Pride Month: Pioneers of the LGBTQIA+ RIghts Movement

To start this pride month, we would like to recognize pioneers of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Without the work of these incredible activists, the movement would not be where it is today. By recognizing the activists who paved the way, we can both honor them and learn from them. Together we can continue working towards creating a world that is safe and welcome to all.

Marsha P. Johnson

Johnson, who was a transgender African-American woman, was on the forefront of the rebellion at Stonewall. She is known for her incredible perseverance as she advocated for her rights and those of the LGBTQIA+ community. She often put her own safety in jeopardy to spread her message. Her legacy will forever live on and inspire others.

Frank Kameny

Kameny is know for being one of the earliest gay rights activists. He was fired from his job with the U.S. government because of his sexuality, and began protesting this inequality. He also hlped in persuading the American Psychiatric Association to no longer view homosexuality as mental disorder in 1973.

Keith Haring

Many recognize Haring’s name due to his renowned art career. His art, however, held significant meaning behind it. Much of his art was aimed at spreading awareness about AIDs and drug use. For these reasons, he is regarded as an important figure in LGBTQIA+ history.

Michael McConnell and Jack Baker

McConnell and Baker were one of the first couples to push for their right to marry. Although their story began far before, their advocacy helped lead to the 2015 decision by the Supreme Court ruling that is was constitutional for same-sex couples to marry.

Audre Lorde

Lorde described herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” Her writings focused on civil rights and the complex relationship between race and sexual orientation. The messages she shared still resonate for many today, as they have helped create an understanding of the human experience. 

Learn More

This list only provides a small fraction of those who have helped promote the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. The movement is where it is today thanks to hundreds of thousands of individuals. 

Check back throughout this June to learn more about the history of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement, as well as about current leaders, resources, and more.