Activists & Pioneers

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William Dorsey Swann1860-1925Drag Pioneer and Activist"An African-American born into slavery, Swann was the first person in the United States to lead a queer resistance group and the first known person to self-identify as a "queen of drag"."National ArchiveWiki
Cathay Williams1844-1893Buffalo Soldier"...she enlisted in the United States Army under the pseudonym William Cathay... first female & African American to enlist and the only documented woman to serve in the U.S. Army while posing as a man during the Indian Wars." Wounded Warrior ProjectWiki
Marsh "Pay It No Mind" Johnson1945-1992Drag Queen and Activist"Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969." Women's HistoryWiki
Sylvia Rivera1951-2002Drag Queen and Activist "...identified as a drag queen for most of her life and later as a transgender person, participated in demonstrations with the Gay Liberation Front."Women's HistoryWiki
Gilbert Baker1951-2017Artist, Designer and Activist" known as the creator of the rainbow flag."Gilbert BakerWiki
Harvey Milk1930-1978Politician and Activist"...American politician and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors."Milk FoundationWiki 
George Takei1937-Actor, Author and Activist"...known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the fictional starship USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek and subsequent films." George TakeiWiki
Christine Jorgensen1926-1989Actress, Singer and Activist"..she was the first person to become widely known in the United States for having sex reassignment surgery... known for her directness and polished wit, and used the platform to advocate for transgender people."NY HistoryPBSWiki
Faygele Ben-Miriam1944-2000Activist"...a gay marriage pioneer, filing one of the first gay marriage lawsuits in American history after being denied a marriage license at the King County Administration Building in Seattle, Washington in 1971."Making Gay HistoryWiki
Dustin Lance Black1974-Director, Producer and Activist"...known for writing the film Milk, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009..." "...founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights..."IMDBWiki
Vic BasilePolitical Strategist and Activist"...first executive director of the Human Rights Campaign...served in the Obama Administration as a Counselor to the Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April 2014 where he advised on LGBT issues."HRCWiki
Keith Haring1958-1990Pop Artist and Activist"...artist whose pop art emerged from the New York City graffiti subculture of the 1980s... Much of his work includes sexual allusions that turned into social activism by using the images to advocate for safe sex and AIDS awareness." HaringWiki
Chloe Duzubilo1960-2011Artist, Musician and Activist"...she was the lead singer and songwriter of the punk band Transisters...a longtime transgender activist with the Gender Identity Project at the New York City LGBT Community Center, and after her HIV diagnosis in 1987 became involved in AIDS activism."Visual AIDSWiki
Lola Flash1959-Photographer and Activist"...American photographer whose work has often focused on social, LGBT and feminist issues."Lola FlashNMAAHCWiki
Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile 1988-Artist, Writer and Activist "...LGBT activist from Botswana. She is known for being the first public figure from the country to openly identify as a transgender person."TEDWorld Economic ForumWiki
Slava Mogutin1974-Russian Artist and Activist"Forced to leave Russia, Mogutin was granted political the US became the first to be granted based on homophobic prosecution."SIILKWiki