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

LGBT Pride: 50 Gay Rights Movement Pioneers You Need to Know
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. Newsweek
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
Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde (1934-1992). Writer, feminist, and civil rights activist, Lorde is considered one of the architects of the modern women’s rights movement. “"Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house,” she once wrote in Sister Outsider, a compilation of her essays and speeches. Elsa Dorfman
Edith Windsor
Edith Windsor (1929-2017). Windsor’s spouse died and she became the executor and sole beneficiary of her estate. Because the federal government didn’t recognize same-sex marriage, she was forced to pay $353,053 in estate taxes, something her straight married counterparts would not be forced to do. She sued and won. The Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and effectively legalized same-sex marriage. Rex Block
Janet Mock
Janet Mock (1983-present). Writer and activist. Mock worked as an editor at “People” magazine before coming out as a trans woman in 2011. She is now one of the most visible transgender rights activists in the world. Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Barack Obama
Barack Obama (1961-present). The 44th president of the United States, Obama is the first sitting president to publicly support same-sex marriage. His support is crediting for speeding up the path to federally recognized same-sex marriage. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Harvey Milk
Harvey Milk (1930-1978). One of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States and a prominent LGBT rights activist. Milk led many civil rights campaigns throughout his life, becoming the face of the LGBT rights movement during the 1970’s. He was assassinated alongside the mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, by Dan White, a former elected official angry with the mayor and Milk. Daniel Nicoletta
Gilbert Baker
Gilbert Baker (1951-2017). Artist, gay rights activist and the resigner of the rainbow flag, the international symbol of LGBT identity. Gareth Watkins
Chely Wright
Chely Wright (1970-present). Musician and activist, Wright is one of the first top musicians in country music to come out as lesbian. Patrick Evenson
RuPaul (1960-present). Drag queen, actor, model and singer, RuPaul is one of the world’s most visible LGBT personalities. His show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is credited for bringing a queer identity to pop culture. FREDERIC BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946). Writer and art collector, Stein’s work featured prominent LGBT storylines and love affairs, primarily lesbian. Her own relationships with women were infamous. She had a long term relationship with Alice Toklas. Wide World Photos
Barbara Gittings
Barbara Gittings (1932-2007). One of the early leaders in the LGBT rights movement, she organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis and edited “The Ladder,” and early LGBT publication. Matt Foreman, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said, “What do we owe Barbara? Everything.” Kay Tobin Lahusen