Last Updated 01.10.2019
5 min read

This October TAIMI salutes the generations that have come before us. Those, that have opened doors, broke barriers & paved the roads for all LGBTQI+ people today.

Don’t get us wrong, we know there is still a lot of work left to be done. Currently, there are more than 70 countries where being gay is illegal! In nine of these states you could be executed for being yourself!This is why we must follow in the footsteps of the incredible people at the front lines of LGBTQI+ rights movement and make an impact during our lifetime!

These are real stories of pride and perseverance. We hope they inspire you to learn more and educate your friends and acquaintances about LGBT History.Barbara Gittings

Gittings was born in Vienna, Austria in 1932. At the age of 18 she moved to Philadelphia, USA.When talking about Gittings many often refer to her as “ the mother of the LGBT rights movement”. She was instrumental in funding the first lesbian civil rights organization in the United States. Gittings headed up the New York branch of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) in the 1950s.In the 1970s, she was a prominent member of the American Psychiatric Association’s fight to get homosexuality removed from the list of psychiatric disorders.Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson founded one of the first organizations to protect transgender youth in New York.She was a black, queer, trans woman who stood on the front lines of the LGBT liberation movement. Johnson advocated for LGBTQI+ rights at a time when doing so was extremely dangerous.Johnson was instrumental in the 1960s gay rights movement. Some say she threw the now infamous brick that began the Stonewall riots in New York City, the catalyst for Pride marches all over the world.In 1992, Johnson’s body was found in the Hudson River. Her death was ruled a suicide.Sylvia Rivera

A Latinx trans activist, Rivera was also at the front lines of LGBT liberation movement of the 1960s. Together with Marsha P. Johnson she co-founded S.T.A.R. — Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries which provided housing and services for homeless LGBTQI+ youth in NYC.Rivera had a difficult life despite that she was an active and fearless advocate for change. NBC news even reported on an arrest of hers when she was apprehended by police for attempting to climb through the New York City Council window in a dress and heels during a debate on gay rights.Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde was born in New York City in 1934. She often described herself as a ‘black lesbian mother warrior poet’.Her poetry focused on everything from civil rights (The Black Unicorn) and sexuality, to her own battle with cancer. The Audre Lorde Award was launched in 2001 to recognize works of lesbian poetry.Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay politician to be elected in California. During his time in office Milk pushed legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations.The bill passed with just one dissenting vote by Dan White, the city supervisor who would go on to assassinate Milk in 1978.Christine Jorgensen

In 1952 Christine gained public attention after her hormone treatment and gender re-confirmation surgery in Denmark.Her return to the U.S. was welcomed by the media and triggered national discussions on gender identity.Jorgensen knew that her story was revolutionary for the time, saying, “we didn’t start the sexual revolution, but I think we gave it a good kick in the pants!”Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was one of the founders of the greatest civil rights demonstrations.In 1963, he worked with Martin Luther King Jr. to organize the March on Washington, then in the 1980s he redirected his focus to a different cause.“Gay people are the new barometer for social change,” he said in a speech in 1986. His extensive activism work included fighting for the passage of New York’s gay rights bill and urging the NAACP to acknowledge the AIDS epidemic.Edith Windsor

In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.This would not have been possible without Edith Windsor.Windsor married her partner of 40 years Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007. Spyer passed away in 2009 leaving everything to her wife, however the United States did not recognize their marriage. This is why Edith Windsor was asked to pay taxes on Spyer’s estate far beyond what a heterosexual spouse would be required to pay on the estate of their deceased spouse. Windsor took her case to court and in 2013, and she won!These are just a few of truly inspiring and amazing individuals that have led the fight against homophobia.We at TAIMI hope this article inspires you to be the catalyst for change too!

By TAIMI on October 1, 2019.Canonical linkExported from Medium on July 7, 2020.

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