Notable LGBTQ+ People in History

1. Barbara Gittings

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Barbara Gittings was a gay active national archivist and critical archivist and editor whose work was essential to removing and separating the LGBTQIA narrative from that of psychiatric institutions and into the hands of individuals who identified with LGBTQIA.

2. Harvey Milk

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Harvey Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay elected official in the history of California. He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education.

3. Audre Lorde

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Audre Lorde was an American writer, librarian, civil rights activist, and lesbian. Her activism and literary works speak about the importance of liberation of oppressed people, regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and age. 

4. Bayard Rustin

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Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social rights movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. He is best known for being the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests to ever be held in the United States. Rustin was also the adviser to Marin Luther King Jr. in the 1950's and 60's. 

5. Christine Jorgensen

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Christine Jorgensen was the first transgender celebrity in America. She was born George William Jorgensen Jr. and was assigned male at birth, however, she was aware since a very young age that she did not identify as male. After her time in the U.S. Army (as George), she went to Denmark to undergo gender reassignment surgery (which was not yet legal in the United States) and later obtained reconstructive surgery int he U.S.

6. Bessie Smith

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Bessie Smith, a bisexual American singer, is considered one of the greatest blues vocalists of all time. She was known for speaking her mind about anything and everything, which included her attraction to women.

7. Marsha P. Johnson

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Marsha P. Johnson was an African-American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. She was a prominent and outspoken advocate for gay rights who was a part of the vanguard of the 1969 Stonewall uprising.

8. James Baldwin

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James Baldwin was a gay American novelist and social critic. His literary works, which include The Fire Next Time, explored the complexities of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in mid-twentieth century America. 

9. Laverne Cox

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Laverne Cox is an American actress and prominent LGBTQ advocate. She became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy for her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. 

10. Sappho

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Sappho was a Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Her lyric poetry is noted for being beautiful and full of her personality. Her poetry has offered numerous historians a rare view into the lives of queer women in ancient Greece.