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Oscar Wilde | Writer

Oscar Fingal OFlahertie 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

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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 womens 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 Womens Tennis Association and the Womens Sports Foundation. Regarded by many in the sport as one of the greatest womens 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

Info: LGBTQ Athletes



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 Baldwins 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. Baldwins 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 Baldwins second novel, "Giovannis 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

Info: LGBTQ Authors



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 Pennsylvanias 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

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



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

Info: LGBTQ Politicians



Ellen DeGeneres | Comedian

Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born 1958) is a lesbian American comedian, television host, actor, 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 Peoples 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 Ellens Incredible Career

Official Ellen DeGeneres Website

Golden Globes: Kate McKinnons 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

Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



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

Advocate: Harvey Milks Original 1979 Obituary
Video: Give Them Hope

Murder at City Hall: Killing of Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk
NPR News: Harvey Milk 40 Years Later

The Activism of Harvey Milk

Ian McKellan Reading Harvey Milks Hope Speech

Info: LGBTQ Politicians



Brittany Griner | Athlete

Brittney Yevette Griner (born 1990) is a lesbian American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Womens National Basketball Association (WNBA). She played college basketball for the Baylor Lady Bears in Waco, Texas.

In 2009, Griner was named the nations No. 1 high school womens basketball player. She was selected to the 2009 All-American basketball team. After going to Baylor to play collegiately, she had a breakout senior year in 2012, as the three-time All-American was named the AP Player of the Year, the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, led Baylor in winning the National Championship, and won the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award. Griner is also the only NCAA basketball player to both score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.

Professionally, Griner was selected as the first overall pick in 2013 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury, with whom she won the 2014 WNBA championship, and became an eight-time All-Star. Griner led the US national team to victory at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Griner was named to the national team for the 2020 Olympics, (2021, Tokyo, Japan), where she won her second gold medal. She is also a two-time FIBA Womens World Cup winner with Team USA (2014 and 2018)

In February 2022, Griner was detained by Russian customs officials after cartridges containing hashish oil were found in her luggage and arrested on smuggling charges. Griner had been entering Russia to play with the Russian Premier League during the WNBA off-season. Her trial began in July and she pleaded guilty to the charges. in August, she was sentenced to nine years in prison. In November, she was transferred to a Russian penal colony. During this time, US officials stated that she was "wrongfully detained". In December, Griner was released by Russia in a prisoner exchange.

She was born in Houston, Texas and attended Nimitz High School. In an interview with Sports Illustrated in February 2013, Griner publicly came out as a lesbian. She also revealed that she was bullied as a child. Her endorsement deal with Nike was the first time the company had signed such a deal with an openly gay athlete. Griner continues to push back on traditional gender roles as she regularly models clothes branded as "menswear" for Nike. Standing 6 ft 9 in tall, Griner wears a mens US size 17 shoe and has an arm span of 87.5 inches.

In May 2015, Griner married fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson. A month later, Griner and Johnson revealed that Johnson was pregnant with twins, in vitro fertilization. Johnson gave birth to twin girls in October 2015. The couple divorced in June 2016 and Griner was ordered to pay child support.

Griner married Cherelle Watson married in June 2019.

Biographical Notes: Brittany Griner

WNBA Star Brittney Griner Freed From Russian Prison

Brittney Griner Released From Russian Detention
Brittney Griner Rrrives in US Following Her Release by Russia
WNBA Star Brittney Griner Released From Russian Custody
Brittney Griner Freed From Russian Custody

Info: LGBTQ Athletes



Noël Coward | Actor

Sir Noël Peirce Coward (1899 – 1973) was a gay English playwright, composer, director, actor, and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise". As a playwright, he was famous for his highly polished comedies of manners.

Coward appeared professionally as an actor from the age of 12. Between acting engagements he wrote such light comedies as Ill Leave It to You (1920) and The Young Idea (1923), but his reputation as a playwright was not established until the serious play The Vortex (1924), which was highly successful in London. In 1925 the first of his durable comedies, Hay Fever, opened in London. Coward ended the decade with his most popular musical play, Bitter Sweet (1929).

Another of his classic comedies, Private Lives (1930), is often revived. It shares with Design for Living (1933) a worldly milieu and characters unable to live with or without one another. His patriotic pageant of British history, Cavalcade (1931), traced an English family from the time of the South African (Boer) War through the end of World War I. Other successes included Tonight at Eight-thirty (1936), a group of one-act plays performed by Coward and Gertrude Lawrence, with whom he often played. He rewrote (with help from director David Lean and two others) one of the short plays, Still Life, as the film Brief Encounter (1945). Present Laughter (1939) and Blithe Spirit (1941; film 1945; musical version, High Spirits, 1964) are usually listed among his better comedies.

Cowards Collected Short Stories appeared in 1962, followed by a further selection, Bon Voyage, in 1967. Pomp and Circumstance (1960) is a light novel, and Not Yet the Dodo (1967) is a collection of verse. His autobiography through 1931 appeared as Present Indicative (1937) and was extended through his wartime years in Future Indefinite (1954); a third volume, Past Conditional, was incomplete at his death. Among his more notable songs were “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” “Ill See You Again,” “Some Day Ill Find You,” “Poor Little Rich Girl,” “Mad About the Boy,” and “I Went to a Marvellous Party.”

Coward was homosexual but, following the convention of his times, this was never publicly mentioned. The critic Kenneth Tynans description in 1953 was close to an acknowledgment of Cowards sexuality: "No private considerations have been allowed to deflect the drive of his career; like Gielgud and Rattigan, like the late Ivor Novello, he is a congenital bachelor."  Coward firmly believed his private business was not for public discussion, considering "any sexual activities when over-advertised" to be tasteless. Even in the 1960s, Coward refused to acknowledge his sexual orientation publicly. Cowards most important relationship, which began in the mid-1940s and lasted until his death, was with the South African stage and film actor Graham Payn.  Cowards other relationships included the playwright Keith Winter, actors Louis Hayward and Alan Webb, his manager Jack Wilson and the composer Ned Rorem, who published details of their relationship in his diaries. Coward had a 19-year friendship with Prince George, Duke of Kent. Coward maintained close friendships with many women, including Esmé Wynne-Tyson, Gladys Calthrop, Lorn Loraine, Gertrude Lawrence, Joyce Carey, Judy Campbell, and Marlene Dietrich.

Noel Coward: Biographical Notes
Timeline: Noel Coward
Noel Coward: Britannica
Info: LGBTQ Actors



Frida Kahlo | Artist

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón, is a bisexual artist and political activist. She is arguably Mexicos most famous artist. Inspired by the countrys popular culture, she employed a naïve folk art style to explore questions of identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society.

Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. In addition to belonging to the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity outside of European colonialism, Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist.

Her clothing choices also reflected her determination to define a Mexican identity. She incorporated traditional clothing into her wardrobe as a way to show pride in her Mexican heritage. Much of what she wore carried both personal and political meaning to Kahlo.

Although she was disabled by polio as a child, Kahlo had been a promising student headed for medical school until a traffic accident at age eighteen, which caused her lifelong pain and medical problems. During her recovery, she returned to her childhood hobby of art with the idea of becoming an artist.  she was mostly self-taught.

Kahlos interests in politics and art led to her joining the Mexican Communist Party in 1927, through which she met fellow Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The couple married in 1928 and spent the late 1920s and early 1930s traveling in Mexico and the United States. Rivera was by far the better-known artist, but Kahlo did secure her first solo exhibition in New York in 1938.

Kahlos work as an artist remained relatively unknown until the late 1970s, when her work was rediscovered by art historians and political activists. By the early 1990s, she had become not only a recognized figure in art history but also regarded as an icon for Chicanos, the feminism movement, and the LGBTQ movement.

She had a tumultuous relationship with her husband, Diego Rivera. Both had a number of affairs — some sanctioned and some on the sly. They even divorced for a year and then remarried. Her lovers included a diverse selection of men and women, many of them well-known thinkers and artists in their time. Over the years, she had affairs with Leon Trotsky, Josephine Baker, Chavela Vargas, Georgia OKeeffe, and Isamu Noguchi.

Frida Kahlo: Biographical Notes
Frida Kahlo: Famous Mexican Artist

Frida Kahlo and Her Paintings
Info: LGBTQ Artists



Freddie Mercury | Musician

Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 1946–1991) was a gay British singer, songwriter and record producer, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. He was renowned for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Mercury was born of Parsi descent on Zanzibar, Tanzania, and grew up there and in India before moving with his family to Middlesex, England, in his teens.


He formed Queen in 1970 with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. He wrote numerous hits for Queen including Killer Queen (1974), Bohemian Rhapsody (1975), Somebody to Love (1976), We Are the Champions (1977), Dont Stop Me Now (1978) and Crazy Little Thing Called Love (1980).  Queens performance at the Live Aid Concert in 1985 is considered by many to be one of the greatest in music history.

Mercury had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin, with whom he lived for several years. By the mid-1970s he had begun an affair with a male American record executive and when he told Austin of his sexuality their romantic relationship ended. During the early 1980s he was reportedly involved with Barbara Valentin, an Austrian actress, but he was really dating German restaurateur Winfried Kirchberger. By 1985 he began another long-term relationship with hairdresser Jim Hutton (1949–2010). Hutton, who tested HIV-positive in 1990, lived with Mercury for the last six years of his life, nursed him during his illness and was present at his bedside when he died, still wearing the wedding band that Hutton had given him. He died November 24, 1991. He was 45 years old.

As the first major rock star to die of AIDS, Mercurys death represented an important event in the history of the disease. In 1992 the remaining members of Queen founded The Mercury Phoenix Trust and organised The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness, to celebrate the life and legacy of Mercury and raise money for AIDS research.

In 1992 Mercury was posthumously awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. As a member of Queen, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2002 he was placed number 58 in the BBCs 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.  Freddie Mercury is consistently voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music.


Biographical Notes: Freddie Mercury
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody at Live Aid Concert

Freddie Mercury Biography

Queen: Radio Gaga at Live Aid Concert
Freddie Mercury: Singer, Song-Writer
Freddie Mercury: Great Pretender

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



David Sedaris | Author

David Raymond Sedaris (born 1956) is a gay American humorist, comedian, author, and radio contributor. He was publicly recognized in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "Santaland Diaries”. He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. His next book, Naked (1997), became his first of a series of New York Times Bestsellers, and his 2000 collection Me Talk Pretty One Day won the Thurber Prize for American Humor.


David Sedaris list of published works include: "Barrel Fever" (1994), "Naked" (1997), "Holidays on Ice" (1997), "Me Talk Pretty One Day" (2000), "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" (2004), "Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules" (2005), "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" (2008), "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary" (2010), "Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls" (2013), "Theft by Finding: Diaries" (2017), "Calypso" (2018), "Happy-Go-Lucky" (2022).

Much of Sedariss humor is ostensibly autobiographical and self-deprecating and often concerns his family life, his middle-class upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, his Greek heritage, homosexuality, jobs, education, drug use, and obsessive behaviors, as well as his life in France, London, New York, and the South Downs in England. He is the brother and writing collaborator of actress Amy Sedaris.  In 2019, Sedaris was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Sedaris was born in Johnson City, New York.  The Sedaris family moved when David was young, and he grew up in a suburban area of Raleigh, the second oldest child of six. Among his siblings, many people would recognize Amy from film and TV fame and Paul ("the Rooster") whom he mentions in his stand-up comedy routines.


Sedaris briefly attended Western Carolina University before transferring to, and dropping out of, Kent State University in 1977. In his teens and twenties, David dabbled in visual and performance art. He describes his lack of success in several of his essays.  He moved to Chicago in 1983, and graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987.

As of 2019, Sedaris lives in Rackham, West Sussex, England with his longtime partner, painter and set designer Hugh Hamrick. Sedaris mentions Hamrick in a number of his stories, and describes the two of them as the "sort of couple who wouldnt get married."

David Sedaris: Biographical Notes
USA Today Interview with David Sedaris
David Sedaris: Having a Hoot Getting Dressed
The Funny Life of David Sedaris
David Sedaris on Jimmy Kimmel Show
Info: LGBTQ Authors



Willa Cather | Author

Willa Sibert Cather (1873-1947) was a lesbian American writer known for her novels of life on the Great Plains, including O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia. In 1923, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours, a novel set during World War I.

Willa Cather and her family moved from Virginia to Nebraska, when she was nine years old. The family later settled in the town of Red Cloud. Shortly after graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Cather moved to Pittsburgh for ten years, supporting herself as a magazine editor and high school English teacher. At the age of 33, she moved to New York City, her primary home for the rest of her life, though she also traveled widely and spent considerable time at her summer residence on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick.


Cather achieved recognition as a novelist of the frontier and pioneer experience. She wrote of the spirit of those settlers moving into the western states, many of them European immigrants in the nineteenth century. Common themes in her work include nostalgia and exile. A sense of place is an important element in Cathers fiction: physical landscapes and domestic spaces are for Cather dynamic presences against which her characters struggle and find community.


She spent the last 39 years of her life with her domestic partner, Edith Lewis, before being diagnosed with breast cancer and dying of a cerebral hemorrhage. She is buried beside Lewis in a Jaffrey, New Hampshire plot.

Willa Cather: Biographical Notes
The Willa Cather Center
AP News: Bronze Statue of Noted American Author Willa Cather Unveiled in US Capitol
PBS American Masters: Willa Cather
Info: LGBTQ Authors



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 CBSs "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



Stephen Sondheim | Composer

Stephen Joshua Sondheim (1930–2021) was a gay American composer and lyricist. One of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater, Sondheim was praised for having "reinvented the American musical" with shows that tackled "unexpected themes that range far beyond the genres traditional subjects" with "music and lyrics of unprecedented complexity and sophistication." His shows addressed "darker, more harrowing elements of the human experience," with songs often tinged with "ambivalence" about various aspects of life.


Sondheims best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), and Into the Woods (1987). He was also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).

Sondheims accolades include nine Tony Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2008), an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sondheim wrote film music, contributing "Goodbye for Now" for Warren Beattys Reds (1981). He wrote five songs for 1990s Dick Tracy, including "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)", sung in the film by Madonna, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Film adaptations of Sondheims work include West Side Story (1961), Gypsy (1962), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), A Little Night Music (1977), Gypsy (1993), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Into the Woods (2014), West Side Story (2021), and Merrily We Roll Along (2021).

Sondheim was born into a Jewish family in New York City. He grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Sondheim attended Williams College. He graduated magna cum laude and received the Hubbard Hutchinson Prize. He was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers, Hal Prince, James Lapine, Frank Rich.  He did not come out as gay until he was 40. He lived with dramatist Peter Jones for eight years in the 1990s. He married Jeffrey Scott Romley in 2017. They lived in Manhattan and Roxbury, Connecticut.


Biographical Notes: Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim, Musical Theater Legend, Dead at 91

Musical Theater Master Stephen Sondheim Dies at 91

Stephen Sondheim, Master of Musical Theater, Dead at 91
Remembering Stephen Sondheim: The Best There Ever Was
Stephen Sondheim, Legendary Broadway Composer and Lyricist, Dies at 91

Broadway Tribute to Stephen Sondheim



Bell Hooks | Writer

Gloria Jean Watkins (1952–2021), better known by her pen name Bell Hooks, was a queer black American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. The name "bell hooks" ( which she styled in all lowercase letters) is borrowed from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.

The focus of Hookss writing was the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she described as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She published more than 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures. Her work addressed race, class, gender, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism. In 2014, she founded the Bell Hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky.

Gloria Jean Watkins was born in Hopkinsville, a small, segregated town in Kentucky, to a working-class African-American family. Watkins was one of six children born to Rosa Bell Watkins and Veodis Watkins. Her father worked as a janitor and her mother worked as a maid.

An avid reader, Watkins was educated in racially segregated public schools, later moving to an integrated school in the late 1960s. She graduated from Hopkinsville High School before obtaining her BA in English from Stanford University in 1973, and her MA in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976. During this time, at 24 Watkins was writing her book Aint I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, which was published in 1981.

In 1983, after several years of teaching and writing, she completed her doctorate in English at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1987, with a dissertation on author Toni Morrison.

She described her sexual identity as "queer-pas-gay."


Bell Hooks: Biographical Notes

Queer Black Feminist Writer Bell Hooks Dies at 69
Bell Hooks: Queer Black Feminist Writer Passes Away
Trailblazing Feminist Author, Critic and Activist Bell Hooks Dies at 69
Bell Hooks Institute
Famed Feminist Writer, Bell Hooks, Dies at Age 69
Info: LGBTQ Authors



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 Kramers 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 Mens Health Crisis, which has become the worlds 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 Kramers 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 Kramers 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



Mary Oliver | Poet


Mary Jane Oliver (1935-2019) was an lesbian American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is inspired by nature, rather than the human world, stemming from her lifelong passion for solitary walks in the wild. It is characterized by a sincere wonderment at the impact of natural imagery, conveyed in unadorned language. In 2007, she was declared to be the countrys best-selling poet.

Mary Oliver was born to Edward William and Helen M. (Vlasak) Oliver in September 1935, in Maple Heights, Ohio, a semi-rural suburb of Cleveland. Her father was a social studies teacher and an athletics coach in the Cleveland public schools. As a child, she spent a great deal of time outside where she enjoyed going on walks or reading. Oliver described her family as dysfunctional, adding that though her childhood was very hard, writing helped her create her own world. Oliver revealed that she had been sexually abused as a child and had experienced recurring nightmares.

Oliver began writing poetry at the age of 14. She graduated from the local high school in Maple Heights. In the summer of 1951 at the age of 15 she attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, now known as Interlochen Arts Camp, where she was in the percussion section of the National High School Orchestra. At 17 she visited the home of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, in Austerlitz, New York, where she then formed a friendship with the late poets sister Norma. Oliver and Norma spent the next six to seven years at the estate organizing Edna St. Vincent Millays papers.  Oliver studied at The Ohio State University and Vassar College in the mid-1950s, but did not receive a degree at either college.

On a visit to Austerlitz in the late 1950s, Oliver met photographer Molly Malone Cook, who would become her partner for over forty years. In Our World, a book of Cooks photos and journal excerpts Oliver compiled after Cooks death, Oliver writes, "I took one look at Cook and fell, hook and tumble." Cook was Olivers literary agent. They made their home largely in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where they lived until Cooks death in 2005, and where Oliver continued to live until relocating to Florida.

Oliver valued her privacy and gave very few interviews, saying she preferred for her writing to speak for itself. In 2012, Oliver was diagnosed with lung cancer, but was treated and given a "clean bill of health." Oliver died of lymphoma on January 2019, at the age of 83.

Mary Oliver: Biographical Notes

Poetry Foundation: Mary Oliver

Academy of American Poets: Mary Oliver

Books and Bio: Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver: Collection of Her Poems

Mary Oliver: Lesbian Poet, Mystic of Nature

Info: LGBTQ Authors



Victor Garber | Actor


Victor Joseph Garber (born 1949) is a gay Canadian actor and singer of Russian-Jewish decent. Known for his work in film, television, and theatre, he has been nominated for three Gemini Awards, four Tony Awards, and six Primetime Emmy Awards. He has also been nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Garber originated roles in the Broadway productions of Sweeney Todd (1979–1980), Noises Off (1983–1985), Lend Me a Tenor (1989–1990), Arcadia (1995), and Art (1998–1999).


He played Jesus in Torontos 1972 production of Godspell, alongside Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Gilda Radner, Dave Thomas, and Martin Short. In 1985 he appeared in Noises Off in Los Angeles. He appeared on Broadway in the original productions of Deathtrap, Sweeney Todd and Noises Off (1983), and in the original Off-Broadway cast of Assassins, as well as the 1990s revival of Damn Yankees.


In 1986, Garber appeared opposite Uta Hagen in You Never Can Tell. He has been nominated for four Tony Awards and opened the Tony Awards program in 1994 (the year he was nominated for the Tony Award for Damn Yankees). In 1998, he co-starred on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning play Art with Alan Alda and Alfred Molina. In 2005, he played the role of Frederic in the Los Angeles Opera production of A Little Night Music. He played Ben in a critically praised Encores staged concert production of Follies (2007) opposite Donna Murphy. In 2007, he played Garry Essendine in a production of Noël Cowards Present Laughter. In 2018, Garber replaced David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder in the Tony-winning Broadway revival of Hello Dolly opposite Bernadette Peters. Garber received the 2018 Theatre World John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement.

His film work includes Godspell (1973), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), The First Wives Club (1996), Titanic (1997), Annie (1999), Legally Blonde (2001), Tuck Everlasting (2002), Big Game (2014), Happiest Season (2020).


He portrayed Jack Bristow on ABCs Alias, earning three Emmy nominations. Garbers first leading role on television show was in CBSs 1985 summer series I Had Three Wives. He starred on the television series Justice (2006) on Fox and ABCs Eli Stone.


Garber has been in a relationship with Canadian artist and model Rainer Andreesen since 2000. They were married in 2015.


Biographical Notes: Victor Garber

IMDB: Victor Garber

Playbill: Victor Garber

TV Guide: Victor Garber

Info: LGBTQ Actors



Edith Windsor | Activist


Edith "Edie" Windsor (1929–2017) was a lesbian American LGBTQ rights activist and a technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor, which overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and was considered a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States. The Obama administration and federal agencies extended rights, privileges and benefits to married same-sex couples because of the decision.


Windsor was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a Russian Jewish immigrant family of modest means. In school, she at times experienced anti-Semitism. Throughout school, she dated boys her age, but said later she recalls having crushes on girls. Windsor received her bachelors degree from Temple University in 1950. She obtained a masters degree in mathematics from New York University in 1957. She then joined IBM, where she worked for the next sixteen years. During this time, she spent two semesters studying applied mathematics at Harvard University on an IBM fellowship.

Windsor and psychologist Thea Spyer began dating in 1963. In 1977 Spyer was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis, and Windsor utilized her early retirement to become a full-time caregiver for Spyer.  In 2007 Spyers doctors told her she had less than a year to live. New York had not yet legalized same-sex marriage, so the couple opted to marry in Toronto, Canada, on 22 May 2007. After Spyers death Windsor had become the executor and sole beneficiary of Spyers estate, and was required to pay $363,053 in federal estate taxes, because federal law did not recognized the validity of their marriage.

Windsor sought to claim the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses, but was barred from doing so by Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which provided that the term "spouse" only applied to marriages between a man and woman. In November 2010 Windsor filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking a refund because DOMA singled out legally married same-sex couples for "differential treatment compared to other similarly situated couples without justification." In March 2013 the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments, and in June 2013 issued a 5–4 decision declaring Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment." On June 26, 2013 the landmark civil rights decision of United States V. Windsor was handed down, effectively declaring the restrictive DOMA unconstitutional and clearing the path for same sex marriage to be legalized. Over the course of the trial Windsor became an icon in the story of marriage equality and an example of perseverance and grace after decades of legal struggle.

Edith Windsor: Biographical Background
NPR: Edith Windsor, LGBTQ Advocate Who Fought The Defense Of Marriage Act
Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer: A Love Affair That Just Kept On and On and On
Vanity Fair: Edith Windsor, Gay Marriage Icon and Activist
Slate: Edie Windsor, Civil Rights Icon and Hero



Sylvester James | Musician


Sylvester James Jr. (1947 – 1988), who used the stage name of Sylvester, was a gay American singer-songwriter. Primarily active in the genres of disco, rhythm and blues, and soul, he was known for his flamboyant and androgynous appearance, falsetto singing voice, and hit disco singles in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Born in Watts, Los Angeles, to a middle-class African-American family, Sylvester developed a love of singing through the gospel choir of his Pentecostal church. Leaving the church after it expressed disapproval of his homosexuality, he found friendship among a group of black cross-dressers and transgender women who called themselves The Disquotays.

Moving to San Francisco in 1970 at the age of 22, Sylvester embraced the counterculture and joined the avant-garde drag troupe The Cockettes, producing solo segments of their shows which were heavily influenced by female blues and jazz singers like Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker. During the late 1970s, Sylvester gained the moniker of the "Queen of Disco". His first solo album, ‘Sylvester’ (1977), was a moderate success. This was followed with the acclaimed disco album ‘Step II’ (1978) which spawned the singles "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)" both of which were hits in the US and Europe.

Sylvester was openly gay throughout his career, and had an affinity for men who were white and effeminate. In 1978 he entered into a relationship with a young white model named John Maley; Sylvester later devoted the song "Can't Forget the Love" from his ‘Too Hot to Sleep’ album to his young lover. In the early ‘80s Sylvester was in relationships with Michael Rayner and later Tom Daniels, a hairdresser. The singer's final partner, the architect Rick Cranmer, was a six-foot two blonde, and the duo moved into a house together in the hills. Cranmer died of AIDS-related complications in 1987, the year before Sylvester succumbed to the virus.

During his life he attained particular recognition in San Francisco, where he was awarded the key to the city. An activist who campaigned against the spread of HIV/AIDS, Sylvester died from complications arising from the virus in 1988, leaving all future royalties from his work to San Francisco-based HIV/AIDS charities.

In 2005 he was posthumously inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame, while his life has been recorded in a biography and made the subject of both a documentary and a musical.

Sylvester: Biographical Notes
Sylvester: You Make Me Feel Mighty Real
35 Years After His Death, Friends and Associates Remember Disco Queen Sylvester’s Energy
Sylvester: Mighty Real Disco Star Deserves A Modern Spotlight
Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Robin Roberts | Newscaster


Robin René Roberts (born 1960) is an openly lesbian American television broadcaster. After growing up in Mississippi and attending Southeastern Louisiana University, Roberts was a sports anchor for local TV and radio stations, and a sportscaster on ESPN from 1990 through 2005. She became co-anchor on Good Morning America in 2005.

Roberts has survived breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome, her treatment for which was chronicled on Good Morning America, earning a 2012 Peabody Award for the coverage. Stating that by building a public service campaign around her battle with the rare disease, she inspired hundreds of potential bone marrow donors to register and heightened awareness of the need for more donors.

In 2013 Roberts announced that she was gay via a Facebook post, which stated, "At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude. I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health ... I am grateful for my entire family, my long-time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together."

Roberts had begun a romantic relationship with Amber Laign in 2005 but, although friends and co-workers have known about her same-sex relationships, this was the first time Roberts publicly acknowledged her sexual orientation.

ESPN awarded her its Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2013 and she was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the 2015 LGBT History Month.

Biographical Notes: Robin Roberts

IMDB: Robin Roberts

Rockin Robin Productions

Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



Chuck Williams| Business Executive


Charles “Chuck” R. Williams (1935-2023) was a gay business executive who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Long Beach, California. He is a former senior executive at Sperry Corporation and more recently ran the consulting firm Williams and Associates. A visionary business leader, he taught business courses in policy and strategy and continued to consult in this area late into his life.


He received his B.A. and M.B.A. from UCLA. Until 1985, Mr. Williams worked as a senior executive for Sperry Corporation, where he held several positions, including Vice President for Strategic and Business Planning and Vice President and General Manager for Worldwide Operations. Most recently, he has taught business courses in policy and strategy and consults in this area. Mr. Williams was a board member of the UCLA Foundation, as well as a member of the Gill Foundations OutGiving Advisory Committee. Mr. Williams has been recognized by various LGBTQ organizations and publications. In 2002, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association honored him with their Co-Presidents Award, and OUT magazine named him one of their “Out 100” in the December issue. In October 2003, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center presented Williams with its Board of Directors Award. He is most known for being the founder and namesake of The Williams Project, which became the LGBTQ think tank the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.


He died in April 2023 at the age of 88. Brad Sears, the Williams Institutes founding executive director, announced Chuck Williamss death at a private gala rewards reception to honor champions in LGBTQ advocacy, including Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, at the conclusion of the 2023 Williams Institute Annual Update Conference. “All of us are here at the Williams Institute event because 23 years ago, Chuck Williams had the vision and the generosity and the drive and cornered many of you over lunch or dinner to create the Williams Institute, which has had such an incredible impact on all of us in our world,” Sears said as he welcomed guests to UCLAs Faculty Club.


Chuck was survived by his husband Stu Walter. “Chuck and Stu met in 1967 when they skied into each other arms on Lake Nacimiento,” Sears wrote. “Few today have had relationships that last 56 years. Even fewer relationships have been tested as theirs has been. 1967 was two years before Stonewall, every state except Illinois had sodomy laws, and gay men were regularly entrapped by the LAPD and sent for conversion therapy in state hospitals.” Sears continued, “Chuck and Stu risked being arrested, fired, and confined if they were out. But they maintained their relationship through those years, the AIDS epidemic, and through the challenges that eventually come with being survivors and living a long full life. I am particularly honored to have witnessed Stus incredible strength during the past several months. He remained Chucks principal caregiver until the end, rarely left his side, and kept him comfortable at home.”

In 2001, Williams, Bill Rubenstein, Sears, and UCLA law scholars founded The Williams Project. Williams donated $2.5 million to UCLA Law School to establish the organization. A college or university had never received a larger gift to support a gay or lesbian academic program.  The Institute conducts rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy. Their mission was to counter the pervasive bias of law, policy, and culture against LGBTQ people.

In 2006, the Williams Project merged with the Institute of Gay & Lesbian Strategic Studies to become the Williams Institute.  Williams gave more than $20 million over time to support the institute. His vision was to create an organization to level the playing field for LGBTQ people under the law.

[Source: Christopher Wiggins, Advocate. April 2023]


Chuck Williams, Founder of The Williams Institute at UCLA Law School, Is Dead
Williams Institute of Gay & Lesbian Strategic Studies  

Chuck Williams and Stu Walter: Williams Institute Founders Award
UCLA Law School: Williams Institute

Chuck Williams, Co-Founder of UCLA Laws Williams Institute, Dies

Remembering Chuck Williams
Outwords: Chuck Williams
Info: Business Executives



Roberta Kaplan | Lawyer


Roberta Ann Kaplan (born 1966) is a lesbian American lawyer focusing on commercial litigation and public interest matters. Kaplan successfully argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of LGBTQ rights activist Edith Windsor, in United States v. Windsor, a landmark decision that invalidated a section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and required the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages. She was a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before starting her own firm in 2017. In 2018, she co-founded the Times Up Legal Defense Fund.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Roberta Kaplan grew up in a Jewish household.  She earned an BA degree in Russian history and literature from Harvard University in 1988. While in college she spent a semester abroad in Moscow and discovered a passion for political activism when she became active in the movement to free Soviet Jewry. She received her JD degree from Columbia Law School in 1991.

In 2009, Kaplan agreed to represent Edith Windsor pro bono. Windsors wife, Thea Spyer, had died two years after they wed in Canada, leaving Windsor her sole heir. Because their marriage was not recognized under existing US federal law, Windsor received an estate tax bill of $363,053. Windsor went to gay rights advocates seeking redress, but could find no one to take her case. She was referred to Kaplan, who later recalled, "When I heard her story, it took me about five seconds, maybe less, to agree to represent her." Kaplan had been co-counsel on the unsuccessful bid for marriage equality in New York state in 2006.

On June 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court issued a 5–4 decision declaring Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional. Subsequent to Windsor, the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) struck down all remaining state and federal laws against same-sex marriage across the United States. Kaplan wrote about United States v. Windsor in her book "Then Comes Marriage."

Kaplan represented author E. Jean Carroll in her civil trial against former president Donald Trump, that began on April 25, 2023, in federal court at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The jury found in favor of Carroll on May 9, 2023, and awarded her damages of $5 million after finding Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation.

In September 2005, Kaplan married her partner, Rachel Lavine, in Toronto, Canada.

Meet Roberta Kaplan, the Lesbian Lawyer Who Won a Verdict Against Donald Trump
Biographical Notes: Roberta Kaplan
Lawyer Roberta Kaplan: After the Trial
E. Jean Carroll Talks About Court Victory Against Trump


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. Binghams 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 cockpits open microphone. Moments later, the hijackers took over the planes 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 planes 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 Binghams Mother Speaks


Susan Love | Physician


Susan Margaret Love (1948-2023) was a lesbian American physician, surgeon, oncologist, author, and professor. She was a renowned preventive breast cancer researcher and expert.  She was regarded as one of the most respected womens health specialists in the United States. Love is best known for pioneering work fueled by her criticism of the medical establishments paternalistic treatment of women. She was an early advocate of cancer surgery that conserves as much breast tissue as possible. She also was among the first to sound the alarm on the risks of routine hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women.


Ubiquitous, energetic, forthright (some critics said brash) and at times controversial, Dr. Love, it was generally agreed, helped reshape both the doctors role and the patients with respect to the treatment of breast cancer, which kills more than 43,000 women in the United States annually. Love was skeptical about mastectomy (removal of a breast) as a cancer treatment, saying that whenever possible, surgeons should remove only the cancerous lump and follow up with radiation. “Wanting to keep your breast is not about vanity,” she once said. “Its about being intact as a person.” She questioned the value of mammograms for young women, as their dense breast tissue makes it hard to detect cancer through that exam. She recommended that women wait until age 50 to undergo annual mammograms, but most medical authorities still urge that women start at age 40.

Beginning in the 1990s, she expressed doubts about the benefits of hormone replacement therapy to treat the effects of menopause. “Her position was vindicated some years later, when the therapy was found to increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes.” She further encouraged patients to take an active role in their treatment and not be afraid to question and challenge their doctors. She also urged doctors and other health care professionals to be attentive.

As director of the University of California, Los Angeles, Breast Center in the early 1990s, Love rejected the standard protocol that had a patient running all over town, her X-rays in her bag, seeing one specialist after another and waiting for them to talk and get back to her. At the UCLA center, a patient spent the afternoon in an exam room, as one specialist after another came to see her. After that, the doctors sat together to generate a treatment plan, which made little sense in terms of the economics of medical practices, but all the sense in the world for the care of patients.

She was particularly interested in isolating the causes of breast cancer so as to prevent it. She developed a technique to analyze cells in the breasts milk ducts for indications of cancer risk, but because the test is difficult and expensive, it is not used frequently. There has yet to be a definitive determination of what causes the disease.

Love took issue with the assertion that lesbians have an elevated risk of breast cancer. “Studies have identified some of the factors that increase breast cancer risk, and anyone, straight or gay, who has these risk factors — such as never getting pregnant, drinking more than one drink a day, being overweight, not going to the doctor regularly — is at higher risk,” she said. “There is nothing about being a lesbian, per se, that puts you at higher risk.”

In addition to her medical practice, she taught at Harvard Universitys medical school and at UCLAs. She helped found the National Breast Cancer Coalition in 1991, and in 1995 she became medical director at the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute, a research organization in California. It is now known as the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, based in West Hollywood. One of its projects is the Love Research Army, which recruits volunteers to participate in clinical studies.

She wrote books including Dr. Susan Loves Breast Book, aimed at a lay audience and relied upon by a legion of breast cancer patients. It has sold half a million copies. The first edition came out in 1990, and the seventh is set to be published this fall. Among her other writings is Dr. Susan Loves Menopause and Hormone Book.

She was out in her professional life, she said, in order to provide a role model for others. She married Dr. Helen Sperry Cooksey, a surgeon, in 2004 in San Francisco during the brief period that then-Mayor Gavin Newsom declared same-sex marriage legal in the city. The women had been partners for years and had a daughter, Katie Patton-LoveCooksey. Love carried their daughter, and their joint legal adoption of her in 1993 was the first by a same-sex couple in Massachusetts.

Dr. Susan Love: Biographical Notes

Susan Love: Outspoken Lesbian Doctor and Breast Cancer Expert Dies at 75

Remembering Susan Love: Advocate for Breast Cancer Patients

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



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. Andersens fairy tales, consisting of 156 stories across nine volumes, and translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the Wests 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 Emperors 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. Andersens 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 Copenhagens 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

Info: LGBTQ Authors



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 Womens Soccer League and the United States national team. Winner of the Ballon dOr Féminin and named The Best FIFA Womens Player in 2019, Rapinoe won gold with the national team at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, 2015 FIFA Womens World Cup, and 2019 FIFA Womens World Cup and she played for the team at the 2011 FIFA Womens 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 Womens Professional Soccer, as well as Olympique Lyonnais in Frances 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 Womens 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 ESPNs The Body Issue.


NBC News: USA Wins Third Womens World Cup Title

Megan Rapinoe: Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year

USA Today: Megan Rapinoe and the US Womens Soccer Team

Sports Illustrated: Megan Rapinoes Pride Shines

Washington Post: Rapinoe Delivers Rousing Victory Speech

Video: Megan Rapinoes Speech at US Womens World Cup Champions Parade

Biographical Notes: Megan Rapinoe

Info: LGBTQ Athletes



Troy Perry | Minister

Troy Deroy Perry Jr (born 1940) is a gay minister and activist. He founded the Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, a Christian denomination with a special affirming ministry with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

As early as he can remember Perry felt called to preach, labeling himself as a "religious fanatic".  Perry dropped out of high school and was a licensed Baptist preacher by the age of 15 years. As the preacher at a small Church of God, he sometimes had sexual relationships with other men. When one of those men told church administrators, he was forced to leave the church immediately.

In 1959 he married Pearl Pinion and had two sons. They relocated to Illinois where Perry attended Midwest Bible College and Moody Bible Institute. Followed by a move to Southern California, and pastoring at a Church of God of Prophecy. Perry's wife found his copy of ‘The Homosexual in America’ by Donald Webster Cory that he kept hidden under the mattress and their marriage quickly dissolved.

After being directed to pray about being led astray by his homosexual feelings, Perry's bishop told him to renounce himself in the pulpit and resign. Perry worked in a Sears department store, and was drafted for the army in 1965 where he served two years in Germany. In 1968, after a suicide attempt following a failed love affair, and witnessing a close friend being arrested by the police at the Black Cat Tavern, a Los Angeles gay bar, Perry felt called to return to his faith and to offer a place for gay people to worship God freely.

He put an advertisement in ‘The Advocate’ announcing a worship service designed for gays in Los Angeles. Twelve people turned up on October 6, 1968, for the first service, and "Nine were my friends who came to console me and to laugh, and three came as a result of the ad." After six weeks of services in his living room, the congregation shifted to a women's club, an auditorium, a church, and finally to a theater that could hold 600 all within several months. In 1971 their own building was dedicated with over a thousand members in attendance.

Perry's theology has been described as conservative, but social action was a high priority from the beginning of the establishment of the denomination. Perry also performed same sex unions as early as 1970 and ordained women as pastors as early as 1972. Today MCC has over 300 congregations in 18 countries.

The 2007 documentary film titled ‘Call Me Troy’ is the story of his life and legacy, including the founding of MCC and his struggles as a civil rights leader in the gay community.

Perry's activism has taken many turns, including positions on a number of boards of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender organizations and, along with Robin Tyler, he planned the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979. In 1978 he was honored by the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter with its Humanitarian Award, one of many awards he has received, as well as numerous honorary doctorates, and was recently lauded by the Gay Press Association with its Humanitarian Award. Reverend Perry was invited to the White House in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to discuss gay and lesbian civil rights and by President Bill Clinton in 1995 for the first White House Conference on HIV/AIDS. In 1997 he was invited to the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes, and was also a guest of the President that same year for breakfast in the state dining room to be honored with 90 other clergy for their work in American society.

Troy retired as Moderator of the MCC in 2005, lives in Los Angeles with his long term partner, Phillip Ray De Blieck, and remains active in public speaking and writing.  He wrote his autobiography ‘The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay‘ a sequel titled ‘Don't Be Afraid Anymore’ as well as ‘Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage.’ He is a contributing editor for the book ‘Is Gay Good?’ and the subject of another book ‘Our God Too.’


Troy Perry: Biographical Notes
Troy Perry's Legacy
Rev Troy Perry: LGBTQ Activist and Founder of MCC
Rev Troy Perry: Pastor of Hope, Prophet of Inclusion



Barbara Gittings | Activist

Barbara Gittings (1932–2007) was a prominent lesbian American activist for gay equality.  She organized the New York chapter of Daughters of Bilitis and edited the national DOB magazine The Ladder from 1963–1966.  Gittings worked closely with Frank Kameny in the 1960s on the first picket lines that brought attention to the ban on employment of gay people by the United States government.

Her early experiences with trying to learn more about lesbianism fueled her lifetime work with libraries. In the 1970s, Gittings was most involved in the American Library Association, especially its gay caucus, the first such in a professional organization, in order to promote positive literature about homosexuality in libraries.

She was a part of the movement to get the American Psychiatric Association to drop homosexuality as a mental illness in 1972. Her self-described life mission was to tear away the "shroud of invisibility" related to homosexuality, which had theretofore been associated with crime and mental illness.

She was awarded a lifetime membership in the American Library Association, and the ALA named an annual award for the best gay or lesbian novel, The Barbara Gittings Award.  The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also named an activist award for her.

How Barbara Gittings Became the Mother of the Movement
Barbara Gittings: Biographical Notes
Gay & Lesbian Review: Barbara Gittings


Jesse Ehrenfeld | Physician

Jesse Menachem Ehrenfeld (born 1978) is a gay American physician. Ehrenfeld is President of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees and the Joseph A. Johnson Jr., Distinguished Leadership Professor of Anesthesiology, Surgery, Biomedical Informatics & Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.


He is also a former Speaker of the Massachusetts Medical Society, where he was the youngest officer in the 228-year history of the organization. He is also a former Vice-President of the Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists. The inaugural recipient on the NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Award from the NIH Director, Ehrenfeld has been recognized for his contributions to advancing health equity. A 2008 recipient of the AMA Foundation Leadership Award, Ehrenfeld is a researcher in the field of biomedical informatics. Ehrenfelds research interests include bioinformatics and the application of information technology to increase quality, reliability and patient safety. Ehrenfelds work has led to the presentation of over 200 abstracts at national/international meetings and the publication of over 175 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Systems, and is a fellow of the American Medical Informatics Association and the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Born in Wilmington, DE, Ehrenfeld attended high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. A board certified anesthesiologist, he holds a Bachelor of Science from Haverford College, an MD from the University of Chicago, and a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University. He completed his Internship in Internal Medicine (2004–2005), Residency in Anesthesiology (2005–2008), and Informatics Fellowship (2008–2010) all at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is Board Certified in both Anesthesiology and Clinical Informatics.

Ehrenfeld is married to his husband Judd H. Taback, an attorney.


The Gay Combat Vet Who Will Run the American Medical Association

American Medical Associations 1st Gay President Takes Over at Tumultuous Time

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



Jane Lynch | Actor

Jane Marie Lynch (born 1960) is a lesbian American actress, comedian and singer. She is known for starring as Sue Sylvester in the musical comedy series Glee (2009–2015), which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award. Lynch also gained recognition for her roles in Christopher Guests mockumentary films, such as Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003) and For Your Consideration (2006).

Lynch had a recurring role in the sitcom Two and a Half Men (2004–2014), for which she received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award, as well as recurring roles in the drama series The L Word (2005–2009), the police drama series Criminal Minds (2006–2020), the drama series The Good Fight (2017–2022), and the period comedy series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017–present), for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award. From 2013 to 2020, Lynch hosted the game show Hollywood Game Night, which earned her two Primetime Emmy Awards.

Lynch has had roles in numerous mainstream comedy films, such as 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Talladega Nights: Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Role Models (2008), and Paul (2011). She has lent her voice to numerous animated films, including Space Chimps (2008), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), Shrek Forever After (2010), Rio (2011), the Wreck-It Ralph (2012-2018), Escape from Planet Earth (2013), and Ugly Dolls (2019).

She is also known for her stage work including her role in Nora Ephrons off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore in 2009. She made her Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan in the revival of Annie in 2013. She returned to Broadway as Mrs. Brice in another revival, Funny Girl, in 2022.

In 2013, Lynch received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Among her numerous accolades, Lynch has received five Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Golden Globe Award.  She graduated from Illinois State University in 1982 with a theater degree, and earned a master of fine arts degree from Cornell University in 1984.   Lynch does not eat animal products nor drink alcohol.  She is deaf in one ear. Jane married Lara Embry in 2010 and divorced 4 years later.  In 2021, Jane married longtime partner Jennifer Cheyne in Santa Barbara, California.

Biographical Notes: Jane Lynch
IMDB: Jane Lynch
TV Guide: Jane Lynch Credits
Jane Lynchs Top Ten Moments on Stage and Screen
Info: LGBTQ Actors




Barbara May Cameron | Author

Barbara May Cameron (1954 – 2002) was a lesbian Native American photographer, poet, writer, and human rights activist in the fields of lesbian/gay rights, womens rights, and Native American rights. She was a Hunkpapa Lakota from the Fort Yates band of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Fort Yates, North Dakota. She grew up on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Completing her early education and high schooling on the reservation, she went on to further her education in photography and film at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1973 Cameron moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. As a photographer and movie maker, Cameron won media and theater arts awards.

Cameron co-founded the Gay American Indians (GAI), in 1975 with Randy Burns, a Northern Paiute. GAI was the first gay American Indian liberation organization. In 1978, Cameron contributed to the anthology Our Right to Love: a lesbian resource book. From 1980 to 1985, Cameron participated in organizing the Lesbian Gay Freedom Day Parade and Celebration, and in 1981, she contributed to This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, which was edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa. Her article, Gee, You Dont Seem Like an Indian from the Reservation, analyzed topics like racism and homophobia from both inside and outside the Native American community. In 1983 she contributed to the landmark collection A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection of Writing and Art by North American Indian Women, which included works by twelve Native lesbians.

In the late 1980s, Cameron was vice president of the Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club and co-chair for Lesbian Agenda for Action. In 1988, she served as a delegate for Jesse Jacksons Rainbow Coalition to the Democratic National Convention. That same year, she was appointed by Dianne Feinstein, then San Francisco Mayor, to the Citizens Committee on Community Development and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. She was appointed by Frank Jordan, the next mayor, to serve on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

She received the Harvey Milk Award for Community Service in 1992 and the following year, she was the first recipient of the Bay Area Career Women Community Service Award. That same year, she was a participant in the International Indigenous AIDS Network as part of the International Conference on AIDS. She spent the year 1993 engaged in AIDS education, traveling to various Indian reservations throughout the United States.

Cameron was in a 21-year relationship with Linda Boyd, with whom she raised a son, Rhys Boyd-Farrell. Shedied of natural causes at the age of 47.

Barbara May Cameron: Biographical Notes
Lesbian Native American Activist Barbara May Cameron
Barbara May Cameron: Legendary Lesbian Native American Activist

Info: LGBTQ Authors



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), Whos 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, Albees 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 Foundations 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 Thomass 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

Info: LGBTQ Playwrights



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 Womens History Museum: Sally Ride

Sally Ride: First American Woman in Space

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



Cleve Jones | Activist

Cleve Jones (born 1954) is a gay American AIDS and LGBTQ rights activist. He conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, which has become, at 54 tons, the worlds largest piece of community folk art. In 1983, at the onset of the AIDS pandemic Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which has grown into one of the largest and most influential People with AIDS advocacy organizations in the United States.

His career as an activist began in San Francisco during the turbulent 1970s when, as a newcomer to the city, he was befriended by pioneer gay-rights leader Harvey Milk. Jones worked as a student intern in Milks office while studying political science at San Francisco State University. During the 1970s, Jones was also involved in the Coors boycott.

In 1981, Jones went to work in the district office of State Assemblyman Art Agnos. In 1982, when AIDS was still a new and largely underestimated threat, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, then called the Kaposis Sarcoma Research and Education Foundation, with Marcus Conant, Frank Jacobson, and Richard Keller. They reorganized as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1984.

Jones conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at a candlelight memorial for Harvey Milk in 1985 and in 1987 created the first quilt panel in honor of his friend Marvin Feldman. The AIDS Memorial Quilt has grown to become the worlds largest community arts project, memorializing the lives of over 85,000 Americans killed by AIDS.

Jones ran for a position on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the November 1992 election. Jones has been working with UNITE HERE, and helping to make the labor movement more open to LGBTQ members.

In an interview in November 2016 with Terry Gross on NPR radio talk show Fresh Air, Jones described his status as HIV-positive, and said while he first learned of his status when tests for infection came out the 1980s, he was likely infected with the virus around the winter of 1978 or 1979, based on blood samples collected from him as part of a study he volunteered for. He described his present health as good. The interview was based on Joness book, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement, and the television program When We Rise, broadcast in 2017 on ABC.

Jones is portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch in Milk, director Gus Van Sants 2008 biopic of Harvey Milk. He is prominently featured in And the Band Played On, Randy Shiltss best-selling 1987 work of non-fiction about the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Jones was also featured in the 1995 documentary film The Castro.

Jones took part in a documentary, Echoes of Yourself in the Mirror, about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, speaking during World AIDS Day in 2005. In the documentary he talks about the idea behind the AIDS Memorial Quilt, as well as the activism of San Francisco citizens in the 1970s and 80s to help people affected by AIDS and to figure out what the disease was. The film also looks at the impact HIV/AIDS is having in communities of color, and the young.

Cleve Jones Website
Cleve Jones and the National AIDS Memorial
Cleve Jones: NPR Interview



Tallulah Bankhead | Actor


Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (1902-1968) was a bisexual American actor. Primarily an actress of the stage, Bankhead also appeared in several prominent films including an award-winning performance in Alfred Hitchcocks Lifeboat (1944). She also had a brief but successful career on radio and made appearances on television. In all, Bankhead amassed nearly 300 film, stage, television and radio roles during her career. She was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Alabama Womens Hall of Fame in 1981.

Bankhead was a member of the Bankhead and Brockman family, a prominent Alabama political family. Her grandfather and her uncle were US senators, and her father was Speaker of the House of Representatives. Bankhead supported liberal causes, including the budding civil rights movement. She also supported foster children and helped families escape the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Bankhead struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. She reportedly smoked 120 cigarettes a day and talked openly about her vices. She also openly had a series of relationships with both men and women. She married actor John Emery in 1937, a marriage which ended in divorce in 1941. Bankhead was also childhood friends with Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

After a adolescence of private boarding schools, while her father pursued his political career, she moved to New York and lived in the Algonquin Hotel, a hotspot for the artistic and literary elite of the era, where she quickly charmed her way into the famed Algonquin Round Table of the hotel bar. She was dubbed one of the "Four Riders of the Algonquin", consisting of Bankhead, Estelle Winwood, Eva Le Gallienne, and Blyth Daly. Three of the four were non-heterosexual: Bankhead and Daly were bisexuals, and Le Gallienne was a lesbian. Bankheads father had warned her to avoid alcohol and men when she got to New York.  Bankhead later quipped "He didnt say anything about women and cocaine." The Algonquins wild parties introduced Bankhead to cocaine and marijuana.

In 1919, after roles in three other silent films, When Men Betray (1918), Thirty a Week (1918), and The Trap (1919), Bankhead made her stage debut in The Squab Farm at the Bijou Theatre in New York. She soon realized her place was on stage rather than screen, and had roles in 39 East (1919), Footloose (1919), Nice People (1921), Everyday (1921), Danger (1922), Her Temporary Husband (1922), and The Exciters (1922)

Bankhead was famous not only as an actress, but also for her many affairs, compelling personality, and witticisms such as, "There is less to this than meets the eye." and "Im as pure as the driven slush." She was an extrovert, uninhibited, outspoken, and often got naked at private parties. She said that she "lived for the moment".  Bankhead had no children, but she had four abortions.

In addition to her many affairs with men, she was also linked romantically with female personalities of the day, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Hattie McDaniel, Beatrice Lillie, Alla Nazimova, Blyth Daly, writers Mercedes de Acosta and Eva Le Gallienne, and singer Billie Holiday.  Actress Patsy Kelly confirmed she had a sexual relationship with Bankhead when she worked for her as a personal assistant.  Bankhead never publicly used the term "bisexual" to describe herself, preferring to use the term "ambisextrous" instead.


Tallulah Bankhead: Biographical Notes
New Yorker Magazine: The Strange Case of Tallulah Bankhead
Cruella de Vil Is Wicked — But Tallulah Bankhead Was Even Wilder


Adam Lambert | Musician


Adam Mitchel Lambert (born 1982) is a gay American singer, songwriter, actor, entertainer, and activist. Since 2009 he has sold over 3 million albums and 5 million singles worldwide.


Lambert was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father is of partial Norwegian descent and his mother is Jewish, with roots in Romania. Lambert was raised in his mothers religion. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to San Diego, California. Lambert began performing with Metropolitan Educational Theatre network from the age of nine. A few years later, he began more intense acting and vocal coaching with the Broadway Bound Youth Theatre Foundation. There, he became heavily involved with theater and choir and performed vocals with the schools jazz band. He also appeared in local professional productions such as Hello, Dolly!, Camelot, The Music Man, Grease, Chess and Peter Pan.

Lambert rose to fame in 2009 after finishing as runner-up on American Idol. Later that year his debut album For Your Entertainment debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200, and earned him a Grammy nomination for "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance".   He let the world know he was gay in a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, and has since been an inspiration to the gay community all over the world. His second album Trespassing released in 2012 premiered at number one on the Billboard 200, making him the first openly gay artist to top the album charts.


In 2011 Adam Lambert started performing with Queen as their sensational singing collaborator. Lambert has always been adamant that hes not trying to mimic or replace Freddie Mercury. Instead, he feels he simply helps celebrate the late Queen frontmans legacy with Brian May and Roger Taylor. And according to the guitarist, hes certainly worthy enough to take on such iconic vocals on the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You. Brian May praised the singers incredible vocals, saying: “Freddie is looking down on him and smiling that amazing smile of his! Nobody can replace Freddie, but Adam comes pretty damn close. Amazing voice.”

Not shying away from any aspect of himself, he has even pushed the envelope by kissing a male keyboardist during the televising of the American Music Awards.

Adam lent his voice to a video message on YouTube for the It Gets Better campaign – a project created by columnist Dan Savage in response to school bullying and a rash of suicides among LGBTQ youth. Lambert was presented the "Equality Idol Award" for being an exemplary role model for the LGBTQ community, and was honored with his mother at the PFLAG National Los Angeles event for his "authentic" voice.


Adam Lambert: Biographical Notes

Holding Out for a Hero: Adam Lambert Music Video
Adam Lambert Covering Chers Believe
Adam Lamberts YouTube Channel
Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Abby Wambach | Athlete

Mary Abigail Wambach (born 1980 in Rochester NY) is a gay American retired soccer player, coach, and member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. A six-time winner of the US Soccer Athlete of the Year award, Wambach was a regular on the US womens national soccer team from 2003 to 2015, earning her first cap in 2001. As a forward, she currently stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and is second in international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals. Wambach was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first American woman to win the award in ten years. She was included on the 2015 Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world.

Wambach competed in four FIFA Womens World Cup tournaments: 2003 in the United States, 2007 in China, 2011 in Germany, and 2015 in Canada, being champion of the last edition; and two Olympics tournaments: 2004 in Athens and 2012 in London, winning the gold medal on both. All together, she played in 29 matches and scored 22 goals at these five international tournaments. She played college soccer for the Florida Gators womens soccer team and helped the team win its first NCAA Division I Womens Soccer Championship. She played at the professional level for Washington Freedom, magicJack, and the Western New York Flash.

Known for scoring goals with diving headers, one of her most notable header goals occurred in the 122nd minute of the 2011 FIFA Womens World Cup quarterfinal match against Brazil. Wambach scored the equalizer in stoppage time helping the Americans to eventually progress to the championship final against Japan after defeating Brazil in penalty kicks. Her last-minute goal set a new record for latest goal ever scored in a match and was awarded ESPNs 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year. Following her performance at the 2011 World Cup, she was awarded the tournaments Bronze Boot and Silver Ball. In 2011, she became the first ever soccer player of either gender to be named Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. Wambach announced her retirement in 2015. Her last game was played in New Orleans when the United States played its last match of its 10-game Victory Tour following its win at the 2015 FIFA Womens World Cup.


Her autobiography, Forward, released in September 2016, became a New York Times best seller. Her second book, Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game, based on her viral commencement speech at Barnard College, was also a New York Times Bestseller in 2019.  Wambach was a supporter of Hillary Clintons 2016 primary election campaign and spoke at several campaign events. She was included in the 2022 Fast Company Queer 50 list.


Wambach was married to soccer player Sarah Huffman from 2013 to 2016. Wambach married author Glennon Doyle in 2017 and now resides in Hermosa Beach, California. She previously lived in Naples, Florida; Portland, Oregon; and Buffalo, New York.

Abby Wambach On Empowering Women
Biographical Notes: Abby Wambach
US Womans Soccer: Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach: Barnard Commencement Speech
Tribute to Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach: Home Page
Info: LGBTQ Athletes



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 Kenans novels are centered around his home area of North Carolina. The focus of much of Kenans work centers around what it means to be black and gay in the southern United States. Kenans first novel was A Visitation of Spirits, published in 1989. Some of Kenans 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

Info: LGBTQ Authors



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 Qualcomms 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 bachelors degree in electrical engineering from UC Davis and a masters in business administration from UCLAs 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 90s shit.


Im 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

Info: Business Executives



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 foundations 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 familys 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 Beards 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 Beards memoir, "By the time I was seven, I knew that I was gay. I think its time to talk about that now." Beard came out in 1981, in Delights and Prejudices, a revised version of his memoir. Of Beards most significant romantic attachments was his lifetime companion of 30 years, Gino Cofacci, and Beards 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 Americas First Foodie

Info: LGBTQ Chefs and Foodies



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. Jordans 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 Jordans sexuality and the nature of her and Earls 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
Info: LGBTQ Politicians



Daniel 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 Schitts 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 Schitts 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 Schitts 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.  Levys 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

Best of David Rose (Schitts Creek)
Ode to David Rose (Schitts Creek)
Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



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. Though she had four children and five grandchildren, Mabley never married and she lived most of her life as a Lesbian.   


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.


She made her New York City debut at Connies Inn in Harlem. She came out as a lesbian in 1921 at the age of 27, becoming one of the first openly gay comedians. During the 1920s and 1930s she appeared in androgynous clothing and recorded several "lesbian stand-up" routines. She 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

Comedian Moms Mabley on the Smothers Brothers Show
Moms Mabley: Legacy Project

Info: LGBTQ Comedians



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, followed by Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Daniel, Honky Cat, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Bennie and the Jets, Dont Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Dont Go Breaking My Heart, and many others.


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 Frances highest civilian award, the Legion dhonneur, 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 Johns Website

Biography: Elton John

Elton John Performing "Rocket Man" in London, 1972

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Jillian Michaels | Fitness Trainer

Jillian Michaels (born 1974 in Los Angeles) is a lesbian American fitness expert, certified nutritionist, businesswoman, media personality, and author. She is best known for her appearances on NBC series such as The Biggest Loser. She has also made an appearance on the talk show The Doctors. In 2015, she hosted and co-judged a series on Spike titled Sweat, Inc. In 2016, her reality television series Just Jillian premiered on E!.

Michaels was heavy in her youth, which became more pronounced at age 13 when her parents divorced. Around that time, her weight topped out at about 170 lbs. Her mother enrolled her in martial arts classes to help her deal with stress, the result of which was Jillian focusing on health, wellness and fitness. She attended California State University, Northridge, supporting herself as a bartender and personal trainer during that time. In 2002, after working briefly as an agent with International Creative Management, she opened the sports medicine facility Sky Sport & Spa in Beverly Hills.

As a personal trainer and martial arts black belt holder, Michaels uses a blend of strength training techniques with her clients including kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, plyometrics, and weight training. Since 1993, Michaels has held four personal training certificates from the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association NESTA and The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), CanFitPro and she is Kettlebell Concepts certified. Michaels has also developed a continuing education series for trainers with AFAA and holds a nutrition and wellness consultant certificate with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA).

Her Fitness App is one of the top fitness apps globally and has won awards from both Apple and Google for best of in health and fitness app category. Michaels has also released 20 fitness DVDs that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Michaels has also authored 9 books on health and wellness topics with 8 NY Times Best Sellers New York Times Best Seller list.

Since 2011, Michaels has hosted a weekly podcast, Keeping It Real, through iTunes. Michaels launched her company Empowered Media LLC in 2008 and released her fitness video membership website called Fitfusion.com. Fitfusion is also associated and broadcasts on AT&T U-verse, BroadbandTV Corp, Bell Satellite TV Canada, and other TV channels, as well as Roku, Apple TV, and Fitness OnDemand. Michaels was a trainer on the reality series The Biggest Loser when the show started in 2004.  In 2010, NBC debuted Losing It With Jillian, a spin-off of The Biggest Loser.

Michaels publicly came out in 2012, but has stated, "Let's just say I believe in healthy love. If I fall in love with a woman, that's awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that's awesome. As long as you fall in love... it's like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!" She has credited the music video for Madonna's 1990 song "Justify My Love" with helping her acknowledge her sexuality.

From 2009 to 2018, Michaels was in a relationship with Heidi Rhoades. They adopted a two-year-old daughter from Haiti in 2012, while Rhoades gave birth to a son that same month. Their relationship ended in 2018. In 2018, Michaels began a relationship with fashion designer Deshanna Marie Minuto. They became engaged in 2021 and married in 2022.

Jillian Michaels: Workout
Jillian Michaels: Biographical Notes

Jillian Michaels: YouTube Fitness Videos


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 Joans death from non-Hodgkins 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 Bonos 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: Chers 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 "Aint 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 "Im 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

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Harvey Fierstein | Playwright

Harvey Forbes Fierstein (born 1952) is a gay American actor, playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for his theater work in Torch Song Trilogy and Hairspray and movie roles in Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, and as the voice of Yao in Mulan. Fierstein won two Tony Awards, Best Actor in a Play and Best Play, for Torch Song Trilogy. He received his third Tony Award, Best Book of a Musical, for the musical La Cage aux Folles and his fourth, the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, for playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray.  Fierstein also wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning musicals Kinky Boots, Newsies, and Tony Award-nominated, Drama League Award-winner A Catered Affair. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007. He published his memoir I Was Better Last Night in 2022.

Fierstein was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York City, the son of Jacqueline Harriet (Gilbert), a school librarian, and Irving Fierstein, a handkerchief manufacturer. He was raised Jewish, but later rejected the faith and became an atheist. Fierstein attended High School of Art and Design and received a BFA from the Pratt Institute in 1973. He began working in the theater as a founding member of The Gallery Players of Park Slope. Fiersteins distinctive gravelly voice is a result of an overdeveloped vestibular fold in his vocal cords, essentially giving him a "double voice" when he speaks. Prior to puberty, Fierstein was a soprano in a professional boys choir.

Fierstein is best known for the play and film Torch Song Trilogy, which he wrote and starred in both off-Broadway (with a young Matthew Broderick) and on Broadway (with Estelle Getty and Fisher Stevens). The 1982 Broadway production won him two Tony Awards, for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play; two Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play; and the Theatre World Award. The film adaptation earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Male Lead.

Fierstein also wrote the book for La Cage aux Folles (1983), winning another Tony Award, this time for Best Book of a Musical, and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Book. In 2007, Fierstein wrote the book to the musical A Catered Affair in which he also starred. It received 12 Drama Desk Award nominations and won the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical. Fierstein wrote the book for the stage musical Newsies, along with Alan Menken (music) and Jack Feldman (lyrics). The musical opened on Broadway in March 2012. Fierstein was nominated for the Tony Award for Book of a Musical. Fierstein wrote the book for a stage musical version of the film Kinky Boots with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. The musical was nominated for thirteen 2013 Tony Awards and won six, including best musical.  In 2019 Fierstein wrote and starred in Bella Bella, a one-person play about New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug. It premiered at Manhattan Theatre Clubs Stage One at City Center.

As one of the first openly gay celebrities in the United States, Fierstein helped make gay and lesbian life into viable subjects for contemporary drama "with no apologies and no climactic suicides."  Fierstein stated, "Im still confused as to whether I'm a man or a woman," and that as a child he often wondered if he'd been born in the wrong body. "When I was a kid, I was attracted to men. I didn't feel like a boy was supposed to feel. Then I found out about gay. So that was enough for me for then." The interview also noted his ease at playing both Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. On the LGBTQ&A podcast, Fierstein said, "I'm comfortable being me and if I ask myself, Would you want to transition? The answers no." He avoided identifying as non-binary in the interview, saying he had thought about it a lot and "its the term that bothers me", but concluded that "I don't think I've missed anything by not making up my mind".

Biographical Notes: Harvey Fierstein
Harvey Fierstein: IMDB
Broadway: Harvey Fierstein
Info: LGBTQ Playwrights



Portia de Rossi | Actor

Portia de Rossi (born Amanda Lee Rogers in 1973) is a lesbian Australian-American actor. De Rossi is married to comedian, actress, and television host Ellen DeGeneres


She played Nelle Porter on the American drama series Ally McBeal (1998–2002), for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award, Lindsay Bluth Fünke on the American television sitcom Arrested Development (2003–2019), and Elizabeth North on the American political thriller series Scandal (2014–2017). She also portrayed Olivia Lord on the American television drama series Nip/Tuck (2007–2009) and Veronica Palmer on the American television sitcom Better Off Ted (2009–2010).

De Rossis first significant role was as a young and impressionable maid in the Australian 1994 film Sirens. Soon afterward, she moved to Los Angeles and won guest roles on several TV shows and a part in the film Scream 2.

De Rossi was married to documentary filmmaker Mel Metcalfe from 1996 to 1999, initially part of a plan to get a green card, though she did not go through with the plan. She said about the marriage that "it just obviously wasnt right for me." In a 2010 interview on Good Morning America, she said that as a young actress, she was fearful of being exposed as a lesbian.

From 2001 to 2004, de Rossi dated director Francesca Gregorini, the daughter of Barbara Bach and the stepdaughter of Ringo Starr. She said that most of her family and Ally McBeal castmates did not know she was a lesbian until tabloid pictures of the couple were published. She declined to publicly discuss the relationship or her sexual orientation at the time.

De Rossi and Gregorini broke up in late 2004 because de Rossi began dating DeGeneres, whom she met backstage at an awards show. In 2005, she opened up publicly about her sexual orientation. She and DeGeneres became engaged when DeGeneres proposed in 2008.  In 2010, de Rossi filed a petition to legally change her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres.  She became a United States citizen in 2011.

In 2010, de Rossi published her autobiography, titled Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, within which she wrote about the turmoil that she had experienced in her life, including suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia and being misdiagnosed with lupus. She had struggled with the eating disorders for four years while filming Ally McBeal.

Portia de Rossi: Biographical Notes
IMDB: Portia de Rossi
Portia de Rossis Best Moments on the Ellen Show
Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



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 Jrs 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–CIOs 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 Rustins 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



Tig Notaro | Comedian

Mathilde "Tig" OCallaghan Notaro (born 1971) is a lesbian American stand-up comedian, writer, radio contributor, and actor. She is known for her deadpan comedy. Her acclaimed album Live was nominated in 2014 for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. The special Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted was nominated in 2016 at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. In 2017, the album Boyish Girl Interrupted was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.

Notaro was born in Jackson, Mississippi, the daughter of Susie OCallaghan and Pat Notaro. Her mother was born in New Orleans. Notaro lived in Pass Christian, Mississippi until going to kindergarten. Later her family moved to Spring, Texas which is a suburb of Houston. She has a brother, Renaud, who is a year older and works as a radio talk show host. "Tig" is a childhood nickname given to her by her brother when she was two years old. In an interview, she said she disliked school. Notaro failed three grades eventually dropping out of high school. In 1990, while living in Texas, Notaro received her general equivalency diploma.

Notaro met her wife, Stephanie Allynne, on the set of the movie In a World... They were engaged in January 2015 and married in October  2015. They welcomed twin sons in 2016, conceived via a surrogate using Allynnes eggs.

Notaro was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts in July 2012. She addressed her cancer diagnosis and other personal difficulties during a live stage show at Largo in Los Angeles. The set has been described as being "instantly legendary"; many comedians have praised her work.

Notaro subsequently had a double mastectomy with no reconstructive surgery. She opted out of chemotherapy but decided to continue treatment with hormone blocking. In November 2014, as part of the New York Comedy Festival, Notaro did a set at Town Hall in New York City wherein she performed part of the set topless. The New York Times described it: "She showed the audience her scars and then, through the force of her showmanship, made you forget that they were there. It was a powerful, even inspiring, statement about survival and recovery, and yet, it had the larky feel of a dare."

Biographical Notes: Tig Notaro
Tig Notaro: IMDB
Tig Notaro Stand UP Comedy: Get Out of the Way of a Woman and Her Dream
Tig Notaro Stand Up Comedy: Shirtless Fireman
Tig Notaro Stand Up Comedy: Loves Marriage and Cat Talking
Info: LGBTQ Comedians



Lil Nas X | Musician

Montero Lamar Hill (born 1999), known by his stage name Lil Nas X, 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: "Theres 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 Zaxbys restaurants and the Six Flags Over Georgia theme park.

Lil Nas X: Biographical Notes
Lil Nas X Music Video: Thats 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)
Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Valentina Sampaio | Model

Valentina Sampaio (born 1996) is a transgender Brazilian model and actress. She became Victorias Secrets first openly transgender model in August 2019 and became the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues 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, LOréal made a short film about Sampaio, which they released on International Womens Day, and later the company made her one of the companys 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 magazines 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 Sampaios include Vanity Fair Italia, Elle Mexico, and LOfficiel Turkiye. She has also worked with brands such as Dior, H&M, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, LOréal, and Philipp Plein. On August 2, 2019, Sampaio indicated her association with Victorias Secret PINK on her Instagram account, making her the first openly transgender Victorias 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 SIs 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 | Filmmaker

Joel T Schumacher (1939-2020) was a gay American filmmaker. Schumacher rose to fame after directing three hit films: St Elmos 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, 1978s 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 Elmos Fire (Starring Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Andie McDowell) was one of Schumachers 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 Schumacher

Gay Film Director Joel Schumacher Dies

IMDB: Joel Schumacher

NPR: Film Director Joel Schumacher Dies at 80

Joel Schumacher: Reluctant and Conflicted Gay Trailblazer



Miriam Margolyes | Actor

Miriam Margolyes (born 1941) is a lesbian British-Australian actress. Her earliest roles were in theatre. After several supporting roles in film and television, she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in Martin Scorseses The Age of Innocence (1993) and was cast in the role of Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film series. Margolyes has spent many years dividing her time between the United Kingdom, Australia, and Italy. She has starred in productions in the United Kingdom and Australia, including the Australian premiere of the 2013 play Ill Eat You Last.


She appeared in many films, including Yentl, The Awakening, Little Shop of Horrors, Immortal Beloved, Babe, and Romeo + Juliet. Her television appearances include The Black Adder, Vanity Fair, Frannies Turn, Stalin, Dickens in America, Doc Martin, Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries, Merlin, Miriams Big Fat Adventure, Call the Midwife, and The Windsors.

Margolyes was born in Oxford, the only child of Joseph Margolyes, a Scottish physician and general practitioner from Glasgow, and property-developer Ruth Walters. She grew up in a Jewish family, with ancestors who moved to the UK from Belarus and Poland. Margolyes attended Oxford High School and Newnham College, Cambridge. There, in her 20s, she began acting and appeared in productions by the Cambridge Footlights. She represented Newnham College in the first series of University Challenge, where she may have been one of the first people to say "fuck" on British television.

Margolyes is openly lesbian. On becoming an Australian citizen in 2013, she referred to herself as a "dyke" live on national television and in front of the Prime Minister.  Since 1968, she has been in a relationship with Heather Sutherland, a now retired Australian professor of Indonesian studies. They divide their time between homes in London and Kent in England, Robertson in Australia, and Montisi in Italy.


Biographical Notes: Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes on Graham Norton Show

IMDB: Miriam Margolyes

Info: LGBTQ Actors



Jonathan Capehart | Journalist

Jonathan T. Capehart (born 1967) is a gay American journalist and television personality. He writes for The Washington Posts Post Partisan blog and is a contributor for MSNBC. Capehart grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and attended Saint Benedicts 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 NBCs 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 newspapers editorial board. In 2000, he left the NYDN to work at Bloomberg News. Afterward, he advised and wrote speeches for Michael Bloomberg, during Bloombergs 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 Harlems 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 Capeharts Commentary: Medias Post Trump Future

Washington Post Articles by Jonathan Capehart

Info: LGBTQ Authors



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 magazines 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

Info: LGBTQ Authors



Adam Parkhomenko | Political Strategist

Adam Julian Parkhomenko (born 1985) is a gay American political strategist and organizer who served as National Field Director for the Democratic National Committee in 2016. He was the co-founder and executive director of Ready for Hillary, a super PAC established to persuade Hillary Clinton to run for the presidency of the United States in 2016. In the 2017 party election, Parkhomenko was a candidate for Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

In 2003, while a 17-year-old student at Northern Virginia Community College, Parkhomenko set up VoteHillary.org, an independent website that urged voters to vote for Hillary Clinton during the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. He later ran Draft Hillary for President 2004, which was founded in 2003. HillPAC, Clintons political action committee, hired Parkhomenko as a staffer while he was leading Draft Hillary for President 2004. He worked in various capacities for Clinton, including a stint as assistant to Clintons campaign manager during the 2008 Democratic primary.

At the age of 23, Parkhomenko ran for the Democratic nomination for the 47th district in the Virginia House of Delegates during the 2009 Virginia state primary elections. His candidacy was endorsed by Bill Clinton, Wesley Clark and Patsy Ticer. He came in third out of five candidates in the Democratic primary to replace Al Eisenberg.

In September 2016, Parkhomenko was named National Field Director for the Democratic National Committee. Immediately following the 2016 presidential election, Parkhomenko announced his run for Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee. His campaign was unsuccessful. Parkhomenko co-founded Party Majority PAC, a super PAC focused on grassroots organizing and electing Democrats.

Parkhomenko was born in Washington, DC and raised in Arlington, Virginia. He is a graduate of Washington-Lee High School, Northern Virginia Community College, and George Mason University. It was while he attended George Mason University that Parkhomenko founded Ready for Hillary. He also served as a reserve police officer during this period. He lives with his son, Cameron Julian Parkhomenko, in Arlington.

Adam Parkhomenko: Biographical Notes
Adam Parkhomenko: Democrat Strategist from Missouri



Kelly Holmes | Athlete

Dame Kelly Holmes (born 1970) is a lesbian British middle distance athlete.  Holmes specialized in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres events and won gold medals for both distances at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She set British records in numerous events and still holds the records over the 600, and 1,000 metre distances. She held the British 800 metre record until 2021.

Inspired by a number of successful British middle-distance runners in the early 1980s, Holmes began competing in middle-distance events in her youth. She joined the British Army, but continued to compete at the organizations athletics events. She turned to the professional athletics circuit in 1993 and in 1994 she won the 1,500 m at the Commonwealth Games and took silver at the European Championships. She won a silver and a bronze medal at the 1995 Gothenburg World Championships, but suffered from various injuries over the following years, failing to gain a medal at her first Olympics in Atlanta 1996 when running with a stress fracture. She won silver in the 1,500 m at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and bronze in the 800 m at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, her first Olympic medal.

Holmes won the 1,500 m at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the 800 m bronze at the Munich European Championships that year. The 2003 track season saw her take silver in the 1,500 m at the World Indoor Championships and the 800 m silver medals at the World Championships and first World Athletics Final.

She took part in her final major championship in 2004, with a double gold medal-winning performance at the Athens Olympics, finishing as the 800 m and 1,500 m Olympic Champion. For her achievements she won numerous awards and was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2005. She retired from athletics in 2005 and has since been made an honorary colonel with the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment (RACTR). She has become a global motivational speaker, published five books, her latest being Running Life, and made a number of television appearances.

She came out publicly as gay in 2022. She said, “This journey has been the hardest part of life. Living with any kind of fear is debilitating. Being here everyday but not fully living every day.  I have lived in fear for 34 years and I am exhausted and dont want to anymore."  She now has a long term partner, but prefers to keep her relationship out of the spotlight.  She has made a documentary, titled Kelly Holmes: Being Me, exploring her experiences as a closeted gay woman.


Kelly Holmes: Biographical Notes
Kelly Holmes: Comes Out as Gay After 34 Years
Kelly Holmes Comes Out as Gay

TV Interview: Who is Dame Kelly Holmes?

Info: LGBTQ Athletes



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 Arthurs surviving spouse on his death certificate, Obergefell took to court, beginning his years of fighting for LGBTQ rights. Mere months after their wedding, Obergefells husband John was diagnosed with ALS. Upon meeting with a local civil rights attorney, they were told that due to Ohios same-sex marriage ban, Obergefell could not be listed as Arthurs 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 Arthurs illness. The judge ruled in Obergefells favor, but the state of Ohio appealed to a higher court and won, resulting in Obergefells 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 Arthurs 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 Dont 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 Keplers 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 didnt translate into popularity or even love. Newton was famously reclusive and private and did interact with other people, women or men. According to some biographers 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 Newtons Life

The Newton Project: Isaac Newtons Personal Life

Biography: Isaac Newton

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



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 bachelors degree in 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

Info: LGBTQ Financial Advisors



Edmund White | Author

Edmund Valentine White III (born 1940) is a gay American novelist and memoirist, as well as an essayist on literary and social topics. Much of his writing is on the theme of same-sex love.

Much of his work draws on his gay experience. His debut novel Forgetting Elen (1973) is see as commenting on gay culture in a coded manner set on an island, followed by The Joy of Gay Sex (1977) written with Charles Silverstein.

His 1980 States of Desire is a survey of some aspects of gay life in numerous cities throughout America. In 1982 he helped found the Gay Mens Health Crisis in New York City.

Whites autobiographic novels – A Boys Own Story (1982), The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988) and The Farewell Symphony (1997) – are frank and unapologetic about his promiscuity and his HIV-positive status.

From 1983 to 1990 White lived in France, and after returning to America he maintained his interest in France and French literature publishing Genet: A Biography (1993), Our Paris: Sketches from Memory (1995), Marcel Proust (1998), The Flaneur (2000) and Rimbaud (2008).

A professor of creative writing at Princeton University, White lives with his husband Michael Carroll.

Edmund White: Biographical Notes
Edmund White: American Author
The Guardian: Articles on Edmund White
Info: LGBTQ Authors


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 couldnt." He also emphatically explained, "I created rock n roll! Im the innovator! Im the emancipator! Im the architect! I am the originator! Im 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 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 Richards 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 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

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



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 worlds 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 Peoples 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 Mags 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

Info: LGBTQ Comedians



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 Firewatchers 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 Firewatchers Daughter" earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album and peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. Carliles 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 Receives HRC Visibility Award

Brandi Carlile YouTube Channel

NPR: Brandi Carlile Stories

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



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 RuPauls 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 worlds 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 RuPauls 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, "Im 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 dont 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

RuPauls 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 Wisconsins 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 Bachelors 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, Baldwins 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

Info: LGBTQ Politicians



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 companys 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

Info: Business Executives



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 Associations Award for Best Actress. Page had his cinematic breakthrough with the title role in Jason Reitmans 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 Theres 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

Info: LGBTQ Actors



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. Aileys 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 AAADTs 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 Washingtons 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

Info: LGBTQ Artists



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 Bachelors 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

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



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 Citys 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 Queens 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 Hospitals 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 Minds 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

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



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 worlds 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

Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



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

Info: LGBTQ Comedians



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 Britains 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 Kingdoms new £50 note.


Biographical Notes: Alan Turing

Alan Turing: Short Biography

Video Bio: Alan Turning

New York Times: Alan Turing a Computer Visionary

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



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 mens 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 "worlds 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

Info: LGBTQ Athletes


Leonard Bernstein | Composer

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 worlds 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



Kal Penn | Actor

Kalpen Suresh Modi (born 1977), known professionally as Kal Penn, is a gay American television and film actor.  He is also a former White House staff member in the Barack Obama administration. As an actor, he is known for his role portraying Lawrence Kutner on the television program House, as well as the character Kumar Patel in the Harold & Kumar film series. He is also recognized for his performance in the film The Namesake. And Penn has taught at the University of Pennsylvania in the Cinema Studies Program as a visiting lecturer.

In 2009, Penn joined the Obama administration as the Principal Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. This necessitated that his TV character, Lawrence Kutner, be written out of House. Penn briefly left his post in 2010 to film the third installment of the Harold & Kumar series, returning to his White House job upon the movies completion. In July 2011, he again left the White House to accept a role in the television series How I Met Your Mother.

From 2016 to 2019, he played Seth Wright in the political drama Designated Survivor, where he also served as a consultant on the show. Additionally, he served as host of the game show Superhuman. In 2019, Penn portrayed Garrett Modi in the NBC sitcom series Sunnyside. The following year he went on to host a political talk miniseries on Freeform called Kal Penn Approves This Message.

He was born in Montclair, New Jersey to Gujarati Indian immigrant parents. His mother is a fragrance evaluator for a perfume company and his father is an engineer. His father is from Kaira and his mother was born in Baroda. He is Hindu and is a strict vegetarian. Kal Penn came out in 2021. He has been with his partner Josh since October 2010.


Biographical Notes: Kal Penn

Kal Penn Reveals Hes Engaged to Fiancé Josh

IMDB: Kal Penn

You Cant Be Serious: New Book by Kal Penn



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 networks special event co-anchor alongside Brian Williams. Her syndicated talk radio program of the same name aired on Air America Radio.


Maddow holds a bachelors 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 fathers 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 Magazines "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 Shepards 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 "Im 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

Info: LGBTQ Athletes



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 Cohens "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


Info: LGBTQ Musicians



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. Takeis 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 administrations 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

Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



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 & Martins 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

Info: LGBTQ Actors



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: Barneys Great Adventure

Info: LGBTQ Politicians



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 dont call myself a woman, and I know Im 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, Bornsteins "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 Childrens and Young Adult Literature. Bornstein edited the anthology "Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation," winning the Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards in 2011. Bornsteins 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." Kates 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

Info: LGBTQ Authors



Lee Daniels | Director

Lee Louis Daniels (born 1959) is a gay American film and television writer, director, and producer. He produced Monsters 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 BeautyMonsters 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, 2006s Shadowboxer, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. It starred Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding Jr., Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, MoNique, 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. MoNique 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 Danielss 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 ONeill 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

Info: LGBTQ Playwrights



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 Houstons 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 bachelors 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

Info: LGBTQ Politicians



Ismail Merchant | Filmmaker

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 Merchants 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. Xaviers 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 Merchants 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, Travlin 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). Latifahs 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 couples baby.


Biographical Notes: Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah and Eboni Nichols

Filmography: Queen Latifah

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Leslie Jordan | Actor

Leslie Alan Jordan (1955-2022) is a gay American actor, writer, and singer. 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. His television career also includes guest appearances on Murphy Brown, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Star Trek: Voyager, Caroline in the City, Pee-Wees Playhouse, Reba, Boston Public, Boston Legal, and Nash Bridges. He received an Emmy Award for his role on Will & Grace. 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. In his most recent project, Call Me Kat, he performs alongside Mayim Bialik, Swoosie Kurtz, Kyla Pratt, and Cheyenne Jackson.


Jordans 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.  Next, he distilled his experiences growing up as an effeminate, tiny boy in the South and in show business into an autobiographical one-man show, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet.

Jordan has five million Instagram followers. His following grew substantially in response to his posts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, Jordan received GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics Timeless Star award, the groups career achievement honor given to "an actor or performer whose exemplary career is marked by character, wisdom and wit."


Jordan is recognized for his diminutive size and Southern drawl. He was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he graduated from Brainerd High School. He said that he had a difficult time growing up Southern Baptist.  Jordan moved to Los Angeles in 1982, where he became involved with drugs and alcohol and was arrested several times. In 2010, Jordan told talk show host Wendy Williams that he had been sober for 13 years.


Biographical Notes: Leslie Jordan

IMDB: Leslie Jordan

Advocate: Leslie Jordan, Iconic Gay Comedian, Dead at 67

Leslie Jordan: Best Moments on Will & Grace

Leslie Jordans Final TV Interview

Leslie Jordan on the Ellen DeGeneres Show
Leslie Jordan: Just Trying to Get Through the Quarantine

Leslie Jordan Home Page

Info: LGBTQ Actors



Tom Ford | Fashion Designer

Thomas Carlyle Ford (born 1961) is a gay American fashion designer. He launched his eponymous luxury brand in 2005, having previously served as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. He currently serves as the chairman of the Board of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

He is also a film director, screenwriter and film producer. Ford wrote and directed the Academy Award-nominated films A Single Man (2009) and Nocturnal Animals (2016).

Born in Texas, Ford grew up in Houston and San Marcos. He later enrolled at Bard College at Simon's Rock but quickly dropped out. He then moved to New York City to study art history at New York University (NYU). He dropped out of NYU after a year, focusing on acting in television commercials. Ford began studying interior architecture at The New School's art and design college, Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. While in New York, he often visited Studio 54, where he realized he was gay. The club's disco-era glamour would be a major influence on his later designs. Before his last year at New School, Ford spent a year and a half in Paris, where he worked as an intern in Chloé's press office, inspiring his interest in fashion. He spent his final year at The New School studying fashion, but graduated with a degree in architecture.

Ford is married to Richard Buckley, a journalist and former editor in chief of Vogue Hommes International. They have been in a relationship since meeting in 1986. The couple have a son, Alexander John "Jack" Buckley Ford, born 2012.


Tom Ford: Vogue Interview
Tom Ford: LA Times Interview

Tom Ford: Biographical Notes

Info: LGBTQ Fashion Designers



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 o
f 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 Universitys 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 Conways Webpage

Lynn Conway: Most Successful Transgender Scientist in the World

Info: LGBTQ Scientists



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 magazines 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: Its Not Just for Gays Anymore

Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



Randy Rainbow | Musician

Randy Stewart Rainbow (born 1981) is a gay American comedian and singer, best known for spoof interviews that blend political satire and musical parodies from a progressive perspective.

Rainbow is Jewish and openly gay. He was born on Long Island, lived in Queens for 17 years, attended community college in Plantation, Florida, and since July 2019 has resided in Manhattan. Rainbow is his real last name. Rainbow credits his grandmother as his greatest comedic influence. He recalled, "It was really my grandmother who was the biggest influence because shed talk back to the celebrities and politicians on TV. She was a combination of Joan Rivers, Elaine Stritch, Betty White, and Bea Arthur rolled into one."

After dropping out of community college in his early 20s, Rainbow moved back to New York to pursue a theatrical career. It was then he began blogging and making comedic videos. Rainbow created his blog, The Randy Rainbow Bloggity BLAHg-BLAHg, to document his theatrical experiences and "kvetch about my day-to-day as a single homo in the city."

Rainbow gained a larger audience and shifted focus during the 2016 American presidential campaign, with a series of spoof interviews and musical parodies skewering the election process and the candidates, especially Donald Trump, who became Rainbows primary subject following his nomination by the Republican party and subsequent election.

Also, Rainbow has released several recordings on Broadway Records. Following the launch of his Pink Glasses Tour, Rainbow released his debut studio album A Little Brains, A Little Talent (2021). The album includes several studio versions of his YouTube parodies, plus the two original songs "Pink Glasses," and "Randy Rainbow For President." The album also features two bonus tracks: "If Donald Got Fired" (featuring Patti Lupone) and "Mr. Biden (Bring My Vaccine)."

Rainbow was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Short Form Variety Series in 2019,2020,and 2021.


Randy Rainbow Website
Biographical Notes: Randy Rainbow
Mr. Biden Bring My Vaccine by Randy Rainbow

Randy Rainbows Satirical Songs
Pink Glasses by Randy Rainbow

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Kristy McNichol | Actor

Christina Ann McNichol (born 1962) is a lesbian American actor and singer, and was one of the biggest teen stars of the decade starting in the mid-1970s. Her first stint as a series regular came in the role of Patricia Apple in the short-lived CBS television series ‘Apple's Way’ (1974).
She is known for such roles as Angel in the film ‘Little Darlings’ (1980), Polly in the film ‘Only When I Laugh’ (1981), and on television as Letitia "Buddy" Lawrence in ‘Family’ (1976–1980) – for which she won two Emmy Awards – and Barbara Weston in ‘Empty Nest’ (1988–1995).

McNichol appeared on talk shows such as The Mike Douglas Show and Dinah!, made several appearances on Battle of the Network Stars and other celebrity-based sports shows, and starred in the acclaimed TV movie ‘Summer of My German Soldier’ (1978).

In 1978 McNichol starred with Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in ‘The End’. In 1980 she appeared with Dennis Quaid and Mark Hamill in ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ for which she received a six-figure salary—unprecedented for a teenager.

McNichol appeared in numerous films through the 1980s and early ‘90S, and in 2001 announced that she had retired from acting. She then taught acting at a private school in Los Angeles and devoted much of her time to charity work.

During an interview with People magazine in 2012 McNichol ended years of speculation when she revealed that she is a lesbian and has lived with her partner for almost two decades. She made the statement in the hopes that her openness would help young people who are bullied because of their sexuality.

Kristy McNichol: Biographical Notes
Kristy McNichol: IMDB
Kristy McNichol: Video Bio
Info: LGBTQ Actors



Quentin Crisp | Writer

Quentin Crisp, born Denis Charles Pratt (1908-1999), was a gay English writer, storyteller, humorist, and actor. From a conventional suburban background, Crisp enjoyed wearing make-up and painting his nails, and worked as a rent-boy in his teens. He then spent thirty years as a professional model for life-classes in art colleges.

He changed his name to Quentin Crisp in his twenties after leaving home and cultivating his outlandish effeminate appearance to a standard that both shocked contemporary Londoners and provoked homophobic attacks. He wore bright make-up, dyed his long hair crimson, painted his fingernails and wore sandals to display his painted toe-nails.

Known for his memorable and insightful witticisms. He became a gay icon in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, 'The Naked Civil Servant,' brought to the attention of the general public his defiant exhibitionism and longstanding refusal to remain in the closet. The interviews he gave about his unusual life attracted increasing public curiosity and he was soon sought after for his highly individual views on social manners and the cultivating of style.

Around this time, Crisp began visiting the cafés of Soho, his favorite being The Black Cat in Old Compton Street, meeting other young gay men and rent boys, and experimenting with make-up and women's clothes. For six months, he worked as a prostitute; in a 1998 interview, he said he was looking for love, but found only degradation, a reflection he had previously expressed in the 1968 World in Action interview, which aired on television in 1971.

His one-man stage show was a long-running hit both in Britain and America and he also appeared in films and on TV. Crisp defied convention by criticizing gay liberation, the AIDS crisis, and Princess Diana. Sting dedicated his song ‘Englishman in New York’ (1987) to Crisp and said, "Quentin is a hero of mine, someone I know very well. He is gay and he was gay at a time in history when it was dangerous to be so." Crisp was the subject of a photographic portrait by Herb Ritts and was also chronicled in Andy Warhol's diaries.

In his autobiography ‘Take It Like a Man’ (1995) Boy George discusses how he had felt an affinity towards Crisp during his childhood, as they faced similar problems as young homosexual people living in homophobic surroundings. Also in 1995 he was among the many people interviewed for The Celluloid Closet, a historical documentary addressing how Hollywood films have depicted homosexuality.

At the age of 90 Crisp wrote that he had accepted that he was transgender. Crisp related, "Having labeled myself homosexual and having been labeled as such by the wider world, I have effectively lived a gay life for most of my years. Consequently, I can relate to gay men because I have more or less been one for so long in spite of my actual fate being that of a woman trapped in a man's body."


Quentin Crisp: Making Gay History
Quentin Crisp: Biographical Notes
Quentin Crisp: Actor, Author, Queer Pioneer

Info: LGBTQ Authors



Randy Shilts | Writer

Randy Shilts (1951–1994) was a pioneering gay American journalist and author. He worked as a freelance reporter for both The Advocate and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as for San Francisco Bay Area television stations. Born in Davenport, Iowa, Shilts grew up in Aurora, Illinois, with five brothers in a politically conservative, working-class family. He majored in journalism at the University of Oregon, where he worked on the student newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald, becoming an award-winning managing editor. During his college days, he came out publicly as a gay man at age 20, and ran for student office with the slogan "Come out for Shilts."

After graduated near the top of his class in 1975 Shilts struggled to find full-time employment in what he characterized as the homophobic environment of newspapers and television stations at that time. After several years of freelance journalism, he was finally hired as a national correspondent by the San Francisco Chronicle in 1981, becoming "the first openly gay reporter with a gay beat in the American mainstream press." AIDS, the disease that would later take his life, first came to nationwide attention that same year and soon Shilts devoted himself to covering the unfolding story of the disease and its medical, social, and political ramifications.

In addition to his extensive journalism, Shilts wrote three best-selling, widely acclaimed books. His first The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk is a biography of openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. The book broke new ground, being written at a time when "the very idea of a gay political biography was brand-new."

His second book published in 1987 And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic won the Stonewall Book Award and brought him nationwide literary fame. It is an extensively researched account of the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the United States.

The book was later made into an HBO film in 1993. The film earned 20 nominations and nine awards, including the 1994 Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie.

Randy's last book Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the US Military from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf published in 1993 examined discrimination against lesbians and gays in the military. Shilts and his assistants conducted over a thousand interviews while researching the book, the last chapter of which Shilts dictated from his hospital bed.

His tenacious reporting was highly praised in both the gay and straight communities who saw him as "the pre-eminent chronicler of gay life and spokesman on gay issues.” Shilts was honored with the 1988 Outstanding Author award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the 1990 Mather Lectureship at Harvard University and the 1993 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Shilts died, aged 42, in Sonoma County, California, being survived by his partner, Barry Barbieri, his mother, and his brothers. His brother Gary had conducted a commitment service for the couple the previous year. He remains the most prescient chronicler of 20th century American gay history, and in 2006 filmmaker Carrie Lozano produced and directed the award-winning half-hour biographical documentary Reporter Zero telling the story of Shilts.


Randy Shilts: Biographical Notes
Making Gay History: Randy Shilts
60 Minutes: Randy Shilts
Los Angeles Times: Randy Shilts
Info: LGBTQ Authors



Dan Savage | Activist


Daniel Keenan “Dan” Savage (born 1964) is a gay American author, media pundit, journalist, activist for the LGBTQ community, and co-founder of the ‘It Gets Better’ project.

Dan writes ‘Savage Love’ an internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column and has also worked as a theater director. In his writing and public appearances, Savage has clashed with both social conservatives and the LGBTQ establishment. He has opposed Rick Santorum's views on homosexuality, and he has made several controversial public statements in various media, often lambasting people with whom he disagrees.

In 2005 Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, were married in Vancouver, British Columbia, and they have one adopted son, DJ.
Following the 2012 legalization of gay marriage in Washington State, he and Miller were part of the first group of 11 couples to receive Washington marriage licenses. Savage and Miller were married in 2012 at Seattle City Hall, with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and others in attendance.

Known by many for his ‘Savage Love’ advice, in 2010 Savage, with his husband Terry Miller, founded the powerful ‘It Gets Better’ project following the suicide of 15-year-old Billy Lucas, who was bullied for his perceived sexual orientation. ‘It Gets Better’ lets LGBTQ youth know that life will get better as they get older, and tries to make a better world for future LGBTQ generations.

Dan Savage Website
Dan Savage: Biographical Notes
Dan Savage: NPR Interview

Dan & Terry: It Gets Better



Amanda Bearse | Actor


Amanda Bearse (born 1958) is a lesbian American actress, director and comedian who was born in Winter Park, Florida and was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been publicly out as a lesbian since 1993, has an adopted daughter, Zoe, and has been married to Carrie Schenken since 2010.

She attended Birmingham Southern College where she received an associate of arts degree, and then studied acting at New York Citys Neighborhood Playhouse under instructor Sanford Meisner.

She appeared in a string of independent and B-movies, including Protocol (1984), Fright Night and Fraternity Vacation (both 1985). Her big break came in 1987 when she was cast as Marcy Rhoades (later Marcy DArcy) on the hit TV sitcom Married with Children (Fox). She played the role from 1987 until the show ended in 1997.

Bearse began directing television while appearing on Married with Children and from 1991 to 1997 she directed 31 episodes of the show. She has also directed episodes of Reba (2001-2002), Mad TV (1999-2005), Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher (1997), Malcolm & Eddie (1996-1997), The Tom Show (1997), The Jamie Foxx Show (1998), Dharma & Greg (1998-2000) and Jesse (1999) starring her Married with Children costar Christina Applegate, to name a few.

In 2005 she directed The Sperm Donor which was a pilot for a NBC series starring Maggie Wheeler. Bearse teamed with Rosie ODonnell in 2006 to direct The Big Gay Sketch Show (2006-2008).

Amanda Bearse: Biographical Notes
Amanda Bearse: Married With Children
Actress Amanda Bearse Added to Bros Rom-Com Cast
Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



Neil Tennant | Musician


Neil Francis Tennant (born 1954) is a gay English singer, songwriter and music journalist, and co-founder of the synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys, which he formed with Chris Lowe in 1981. He was a journalist for Smash Hits, and assistant editor for the magazine in the mid-1980s.

The Pet Shop Boys achieved commercial success with three British number one hits: "Its a Sin", "Heart", and "Always on My Mind."

Tennant was born in Brunton Park, North Shields (near Newcastle-upon-Tyne), Northumberland, UK. As a child, Tennant attended St Cuthberts Grammar School, an all-boys Catholic school in Newcastle upon Tyne. His songs "This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave" and "Its a Sin" refer to his early life in Catholic school and the strict upbringing there.

While at school, Tennant played guitar and cello. At age 16, he played in a folk music group called Dust, whose most popular song was called "Can You Hear the Dawn Break?" They were heavily influenced by The Incredible String Band. During his teenage years, he was a member of the youth theatre at the Peoples Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne.

During his time at Smash Hits, an opportunity arose for him to go to New York to interview The Police. While there, Tennant arranged to meet Bobby Orlando, a producer whom he and Lowe admired. Tennant mentioned he was writing songs in his spare time, and Orlando agreed to record some tracks with him and Lowe at a later date. Orlando subsequently produced the Pet Shop Boys first single, "West End Girls".

In 1975, having completed a degree in history at North London Polytechnic (London Metropolitan University), Tennant worked for two years as the production editor for the UK branch of Marvel Comics. He was responsible for anglicizing the dialogue of Marvels catalogue to suit British readers, and for indicating where women needed to be redrawn for the British editions

Tennant reveal his sexuality in a 1994 interview in Attitude magazine. Otherwise he remains quiet about his personal and romantic life, preferring to be a "man of mystery", as he states it. He maintains a house in London and another one in County Durham in the North East countryside.  Tennant is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In 1998, Tennant was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party.

Neil Tennant: Biographical Notes
Pet Shop Boys: West End Girls
Pet Shop Boys on Jonathan Ross Show

Info: LGBTQ Musicians



Sara Gilbert | Actor


Sara Gilbert (born Sara Rebecca Abeles in 1975) is a lesbian American actress, best known for her role as Darlene Conner on the ABC sitcom Roseanne, for which she received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She was also co-host and creator of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk and had a recurring role as Leslie Winkle on The Big Bang Theory.

As a teenager, Gilbert dated her Roseanne (and later The Big Bang Theory) co-star Johnny Galecki (their characters also dated). During their relationship she realized she was a lesbian. She remains close friends with Galecki.  In 2001, Gilbert began a relationship with television producer Allison Adler. They have two children—a son, Levi Hank, born to Adler in 2004, and a daughter, Sawyer Jane, born to Gilbert in 2007.

For many years Gilbert remained private about her sexuality, but in July 2010 as she prepared to launch her talk show The Talk she confirmed that she was a lesbian. August 2011 Gilbert announced that she and Adler had separated amicably. Following the breakup, Gilbert began a relationship with songwriter, music producer and former 4 Non Blondes leade singer Linda Perry.  Gilbert announced their engagement in April 2013, and the pair married on March 30, 2014. Gilbert gave birth to their son, Rhodes Emilio Gilbert Perry, on February 28, 2015.

Sara Gilbert: Biographical Notes
Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry Divorce
Sara Gilbert on The Talk

Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



Wilson Cruz | Actor


Wilson Cruz (born Wilson Echevarría in 1973) is a American actor and, as an openly gay person of Puerto Rican ancestry. He has served as an advocate for gay youth, especially gay youth of color.

Cruz was born in Brooklyn, New York, to parents of Puerto Rican descent. His family eventually moved to Rialto, California, where he attended Eisenhower High School, graduating in 1991. At age 19 Cruz came out to his parents as gay, first to his mother and then his father.
While his mother was initially hurt and shocked, she eventually accepted the news. His father, however, threw him out of the house, and Cruz spent the next few months living in his car and at the homes of friends. He later reconciled with his father.

Cruz went to Hollywood to seek work as an actor, intending to be open about his sexuality from the beginning of his career. In 1994 he was cast as Enrique "Rickie" Vasquez, a troubled gay teen, in the short-lived critically acclaimed cult classic TV series My So-Called Life. This made Cruz the first actor to play an openly gay character in a leading role in a television series.

Cruz went on to play J. Edgar Hoovers servant Joaquin in Oliver Stones film Nixon and had a small role in the television movie On Seventh Avenue. In 1996 he appeared with David Arquette as Mikey in Johns about the day-to-day struggles of male prostitutes.

In 1998, he portrayed Angel in the Broadway production of Rent and in 2000 played Victor in the final season of Party of Five. He also had a recurring role as Rafael de la Cruz on the series Raising the Bar. Cruzs other acting credits include roles in eight feature films, and guest appearances on seven television series including a featured role in The Red Band Society.

Cruz joined the board of directors of GLAAD in 1997 in order to assist the organization through a leadership transition, and was the Grand Marshal of the 1998 West Hollywood Gay Pride parade and the 2005 Chicago Pride Parade.  In 2008, he was the keynote speaker at the University of Illinois at Chicagos Lavender Graduation and Rainbow Banquet honoring graduating LGBTQ students, and joined the staff of GLAAD in 2012 as a National Spokesperson and Strategic Giving Officer.

Wilson Cruz: Biographical Notes
IMDB: Wilson Cruz
Wilson Cruz: Gay Actor and Activist
Info: LGBTQ Television Stars



Rita Mae Brown | Author

Rita Mae Brown (born 1944) is a lesbian American writer, New York Times best-selling author, activist and feminist. She is best known for her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle (1973) which is one of the most significant lesbian-themed novels in history. Born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, to an unmarried teenage mother and her mothers married boyfriend, her birth mother left the newborn Brown at an orphanage. Browns mothers cousin, Julia "Juts" Brown, and her husband Ralph retrieved her from the orphanage, and raised her as their own in York, Pennsylvania, and later in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

In late 1962 Brown attended the University of Florida at Gainesville on a scholarship, and in the spring of 1964 she became active in the American Civil Rights Movement, at which time the administrators of the racially segregated university expelled her for that involvement.
She subsequently enrolled at Broward Community College. Later in the 1960s and 1970s she participated in the anti-war movement, the feminist movement and the Gay Liberation movement.

Between 1964 and 1969 Brown lived in New York City, sometimes homeless, while attending New York University where she received a degree in Classics and English, and later received a certificate in cinematography from the New York School of Visual Arts.

Brown took an administrative position with the fledgling National Organization for Women, but resigned in January 1970 over Betty Friedans anti-gay remarks and NOWs attempts to distance itself from lesbian organizations.  She claims she played a leading role in the "Lavender Menace" zap of the Second Congress to Unite Women on 1 May 1970, which protested Friedans remarks and the exclusion of lesbians from the womens movement. In the early 1970s she became a founding member of The Furies Collective, a lesbian feminist newspaper collective in Washington, DC, which held that heterosexuality was the root of all oppression.

Starting in 1973, Brown lived in Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, and in 1977 she bought a farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she still lives.

Brown received a Ph.D. in literature from Union Institute & University in 1976 and holds a doctorate in political science from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.


Rita Mae Brown has been in relationships with Judy Nelson (1992), Martina Navratilova (1979), Fannie Flagg and Elaine Noble.

Rita Mae Brown: Biographical Notes
Fascinating Facts About Rita Mae Brown
Rita Mae Brown: Books

Info: LGBTQ Authors



Grant Wood | Painter


Grant DeVolson Wood (1891-1942) was a gay American painter and representative of Regionalism, best known for his paintings depicting the rural American Midwest. He is particularly well known for American Gothic (1930), which has become an iconic example of early 20th-century American art.

Wood was born in rural Iowa in 1891. After graduating from Washington High School, Wood enrolled in The Handicraft Guild, an art school run entirely by women in Minneapolis in 1910. He is said to have later returned to the Guild to paint American Gothic. A year later, Wood returned to Iowa, where he taught in a rural one-room schoolhouse. In 1913, he enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and performed some work as a silversmith. Close to the end of World War I, Wood joined the US military, working as an artist designing camouflage scenes as well as other art. From 1922 to 1935, Wood lived with his mother in the loft of a carriage house in Cedar Rapids, which he turned into his personal studio at "5 Turner Alley."

From 1922 to 1928, Wood made four trips to Europe, where he studied many styles of painting, especially Impressionism and post-Impressionism. However, it was the work of the 15th-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck that influenced him to take on the clarity of this technique and to incorporate it in his new works. In 1932, Wood helped found the Stone City Art Colony near his hometown to help artists get through the Great Depression. He became a great proponent of regionalism in the arts, lecturing throughout the country on the topic. As his classically American image was solidified, his bohemian days in Paris were expunged from his public persona. From 1934 to 1941 Wood taught painting at the University of Iowas School of Art. During that time, he supervised mural painting projects, mentored students, produced a variety of his own works, and became a key part of the Universitys cultural community.

It is thought that Wood was a closeted homosexual, and that there was an attempt on the part of a senior colleague, Lester Longman, to get him fired both on moral grounds and for his advocacy of regionalism. Critic Janet Maslin states that his friends knew him to be "homosexual and a bit facetious in his masquerade as an overall-clad farm boy." University administration dismissed the allegations and Wood would have returned as professor if not for his growing health problems.

The day before his 51st birthday, Wood died in Iowa of pancreatic cancer. When Wood died, his estate went to his sister, Nan Wood Graham, the woman portrayed in American Gothic. The World War II Liberty Ship SS Grant Wood was named in his honor. In 2009, Grant was awarded the Iowa Prize, the states highest citizen honor.


Grant Wood: Biographical Notes

The Art Story: Grant Wood

Video Bio: Grant Wood

Info: LGBTQ Artists



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 citys 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

Info: LGBTQ Musicians




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