that he was also attracted to men.  He met Isabella Martin during an internship at the University of Vermont. He says a month into their relationship, he explained his concerns about his sexuality. But, never the less, they married in 1972 and he took a job as a curate in New Jersey before they moved to New Hampshire in 1975. The couple had two daughters, Jamee and Ella. In 1985, after seeking counseling, he and his wife decided they should separate. He went public with his sexuality and they divorced. 18 months later, Bishop Robinson began to date Mark Andrew, who subsequently moved to New Hampshire. They married in 2003. In 2014, after 25 years together, they divorced. Bishop Robinson retired in 2012.


Biographical Notes: Gene Robinson

YouTube: First Openly Gay Bishop in Episcopal Church

BBC: Profile of Gene Robinson



Brandi Carlile | Musician

Brandi M. Carlile (born 1981) is a lesbian American singer-songwriter and producer whose music spans multiple genres. As of 2018, Carlile has released six albums and earned seven Grammy Award nominations, including one for "The Firewatcher's Daughter" and six for "By the Way, I Forgive You." She was the most nominated woman at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, garnering six nominations including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. In 2019, Carlile formed an all-female quartet with Amanda Shires, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby called The Highwomen. Born in Ravensdale, Washington, a rural town outside of Seattle, Carlile dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, teaching herself piano and guitar. Carlile garnered recognition with her 2007 single "The Story", from her album of the same name. "The Story" was awarded gold status in 2017, having sold more than 500,000 copies to date. "The Firewatcher's Daughter" earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album and peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. Carlile's music has been categorized in several genres, including pop, rock, alternative country, and folk. Carlile has been a part of several activism campaigns and an advocate for causes ranging from spreading awareness for health issues to LGBTQ rights and empowerment of women. Carlile identified herself as a lesbian in 2002. In June 2012 she announced she was engaged to Catherine Shepherd. The two were married in Boston, Massachusetts in September 2012. The couple have two daughters, Evangeline and Elijah.

Biographical Notes: Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile YouTube Channel

NPR: Brandi Carlile Stories



RuPaul Charles | Entertainer

RuPaul Andre Charles (born 1960) is an American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, and television personality. Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race, for which he has received six Primetime Emmy Awards. RuPaul is considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen in the United States. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2019, Fortune noted RuPaul as “easily the world's most famous” drag queen.


RuPaul was born and raised in San Diego, California and later moved to Atlanta, Georgia to study performing arts. RuPaul was the only boy of his parents’ four children, and eventually began wearing his sisters’ clothes and exploring cross-dressing, emulating stars like Diana Ross and Jane Fonda in his youth. In Atlanta, RuPaul attended the Northside School of Performing Arts. It was a big step toward getting his feet wet in the world of performance and, in the end, show business. He settled in New York City, where he became a popular fixture on the nightclub scene. In the early 1990s, he landed a record contract and released his first album, Supermodel of the World, while also starting a career in acting. On the strength of his TV shows, including RuPaul's Drag Race, and his oversized personality, RuPaul has become a beacon in gay, drag and transsexual communities. He has described doing drag as a "very very political" act because it "challenges the status quo" by rejecting fixed identities. He explains, "I'm a shapeshifter, I do whatever the hell I want at any given time."


RuPaul is indifferent to gender-specific pronouns about him, writing: "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee. I don't care! Just as long as you call me." RuPaul has been with his Australian partner, Georges LeBar, since 1994, when they met at the Limelight nightclub in New York City. They married in January 2017.

Biographical Notes: RuPaul

RuPaul's Drag Race: You Tube Channel

Biography: RuPaul

IMDB: RuPaul



Tammy Baldwin | Politician

Tammy Suzanne Green Baldwin (born 1962) is a lesbian American politician who served as the United States Senator from Wisconsin since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, she served three terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 78th district, and from 1999 to 2013 represented Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district in the US House of Representatives.  As an openly gay woman, Baldwin has made history several times through her electoral success. In 1998, she became the first openly gay woman and first openly LGBTQ non-incumbent elected to the US Congress, as well as the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in Congress. In 2012, Baldwin became the first openly gay person and first openly LGBTQ person elected to the US Senate. Baldwin defeated her Republican opponent in the 2012 US Senate election in Wisconsin. She was reelected in 2018. Her reelection made her the first openly LGBTQ person to win a second term in the US Senate. Baldwin graduated from Madison West High School in 1980 as the class valedictorian. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1984 and a JD degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1989. She was a lawyer in private practice from 1989 to 1992. For 15 years, Baldwin's domestic partner was Lauren Azar. In 2009, the couple registered as domestic partners in Wisconsin. They separated in 2010. Baldwin was baptized Episcopalian but considers herself "unaffiliated" with a religion.


Biographical Notes: Tammy Baldwin

US Senator: Tammy Baldwin

CSPAN: Tammy Baldwin



Tim Cook | Business Executive

Timothy Donald Cook (born 1960) is a gay American business executive and industrial engineer (Net worth: $1.3 billion). He was born in Mobile, Alabama (Auburn University graduate) and resides in Palo Alto, California. Cook is the chief executive officer of Apple Inc., and previously served as the company's chief operating officer under its cofounder Steve Jobs. Cook joined Apple in March 1998 as a senior vice president for worldwide operations, and then served as the executive vice president for worldwide sales and operations. He was made the chief executive in 2011, prior to Jobs' death. During his tenure as the chief executive, he has advocated for the political reformation of international and domestic surveillance, cybersecurity, corporate taxation, American manufacturing, and environmental preservation. In 2014, Cook became the first chief executive of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out as gay.


Biographical Notes: Tim Cook

Information Cradle: Tim Cook

People: No Regrets for Apple CEO Tim Cook



Elliot Page | Actor

Elliott Page (born Ellen Grace Philpotts-Page, 1987) is a transgender Canadian  actor and producer. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Page is a trans man. He first became known for his role in the film and television series Pit Pony (1997–2000), for which he won a Young Artist Award, and for recurring roles in Trailer Park Boys (2002) and ReGenesis (2004). Page also received recognition for his role in the film Hard Candy (2005), and won the Austin Film Critics Association's Award for Best Actress. Page had his cinematic breakthrough with the title role in Jason Reitman's film Juno (2007), earning nominations for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Critics' Choice Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He earned praise for roles in The Tracey Fragments (2007), Whip It (2009), Super (2010), Inception (2010), and Tallulah (2016). Page portrayed Kitty Pryde in the X-Men films The Last Stand (2006) and Days of Future Past (2014), produced the film Freeheld (2015) in which he also starred, and made his directorial debut with the documentary There's Something in the Water (2019). He provided voice acting and motion-capture acting for the main character in the video game Beyond: Two Souls (2013). Since 2019, he has portrayed Vanya Hargreeves in the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy.


Page publicly came out as a gay woman in February 2014 during a speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference. Subsequently he came out as transgender in December 2020, specifying his pronouns as he/him and they/them and announcing his new name as Elliot Page. Page is married to dancer and choreographer Emma Portner.

Biographical Notes: Elliot Page

Advocate: Elliot Page, Star of Umbrella Academy and Juno Comes Out as Trans

LGBTQ Nation: Elliot Page Announces he is Transgender



Alvin Ailey | Dancer

Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) was a gay African-American dancer, director, choreographer, and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT). He created AAADT and its affiliated Ailey School as havens for nurturing black artists and expressing the universality of the African-American experience through dance. His work fused theatre, modern dance, ballet, and jazz with black vernacular, creating hope-fueled choreography that continues to spread global awareness of black life in America. Ailey's choreographic masterpiece Revelations is recognized as one of the most popular and most performed ballets in the world. In this work he blended primitive, modern and jazz elements of dance with a concern for black rural America. In 2008, the US Congress passed a resolution designating AAADT a “vital American cultural ambassador to the World.” That same year, in recognition of AAADT's 50th anniversary, then NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared December 4 "Alvin Ailey Day" in New York City while then Governor David Paterson honored the organization on behalf of New York State. In 1968 Ailey was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts. In 1977 he received the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1988.  he was inducted into the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame in 1992.  he was inducted into the Legacy Walk in 2012. and he posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2014. Ailey loathed the label "black choreographer" and preferred being known simply as a choreographer. He was notoriously private about his life. Though gay, he kept his romantic affairs in the closet. Ailey died from an AIDS related illness in 1989, at the age of 58.

Biographical Notes: Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

YouTube Channel: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Biography: Alvin Ailey

Hymn for Alvin Ailey



Annie Leibovitz | Photographer

Anna-Lou "Annie" Leibovitz (born 1949) is a lesbian American portrait photographer. She is best known for her engaging portraits of celebrities, which often feature subjects in intimate settings and poses. She is renowned for her dramatic, quirky, and iconic portraits. Her signature style is crisp and well lighted. She was the key photographer for Rolling Stone magazine and Vanity Fair magazine. She photographed John Lennon on the day he was murdered. Her work has been used on numerous album covers and magazines. She became the first woman to hold an exhibition at Washington's National Portrait Gallery in 1991. She was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and resides in Manhattan, New York City. Her partner of 15 years was playwright Susan Sontag.

Biographical Notes: Annie Leibovitz

Biography of Annie Leibovitz

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Annie Leibovitz



Michael Boticelli | Health Official

Michael P. Botticelli (born 1958) is a gay American public health official who served as the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (Drug Czar) under President Obama. Prior to joining ONDCP, he worked in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Following completion of his service as ONDCP Director, he became the executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine at the Boston Medical Center.


Botticelli was born in Troy, New York and raised in Waterford, New York. He attended Catholic Central High School. He later received a Bachelor's degree in psychology from Siena College and a Masters in Education from St. Lawrence University. Botticelli began drinking alcohol regularly in high school and by his 20s, he was an alcoholic. He also experimented with cocaine and marijuana. He was arrested for driving under the influence following a traffic collision on the Massachusetts Turnpike in 1988. A judge gave him the option of going into treatment or being sentenced to prison, and he chose to enter treatment. After achieving sobriety, Botticelli joined the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in 1994. He worked as a coordinator for alcoholism programs (1994-95), as contract manager for HIV-related policies and services (1995-96), as an assistant director for policy and planning (1996-00), as the chief of staff to the public health commissioner (2000-03), and as director of substance abuse services (2003-12). Botticelli and his husband, David Wells, were married in 2009.


Biographical Notes: Michael Botticelli

Michael Botticelli: Johns Hopkins Distinguished Policy Scholar

Drug Czar Michael Botticelli: Knows Addiction Firsthand

Michael Botticelli TED Talk: Addiction is a Disease

War on Drugs: Conversation with Michael Botticelli



Marsha P. Johnson | Activist

Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992) was an American gay liberation pioneer, activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall riots of 1969, sometimes identified as the one who threw the first brick during the uprising. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson co-founded the gay and transvestite advocacy organization STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera. A popular figure in New York City's gay and art scene, Johnson modeled for Andy Warhol, and performed onstage with the drag performance troupe Hot Peaches. Known for decades as a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village, Johnson was known as the "Mayor of Christopher Street." From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP.


Johnson was born Malcolm Michaels Jr. Her father was an assembly line worker for General Motors and her mother was a housekeeper. Johnson attended an African Methodist Episcopal Church as a child and was devoutly religious throughout her life. Johnson first began wearing dresses at the age of five but stopped temporarily due to harassment by local boys. After this, Johnson described the idea of being gay as "some sort of dream", rather than something that seemed possible, and so chose to remain closeted. After Johnson graduated from high school in 1963, she left home for New York City. She waited tables after moving to Greenwich Village in 1966. After meeting gay people in the city, Johnson finally felt it was possible to be gay and was able to come out.

Biographical Notes: Marsha P. Johnson

Washington Post: The Trans Women of Stonewall

New York Times: Stonewall Activists Get a Monument in New York

Marsha P. Johnson and the Stonewall Riots

State Park in Brooklyn Renamed in Honor of Marsha P. Johnson



Oliver Sacks | Neurologist

Oliver Wolf Sacks, MD (1933 – 2015) was a gay neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and writer. Born and educated in Britain, he spent his career in the United States. He believed that the brain is the "most incredible thing in the universe." He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about both his patients' and his own disorders and unusual experiences, with some of his books adapted for plays by major playwrights, feature films, animated short films, opera, dance, fine art, and musical works in the classical genre. After Sacks received his medical degree from Queen's College Oxford in 1960, he interned at Middlesex Hospital before moving to the US. He then interned at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco and completed his residency in neurology and neuropathology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He relocated to New York in 1965, where he first worked in neurochemistry and neuropathology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In 1966 he began serving as neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital's chronic-care facility in the Bronx, where he worked with a group of survivors of the 1920s sleeping sickness encephalitis lethargica. His treatment of those patients became the basis of his book Awakenings (1973). In the period from 1966 to 1991 he was a neurological consultant to various New York City-area nursing homes, hospitals, and at the Bronx Psychiatric Center.


Sacks was the author of numerous best-selling books, mostly collections of case studies of people, including himself, with neurological disorders. He also published hundreds of articles (peer-reviewed scientific articles and articles for a general audience), about neurological disorders. He also wrote insightful articles about the history of science, natural history, and nature. His writings have been featured in a wide range of media; The New York Times called him a "poet laureate of contemporary medicine," and "one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century." Awakenings was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film in 1990, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. Sacks, who was 82 when he died from metastatic cancer, wrote more than a dozen books drawn from his patients’ case histories, including “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” “Musicophilia,” and “The Mind’s Eye.” But as much as Sacks had a passion for the human experience, he spent much of his life uncomfortable in his own skin: It was only a few months before his death, in his memoir “On the Move,” that he publicly disclosed his homosexuality. Sacks was awarded a CBE for services to medicine in the 2008 Birthday Honours. Oliver Sacks was survived by his partner Bill Hayes.

Biographical Notes: Oliver Sacks

PBS and NBC: The Legacy and Final Days of Oliver Sacks

Dr. Oliver Sacks Website

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life



Jim Parsons | Actor

James Joseph Parsons (born 1973) is a gay American actor and producer. Parsons is known for playing Sheldon Cooper in the CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" (2007–2019). He has received several awards for his performance, including four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. In 2018, Forbes estimated his annual salary to be $26.5 million and named him the world's highest-paid television actor. Parsons made his Broadway debut in 2011 portraying Tommy Boatwright in the play "The Normal Heart," for which he shared a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. He reprised the role in the film adaptation of the play, and received his seventh Emmy nomination, this time in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. In film, Parsons has voiced the lead character in "Home" (2015) and played supporting roles in "Hidden Figures" (2016) and "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" (2019). He was born in Houston, Texas. He received his BA degree from the University of Houston and his MFA degree from the University of San Diego. He resides in Manhattan, New York City. He married Todd Spiewak in 2017. 

Biographical Notes: Jim Parsons

IMDB: Jim Parsons

Rotten Tomatoes: Jim Parsons



Wanda Sykes | Comedian

Wanda Yvette Sykes (born 1964) is a lesbian American actress, comedian, and writer. She was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America. She is also known for her roles on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS 2006–10), "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO 2001–11), and "Black-ish" (ABC 2015–present). Aside from her television appearances, Sykes has also had a career in film, appearing in "Monster-in-Law" (2005), "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" (2006), "Evan Almighty" (2007) and "License to Wed" (2007), as well as voicing characters in animated films such as "Over the Hedg" (2006), Barnyard (2006), "Brother Bear 2" (2006), "Rio" (2011), "Ice Age: Continental Drift" (2012), "Ice Age: Collision Course" (2016) and "Ugly Dolls" (2019). She was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and graduated from Hampton University.  She resides in California, New York, and Pennsylvania.  She married Alex Niedbalski in 2008.


Biographical Notes: Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes Website

IMDB: Wanda Sykes



Alan Turing | Mathematician

Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954) was a gay English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite these accomplishments, he was not fully recognized in his home country during his lifetime, due to his homosexuality, and because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act. During World War II, Turing worked for Britain's codebreaking centre that was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Here, he devised a number of techniques for speeding the breaking of German ciphers, which included an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, the criminal of "gross indecency." He accepted chemical castration treatment as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning, a possible suicide. In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated". Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013. In July 2019 the Bank of England announced that Turing would be depicted on the United Kingdom's new £50 note.


Biographical Notes: Alan Turing

Alan Turing: Short Biography

Video Bio: Alan Turning

New York Times: Alan Turing a Computer Visionary



Caitlyn Jenner | Athlete

Caitlyn Marie Jenner (born Bruce Jenner, 1949) is a transgender American television personality and retired Olympic gold medal–winning decathlete.  Jenner played college football before becoming a track star. Jenner won the men's decathlon event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, setting a third successive world record and gaining fame as "an all-American hero". Given the unofficial title of "world's greatest athlete", Jenner established a career in television, film, writing, auto racing, business, and as a Playgirl cover model. Jenner has six children with three successive wives (Chrystie Crownover, Linda Thompson, Kris Jenner) and has since 2007 appeared on the reality television series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Assigned male at birth, Caitlyn Jenner publicly came out as a trans woman in 2015. Her new name was publicly announced in July of that year, with her name and gender being legally changed the following September. In January 2017, she underwent sex reassignment surgery. Jenner has been called the most famous transgender woman in the world.

Biographical Notes: Caitlyn Jenner

UK Mirror: All About Caitlyn Jenner

Us Mag: Caitlyn Jenner Archives



Leonard Bernstein | Songwriter

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a gay American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was born Louis Bernstein in Massachusetts, the son of Ukrainian Jewish parents. He died in New York. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. He is regarded as one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history. His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for "West Side Story," "Peter Pan," "Candide," "Wonderful Town," "On the Town," "On the Waterfront, and a range of other compositions, including three symphonies and many shorter chamber and solo works. As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are regularly performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and critical success of the Broadway play, "West Side Story."

Biographical Notes: Leonard Bernstein

About Leonard Bernstein

NPR News: Complex Life of Leonard Bernstein



Rachel Maddow | Commentator

Rachel Anne Maddow (born 1973) is a lesbian American television news program host and liberal political commentator. She hosts "The Rachel Maddow Show," a nightly television show on MSNBC, and serves as the cable network's special event co-anchor alongside Brian Williams. Her syndicated talk radio program of the same name aired on Air America Radio. Maddow holds a bachelor's degree in public policy from Stanford University and a doctorate in political science from Oxford University and is the first openly lesbian anchor to host a major prime-time news program in the United States. Maddow was born in Castro Valley, California. Her father is a former Air Force captain and lawyer. Her mother was a school administrator. Her father's family is of Eastern European (Polish, Russian) Jewish decent. Her paternal grandmother was of Dutch (Protestant) descent. Her Canadian mother has English and Irish roots. Maddow says that her family is "very very Catholic" and she grew up in a "very conservative" community. She was a competitive athlete and participated in high school volleyball, basketball, and swimming. Currently, Maddow splits her time between Manhattan, New York and West Cummington, Massachusetts. Her partner is artist and photographer Susan Mikula.


Biographical Notes: Rachel Maddow

NY Times Mag: Feature Story on Rachel Maddow

MS NBC: Rachel Maddow Show



Jason Collins | Athlete

Jason Paul Collins (born 1978) is a gay American retired professional basketball player who played 13 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A center, Collins played college basketball for Stanford University, where he was an All-American in 2000–01. Collins was selected by the Houston Rockets as the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He went on to play for the New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets. After the 2012–13 NBA season concluded, Collins publicly came out as gay. He became a free agent and did not play again until February 2014, when he signed with the Nets and became the first openly gay athlete to play in any of four major North American pro sports leagues. In April 2014, Collins was featured on the cover of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World."


Collins was born in Northridge, California, along with his twin bother Jarron, who also became an NBA player. They graduated from Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles. He and Jarron won two California Interscholastic Federation state titles during their four-year careers with a combined record of 123–10. Collins broke the California career rebounding record with 1,500. Collins played with brother Jarron for the Stanford Cardinals in the Pacific 10 Conference (Pac 10). In 2001, Collins was named to All-Pac 10 first team, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) voted him to their third-team All-American team. He finished his college career ranked first in Stanford history for field goal percentage (.608) and third in blocked shots (89). 


In the cover story of the May 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, Collins came out as gay, becoming the first active male athlete from one of the four major North American professional team sports to publicly do so. Collins also said the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998 led him to choose "98" for his jersey number, in Shepard's honor. Following his announcement, Collins received high praise and support for deciding to publicly reveal that he is gay. Fellow NBA star Kobe Bryant praised his decision, as did others from around the league, including NBA commissioner David Stern. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton, and Collins' corporate sponsor Nike were also among those offering their praise and support for Collins. Former tennis player Martina Navratilova, who came out as a lesbian in 1981, called Collins a "game-changer" for team sports, which she referred to as one of the last areas where homophobia remained. In addition to being an acclaimed athlete, Collins has the distinction of simultaneously identifying as gay, black, and Christian. As of June 2014, Collins was in a relationship with producer Brunson Green.

Biographical Notes: Jason Collins

CNN Sports: Jason Collins Comes Out as Gay

ABC News: First Gay Professional Athlete to Come Out

Players Tribune: Jason Collins Says "I'm Out"

Sports Illustrated: Why Jason Collins Came Out

Outsports: Jason Collins is Athlete with Stonewall Spirit

Jason Collins Video: First Openly Gay Athlete in Major Sports



K D Lang | Musician

Kathryn Dawn Lang (born 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta), known by her stylized stage name k.d. lang, is a lesbian Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and record producer. She is of English, Irish, Scottish, German, Russian, Jewish, Icelandic, and Sioux ancestry. Lang has won both Juno Awards and Grammy Awards for her musical performances. Hits include "Constant Craving" and "Miss Chatelaine." She has contributed songs to movie soundtracks and has collaborated with a variety of musicians. With her crooning style, campy approach, androgynous appearance, and edgy, rock-inflected music, very few observers knew what to make of her or her music, although no one questioned her considerable vocal talents. Lang, who always appears barefooted in her concerts, began to establish an appearance and style referred to as "cowboy punk." Lang is also known for being an animal rights activist, LGBTQ rights activist, and Tibetan human rights activist. She is a vegetarian and tantric practitioner of the old school of Tibetan Buddhism. She performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" live at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Lang possesses the vocal range of a mezzo-soprano. Canadians consider her one of our most accomplished singer-songwriters of all time. She has appeared occasionally in film and television. Lang appeared on the cover of the August 1993 issue of Vanity Fair photographed by Herb Ritts, in which she in a barber chair while model Cindy Crawford shaved her face with a straight razor. Lang, who came out as a lesbian in a June 1992 article of The Advocate, has championed gay rights causes. 


Biographical Notes: KD Lang

All Music: KD Lang




George Takei | Actor

George Hosato Takei (born Hosato Takei, 1937, in Los Angeles, California) is a gay American actor, author, and activist. He was educated at UC Berkely and UC Los Angeles. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series "Star Trek." He also portrayed the character in six "Star Trek" feature films and one episode of "Star Trek: Voyager." His Facebook page has attracted over 10 million followers since he joined in 2011, and the account frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary. Takei is a proponent of LGBTQ rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum. Takei's work on the Broadway show "Allegiance," as well as his own internment in a US-run internment camp during World War II, has given him a platform to speak out against the Trump administration's rhetoric about immigrants and immigration policies. He was married to Brad Altman in 2008.


Biographical Notes: George Takei

IMDB: George Takei

Washington Post: Extraordinary Trek of George Takei



Lily Tomlin | Actor

Mary Jean "Lily" Tomlin (born 1939 in Detroit) is a lesbian American actress, comedian, writer, singer and producer. Tomlin started her career as a stand-up comedian (improvisational and observational) as well as performing Off-Broadway during the 1960s. Her breakout role was on the variety show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" from 1969 until 1973. She currently stars as Frankie Bergstein on the Netflix series "Grace and Frankie," which debuted in 2015 and has earned her nominations for four Primetime Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe Award. In 1974, Tomlin was cast by Robert Altman in her first film, "Nashville" won her several awards and nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Over the years, she has appeared in several notable films, including 9 to 5 (1980), All of Me (1984), Big Business (1988), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Tea with Mussolini (1999), I Heart Huckabees (2004), and Grandma (2015). Her signature role was written by her then partner (now wife), Jane Wagner, in a show titled "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" which opened on Broadway in 1985 and won Tomlin the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play.


Biographical Notes: Lily Tomlin

IMDB: Lily Tomlin

CNN: Interview with Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner



Barney Frank | Politician

Barnett Frank (born 1940) is a gay American politician. He served as a member of the US House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. A Democrat, Frank served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (2007–2011) and was a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, a sweeping reform of the US financial industry. Frank, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, was considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States. Frank is known for his quick wit and rapid-fire speaking style. Capitol Hill staffers describe him as brainy, funny, eloquent, hard working, and one of the brightest and most energetic defenders of civil rights issues. Born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey to a working-class Jewish family, Frank graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He worked as a political aide before winning election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1972. He was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1980 with 52 percent of the vote. He was re-elected every term thereafter by wide margins. In 1987, he publicly came out as gay, becoming the first member of Congress to do so voluntarily. From 2003 until his retirement, Frank was the leading Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and he served as committee chairman when his party held a House majority from 2007 to 2011. In July 2012, he married his long-time partner, James Ready, becoming the first member of Congress to marry someone of the same sex while in office. Frank did not seek re-election in 2012, and retired from Congress at the end of his term in January 2013.


Biographical Notes: Barney Frank

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Barney Frank

New Yorker: Barney's Great Adventure



Kate Bornstein | Writer

Katherine Vandam "Kate" Bornstein (born Albert 1948) is a transgender American author, playwright, performance artist, actress, and gender theorist. Born in Asbury Park, New Jersey in upper middle-class Conservative Jewish family of Russian and Dutch descent, she now resides in New York City. She was educated at Brown University. In 1986, Bornstein identified as gender non-conforming and has stated "I don't call myself a woman, and I know I'm not a man" after having been assigned male at birth and receiving gender affirmation surgery. She now identifies with the pronouns they/them or she/her. Bornstein has also written about having anorexia, being a survivor of PTSD and being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Bornstein has chronic lymphocytic leukemia and in 2012 was diagnosed with lung cancer. In 1989, Bornstein created a theatre production, "Hidden: A Gender," based on parallels between her own life. In 2009, Bornstein's "Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws" was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for LGBTQ Nonfiction and Honorbook for the Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature. Bornstein edited the anthology "Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation," winning the Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards in 2011. Bornstein's autobiography, titled "A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir," was released in 2012. In 2013, she released "My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity." Kate's work is taught in five languages, in over 300 high schools, colleges, and universities around the world. Her partner is Barbara Carrellas.

Biographical Notes: Kate Bornstein

NY Times Reflection: Kate Bornstein

Speak Out: Kate Bornstein



Lee Daniels | Director

Lee Louis Daniels (born 1959) is a gay American film and television writer, director, and producer. He produced Monster's Ball and directed Precious, which received six Oscar nominations, including Best Director. In 2012, Daniels directed The Butler, a historical fiction drama. Daniels is also a co-creator, executive producer, and director of the television series Empire (2015) and Star (2016)Daniels was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Radnor High School in 1978, and then Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.


He began his career in entertainment as a casting director and manager after a chance meeting with a Hollywood producer, working on such projects as Under the Cherry Moon and Purple Rain. He continued managing talent. The documentary My Big Break features Daniels early in his career when he was managing actor Wes Bentley, who starred as Ricky Fitts in American BeautyMonster's Ball, the debut production of Lee Daniels Entertainment, was a critical and box office success, winning Halle Berry the Oscar for Best Actress. The film was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. He is also known for the 2004 production The Woodsman, starring Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, and Mos Def, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His first directorial effort, 2006's Shadowboxer, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. It starred Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding Jr., Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, Mo'Nique, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Macy Gray. His 2009 film Precious told the story of an obese, illiterate, 16-year-old girl (Gabourey Sidibe) who lives in poverty in Harlem. Mo'Nique won the Academy award for best supporting actress, Daniels was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and the film received a Best Picture nomination. He directed the historical fiction drama film The Butler (2013), starring Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Mariah Carey, Terrence Howard, Alan Rickman, and Oprah Winfrey. Empire, a television series created by Daniels, premiered in 2015. In 2016, Daniels received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television industry.


Daniels lives in Manhattan. He and his then-partner, casting director Billy Hopkins, adopted Daniels's biological niece and nephew, Clara and Liam. Hopkins and Daniels later separated. In 2015, Daniels clarified his sexuality by stating that despite being gay men, both he and Empire actor Jussie Smollett are sexually fluid. His current partner is Jahil Fisher.


Biographical Notes: Lee Daniels

IMDB: Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels Entertainment



Tennessee Williams | Playwright

Thomas Lanier Williams III (1911-1983), known by his pen name Tennessee Williams, was a Depression Era gay American playwright. He was born in Mississippi and died in New York. Along with contemporaries Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama. After years of obscurity, at age 33 he became suddenly famous with the success of "The Glass Menagerie" (1944). This play closely reflected his own unhappy family background. It was the first of a string of successes, including "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955), "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1959), and "The Night of the Iguana" (1961). His plays reveal a world of human frustration in which sex and violence underlie an atmosphere of romantic gentility. His drama "A Streetcar Named Desire" is often numbered on short lists of the finest American plays of the 20th century. Much of Williams' most acclaimed work has been adapted for the cinema. He also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, Williams was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Among his partners were Pancho Rodríguez y González, Frank Merlo, and Robert Carroll.


Biographical Notes: Tennessee Williams

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Tennessee Williams

Famous Authors: Tennessee Williams



Annise Parker | Politician

Annise Danette Parker (born 1956 in Houston, Texas) is a lesbian American politician who served as the 61st Mayor of Houston, from 2010 until 2016. She also served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council from 1998 to 2003 and city controller from 2004 to 2010. Parker was Houston's second female mayor (after Kathy Whitmire), and one of the first openly gay mayors of a major US city, with Houston being the most populous US city to date to elect an openly gay mayor, until Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago in 2019. Parker attended Rice University on a National Merit scholarship in 1974 and graduated from Jones College in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology, psychology and sociology. In 1986-87, she was president of the Houston LGBTQ Political Caucus. Parker is currently CEO and President of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute. Parker and her partner, Kathy Hubbard, have been together since 1990. In January 2014, Parker and Hubbard were married in Palm Springs, California. Parker and Hubbard reside in Houston.

Biographical Notes: Annise Parker

Harvard Institute of Politics: Annise Parker

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Annise Parker



Ismail Merchant | Film Producer

Ismail Merchant (1936-2005), born Ismail Noor Muhammad Abdul Rahman, in Bombay, was a gay Indian film producer, director, and screenwriter. He worked for many years in collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions which included director (and Merchant's longtime professional and domestic partner) James Ivory as well as screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. They are known for Howards End (1992), A Room with a View (1985), and The Remains of the Day (1993). Their films won six Academy Awards.


He studied at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and got a BA degree at the University of Bombay. At 22, he moved to the US to study at New York University where he received an MBA degree. While in New York, he gave up his family name. He was inspired by such directors as Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio De Sica, and Federico Fellini. In 1961, he made a short film, The Creation of Woman. It was shown at Cannes Film Festival and received an Academy Award nomination. Merchant met American Movie Director James Ivory in 1959. In May 1961, Merchant and Ivory formed the film company Merchant Ivory Productions. Merchant and Ivory were long-term life partners. Their professional and romantic partnership lasted 44 years, from 1961 until Merchant's death in 2005. Their partnership has a place in Guinness Book of World Records for longest partnership in independent cinema history. They produced nearly 40 films, including a number of award winners (James Ivory won an Oscar Award for Call Me By Your Name in 2018). Merchant died in London and was buried in Mumbai.


Biographical Notes: Ismail Merchant

IMDB: Ismail Merchant

Merchant and Ivory: Secret Hollywood Couple



Queen Latifah | Entertainer

Dana Elaine Owens (born 1970), known professionally as Queen Latifah, is a lesbian American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, she released her debut album All Hail the Queen in 1989, featuring the hit single "Ladies First". Nature of a Sista' (1991) was her second album. Latifah starred as Khadijah James on the FOX sitcom Living Single, 1993-98. Her third album, Black Reign (1993), spawned the single "U.N.I.T.Y.", which, being a large influence on women, won a Grammy Award and peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100.


She then starred in the lead role of Set It Off (1996) and released her fourth album, Order in the Court, in 1998. Latifah gained mainstream success and acclaim with her performance in the film Chicago (2002), receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Latifah released her fifth album The Dana Owens Album in 2004. In 2007 and 2009, she released two more studio albums, Trav'lin' Light and Persona. She created the daytime talk show The Queen Latifah Show (2013-15) on CBS. She has appeared in a number of films, such as Bringing Down the House (2003), Taxi (2004), Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2005), Beauty Shop (2005), Last Holiday (2006), Hairspray (2007), Joyful Noise (2012), 22 Jump Street (2014) and Girls Trip (2017). Latifah received critical acclaim for her portrayal of blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO film Bessie (2015), which she co-produced, winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie. Since 2016, she has starred as Carlotta Brown in the musical drama series Star. She has been described as a "feminist" rapper. Latifah received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 (The first hip-hop artist to do so). Latifah's work in music, film and television has earned her a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, an Academy Award nomination and sales of over two million records.


Queen Latifah is in a longterm relationship with her partner Eboni Nichols. In 2019, the couple welcomed their first child, a baby girl. Eboni carried and delivered the couple’s baby.


Biographical Notes: Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah and Eboni Nichols

Filmography: Queen Latifah



Leslie Jordan | Actor

Leslie Allen Jordan (born 1955) is a gay American actor and writer. He is best known for his roles as Lonnie Garr in Hearts Afire , Beverly Leslie in Will & Grace, several characters in the American Horror Story franchise, Sid in The Cool Kids and Phil in Call Me Kat. One of his best-known onstage performances was in Sordid Lives, where he played Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram, a role he took to the big screen in the popular cult film of the same name. Leslie Jordan was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He said that he had a difficult time growing up Southern Baptist. He described his mother, Peggy Ann, as being supportive and accepting though never truly understanding him. When asked about his mother, he said she lives in Chattanooga and is a private woman. Jordan's father was an Army officer and died in a plane crash when Jordan was 11 years old. Jordan moved to Los Angeles in 1982 where he became involved with drugs and alcohol and was arrested several times. When Jordan was 27 years old, he began to journal daily, which helped him recover from drug and alcohol abuse.


Jordan's first autobiographical stage show was called Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies That Have Plagued My Life Thus Far, in which Jordan was backed by a gospel choir singing satirical songs about racism and homophobia, was produced off-Broadway. Next, he distilled his experiences growing up as an effeminate, tiny boy in the Southern United States and in show business into an autobiographical one-man show, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet. Leslie Jordan has been in a relationship with Danny Thomason.


Biographical Notes: Leslie Jordan

IMDB: Leslie Jordan

Leslie Jordan: Best Moments on Will & Grace

Leslie Jordan: Just Trying to Get Through the Quarantine



Lynn Conway | Engineer

Lynn Ann Conway (born 1938) is a transgender American computer scientist, electrical engineer, inventor, and activist. Conway is notable for a number of pioneering achievements, including the Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design, which incubated an emerging electronic design automation industry. She worked at IBM in the 1960s and is credited with the invention of generalized dynamic instruction handling, a key advance used in out-of-order execution, used by most modern computer processors to improve performance.


Born Robert Conway, she grew up in White Plains, New York. Conway was shy and experienced gender dysphoria as a child. She became fascinated and engaged by astronomy (building a 150 mm reflector telescope one summer) and did well in math and science in high school. Conway entered MIT in 1955, earning high grades but ultimately leaving in despair after an attempted gender transition in 1957–58 failed due to the medical climate at the time. After working as an electronics technician for several years, Conway resumed education at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, earning BS and MSEE degrees in 1962 and 1963.


After learning of the pioneering research of Harry Benjamin in treating transsexual women and realizing that genital affirmation surgery was now possible, Conway sought his help and became his patient. After suffering from severe depression from gender dysphoria, Conway contacted Benjamin, who agreed to provide counseling and prescribe hormones. Under Benjamin's care, Conway began her medical gender transition. While struggling with life in a male role, Conway had been married to a woman and had two children. Under the legal constraints then in place, after transitioning she was denied access to their children. Although she had hoped to be allowed to transition on the job, IBM fired Conway in 1968 after she revealed her intention to transition to a female gender role. In 1987, Conway met her husband Charles "Charlie" Rogers, a professional engineer who shares her interest in the outdoors, including whitewater canoeing and motocross racing. In August 2002, they were married in Michigan.


Biographical Notes: Lynn Conway

IEEE Award: Lynn Conway

Lynn Conway's Webpage

Lynn Conway: Most Successful Transgender Scientist in the World



Neil Patrick Harris | Actor

Neil Patrick Harris (born 1973) is a gay American actor, comedian, writer, producer, magician, and singer. He is known primarily for his comedy roles on television and his dramatic and musical stage roles. On television, he is known for playing the title character on "Doogie Howser MD" (1989–93), Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother" (2005–14, for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards), and Count Olaf in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2017–19). His films include "Starship Troopers" (1997), "Beastly" (2011), "The Smurfs" (2011), "The Smurfs 2" (2013), "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (2014), and "Gone Girl" (2014). In 2014, he starred in the title role in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" on Broadway, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Harris was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2010. Harris came out as gay publicly in November 2006, saying, "I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." He is married to David Burtka. In 2010, they had twins via surrogacy.

Biographical Notes: Neil Patrick Harris

IMDB: Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris: It's Not Just for Gays Anymore



Wendy Carlos | Musician

Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos, 1939) is a transgender American musician and composer best known for her electronic music and film scores. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Carlos studied physics and music at Brown University before moving to New York City in 1962 to study music composition at Columbia University. Studying and working with various electronic musicians and technicians at the city's Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, she helped in the development of the Moog synthesizer, the first commercially available keyboard instrument created by Robert Moog. Carlos came to prominence with Switched-On Bach (1968), an album of music by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on a Moog synthesizer, which helped popularize its use in the 1970s and won her three Grammy Awards. Its commercial success led to several more albums, including further synthesized classical music adaptations, and experimental and ambient music. She composed the score to two Stanley Kubrick films -- A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980) -- and Tron (1982) for Walt Disney Productions. In 1979, Carlos raised public awareness of transgender issues by disclosing she had been living as a woman since at least 1968, and in 1972 had undergone sex reassignment surgery.


Biographical Notes: Wendy Carlos

NPR: New Biography of Trans Woman Wendy Carlos

Wendy Carlos: Beauty and trauma of Being Openly Trans

Wendy Carlos: Switched On Bach




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