LGBT Pride Month 2018: 50 Gay Rights Movement Pioneers You Need to Know

Who are these pioneers? What did they do and why does it matter? We rounded up 50 amazing pioneers of the LGBT rights movement in commemoration of Pride.
LGBT Pride: 50 Gay Rights Movement Pioneers You Need to Know
LGBT Pride Month 2018: 50 Gay Rights Movement Pioneers You Need to Know Newsweek

June is LGBT Pride Month, officially and unofficially (unlike past presidents, Donald Trump has not issued an official proclamation identifying June as such). Regardless, June is special to LGBT people for a number of reasons, but mostly because it commemorates the Stonewall riots, which occurred over a number of days in New York City in June of 1969. Since then, every June cities across the world show their pride through celebrations, protests and marches.

Why is LGBT Pride important? According to the Human Rights Campaign, one of the leading LGBT organizations...

  • 30 states still do not protect LGBT from discrimination in the workplace or housing.
  • 30 states have no laws protecting LGBT students from bullying in schools.
  • Hate crimes against LGBT people have been on the rise in recent years.
  • Transgender people are more prone to physical assault or murder because of their gender identity.
  • Death by suicide is one of the leading causes of death for LGBT people.

The modern gay rights movement gained national attention because of the events that occurred on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. Police, who regularly raided gay bars, entered the Stonewall and forced patrons to line up. Trans and patrons in drag refused to be taken by the police. As events in the bar grew tense, word spread through the community of the raid, resulting in crowds forming outside the bar. A riot ensued and lasted for a number of days. This event got national coverage, and inspired LGBT people around the country to act.

Pioneers not only grew from the Stonewall riots, but were around long before it. From the Mattachine Society to the Black Cat Tavern riots in Los Angeles, brave LGBT leaders stepped up, at times put their lives on the line, just to ensure the ability for LGBT people for years to come to live in their truth.

But who are these pioneers? What did they do and why does it matter? We rounded up 50 amazing pioneers of the LGBT rights movement in commemoration of Pride. Slide through leaders throughout history to hopefully inspire you to live in your own truth, whatever that might be.

James Baldwin
James Baldwin (1924-1987). Poet, novelist, and social critic, Baldwin is the author of Giovanni's Room, a prominent novel about a gay romance. And outspoken leader with the African American Civil Rights movement in addition to the LGBT rights movement, Baldwin’s impact on gay identity is massive. Allan Warren