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Pride Month 2023: Celebrating 100 Trailblazing LGBTQ+ Women

To mark Pride Month 2023 we celebrate 100 trailblazing LGBTQ+ women making a difference in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space around the world. 

Here are just 100 (ranked in alphabetical order) of the very many LGBTQ+ women diversity champions, who are working hard to create change and opportunities for LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities around the world.



 

1. Dalia Al Faghal

Dalia Al Faghal was the first woman to come out publicly in Egypt. She was met with death threats and attacks on social media, but her bravery led to an open platform of discussion of LGBTQ+ rights. The Egyptian government had previously not wanted to recognize the existence of the LGBTQ+ community and people in the community continue to face torture, often subjected to severe beating and sexual abuse. She was one of the many the leading voices calling for the sacking of Egyptian TV host Yours Fouda for alleged sexual misconduct. Dalia now lives in Sweden and continues to fight for the human rights for queer people and women in the world.

 

2. Lydia Annice Foy

Lydia Annice Foy is an Irish trans woman who led legal challenges around gender recognition in Ireland, and thanks to her, Ireland passed the Gender Recognition Bill 2014. She had sex reassignment surgery back in 1992, and it was then that her 12-year legal battle to have her birth certificate reflect her gender identity began. This resulted in a declaration in 2007 that the law of the Republic of Ireland was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the law did not change for years after. So she began legal proceedings to enforce the 2007 decision and in 2015, Ireland passed the Gender Recognition Bill.

 

3. Aderonke Apata

Aderonke Apata is a Nigerian LGBTQ+ activist, former asylum seeker and barrister. She received widespread media attention due to her asylum case in the United Kingdom. Aderonke came to the UK for refuge in 2004 from Nigeria, where she faced persecution for being a lesbian due to the draconian anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the country. However, her claim for asylum was refused in 2012 and she was detained In Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Shocked when the Home Office tried to argue that she was lying about being in a lesbian relationship in order to avoid removal from the UK, Aderonke began to support other detainees with their cases and provide a space for sharing experiences. Aderonke’s journey through the asylum system left her convinced of the need for self-help for LGBTQ+ people trying to claim asylum in the UK. While partnerships with individuals and organisations with learned experience will always be important, she felt strongly that it’s people who have lived experience of claiming asylum who have unique insight into it’s failings and what needs to change. So, in 2014 Aderonke set up African Rainbow Family, a charity run by and for LGBTQ+ people with lived experience of the asylum and immigration system in the UK.



 

4. Urooj Arshad

 Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Urooj Arshad emigrated to the US at 16. She has spent her career working for non-profits advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for Muslim and South Asian LGBTQ+ people. She has presented at International HIV/AIDS conferences, the White House’s LGBTQ+ Pride and Heritage event, national convenings of Muslim leaders, and many more. Urooj is the co-founder of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, which addresses the intersectional impact of Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia, and served in the US delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Her work has helped many South Asian and Muslim LGBTQ+ people living in the US.

 

5. Seimone Augustus

 WNBA player Seimone Augustus was one of the first high-profile athletes to publicly come out, in response to a 2012 ballot initiative in Minnesota that would have banned marriage equality in the state. “Everyone thinks that the WNBA is one big lesbo party anyway,” she joked at the time but she was well aware that coming out was a risky move for her career at a time when the WNBA was wary of the stigma surrounding queer women athletes. Her decision to speak up made that choice easier for today’s generation and all the generations to come. She is an eight-time All-Star and four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, and a three-time Olympic gold medalist with the US women’s basketball team.

 

6. Tammy Baldwin

Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin is the first openly LGBTQ+ woman elected to Congress. She continues to challenge the Trump administration on its rollbacks of LGBTQ+ rights, and voted to convict President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress during his impeachment trial. The openly gay Democrat served three terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly before being elected to the US House of Representatives in 1999. She achieved the same milestone for the Senate in 2012 and was re-elected in the 2018 midterms.

 

7. Ange Barry 

Ange Barry, CEO of Joy 94.9 Radio Station, is an experienced senior leader in the not-for-profit and finance spaces. She heads up Australia’s only LGBTQIA+ radio station and podcast network thanks to many volunteers who help make it "sparkle". Through the station, she shares updates from collaborative events and offers opportunities for up-and-coming LGBTQ+ talent, as well as promotes collaboration with other communities.

 

8. Stephanie Battaglino

The founder and oner of Follow Your Heart believes that education is at the very core of allyship. The workplace equality educator and author breaks down what it means to be vulnerable, the importance of authenticity, and the intricacies between gender identity and sexual orientation through her own transition as a transgender woman. Battaglino shares her experience with gender inequality in the corporate world and calls attention to the impacts of everything from bullying to pay gaps between transgender professionals and their cisgender colleagues.


 9. Dame Inga Kristine Beale

Dame Inga Kristine Beale DBE is a British businesswoman and the former CEO of Lloyd's of London. In June 2018, it was announced that she would be stepping down as CEO of Lloyd's after leading the global insurance and reinsurance market for five years, embedding modernisation and cultural change during her tenure. Check out her full interview where she talks about being an openly bi-sexual CEO.



 

10. Yasmin Benoit

Yasmin Benoit is a British model, asexual activist, writer, and speaker. Described as "the unlikely face of asexuality" by Cosmopolitan Magazine, she started the #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike movement for diverse asexual visibility and representation and co-founded International Asexuality Day (April 6). In 2022, she launched the UK's first asexual rights initiative - the Stonewall x Yasmin Benoit Ace Project - in partnership with StonewallHer unconventional approach to activism has been covered throughout British and international press. Check out our interview with Yasmin here.

 

11. Munroe Bergdorf

As the first transgender model for L’Oréal, Munroe Bergdorf has continued to break ceilings and fight for representation for transgender people, people of color, and other marginalized people in environments where they have been historically ignored. Equally, Munroe has been vocal about the abuse that she has received being openly trans and a woman of color and has campaigned for social media to be more responsive in clamping down on this behavior. The trailblazing model was also named Cosmopolitan’s “Changemaker of the Year.”

 

12. Selisse Berry

Selisse is the Founder of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the world's largest non-governmental organization specifically dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Selisse started Out & Equal in 1996, after her own experience with workplace discrimination, at a time when few LGBT people were out at work and discrimination was widespread. Today, thanks to Selisse’s vision, dedication, and collaboration, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies welcome lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees with inclusive policies. In 2017, she stepped down as CEO and moved into an advisory role.

 

13. Marylize Biubwa

Marylize Biubwa is a queer activist from Kenya's Nairobi. When she came out to her family, Marylize was thrown out of her home and told to only return once she was a “normal person”, as the east African country still upholds laws that came into place during the colonial era that criminalise gay sex.  She has been part of and moderated panels in Kenya about gay rights. She uses her social media platforms to dispel myths about women and their sexuality, and myths about people within the LGBTQ+ community and the lifestyles they lead through the agenda of acquiring and providing information. She currently runs the Face on Project, a research project for LGBTQ+ people in Kenya. 



 

14. Anna Brown

Anna Brown is a lawyer and activist, particularly in the area of LGBTQ+ rights. After working for the Human Rights Law Centre, for around seven years, she was appointed chief executive of new LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation Equality Australia in 2018 and has been involved in nearly every major reform for LGBTQ+ people in recent years. She played a critical role in the campaign for marriage equality co-chairing the Equality Campaign and running the challenge to the postal plebiscite in the High Court. Anna has also been instrumental in hard fought battles to secure federal LGBTQ+ discrimination protections, remove discriminatory laws across the country and right historical wrongs by establishing schemes to erase historical homosexual offences. Anna’s legal work has helped to ensure that young trans people can access vital hormone treatment without the cost and delay of going to court, advanced marriage equality and furthered recognition of sex and gender diversity.

 

15. Dutee Chand

Dutee Chand was India’s first athlete to come out as queer, revealing in 2019 that she’s in a same-sex relationship. She also showed courage and grace when she battled the Athletic Federation of India’s attempt to suspend her from competition due to her high natural levels of testosterone in 2015. Since then, Dutee has spoken out in support of South African runner Caster Semenya who faced a similar battle, saying, “There is always fear but you need to overcome it.” She is the first Indian sprinter to win the gold medal at the Universiade, and only the third Indian woman to ever qualify for the women’s 100 meters at the Summer Olympics.

 

16. Gigi Chao

Executive Director of Cheuk Nang Holdings Limited, Gigi Chao was thrust into the media spotlight when, in 2012, her father and owner of the same company, offered $65 million to any man who would marry her. He upped that offer to $180 million in 2014. Gigi responded to her father’s offers by publishing a letter in the China Morning Post, revealing that she was gay had married her partner, Sean Eav, in 2012. Since 2008, Chao has also been lifting underprivileged youths out of poverty thanks to her charitable organization, the Faith In Love Foundation.

 

17. Quiyan Chen

Quiyan Chen is Director of Queer China which aims to empower Chinese-speaking LGBTQ+ diasporas and facilitate greater connectivity between queer communities in different countries to solve gender inequality, LGBTQ+ discrimination and racism in intersectional and global perspectives. She is a Chinese LGBTQ+ rights activist who focuses on gender equality education, youth empowerment, media and law advocacy practice. In 2015-17 she pursued three lawsuits against the Chinese Ministry of Education and a higher education publishing house over textbooks that describe homosexuality as a “psychological disorder”. Since graduating from the London School of Economics in late 2019, her work has focused on queer art/film, museum education, festival producing, community building and cross-cultural communication.


18. Margaret Cho

Bisexual Korean American comedienne Margaret Cho frequently draws from her own experiences to tackle issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation in a way that is both thought-provoking and hilarious. Her comedy addresses the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, including discrimination, bullying, and sexual violence. Margaret received the inaugural Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards in 2000 for her advocacy. The TV writer and stand-up comic has worked with numerous social organizations including Lambda Legal and the National Organization of Women. She has won awards for her work on and off stage representing the concerns faced by LGBTQ+ women of color. Margaret continues to advocate for Asian LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and so many more throughout the country.

 

19. Cecilia Chung

Cecilia Chung is a trans Chinese woman, nationally recognized as an advocate for human rights, social justice, health equity, and LGBTQ+ equality. Cecilia has been working tirelessly at local, national, and international levels to improve access to treatment for transgender people and people living with HIV, and to erase stigma and discrimination through education, policy, advocacy, and visibility.

 

20. Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox is trailblazer for the transgender community. She has won numerous awards for her activist approach in spreading awareness. Her impact and prominence in the media has led to a growing conversation about transgender culture, specifically transgender women, and how being transgender intersects with one’s race. Her Netflix documentary, released in 2020, tells the story of Hollywood and the media’s evolving view of trans people, the violence that the trans community faces, as well as movies and shows that have opened up opportunities for trans people to appear on screen. She is the first transgender person to be on the cover of Time magazine, be nominated for a Primetime Emmy, and have a wax work in Madame Tussauds. Her activism isn’t just relegated to magazine covers and awards shows. Laverne constantly uplifts trans folks from all walks of life on social media. In May 2016, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School in New York for her progressive work in the fight for gender equality.

 

21. Sharice Davids

Representative Sharice Davids from Kansas is an up-and-coming politician with many firsts to her name. She was the first openly LGBTQ+ Native American elected to the US Congress, the first of only two Native American women elected to Congress, and the first Democrat to represent Kansas in the US House of Representatives since 2011. Before her political career, she was a lawyer and a professional MMA fighter, and spent years living on Native American reservations across the US to work on community development programs.

 

22. Chloe Davies

Chloe Davies is an activist, proud bisexual woman, mother of two, chef and entrepreneur, who campaigns for inclusion and equality in social spaces, corporate organisations and the wider community. She spent over 15 years working in retail, artist management and PR before starting her own company in 2015. Currently, Chloe is Head of Social Impact at Lucky Generals. Prior to this she previously worked as Head of Partnerships for myGwork, promoting diversity and inclusion. She also volunteers with UK Black Pride as the Head of Finance, working closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to help shape the future of UK Black Pride, and is a Trustee for the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre, as well as the Head of Relations for the London Queer Fashion Show.

 

23. Donna Deitch

Award-winning filmmaker and television director Donna Deitch is best known for her 1985 movie Desert Hearts, the first feature film with a mainstream lesbian love story, told in a positive and respectful way. The film was a hit at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival, and it inspired Oprah Winfrey to hire Deitch to direct Emmy-nominated mini-series The Women of Brewster Place. She went on to direct episodes in TV dramas like NYPD Blue, ER, Law and Order: SVU and others, and directed docu-series for HBO and Showtime.

 

24. Laila El-Metoui

Laïla El-Metoui is an award-winning Equity Educator with over 30 years experience in Education and Inclusion in the public and private sector. She is passionate about social justice and is the Founder of Pride in Education, Educating Out Racism. In 2018, she founded and chairs Proud London Councils, the pan London LGBTQ+ Staff network for local authorities in the British capital. In 2021, she also founded and co-chairs UK Queer Arabs. Honored as Stonewall Lesbian Role Model of the Year (2020) and named on the Guardian Pride Power List 2021, Laila’s impact on the LGBTQ+ community and beyond has been influential.



 

25. Lauren Esposito

As an arachnologist (a scientist who studies spiders and related animals such as scorpions) Lauren Esposito is the only woman expert on scorpions in the world. She is also the co-founder of 500 Queer Scientists, a visibility movement and professional network that boosts the recognition and awareness of LGBTQ+ people working in STEM fields.

 

26. Joanie Evans

Not only was she an influential member of trailblazing lesbian team, Hackney Women’s Football Club ­– the first open and out gay team in Europe – but Joanie Evans is also the co-president of the Federation of the Gay Games, dating back to 2014. In fact, she’s probably one of the longest serving co-presidents who has been there for 4 terms (8 years). She was also the only Black woman on the Federation of the Gay Games board until 2017, now there are two under her leadership. Her main goal, both on the football pitch and in the Gay Games, is to create an open and inclusive playing field for all, particularly for women, regardless of how they identify.



 

27. Jennifer Finney Boylan

American author and transgender activis Jennifer Finney Boylan writes for The New York Times. Her autobiography, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, was the first book published by an openly trans author to become a bestseller. She is also a reality TV personality, regularly appearing on Caitlyn Jenner’s show I Am Cai,t and was chosen as the first openly trans co-chair of GLAAD’s National Board of Directors.

 

28. Fallon Fox

Fallon Fox is the first openly transgender athlete in mixed martial arts history. She came out as trans in 2013 after winning her first victories in the MMA women’s division, drawing pushback and transphobic remarks from people like comedian Joe Rogan and fellow fighter Ronda Rousey. Despite the controversy surrounding her, Fallon has remained focused on her martial arts training and a determination to live as her authentic self, deserving of equal treatment and respect. Thanks to women like her, public awareness and education about transgender women in sports continues to make slow but steady progress.

 

29. Beth Ford

Not only is Land O’Lakes’s CEO Beth Ford one very few women to head a Fortune 500 company but she is the first openly LGBTQ+ woman to helm a Fortune 500 company, and the first woman to lead the dairy company in its almost 100-year history. Her authentic leadership as an out lesbian is well-known in the LGBTQ+ corporate community, and the fact that she is assuming this role as an out lesbian sends an especially powerful message. Beth has been openly gay her whole professional career.



 

30. Sarah Garrett

As CEO and founder of SPM Group Ltd, Sarah Garrett runs the British LGBT Awards, Ethnicity Awards and Investing in Ethnicity and Opportunities 4 Women, among other projects. In 2017, Sarah was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for her services in the diversity and inclusion space. One of Sarah’s greatest accomplishments is the “Investing in Ethnicity” program, which aims to start conversations, progress, and promote Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic voices and values in the workplace. The initiative works with organizations to build sustainable solutions that foster and facilitate greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

 

31. Arlan Hamilton

Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner, Backstage Capital Angel investor, author, and former concert tour manager. She is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ founders. She is also the first non-celebrity Black woman to appear on the cover of Fast Company magazine.


32. Julie Harris

Since 2017, Julie Harris has been a member of J.P. Morgan's firmwide LGBT+ Executive Council, bringing senior leaders together to accelerate the firm's progress through intentional, coordinated efforts for LGBTQ+ employees. In 2021 she became the AWM LGBT+ Network's Executive Sponsor and launched the AWM LGBT+ affinity group. A recent profile by amNY and Politics NY honoring 'Power Women' featured her dedication to the LGBTQ+ community internally and externally, her thoughts on gender parity, support for women, and more. In addition, she has cycled raising funds and awareness to end HIV and AIDS and was a board member and President of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

 

33. Elle Hearns

Transgender activist Elle Hearns is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and the current founder and Executive Director of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. She co-founded the Black Lives Matter Global Network back in 2013. As a strategic partner and organizing coordinator, she helped develop policy for the network, including the 2016 policy platform "A Vision for Black Lives.” She also co-organized a National Day of Action in 2015 to bring attention to the black trans women who were killed that year. Elle also founded At the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, where she serves as executive director, her main aim is to train and support black gender-nonconforming and trans women. Elle has also served as a coordinator for GetEqual and as an ambassador for the Trans Women of Color Collective 

 

 34. Marta Herraiz Fernández

Marta Herraiz Fernández is the founder of LesWorking and Co-General Director of Spanish Business Association REDI,  In 2014, she decided to launch an international professional network specifically for lesbian women and called it Lesworking. To date, it has organized more than 20 events and has more than 1,300 members from the most varied professional sectors. She is also co-secretary of the EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community (EL*C), which defends the rights of Lesbians in Europe and Central Asia.

 

35. Julia Hoggett 

Three years ago, (in 2020), Julia Hoggett became the first out LGBTQ+ person, and only the second woman, to serve as CEO of London Stock Exchange in the organization’s 300-year history. She oversees the exchange's primary and secondary markets and associated products and services from both a regulatory and commercial perspective.


36. Dame Kelly Holmes

Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes announced she is gay, after hiding it for 34 years. Speaking during Pride month last year, the two-time Olympic gold medallist said she realised she was gay at the age of 17 after kissing a fellow female soldier, and that her family and friends have known since 1997. Since sharing her story about the fear of coming out  in the media, she has become a role model, encouraging other closeted LGBTQ+ people to come out and live more authentically.

 

37. Trudy Howson

Trudy Howson is the UK's inaugural LGBTQ+ Poet Laureate, performer, producer and political activist. In this role, she writes and performs poetry that celebrates internationally recognized LGBTQ+ days, and responds to events that impact on the community. Her poetry charts and celebrates the diverse landscape of the LGBTQ+ community. Trudy believes that poetry can power social and cultural change, and to that end aims to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as amuse and entertain them.



 

38. Blair Imani

Queer African American Muslim activist and writer, Blair Imani continues to speak and write about the intersection of Black and Muslim identities. The former executive director of Equality For HER and a member of the Black Lives Matter movement, gained recognition for being arrested while peacefully protesting the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA. She’s worked closely with young people on college campuses and at progressive conferences, and is the official ambassador of Muslims for Progressive Values.

 

39. Billie Jean King

She’s not only one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time, but Billie Jean King is also a dedicated activist for gay rights and gender equality. The out lesbian and 39-time grand slam winner is best known for beating Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” in 1973, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. Billie is also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

 

40. Karine Jean-Pierre

White House Press SecretarPolitical campaign organizer Karine Jean-Pierre was appointed by President Biden to be the first queer and Black woman to serve as White House Press Secretary. Previously, she served as the deputy press secretary to her predecessor Jen Psaki, from 2021 to 2022 and as the chief of staff for US Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign. Before her work during the 2020 election of the Biden–Harris administration, Jean-Pierre was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org. She was also previously a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and a lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.

 

41. Kierra Johnson

When she was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force in 2021, Kierra Johnson became the first Black woman to hold the position and one of few out queer women of color at the helm of a national LGBTQ organization. She joined the Task Force in 2018 as Deputy Executive Director but was already engaged with the organization, serving on the National LGBTQ Task Force’s board of directors and its National Action Council. Kierra came to the Task Force after serving as URGE’s Executive Director with a wealth of experience in organizational leadership and management, program development, youth leadership and reproductive justice. She is recognized as a national expert on queer and reproductive rights issues and has testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives and has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Fox News, Feministing.com and National Public Radio. Johnson also serves on the boards of directors of the General Service Foundation, Groundswell Fund, and Guttmacher Institute, and has also served on the boards of Center for Community Change and the Women’s Information Network (WIN). 

 

42. Bennie Kara

Bennie Kara is a deputy headteacher in the East Midlands, specialising in curriculum, teaching and learning. She started her career in the inaugural cohort of Teach First in 2003, teaching English in East London. Since then, she has taught in four London boroughs and in South Oxfordshire before returning to Derby. Bennie speaks, writes and trains on diversity in the curriculum. Alongside supporting schools to diversify their curriculum, she is the author of 'A Little Guide for Teachers: Diversity in Schools' (Sage Education). She has written on the subject of diversity for publications such as Schools Week and the Chartered College of Teaching's Education Exchange. She is also a supporter of the grassroots online movements such as @WomenEd, @BAMEednetwork and @LGBTedUK, and has featured as a keynote speaker for @DiverseEd2020 and the Team English National Conference. 


43. Rosie Jones

Among several other accomplishments, American golfer Rosie Jones is the winner of 13 LPGA Tour titles. Originally from California, she started playing at age 11 and went on to make the Ohio State University Sports Hall of Fame before launching a successful professional career in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was the Legends Tour president from 2015-2016, was named captain of the U.S. team for the 2011 Solheim Cup, and has worked as a commentator for the Golf Channel. She now runs her own tourism business, organizing luxury vacations to championship golf resorts. Although she has been out to her family and friends since the 1970s, she didn't publicly come out as a lesbian until 2004 when she accepted a sponsorship from Olivia Travel.

 

44. Sarah Kate Ellis

As CEO of GLAAD (since January 2014), Sarah Kate Ellis continues to move LGBTQ+ equality forward through the power of the media. She began her activism for the LGBTQ+ community in 1992, when she marched on Washington to support the rights of women and then marched again in 1993 to support the rights of LGBT people. In 2011, Sarah co-authored a memoir with her wife, Kristen Ellis-Henderson, titled Times Two, Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made, which was nominated for a Stonewall Book Award. Ellis and her wife were also profiled in a special New York Times' style section about marriage equality following its legalization in New York State. Their marriage was the first marriage ceremony performed for a same-sex couple in the Episcopal Church of New York State.

 

45. Nancy Kelly

As Chief Executive Officer of Stonewall UK (since 2020), Nancy Kelly is a passionate advocate for social justice and equality. Throughout her 20-year career, Nancy has built up a diverse record of policy and leadership experience working across the third sector and in government. She has worked on research looking at public attitudes toward LGBTQ+ communities, as well as experiences of discrimination and social exclusion among LGBTQ+ people and other minority groups. She’s often described as “an outstanding leader who is ready to make sure everyone in the LGBTQ+ community gets the support they need.”

 

46. DJ Ritu Khurana

DJ Ritu Khurana, co-founded Club Kali, an inclusive LGBTQI space with a focus on South Asian heritage, over two decades ago. With her other cofounder Rita, she open Club Kali in 1995 to provide a more inclusive and diverse club space, that combined Eastern and Western musical flavours. Coming from a South Asian/British Asian perspective, she celebrates her “brownness, queerness, music, culture and annual festivals like Diwali, Eid, Navratri, Vaisakhi, as well as Christmas and Easter, creating a global queer community in the UK, thanks to partnering up with events like South Asian Heritage Month.

 

47. Bandy Kiki

UK-based blogger and LGBTQ+ activist Bandy Kiki has used her influence and platforms on social media to raise awareness about the injustices that the LGBTQ+ community face in Cameroon. She is a spokesperson for Rainbow Equality Hub, which fights for the rights of queer people in the country. In April 2021, she publicly stood up for two transgender women from her home country who were arrested at a restaurant for wearing women’s clothing and charged for “attempted homosexuality.” Despite her support, they were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. When Bandy first moved to the UK, she feared for her life whenever she would attend gatherings with members of the LGBTQ+ community because in her native country homosexuality is a criminal offense which can be punishable by maximum of five years in prison. But that hasn’t stopped her from raising awareness about the injustices the LGBTQ+ community face in her home country.

 

48. Hayley Kiyoko

Singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and director Hayley Kiyoko identifies as a multiracial white and Japanese lesbian. The American artist is a big fan of colors and makeup, and her fans call her “lesbian Jesus.” She works toward inspiring confidence in young people that struggle with being queer and normalizing lesbian relationships in a society that she sees as being very heteronormative.

 

49. Krystal Lake

The New York-born, London-based DJ, radio host, filmmaker, and social influencer Krystal Lake wants organizations to take homophobic remarks and labels seriously, and do more to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion. She started her own social media channel to teach “the stuff that schools don’t” on TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat. Her material focuses on Black, LGBTQ+ women, and mental health subjects: “I educate the world about LGBTQ+ topics and issues. I let people know there is nothing wrong with being a part of the rainbow mafia, and most importantly I teach people how to love themselves. My platform is a safe space and I let that be known to anyone whether they’re LGBTQ+ or straight.”



 

50. Andreena Leeanne 

Andreena writes and performs poetry to come to terms with and speak out about her personal experiences with identity, homelessness, mental health, childhood sexual abuse and the many other challenges she has faced in her life. By speaking her truth, she hopes to inspire and empower others to speak and write their truth. She delivers writing workshops, performs her poetry at various events and facilitates an in-person and virtual open mic event specifically for the LGBTQ+ community (@PoetryLGBT).

51. Amao Leota Lu

Amao Leota Lu is a transgender advocate and performer in Australia. In 2020 she curated the very first queer Pacific event at Midsumma Festival in Melbourne, and performed there with an event entitled Pacific Essence: Tales of a Migrant Plantation, which was staged at the Immigration Museum. In 2019 she was part of the ensemble cast of Gender Euphoria, which was staged as part of Melbourne International Arts Festival. She combines queer perspectives with "Indigenous knowledge-making". She also speaks  out about the discrimination that gender diverse members of the Pacific Islander communities still face. Allyship and education about the LGBTQIA+ community is the focus for her role at the female-led NGO Planet Ally.

 

52. Lori Lightfoot

Lori Lightfoot is the current mayor of Chicago. She is the first Black woman, the first openly gay person, and only the second woman to be elected mayor of the city, making Chicago the largest U.S. city to be led by a woman. Before becoming mayor, Lightfoot worked in private legal practice as a partner at Mayer Brown and held various government positions in Chicago. Most notably, she served as president of the Chicago Police Board and chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, and a board member of local chapters of NARAL and the ACLU.

 

53. Admiral Rachel Levine 

In 2021, pediatrician Dr. Rachel Levine was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary for Health, making her the first out transgender person confirmed by the U.S. Senate in history and the highest-ranking transgender government official in the nation. She is the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As Assistant Secretary for Health, Rachel Levine fights every day to improve the health and well-being of all Americans.


54. Reeta Loi 

Reeta is a Buddhist and queer Indian woman raised in the UK, who has been an influential spokesperson for South Asian LGBTQ+ community. As the founder and CEO of Gaysians, the global movement and network of over 30 organisations, she amplifies the voices of South Asian LGBTQ+ people. Reeta is also writer and former Contributing Editor at Gay Times and former DIVA columnist who has changed the media landscape for representation of LGBTQ+ South Asian narratives and is currently writing their debut novel. Reeta’s VICE documentary has amassed over 2 million views and exposed and shut down an International gay marriage scam based in India. Her work brings together people, communities and organisations to create positive change in the world.

 

55. Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Community leader Miss Major Griffin-Gracy has been fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and social justice for more than 50 years, particularly when it comes to police brutality and the prison system. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and a survivor of the Attica Prison Riots. She was the original executive director for the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, and worked with a number of HIV/AIDS organizations in San Francisco in the 1990s. She is known as “Mama” to the community, particularly trans women of color. Her legacy project is House of GG, a home in Arkansas where trans and gender nonconforming people can heal from trauma and build a support network. She continues to raise awareness for the intersectionality of poverty, race, and gender, and advocates for transgender people to be included in leadership positions in the LGBTQ+ movement.


56. Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin is a British racing car driver and transgender activist who competes in endurance racing. Charlie is on a mission to become the first transgender motorsport driver to compete in the Le Mans race, and has used her status as a prominent racing driver to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ and transgender rights. For example, during the 2018 Ginetta GT5 Challenge and British GT round at Silverstone, she led a campaign for drivers to run with rainbow stickers on their cars in order to mark Pride Month and to show support for equality and diversity in the industry. She has called for the normalisation of LGBTQ+ representation in motorsport as part of the greater drive towards gender equality in racing. Martin was announced as Stonewall's first Sports Ambassador as part of the charity’s Rainbow Laces campaign, and became the first-ever racing driver to join Athlete's Ally's ambassador programme, partnering with the charity in May 2019. The following month (June 2019) Charlie was announced as an ambassador for Racing Pride – an initiative developed in partnership with Stonewall UK to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity within the motorsport industry and among its technological and commercial partners.


57. Layla McCay

As Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation, Layla champions authentic leadership and has brought LGBTQ+ inclusion into all aspects of her work. She is executive lead of the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network where she drives national advocacy to improve inclusive leadership and policies, promoting LGBTQ+ visibility and leadership across the NHS. Layla was instrumental in creating a representative response from LGBTQ+ leaders and mental health professionals on banning conversion therapy. She role models visible diversity, writing, chairing and speaking on public platforms, including panel discussions at national conferences. Within the NHS Confederation, Layla founded and is executive sponsor for the LGBTQ+ staff group which has delivered better LGBTQ+ visibility, allyship and belonging through meetings, all-staff discussions, policies, and organisation-wide blogs and videos. In her voluntary role as Director of the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health, she advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion in urban planning and design, including via blogs, interviews, and inclusion in her recent book, Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing. Layla’s upcoming book is about LGBTQ+ people in the workplace.

 

58. Michaela Mendelsoh

Back in 1986, Michaela Mendelsohn founded Pollo West Corp., a chain of six fast casual chicken restaurants in the Los Angeles area. As an advocate of transgender rights, Mendelsohn is the first transgender person to serve on the board of The Trevor Project, and is also the founder of Trans Can Work, an organization helping gender-diverse workers find employment.

 

59. Jacqui Moon

Jacqui Moon, is a graphic designer and Co-Chair of Pride in Water, an LGBTQIA+ pride network for the Australian water industry. Jacqui is passionate about sharing LGBTQIA+ voices through design and storytelling, as well as championing diversity and inclusion through the ERG.

 

60. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi fought India's Supreme Court to recognise a "third gender"; the court concluded that "it is the right of every human being to choose their gender". She was the first trans person to represent Asia Pacific in the UN in 2008 and is now chair and founder of Astitva Trust, Asia's first transgender organisation. Laxmi describes herself as Hijra, the oldest ethnic transgender community, saying "We are neither a man nor a woman, but we enjoy the femininity of the world. We have the power to curse and the power to bless." 

 

61. Katie Neeves

Founder of Cool2BTrans, photographer and transwoman Katie now works as an advocate for trans acceptance and helps to better the lives of those who are trans. She's on a mission to raise awareness of the issues that continue to face Trans people, after coming out as transgender after she had lived 48 years of her life as a man. In doing so, Katie risked her livelihood as a photographer, but nonetheless continued on her journey for acceptance and to live her true identity. Katie founded Cool2BTrans as a medium in which transgender people could both inform and educate on the issues that still continue to face trans people, pushing the fact that trans people deserve happiness as everyone else does. Additionally, Katie is known for her impactful Trans Awareness Training sessions, which aim to improve education on trans issues in the workplace and offer actionable steps to prevent discrimination. 

62. Alice Nkom

Alice Nkom is a llawyer who has spent years fighting for homosexuality to be decriminalised in her homeland in Cameroon. She was the first Cameroonian woman called to the bar in 1969 and throughout her law career, Alice has defended low income and vulnerable people, including political prisoners, street children and women. In 2003 she founded the Association for the Defence of Homosexuals (ADEFHO) in an effort to provide support and legal defence to LGBTQ+ people in Cameroon, a country where engaging in same-sex sexual acts can lead to fines and imprisonment, and people can be arrested on rumours alone. There is no other group like this in her country or in the rest of western Africa.
In 2011 she was threatened with arrest by Cameroonian officials after the European Union granted ADEFHO €300,000, which was interpreted as blatant disregard for the law of the land. The arrest never manifested, which Alice attributes to international support of her work.

 

63. Beverly Palesa Ditsie

Originally from South Africa, openly lesbian Beverly Palesa Ditsie was the first lesbian woman to address the UN at the World Conference on Women in Beijing back in 1995. She also organized the first Pride march in South Africa in 1990, and continued to march despite the discrimination and abuse it brought her. The moniker “the Rainbow Nation” rings entirely true for Beverly, who continues to fight for LGBTQ+ rights within the context of human rights and the necessity of advancing the liberation of LGBTQ+ people.

 

64. Lady Phyll

Renowned for publicly refusing an MBE in the 2016 New Year Honours, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, widely known as Lady Phyll, is the Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, an LGBTQ+ charity that works to defend and uphold human rights. She has over 20 years’ experience as an LGBTQ+ rights activist and anti-racism campaigner. She has spent a decade advocating for the rights of workers within the largest civil service union as a lead negotiator on behalf of civil service workers. Lady Phyll is also the co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride, the first event of its kind in Europe celebrating LGBTQ+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent “to promote and advocate for the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual health and well-being” of these communities.



 

65. Bobbi Pickard

Bobbi Pickard is a Diversity Equity and Inclusion professional with many years senior operational and programme management experience in the banking, trading, technology and energy sectors. As the first openly transgender person in bp, she transformed transgender awareness globally within the company. She is CEO of Trans in the City Ltd., an organization she founded in response to seeing a lack of co-operative working between global corporates to help the trans and non-binary community, and has transformed it into a global organisation with over 350 major organisations collaborating on furthering trans awareness across the world. Extremely active in all areas of diversity, Bobbi speaks at many events around the world on LGBTQIA+ inclusion in business, trans issues and diversity and inclusion in industry. 

 

 

66. Donnya Piggott

Human rights activist Donnya Piggott is the founder of B-GLAD (Barbados Gays, Lesbians, and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination), an LGBTQ+ organization operating in Barbados to provide a safe space for the community. B-GLAD provides education on LGBTQ+ issues as well as raises the profile of the LGBTQ+ community as it fights for acceptance. She was awarded the Young Leaders Award for her activism. Donnya’s approach rejects the traditional argument on LGBTQ+ rights as one coming from a religious or moral standpoint – arguing it ends in stalemate – instead pursuing humanism and common humanity as reasons for the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people.


67. Leanne Pittsford

In 2012, entrepreneur Leanne Pittsford founded Lesbians Who Tech + Allies, the largest LGBTQ technology community in the world, with 50,000 LGBTQ women, non-binary people, people of color and allies in tech in over 42 cities worldwide. Leanne Pittsford founded Lesbians Who Tech in 2012, the largest LGBTQ+ community of technologists in the world. The community offers programming and opportunities to give visibility and opportunity to LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary individuals in the tech sector. The organization now has more than 40,000 members. Leanne also organized the LGBTQ+ Tech and Innovation Summits at the White House in 2015 and 2016.

 

68. Jennifer Pritzker

Investor and Philanthropist, Founder of Tawani Enterprises and an heir to the Hyatt hotels fortune, Jennifer Pritzker is the first and only known transgender billionaire in history, with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Jennifer has founded and served with a number of business and philanthropic organizations. In 1996, she started Tawani Enterprises,private wealth management company, where she served as president and CEO. In August 2013, she released a statement to employees at Tawani Enterprises and the Pritzker Military Library that subsequently received wide media coverage, sharing the name change from to Jennifer Natalya, reflecting her status as a transgender woman, making her the first and only out transgender billionaire.  In 2016, through her Foundation, Jennifer gave a $2 million donation to create the world's first endowed academic chair of transgender studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. She has also received and presented the Bonham Centre Award from The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto, for her contributions to the advancement and education of issues around sexual identification. 


69. Sara Ramirez

Best known for her ground-breaking role as bisexual character Callie on Grey’s Anatomy and a Tony Award-winning Broadway career, Sara Ramirez is also a vocal advocate for Latinx culture and LGBTQ+ rights, which has included sitting on the board of directors of True Colors United and the LGBTQ Task Force, and supporting groups like the Bisexual Organizing Project and Mujeres de Maiz. The Mexican American actor came out as bisexual in 2016 and has been a committed activist for the bi-plus community by combining entertainment and activism throughout her career.

 

70. Megan Rapinoe

Despite being a renowned soccer player, captain of the United States national team, the 2019 Best FIFA Women’s Player, and an Olympic gold medalist, Megan Rapinoe is still paid less for her role in women’s soccer than those playing men’s soccer. So she’s working hard to make sure that pay gap is known and closed. Rapinoe has become an activist for equal pay. Her and her team’s work led to the unforgettable moment right after they won the 2019 Women’s World Cup finals when thousands of fans chanted, “Equal pay! Equal pay! Megan’s fiancée, Sue Bird, is also an athlete and activist role model in the basketball world, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights as well as equal pay.

 

71. Michelle "Michi" Raymond

Michelle "Michi" Raymond is the Director of Global Business Development at myGwork, the largest global recruitment and networking hub for the LGBTQ+ business community. Before that, Raymond worked for 8 years at Morgan Stanley in Washington D.C. in the Wealth Management Division and started the company’s first LGBTQ+ employee resource group for the Mid-Atlantic region. She served as the Corporate Committee Representative for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and later moved to Madrid, Spain, to pursue an International MBA at IE Business School. While at IE she served as the president to the university’s LGBTQ+ student club and kick started a career in Diversity & Inclusion consulting. As the Conference Director for LGBT+@Work, Raymond worked to get companies operating in Madrid involved in the conference. Less than three years later, Raymond led the growth of the event to become the largest funded and third-largest LGBTQ+ Work Conference hosted by a business school in the world. This work has kept Raymond pretty busy, yet somehow still leaves her with enough time to pursue a music career.


Over the last decade, Raymond has performed and recorded music under the artist name “Michi” and served as the opening act for artists including Miley Cyrus, Meghan Trainor, Rita Ora, Kelly Rowland, and Carly Rae Jepsen. In 2020, Raymond earned a Master’s Degree in Global Entertainment & Music Business from Berklee College of Music, where she was awarded the Outstanding Women’s Scholarship and a mentorship with Yvette Noel-Schure, legendary publicist to Beyoncé, John Legend, Mariah Carey, and Prince, just to name a few. As part of her degree, Raymond also launched LAVICHI Records, a record label to cultivate and amplify the work of diverse musicians.



72. Linda Riley

Editor of Diva Magazine, and founder of Lesbian Visibility Week and the European Diversity Awards, Linda Riley has fought tirelessly for years to increase visibility both for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the marginalized voices within it. She cares deeply and passionately about equality. In her work hosting the Diva Community, Linda provides space for people to discuss and explore topics important to the LGBTQ+ community, in a safe space.


73. Gina Rocero

The New York-based Filipino-born American model, TED Speaker, and transgender advocate, Gina Rocero is the founder of Gender Proud, a media production company that tells stories of the transgender community worldwide to elevate justice and equality. Rocero has spoken about transgender rights at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and the White House. On International Day of Trans Visibility, Geena stood on stage at TED said, “The world makes you something that you’re not, but you know inside what you are, and that question burns in your heart: how will you become that?” After her powerful coming out story went viral, she launched GenderProud, which seeks to advance the rights of transgender people worldwide.

 

74. Danica Roem

At a time when “bathroom bills” and military bans have threatened the privacy and safety of transgender people, Danica Roem continues to be an inspiring leader and activist for the LGBTQ+ community. Danica is the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly, challenging and defeating 13-term incumbent and self-described “chief homophobe” Bob Marshall in the 2017 special election. She was re-elected in 2019, making her the first openly trans state legislator to be re-elected.

  

75. Peyton Rose Michelle Theriot

In 2020, at age 22, Peyton Rose Michelle Theriot was elected to serve on the Democratic State Central Committee for the 46th District A, making her the first openly transgender woman elected to a Louisiana political position. At an age when many transgender people of previous generations weren’t even able to be out of the closet, she also serves on the board of Louisiana Trans Advocates and the board of PFLAG Lafayette, while working towards a political science degree and doing digital marketing at her day job. 

 

 76. Angelica Ross

Angelica Ross is an American actress, businesswoman, and transgender rights advocate. As Founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, Angelica Ross helps employ transgender people in the tech industry. She is a self-taught programmer, who went on to become founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, as well as the TransTech Summit. She is also the president of Miss Ross, Inc, and continues to act, having featured in several series, films and Broadway shows.

 

77. Martine Rothblatt 

Martine Rothblatt is founder and CEO of United Therapeutics, and creator of Sirius XM Radio. Not only did Martine pioneer satellite radio, but she has also broken barriers in the fields of life sciences and transgender rights activism. Furthermore, in 2013, she earned a salary of $38 million, making her the highest paid female CEO at the time.


78. Jo Rzymowska

Jo Rzymowska has actively championed LGBTQ+ rights and experiences throughout her career in travel. Since she started her dedicated role at Celebrity Cruises, as Vice President & Managing Director, EMEA, the brand has become known for proactively setting itself apart as the industry leader in LGBTQ+ friendly travel and continuing to speak up for an industry that celebrates diversity and inclusion. Focused on creating an environment where diversity is celebrated both internally as well as on board Celebrity Cruises’ ships, Jo has championed inclusivity at all levels of the business. Jo guides and contributes to the Anchored in Pride ERG as Executive Sponsor for members and allies, is a key advocate for the Pride at Sea programme on board Celebrity’s ships, and implements better tools and training for employees and agents to sell holidays to LGBTQ+ travellers. Jo has also been named LGBT+ Trailblazer of the Year at the 2021 TTG Travel.

 

79. Sue Sanders

Sue Sanders, Chair of Schools Out, is Emeritus Professor Harvey Milk Institute 2015, and an educator and LGBTQ+ and disability rights activist. For over 40 years she has been a teacher, tutor and lecturer on women's studies and on combating homophobia in schools, universities and other organisations, both in the UK and Australia. Sanders has served on the LGBT Advisory Group to the UK Government’s Hate Crime Board. She also served as part of the National Union of Teachers LGBT working party, been a member of the Southwark anti-Homophobic Forum (which she joined in 1997) and worked as a consultant to the Crown Prosecution Service, helping to produce national policy on prosecuting homophobic crimes effectively. In 1996 she co-founded, with Paul Patrick, a consultancy called Chrysalis which delivers training around equal opportunity issues. In 2000 she became the co-chair of Schools OUT UK, a group working for the equality of LGBTQ+ people in the education system. With the help of the Schools OUT UK committee she instituted the UK's first LGBT History Month, launched in December 2004. In 2011 Sanders founded The Classroom, a website with over 80 lesson plans free for teachers to use for teaching LGBTQ+ issues across the curriculum and in all Key Stages tied to the national curriculum. She has written poetry and short stories as well as articles and publications on feminist issues, education and homophobia, and regularly appears on TV and radio programmes dealing with equality and LGBTQ+ issues.

 

80. Celia Sandhya Daniels

Celia Sandhya Daniels is an Asian Indian trans woman of color who is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, musician, activist, and blogger. She is a management consultant with over 20 plus years of demonstrated success in operating, growing, and spearheading media, healthcare, and life sciences engagements for fortune 100 companies. Celia brings an amazing intersectional blend of ethnicity, culture, faith, and corporate experience to educate, empower, and advocate for transgender rights in her corporate activism. LinkedIn chose her as the top ten LGBTQ+ voices in US and Canada. She is currently the Founder and CEO of Rebekon Consulting LLC. Executive Board at TransCanWork Inc and VP of Stonewall Democrats of Ventura County. According to Celia, "Companies must redefine their diversity, equity and inclusion programs “from the bathroom all the way up to the boardroom” to be supportive of trans professionals. In sharing her personal experience with coming outconfronting harassment and dealing with microaggressions, she emphasizes the importance of having difficult conversations about intersectional identities.

 

81. Lilly Singh

Host, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, Comedian and Youtuber Lilly Singh is the first openly bisexual person and the first person of Indian and South Asian descent to host a late night television show on a major American television network. Canadian YouTuber. Singh began making YouTube videos in 2010. She originally appeared under the pseudonym Superwoman (stylized IISuperwomanII), her YouTube username until 2019. In 2016, she was included in, Forbes' llist of world's highest paid YouTubers ranking third and earning a reported $7.5 million. By 2017, she was ranked tenth on the Forbes list of the world's highest-paid YouTube stars, earning a reported $10.5 million; as of February 2022 she has 14.7 million subscribers and over three billion video view

 

82. Jojo Siwa

As one of the most popular names among kids and tweens, it was a huge deal when Jojo Siwa came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community last year on social media. Then, in February 2021, Jojo revealed that she was in a relationship with her best friend, Kylie Prew. With a TikTok following of more than 33 million and a global business empire built on her personal brand, she had a lot at stake. In previous interviews, Jojo describes herself as pansexual and also uses the terms “gay” and “queer.” If you don’t know of her, most kids in your family will. Go into any big box store and you’ll probably find her signature bows, dolls in her likeness, her children’s books, Jojo-branded makeup, etc. At just 18, she was on Time’s list of the most influential people in the world.

 

83. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir

The former Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the world’s first openly LGBTQ+ head of government, when she was elected in February 2009. In 1987, she entered into a civil union with author and playwright Jónína Leósdóttir and they changed their civil union into a marriage when same-sex marriage was legalized, becoming one of the first same-sex married couples in Iceland. A former activist in the trade union movement and an MP since 1978, she was named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.



 

84. Katie Sowers

Thanks to Katie Sowers, it will be much easier for girls to watch the Super Bowl and imagine themselves on the sidelines. The offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers became the first woman and the first openly gay person to coach at the Super Bowl in 2020. The former high school athletics director and Women’s Football Alliance player and coach even got her own Super Bowl commercial with Microsoft, one of many LGBTQ+-inclusive ads that played during the game. But despite all the media buzz around her gender and sexual identity, Katie and the players she works with stay focused on her talent, her hard work, and her knowledge of the game.

 

85. Diamond Stylz

Protecting Black trans women isn’t a slogan for Diamond Stylz, it’s her life’s work and passion. As a high schooler, she successfully sued Indianapolis Public Schools for the right to wear a gown to prom rather than a tuxedo and then went on to become the first openly trans woman to attend Jackson State University, an HBCU in Mississippi. Her experiences in college sadly included being the target of the kind of bigoted violence that continues to kill Black trans women in America at higher rates than other transgender and gender nonconforming people. In response, Diamond doubled down on her activism and became the visible advocate for Black trans women that she is today. From producing the weekly podcast Marsha’s Plate, where she and her co-hosts help to unpack Black trans people’s experiences, to helming Black Transwomen Inc, a national non-profit that supports Black trans women in need.



 

86. Hayley Sudbury

Entrepreneur Hayley Sudbury campaigns for LGBTQ+ rights and diversity in the tech industry. She is the founder and CEO of WERKIN, an analytics platform that utilizes behavioral science to improve diversity in company hiring practices. Before founding her own company, Sudbury was an executive at Barclays. She is also a member of the committee for LB Women and is a mentor for Stemettes.

 

87. Fumie Suguri

Japanese figure skater Fumie Suguri is the first out female figure skater to have competed in world-class competition. Among her many accomplishments on the ice, Suguri is a three-time world medalist, a three-time Four Continents champion, a two-time Olympic athlete, and Japan’s first ISU Grand Prix Final champion. In November 2014, after she retired from competitive skating, she came out as bisexual. In a sport where women are pressured to live up to strict standards of femininity, Suguri paved the way for more women to be true to who they are.

 

88. Wanda Sykes

Actor and comedian Wanda Sykes is known for her stand-up comedy. She came out as a lesbian in 2008 and has been an active LGBTQ+ activist ever since. She appeared in GLSEN’s “Think Before You Speak” campaign against homophobic language and was awarded the GLAAD Stephen F. Kolzak Award and the Activism in the Arts honor at the Triumph Awards. In 2009, Wanda became the first African American woman, and the first LGBTQ+ individual, to be the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

 

89. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku is New Zealand's leading feminist writer, lesbian rights activist and academic specialising in Māori cultural issues.As a Māori lesbian, Ngahuia was a key figure calling to focus on reaching Māori and Pacific women, as well as lesbian rights, among the feminist movement in the '70s. After a trip to the US was prohibited due to her public acknowledgement of her sexual orientation, Ngahuia helped found NZ’s first gay liberation group in 1972. She is now the first Māori female Emeritus in Aotearoa, and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori culture.

 

90. Jewel Thais-Williams

Back in 1973, nightclub pioneer and community-driven activist Jewel Thais-Williams opened Jewel’s Catch One, one of the first Black gay nightclubs in the United States, and the longest-running Black queer dance bar in Los Angeles. She is the subject of the award-winning documentary Jewel’s Catch One, which aired on Netflix.  She's one of very few Black lesbians who had the courage become a club owner, which went on to became the most diverse and successful club of its kind. In 1987, Jewel  alsoco-founded the Minority AIDS Project, which helps blacks and Hispanics affected by the disorder. In 1989, after seeing the worst of AIDS, Jewel decided that she needed to take her work further by co-founding Rue’ House, the first housing facility for minority women with AIDS and their children in America.  At 81 years old, Jewel continues to follow her passion and advocacy by volunteering at the Village Health Foundation, another nonprofit she founded, which provides affordable, safe, and effective health care treatment.

 

91. Lucy Thomas

Lucy Thomas leads Project Rockit, a youth-driven organisation dedicated to tackling bullying, hate and prejudice for Australia’s future generations, and focuses on sharing very personal stories of her own homophobic experienceto help build safe spaces and inclusive communities. Her platform sharesheart-warming stories of students taking a stand against on issues from LGBTQ+ discrimination to mental health initiatives.


92. Li Tingting

Li Maizi (Li Tingting) has been working with non-profit organizations and leading “performance art” campaigns in support of feminist and LGBTQ+ causes in China since 2011. During her second year of university, Li set up a Lesbian Community Training Group, offering counseling services and support for university students. She was also one of the “Feminist Five” arrested in 2015 ahead of Women’s Day for planning to distribute anti-sexual harassment stickers on public transportation and charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a charge that could have resulted in up to ten years in prison if not for her release following an uproar from supporters at home and abroad.

 

93. Lily Tomlin

Few LGBTQ+ people have been more influential in the world of comedy than Lily Tomlin. She has been involved in a number of feminist and gay-friendly film productions, and on her 1975 album Modern Scream she pokes fun at straight actors who make a point of distancing themselves from their gay and lesbian character. Answering one pseudo-interview question, she famously replied: “How did it feel to play a heterosexual? I’ve seen these women all my life, I know how they walk, I know how they talk…” Recently honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Grace & Frankie star began as a stand-up comedian and Off-Broadway actor before her breakout role in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. She’s also well-known for her from her Tony Award-winning show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, and films like Nashville, 9 to 5, Big Business, and Flirting with Disaster. She and her partner Jane Wagner first met back March 1971.



 

94. Lupe Valdez

Lupe Valdez was the first Latina and the first openly gay person nominated for governor by a major party in Texas, but ultimately lost to Republican Governor Greg Abbott. She was the former Dallas County Sheriff and Democratic nominee for Governor of Texas in 2018. An out lesbian and the youngest of eight children of Mexican-American parents, she served in the US Army Reserve before moving into law enforcement and becoming a senior agent in the Department of Homeland Security.

 

95. Ellen Wagner

 Ellen Wagner is founder and CEO, Cross Cultural Bridges, focusing on on queer hostility. Ellen believes it’s vital to better understand the constructs of gender in order to support those experiencing hate and empower colleagues to bring their full authentic selves to work. Through her work and presentations, she educates on how the LGBTQ+ community is more than just one label and why awareness is the first step in allyship.

 

96. Lena Waithe

Actor, producer, and screenwriter Lena Waithe is an out lesbian from Chicago, and the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on Master of None in 2017. She went on to produce diverse, cutting-edge shows like The Chi and Boomerang, as well as last year’s crime film Queen and Slim. Recently, she voiced the first openly queer animated Disney character in Onward. Throughout her career, she has pushed for more queer people and people of color to be involved in her film and TV projects, and acted as a mentor for up-and-coming artists.

 

97. Tammi Wallace

Tammi Wallace is a Co-Founder of the Chamber, former Steering Committee member and is part of the Chamber's Founding Leadership Council. Her passion for economic inclusion and opportunity for the LGBTQ+ Business Community has been a driving force in the Chamber's growth since the launch of the organization. In recognition of the progress made in advancing the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s strategic goals and the need to dedicate resources to achieve the longer-term vision for the organization, the Board of Directors named Tammi to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer to lead, manage, and execute day-to-day operations. This appointment recognized Tammi’s many years of volunteer work with the Chamber behind the scenes at the local, state, and national levels, where she has been dedicated to bringing visibility to the LGBTQ+ Business Community. Tammi utilizes her cross-sector experience to make a difference through her community involvement with various organizations. Currently, Tammi serves on the board of the Hollyfield Foundation and Montrose Management District as well as on the National LGBT Chamber (NGLCC) Affiliate Chamber Leadership Council representing the Southern region. In 2016, she was appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve on the City of Houston’s first LGBTQ+ Advisory Board. 

 

98. Kate Wickett

Kate Wickett was co-chair of the SGLMG board before stepping down to lead Sydney WorldPride 2023 as CEO. Her devotion to the LGBTQ+ community is equalled only by the value she brings to it. Kate has been volunteering for LGBTIQ+ organisations for over 20 years. An outstanding leader, creative thinker, tireless worker, and compassionate human being.

Kate studied law and began her career in various legal roles including a one year appointment as Associate to Supreme Court Justice Steven Bailey (NT), and legal positions at Maddocks, Buchanan Group, and Port of Melbourne Corp.

 

99. Mia Yamamoto

Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney and civil rights activist of Japanese descent, Mia Yamamoto is the first openly trans attorney in California history. Mia says she knew from an early age that her body did not match her identity, but did not know how to express her inner turmoil. While struggling with her gender identity she decided to enlist in the Army, and served from 1966 to 1968. After the army, she attended UCLA's School of Law, where she co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association (APILSA). In 1984 she opened her own practice, and has practiced law since. The salary that she earned as a lawyer helped her afford therapy, which began her journey towards realizing she was a trans woman. However, she was only able to find negative representations of the transgender community. Yamamoto tried to find her way through her transition with the arts, learning to dance and play music. The challenges of transition led her to the realization that she should become an activist for the transgender community. Yamamoto is the recipient of the Rainbow Key Award by the City of West Hollywood, the Liberty Award by Lambda Legal, and the Harvey Milk Legacy Award by Christopher Street West/LA Pride.  She has also been honored by API Equality and the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission for her advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community

 

100. Helena Zia

Award-winning author and journalist Helen Zia has been at the forefront of Asian American issues for decades. She has been outspoken about several social justice issues, including civil, racial and women’s rights, as well as countering homophobia and LGBTQ+ issues. In 2008, Helena married her partner Lia Shigemura in San Francisco, making them one of the first same-sex couples to legally marry in the state of California.


WorkPride 2023

myGwork’s five-day working global virtual WorkPride conference, returns this year during Pride Month (19-23 June) with over 200 international speakers across more than 50 sessions. Themed #WorkingWithPride, WorkPride offers the opportunity to share best practices and gain the tools to help create safe and inclusive workplaces for a more harmonious environment where LGBTQ+ professionals can flourish and progress up the career ladder. What’s more it’s free for professionals, graduates, inclusive employers, allies and anyone who believes in workplace equality. Sign up here.




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