4 LGBTQ+ Pioneers Everyone Should Know About

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Here you have four of the most important LGBTQ+ pioneers that you most probably didn’t study in school.

Christine Jorgensen

She wasn’t the first person to have gender confirmation surgery, but she was the first person to be widely known to have had it in the United States. And she became somewhat of a celebrity because of that. Like so many after her, she used her platform to be an advocate for trans rights. She was known for being witty and forthright, saying things like: “We didn’t start the sexual revolution but I think we gave it a good kick in the pants. ” She was an actress and a nightclub entertainer. Although on the surface people seemed to be accepting of her there were often issues. She was engaged to be married and her fiancé was fired because of it. She got all the way to the altar another time, and they wouldn’t allow her to get married because of the gender on her birth certificate.

Edith “Edie” Windsor

She was the head plaintiff in the Supreme Court case of the United States versus Windsor. This was a landmark case in the victory of same-sex marriage in the United States. The story of her engagement to Thea Spyer is one of those things which is both extremely romantic but also completely tragic. Back in the ’60s, they weren’t allowed to get married. It was about 30 years before they could even get a civil partnership. The essence of her court case is that once her partner died she was left with a mass amount of debt. She would not have had this dept if she had been married to a man. Her court case was against the defense of marriage act and it was successful. This paved the way for same-sex unions and completely equal rights in that regard across the United States.

Cecilia Chung

Cecilia is an incredible woman. She currently works for the Transgender Law Centre, and also works in HIV activism and de-stigmatization. She once described herself as the poster child for all the issues trans people face because of the discrimination and transphobia in our society. The reason why she’s on our pioneers’ list is that in 2013 she made San Francisco the first city to pay for transgender individuals’ surgery who didn’t have insurance in the United States.

David Kato

He’s been described as Uganda’s first openly gay man or the father of Uganda’s gay rights. He had been fired for being gay, arrested for being gay and when the anti-homosexuality bill came out, so did he. When the bill was introduced he quit his job to focus on gay rights. His name and his picture were published in a paper under the headline “Hang Them”, encouraging people to kill gay people in Uganda, who have been named and identified. He and others took the paper to court. And won! But around two weeks later, he was murdered. The police in Uganda say he was murdered by a male prostitute, he refused to pay. But his friends, family, and other LGBTQ+ activists around the world are not satisfied with that answer, or with the way his murder was investigated.

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