List of LGBT rights activists
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A list of notable LGBT rights activists who have worked to advance LGBT rights by political change, legal action or publication. Ordered by country, alphabetically.
- 1 Argentina
- 2 Australia
- 3 Austria
- 4 Bangladesh
- 5 Belize
- 6 Brazil
- 7 Bulgaria
- 8 Cameroon
- 9 Canada
- 10 Chile
- 11 China, People's republic of
- 12 Croatia
- 13 Colombia
- 14 Denmark
- 15 Estonia
- 16 Finland
- 17 France
- 18 Germany
- 19 India
- 20 Indonesia
- 21 Iran
- 22 Israel
- 23 Ireland
- 24 Italy
- 25 Japan
- 26 Kyrgyzstan
- 27 Lithuania
- 28 Lebanon
- 29 Mexico
- 30 Nepal
- 31 Netherlands
- 32 New Zealand
- 33 Nigeria
- 34 Philippines
- 35 Poland
- 36 Romania
- 37 Russia
- 38 Serbia
- 39 Sierra Leone
- 40 Singapore
- 41 Somalia
- 42 South Africa
- 43 Spain
- 44 Sri Lanka
- 45 Taiwan (Republic of China)
- 46 Uganda
- 47 United Kingdom
- 48 United States of America
- 49 See also
- 50 References
- 51 Further reading
- Claudia Castrosín Verdú, her and her partner were the first lesbian couple to form a civil union in Latin America; vice president of FALGBT
- María Rachid, politician and LGBT rights activist, partner of Claudia Castrosín Verdú
- Diana Sacayán, board member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and a leader of the Antidiscrimination Liberation Movement
- Ron Austin
- Peter Bonsall-Boone
- Bob Brown
- Lyle Chan, member of ACT UP
- Rodney Croome
- Peter De Waal
- Julie McCrossin
- Michelle Douglas
- Brent Hawkes
- George Hislop
- Irshad Manji
- Christin Milloy
- Arsham Parsi
- Svend Robinson
- Bill Siksay
China, People's republic of
- Viktor Đerek (b. 2000)
- Virgilio Barco Isakson (b. 1965), founder of Colombia Diversa, an NGO that advocates for LGBT rights in Colombia.
- Armando Benedetti Villaneda (b. 1962), Senator of Colombia, advocates in Congress in favour of recognition of same-sex unions in Colombia.
- Blanca Inés Durán Hernández
- Angélica Lozano Correa
- Tatiana de la Tierra
- Juliana Delgado Lopera
- Axel Axgil, he and his partner were the first same-sex couple in the world to enter a registered partnership
- Camille Cabral
- Pierre Guénin
- Christiane Taubira
- Lilian Thuram, former French soccer player
- Rama Yade, former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights of France
- Adolf Brand
- Manfred Bruns
- Volker Beck
- Benedict Friedlaender
- Magnus Hirschfeld
- Karl Heinrich Ulrichs
- Anand Grover
- Menaka Guruswamy
- Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
- Nakshatra Bagwe
- Anjali Gopalan
- Manvendra Singh Gohil
- Harish Iyer
- Ashok Row Kavi
- Akkai Padmashali
- Sridhar Rangayan
- Shaleen Rakesh
- Rose Venkatesan
- Imri Kalmann former co-chairperson of the Israeli LGBT Association
- Yair Qedar, founder of Israel's first LGBT newspaper
- Taiga Ishikawa
- Wataru Ishizaka
- Maki Muraki (born 1974), head of Nijiro Diversity in Osaka
- Kanako Otsuji, first openly lesbian politician in Japan
- Patria Jiménez
- Nancy Cardenas, playwright, director, and LGBT+ activist
- Agnés Torres Hernández, psychologist and transgender activist
- Sunil Babu Pant, first openly gay Nepali politician, former head of Blue Diamond Society
- Bhumika Shrestha
- Willem Arondeus
- Vera Bergkamp, former chairman of the world's oldest LGBT organization
- John Blankenstein
- Boris Dittrich
- Coos Huijsen, first openly gay parliamentarian
- Henk Krol
- Marjan Sax
- Robert Biedroń
- Anna Grodzka
- Krzysztof Garwatowski
- Krystian Legierski
- Paweł Leszkowicz
- Szymon Niemiec
- Nikolai Alekseev
- Lena Katina
- Yekaterina Samutsevich
- Ali Feruz
- Igor Kochetkov, head of the LGBT Network
- Abdurrazack "Zackie" Achmat
- Dawn Cavanagh
- Busi Khewsa
- Simon Nkoli LGBT activist, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand
- Noxolo Nogwaza
- Funeka Soldaat Leader of Free Gender Organisation in Khayelitsha, Western Cape.
Taiwan (Republic of China)
- Linda Bellos
- Jeremy Bentham 19th century jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer.
- Bette Bourne real name Peter Bourne, actor, performer, founder of the Gay theatrical troupe Bloolips, and one of the very first modern-day UK LGBTQ+ activists and campaigners.
- Christine Burns Trans rights campaigner, formerly a vice president of PfC, awarded MBE for work with PfC and on the GRB.
- A.E. Dyson, literary critic and founder of the Homosexual Law Reform Society.
- Jackie Forster actress, TV Personality and Lesbian campaigner.
- Ray Gosling, writer, broadcaster and gay rights activist in the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.
- Antony Grey, Secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, Grey was also the public face of the Albany Trust
- Liam Hackett, founder of anti-bullying website and charity Ditch the Label
- Derek Jarman Film Director
- Paris Lees, trans rights campaigner, part of Trans Media Watch
- Denis Lemon, Editor of Gay News, involved in blasphemy prosecution brought by Mary Whitehouse.
- Ian McKellen, actor and spokesperson for Stonewall (UK)
- Robert Mellors 20th century writer and Gay Liberation Front campaigner.
- Paul Patrick, anti-homophobia activist and educator
- Michael Schofield, sociologist and early gay rights campaigner
- Michael Steed, Liberal politician, academic and gay rights activist in the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.
- Ben Summerskill, former chief executive of Stonewall
- Peter Tatchell politician, human rights and LGBT rights campaigner.
- Stephen Whittle Trans rights campaigner and former vice president of PfC and president of HBIGDA, Law Professor at MMU, awarded OBE for work with PfC and on the GRB
United States of America
- Kimball Allen (born 1982), writer, playwright, performer, author of Secrets of a Gay Mormon Felon and Be Happy Be Mormon
- Jacob Appel, New York City-based lawyer, advocate for reparations for gays and lesbians
- Gilbert Baker, (1951 - 2017), designer of the Rainbow flag.
- Christopher R. Barron, co-founder of GOProud, a political organization representing gay conservatives.
- Vic Basile, first executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, 1983-1989
- Andy Bell, lead singer of the English synthpop duo Erasure.
- Wayne Besen Founder of Truth Wins Out. Former spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign.
- Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, 1995-2004
- Dustin Lance Black (born 1974), screenwriter, director, film, television producer, and founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
- Chaz Bono (born 1969), transgender son of Sonny Bono and Cher.
- David P. Brill (1955–1979), Boston-based journalist.
- Blake Brockington (1996-2014), African American transgender rights activist.
- Margarethe Cammermeyer (born 1942), former colonel in the Washington state National Guard whose coming out story was made into the 1995 movie Serving in Silence, starring Glenn Close.
- Ryan Cassata, American transgender activist, public speaker and singer-songwriter,
- June Chan (born 1956), Asian American lesbian activist.
- RuPaul Andre Charles (born 1960), known as RuPaul, American drag queen and gay activist known for the TV show RuPaul's Drag Race.
- Madonna Louise Ciccone, known as Madonna (born 1958), entertainer and long-term human and civil rights activist. Has offered outspoken support for the gay rights movement.
- Joanne Conte, trans woman, former Arvada, Colorado City Councilor, currently hosts a radio show on KGNU.
- Lynn Conway (born 1938), trans woman computer scientist and electrical engineer.
- Ruby Corado, Salvadoran activist and founder of Casa Ruby, a bilingual, multicultural LGBT organization in Washington, D.C.
- Ellen DeGeneres (January 26, 1958, Metairie, LA) is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, producer, and LGBT activist
- Stephen Donaldson (1946–1996), early bisexual LGBT rights activist founder of the first American gay students' organization, first person to fight a discharge from the U.S. military for homosexuality, Also an important figure in the modern bisexual rights movement.
- Fran Drescher, (born 1957, Flushing, New York) is an outspoken healthcare advocate and LGBT rights activist.
- John Duran, is a LGBT and AIDS activist, and served as Mayor and Council member of West Hollywood, Ca. An openly gay man, Duran is a founding board member of ANGLE (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality). Duran also served as President of the Board of Directors of Equality California ("EQCA"), now the nation's largest statewide LGBT civil rights organization. In addition, Duran is a past board member of the ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
- Danielle Egnew (born 1969), lesbian musician, actress, producer, and psychic who endorsed and provided campaign materials to Virginia's VoteNO campaign, protecting the legalities of same-sex civil unions in Virginia—also Spiritual leader and founder of The Church of the Open Christ, an inclusive and progressive LGBT ministry.
- Steve Endean, (1948–1993), founder of the Human Rights Campaign Fund
- Arden Eversmeyer (born 1931), Founder of Lesbians Over Age Fifty (LOAF) and the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project (OLOHP)
- Matt Foreman (born 1953), Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF).
- Barney Frank (born 1940), member of the Democratic Party who served as a member of Congress from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013.
- Aaron Fricke (born 1962), who sued the Cumberland, Rhode Island school system in 1980 and won a landmark First Amendment case granting him the legal right to attend prom with another boy. He chronicled the experience in the seminal gay coming-of-age memoir Reflections of a Rock Lobster.
- Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known as Lady Gaga (born 1986), bisexual singer/songwriter who campaigned for the DADT repeal. Released pro-gay anthem "Born This Way" (2011). Its also said she has made other songs about the LGBT community and supporting it.
- Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), Beat poet and political activist.
- Barbara Gittings (1932–2007), founder of the New York City chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis who also pushed for the American Psychological Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
- Neil Giuliano (born 1956), openly gay mayor of Tempe, Arizona (1994–2004) and current President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
- Chad Griffin (born 1973), president of the Human Rights Campaign as of June 11, 2012[update], and founder of American Foundation for Equal Rights, a nonprofit organization that supports the plaintiffs in the California Proposition 8 trial.
- James Gruber (1928—2011), original member of the Mattachine Society.
- David M. Hall, author of Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment, who speaks to corporate audiences across the country and is the co-founder of Out & Equal Philadelphia.
- Harry Hay (1912–2002), co-founder of the Mattachine Society.
- John Heilman Councilmember of West Hollywood from 1984–present.
- Essex Hemphill (1957–1995), African American poet
- Daniel Hernandez Jr. (born 1990), member of Tucson's city commission on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, who was credited with saving the life of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords after the 2011 Tucson shooting.
- Brenda Howard (1946–2005), bisexual LGBT rights activist, an instrumental figure in the immediate post-Stonewall era in New York City. Also an important figure in the modern bisexual rights movement.
- John Paul Hudson (1929-2002), activist, journalist, actor, and author. Helped organize NYC's first gay pride parade following the Stonewall riots, serving as the parade's first grand marshal.
- Richard Isay (1934-2012) psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, author and gay activist. Responsible for ending discrimination against gay people by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Wrote "Being Homosexual: Gay Men and their Development", widely considered a groundbreaking work.
- Janet Jackson (born 1966), American singer, songwriter, and actress.
- Cheryl Jacques (born 1962), former member of the Massachusetts State Legislature and the president of the Human Rights Campaign from January through November 2004. She resigned from this post less than a month after the passage of 11 state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.
- Dale Jennings (1917–2000), co-founder of the Mattachine Society.
- Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992) was an American gay liberation activist and transgender woman. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.
- Cleve Jones (born 1954), conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and worked with Harvey Milk; co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation
- Christine Jorgensen (1926-1989), first person to become widely known for having sex reassignment surgery in the United States
- Konrad Juengling (born 1987), writer and LGBT activist
- Frank Kameny (1925–2011), participant in many gay rights rallies of the 1960s and 1970s, most notably the push in 1972–1973 for the American Psychological Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
- Morris Kight (1919–2003), founder of Los Angeles' Gay and Lesbian Front and Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
- Lisa Kove (born 1958), Executive Director of the Department of Defense Federal Globe and President of Empowering Spirits Foundation.
- Larry Kramer (born 1935), author and playwright who helped form the prominent gay rights organizations Gay Men's Health Crisis and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP).
- Janice Langbehn (born 1968), campaigner for marriage equality and same-sex hospital visitation after being denied access to her dying partner, Lisa Marie Pond, in 2007.
- Cyndi Lauper (born 1953), founder of the True Colors Fund charity which promotes equality for members of the LGBT community.
- Malcolm L. Lazin (born 1943), founder and executive director of Equality Forum and LGBT History Month, executive producers of three LGBT documentary films, organizer of the LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration at Independence Hall on July 4, 2015, executive producer of the Off Broadway play 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous and overseer of the largest number of government approved, nationally significant LGBT Historic Markers.
- Courtney Love (born 1964), a musician and singer, has advocated for LGBT rights and acceptance since the beginning of her career in the early 1990s.
- Scott Long (born 1963), Executive Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch.
- Phyllis Lyon (born 1924), lesbian activist who co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis with longtime partner Del Martin.
- Del Martin (1921–2008), lesbian activist who co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis with longtime partner Phyllis Lyon.
- Tim McFeeley, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, 1989-1995
- Harvey Milk (1930–1978), openly gay city supervisor of San Francisco, California who was assassinated (along with mayor George Moscone) in 1978 by Dan White.
- David Nelson (born 1962), founder of Gay and Lesbian Utah Democrats, and Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah.
- Gavin Newsom (born 1967), heterosexual mayor of San Francisco, California who directed his office to issue wedding licenses to same-sex couples in February 2004. This process was halted the next month by the California Supreme Court.
- Jack Nichols (1937–2005), journalist, writer, activist and co-founder of the Mattachine Society of Washington D.C. with Frank Kameny.
- Tyler Oakley (Born March 22, 1989, Jackson, MI) is an openly gay American LGBTQ+ rights activist, YouTuber, and author. He also focuses on social issues such as health care, education, and suicide prevention.
- Romaine Patterson (1978-), lesbian talk show host and founder of Angel Action.
- Troy Perry (1940–), founder of UFMCC, an international Protestant Christian denomination. The Fellowship has a specific outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families and communities.
- Sylvia Rivera (1951–2002), gay liberation and trans activist, founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance.
- Brandan Robertson (1992-). LGBT rights activist in evangelical communities, writer on intersection of faith and LGBT issues
- Geena Rocero, transgender model and advocate; founder of Gender Proud, an advocacy and aid organization that stands up for the right of transgender people all over the world.
- Craig Rodwell (1940–1993), gay rights activist; founder of first gay & lesbian oriented bookshop in the United States; proposed and organized Annual Reminder; proposed and organized New York's Gay Pride march, then called Christopher Street Liberation day; was a founding member and organizer of Gay People In Christian Science.
- Vito Russo (July 11, 1946 – November 7, 1990) was an American LGBT activist, film historian and author who is best remembered as the author of the book The Celluloid Closet (1981, revised edition 1987).
- Bayard Rustin (1912–1987), openly gay civil rights activist, principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr.; gay rights activist in later life
- Ryan Sallans (born 1979), out trans man and public speaker - travels around the country educating high school and college students on LGBT issues.
- José Sarria (born 1922 or 1923), first openly gay candidate for political office in the United States, founder of the Imperial Court System.
- Tully Satre (born 1989), blogger who gained fame in March 2006 for challenging then-Senator George Allen
- Dan Savage (born 1964), columnist of Savage Love and author. Founder of the It Gets Better Project.
- Josh Seefried, United States Air Force first lieutenant and co-director of OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military.
- Michelangelo Signorile (born 1960), gay American writer and a US and Canadian national talk radio host.
- Ruth Simpson (1926–2008), founder of the first lesbian community center. Former President of Daughters of Bilitis New York. Author of From the Closet to the Courts.
- Joe Solmonese (born 1965), former political fundraiser and past president of the Human Rights Campaign.
- A. Latham Staples (born 1977), founder and Chairman of the Empowering Spirits Foundation, current President & CEO of EXUSMED, Inc.
- Abby Stein (born 1991) is an American advocate for transgender people of Orthodox Jewish background.
- Andy Thayer (Born 1960) is an American socialist and gay rights activist, and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network
- Urvashi Vaid (born 1958, New Delhi, India) is an American activist who has worked for over 25 years promoting civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons.
- Phill Wilson (born 1956, Chicago, IL), co-founder of the National Black Lesbian & Gay Leadership Forum and founder of The Black AIDS Institute
- Evan Wolfson (born 1957) is the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, a group favoring same-sex marriage in the United States.
- Chely Wright (born 1970, Wellsville, Kansas), first openly lesbian country music singer. Focused on serving as a role model and mentor for children and teens in order to reduce gay related suicides in children.
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