During the Chancellor's visit to PS 32, NY1 captured a wonderful Pride Month lesson in preferred gender pronouns provided by music teacher Eric Williamson. D15 is very proud of the work by Mr. Williamson, PS 32 students and the PS 32 staff. Congrats!
Japanese American actor George Takei overcame the racial barriers of his time to launch a successful acting career. He starred as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu during the three-year television run of Star Trek, and later reprised the role for six movies. At the time, he was one of the few Asian Americans to be featured on TV. Takei served on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission for President Bill Clinton and was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in 2004. Prominently involved with gay rights and Japanese American groups, Takei has become a highly popular social-media presence.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/actor/george-takei
Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender woman who was an LGBTQ rights activist and an outspoken advocate for trans people of color. An eccentric woman known for her outlandish hats and glamorous jewelry, she was fearless and bold. Whenever she was asked what the “P” in her name stood for and when people pried about her gender or sexuality, she quipped back with “pay it no mind.” Johnson spearheaded the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and along with Sylvia Rivera, she later established the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group committed to helping homeless transgender youth in New York City.
Gay rights activist and community leader Harvey Milk made history when he became one of the first openly gay officials in the United States in 1977 when he was elected to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. He was tragically shot and killed the following year, and numerous books and films have been made about his life. By the time of his election, Milk had become a political force—an outspoken leader in the gay community. While his campaign certainly incorporated gay rights into his platform, Milk also wanted to tackle a wide variety of issues, from childcare to housing to a civilian police review board.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/activist/harvey-milk
RuPaul is an American drag queen, singer and actor known for such TV shows as 'RuPaul's Drag Race' and 'RuPaul's Drag U.' In the early 1990s, RuPaul landed a record contract and released his first album, Supermodel of the World, while also starting a career in acting. On the strength of his TV shows, and his oversized personality, RuPaul has become a beacon in gay, drag and transsexual communities. In March 2018, RuPaul was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, thereby becoming the first drag queen to receive the honor. He tearfully told the audience that this was "absolutely the most important moment in my professional career."
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/personality/rupaul
Billie Jean King became the top-ranked women's tennis player by 1967. In 1973, she formed the Women's Tennis Association and famously defeated Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes." The first prominent woman athlete to admit her homosexuality, King lost her endorsements but became a torchbearer for the LGBT community. King continued her work as an influential social activist after retiring from tennis. Named to the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, King embraced the designation that both honored her athletic achievements and made a political statement in opposition of Russia's anti-gay legislation.
Poet Audre Lorde was a librarian for several years before publishing her first volume of poetry, First Cities, in 1968. More successful collections followed. Lorde also wrote the memoirs The Cancer Journals (1980) and A Burst of Light (1988). She became a leading African American poet and essayist who gave voice to issues of race, gender and sexuality. She wrote The Black Unicorn in 1978. In this volume, Lorde explored her African heritage. It is considered one of her greatest works by many critics. Throughout her poetry and other writings she tackled topics that were important to her as a woman of color, lesbian, mother and feminist.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/writer/audre-lorde
Geena Rocero, born and raised in Manila, Philippines, is a Model, Public Speaker, Producer, Trans Rights Advocate and co-host of the 2017 Webby Awards honoree TV Show ASPIREist, broadcasted on HLN/CNN. On March 31, 2014, in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rocero came out as transgender at the annual (main stage) TED Conference, her viral talk has since been viewed more than 4 million times and translated in 32 languages. Geena is the founder of Gender Proud, an award winning media production company that tells stories on what it means to be trans and gender non-conforming.
Learn more: https://gothamartists.com/geena-rocero/
Singer Ricky Martin was a member of Menudo as a teenager and later exploded onto the pop charts as a solo artist with "Livin' La Vida Loca". His debut English album and single were hugely successful. He continues to make music in both Spanish and English today. In 2010 he wrote on his website: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am." An activist for many causes, he founded the Ricky Martin Foundation in 2000 as a child advocacy organization. The group runs the People for Children project, which fights child exploitation. He has received numerous awards for his philanthropic work, including the 2005 International Humanitarian Award from the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/musician/ricky-martin
Sylvia Rivera was a Latina-American drag queen who became one of the most radical gay and transgender activists of the 1960s and 70s. As co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front, Rivera was known for participating in the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and establishing the political organization STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with fellow friend and drag queen, Marsha P. Johnson. In honor of Rivera's activism in the gay and trans community, The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) was founded in 2002. As a legal aid organization, SRLP works to guarantee all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression by giving gay, trans and gender-fluid individuals access to legal services, as well as teaching leadership and advocacy skills.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/activist/sylvia-rivera
Edith S. (Edie) Windsor was an LGBTQ+ rights activist whose 2013 landmark victory over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) set the stage for marriage equality for all. Her 44 year relationship with her wife Thea Spyer, lasting until Thea’s passing in 2009, inspired Edie to challenge and topple the prejudices that marginalized LGBTQ+ Americans for decades. The Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer Foundation champions health and education for the LGBTQ+ community, through scholarships, donations and healthcare facilities. Through Edie’s voice the foundation continues the fight to bring equality to all aspects of LGBTQ+ life.
Learn more: https://ediewindsor.com/
Pete Buttigieg is a former two-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana. A graduate of Harvard University and an Oxford Rhodes Scholar, Buttigieg enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve and became a lieutenant when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. In April 2019 he announced his candidacy in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, a bid that would have made him the youngest and the first openly gay president in U.S. history. Despite emerging as a top-tier Democratic candidate, Buttigieg suspended his campaign in early March 2020. On February 2, 2021, Buttigieg was confirmed as President Biden's secretary of transportation, making him the first openly gay man cabinet secretary.
Ellen DeGeneres hit it big as a stand-up comedian before starring on her own sitcom, Ellen. In 1997, she came out as gay, and became a staunch advocate of LGBTQ rights. She has been the host of her own award-winning talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003. Her prime-time sitcom — the self-titled television series, Ellen, faced strong criticism when, in 1997, DeGeneres' character became the first lead in sitcom history to openly acknowledge her homosexuality on air. The show also received rounds of applause from gay-friendly activists. In 2016 DeGeneres received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama for her contribution to the arts. At the 2020 Golden Globes, DeGeneres was presented with the honorary Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television.
Tammy Baldwin is an American politician who was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and began representing Wisconsin in that body the following year; she was the first openly gay senator. Baldwin previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1999–2013). After entering the Senate in 2013, she typically took moderate to liberal positions. She was particularly active in sponsoring and amending legislation having to do with marriage equality, cyberbullying, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Baldwin also took a strong interest in veterans affairs. Baldwin, who was critical of the Trump administration’s response to the COVID pandemic, supported various relief measures, including those that addressed child care and education.
Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart is the Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. In this role, she serves as a public facing leader, liaison and subject matter expert for the Mayor’s Office on local and national matters that impact diverse communities of faith. Rev. Washington-Leapheart was most recently the Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, the country's oldest national LGBTQ justice and equality group. In 2019, she was named one of 9 LGBTQ Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress and was included in The Root 100, an annual list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans, ages 25-45.
Jazz Jennings is a teenager known for her LGBTQ rights activism. She was born male but accepted her female transgender identity at a very young age. She is one of the youngest publicly documented transgender people. Jazz was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a gender identity disorder, when she was four. Since then she has appeared on numerous talk shows and also features in a TLC reality show named ‘I Am Jazz’ that focuses on the family’s struggles of raising a transgender girl. She also co-wrote a book by the same name describing the struggles of being a transgender girl. She actively participates in LGBTQ rights events and works for several charity organizations.
Anderson Cooper became a correspondent for ABC News in 1995, moving to anchor positions on CNN a few years later and hosting his own news program, Anderson Cooper 360°, beginning in 2003. Cooper has also served as the longtime host of CNN's annual New Year's Eve Live special. Cooper's journalistic output has earned him numerous honors over the years, including a slew of Emmy Awards. In 2005 he won both Peabody and National Headliner Awards for his coverage of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Finding similar success as a writer, his 2006 memoir, Dispatches from the Edge became a New York Times best seller. In July 2012, Cooper confirmed that he is a gay man, after years of remaining private in regard to his sexual orientation.
JoJo Siwa first became famous by appearing as a reality TV star on Lifetime's Dance Moms and Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition. But Siwa quickly found a second act, becoming a huge social media celebrity thanks to her YouTube channels. Known for wearing bright, big bows and colorful ponytails, Siwa is a trifecta of talent — dancing, acting and singing — which she skillfully demonstrates in her music videos. Siwa has been able to further capitalize on her fame through merchandising deals and a contract with Nickelodeon. Siwa has also launched books, as well as lifestyle merchandise through JCPenney. In January 2021, Siwa came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community by posting a photo on her Twitter account of her wearing a shirt that said "Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever."
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/personality/jojo-siwa
Writer and playwright James Baldwin published the 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, receiving acclaim for his insights on race, spirituality and humanity. Other novels included Giovanni's Room, Another Country and Just Above My Head, as well as essays like Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time. Giovanni's Room broke new ground for its complex depiction of homosexuality, a then-taboo subject. The author would also use his work to explore interracial relationships, another controversial topic for the times, as seen in the 1962 novel Another Country. Baldwin was open about his homosexuality and he believed that the focus on rigid categories was just a way of limiting freedom and that human sexuality is more fluid and less binary than often expressed in the U.S.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/writer/james-baldwin
Elton John's unique blend of pop and rock styles turned him into one of the 20th century's biggest music icons. He was musically gifted from a young age, and released his first self-titled American album in 1970, making him a huge international star. Some of his chart-topping hits include "Crocodile Rock," "Philadelphia Freedom" and "Candle in the Wind." He also found success on Broadway, composing the score for Billy Elliot (2008), which went on to win 10 Tony Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and knighted in 1998. John founded his own charitable organization to help in the fight against AIDS. Established in the United States in 1992, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has brought in more than $400 million to support HIV/AIDS programs around the world.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/musician/elton-john
In 2005, political journalist Rachel Maddow began hosting her own liberal political radio program, The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America. In January 2008, Maddow signed an exclusive contract with MSNBC as its political analyst, and she went on to earn a slew of awards through the televised version of The Rachel Maddow Show. She became the network's most prominent public figure, serving as a champion of liberal ideals as the partisan divide became more pronounced on cable TV news. Maddow has garnered a slew of accolades for her news work, including multiple Emmy and Gracie wins, the Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award, the John Steinbeck Award from San Jose State University and a GLAAD Award for outstanding journalism.
Michael Sam was the first openly gay football player to ever be selected in the NFL draft. Playing on the defensive line for the University of Missouri Tigers in college, Michael Sam was a star. The 2013 season was when Sam really proved how talented he was. Sam had 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in 2013. He ultimately earned consensus All-American honors that season and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award. Since retiring in 2015, he has been a motivational speaker. He has become an LGBTQ-rights activist after talking to a former teammate’s cousin who was bullied because of her sexuality. Being the first-ever openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, Michael Sam went through things that no one else ever has, now he is using his experiences for good so he can help others.
Chaz Bono is an actor, LGBT Rights Advocate, three time author, speaker and the only child of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher. Bono has contributed as a writer-at-large to the advocate and in 1996 became the Human Rights Campaign's National Coming Out Day spokesperson. Bono also served as Entertainment Media Director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and continues to speak at dozens of universities and LGBT events every year. An acclaimed author, Bono has written three books including Transition, which was released by Dutton in May of 2011. Transition is his groundbreaking and candid account of a forty-year struggle to match his gender identity with his physical body and his transformation from female to male.
Learn more: http://www.chazbono.org/bio
Journalist Robin Roberts began hosting ESPN's Sportscenter and, not long after, appearing as a guest reporter on Good Morning America. In 2005, she was hired as a full-time co-anchor of the morning news program. In August 2012, Roberts took a leave of absence from Good Morning America in order to undergo treatment for a rare blood disorder that she contracted after undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. In early 2014, Roberts officially came out as a gay woman. Roberts was honored at the 2013 ESPYs with the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Additionally, she received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2014 and was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2016.
Adam Rippon displayed immense early promise as a figure skater with back-to-back wins at the world junior championships. In 2018, Rippon became the first openly gay American man to qualify for the Winter Olympics, where he won a bronze medal and emerged as a fan favorite. Rippon made additional history with his Olympic debut in February 2018, becoming the oldest first-time Olympian to represent the U.S. in figure skating since George Hill in 1936. Competing in the men's free skate, Rippon delivered a flawless performance choreographed to Coldplay's "O" and the Cinematic Orchestra's "Arrival of the Birds," the latter chosen to represent his recent comeback from a fractured ankle.
Learn more: https://www.biography.com/athlete/adam-rippon
At a moment when the mere existence of transgender athletes generates controversy, Patricio Manuel is fighting—and winning. Before he transitioned, Manuel won five amateur women’s boxing championships—but a shoulder injury dashed hopes of competing in the 2012 Olympics. Then, after taking time off to transition, Manuel came back to the ring. On December 8, 2018, Manuel won his professional debut against super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar by a score of 39-37. The fight, which took place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, lasted 12 minutes and ended with a unanimous decision. Not only did that make Manuel the first transgender boxer to compete in a professional fight, it made him the first transgender boxer to win one.
Sue Bird is an American professional basketball player presently affiliated with the Seattle Storm of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). She has been a member of the Seattle Storm’s three different WNBA-championship-winning squads. Bird has won four Olympic gold medals and four FIBA World Cups as part of the US national team. During the 2002 WNBA draft, she was chosen by the Storm as their first overall pick and has been with them since. She was also affiliated with three Russian teams and serves as the operations associate for the Denver Nuggets.
American professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe played an active role in both U.S. national and club teams. She participated in two Olympic Games and several FIFA Women’s World Cups. Her fundamental skills and strong scoring abilities helped her to lead the U.S. team to several victories. Rapinoe used her popularity to advance her activism. She supported the LGBTQ community and various other social causes. In 2019 she joined several teammates on the U.S. national women’s soccer team in a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The lawsuit cited gender discrimination, with the team seeking pay equal to that of the U.S. men’s soccer team.
Christian Siriano is one of the most sought-after names in the fashion industry in today’s times. Breaking barriers with his trailblazing ideas and collaborations, he shot to fame overnight after winning a reality show. He is one of the few designers who works with women of all sizes. Curvy supermodels are a highlight of his ramp shows. He accepts that it is a big task catering to so many sizes, but takes immense pride in being inclusive. According to him this should come naturally to any fashion brand, as clothes are meant for people, and people come in all shapes and sizes. He is also one of the very few designers who have been consistently doing four shows every year for over a decade. Although he has a posh store on Saks Fifth Avenue, he has brand collaborations that sell affordable clothing.
As an activist pastor at Raleigh’s progressive Pullen Baptist Church, Nancy Petty is often making news. She is openly gay and has championed marriage equality and LGBT rights. She has led Moral Monday protests and chairs the Reverend William Barber’s Repairers of the Breach board. Most recently her work has focused on facilitating interfaith dialogue with Raleigh’s Muslim community and fighting Islamaphobia and racism. Her transformative journey from her small town upbringing in Shelby, North Carolina, paralleled major social shifts happening in the churches she has served.
Learn more: http://pullen.org/staff/
After playing basketball with his twin brother, Jarron, in high school and at Stanford University, Jason Collins developed into a capable NBA defender for multiple teams. On April 29, 2013, he became the first active male athlete in the four major North American professional sports to publicly admit his homosexuality. In an article released with the May 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, Collins made his official announcement and explained his reasoning for coming out when he did: Having grown tired of guarding his secret for years, he was frustrated when he could not participate in Boston's 2012 Gay Pride Parade. Furthermore, he said, the bombings at the Boston Marathon made him realize the impermanence of everyday life and the importance of living truthfully.
Learn more: https://www.ourbiography.com/jason-collins/