1. Judy Garland- Garland was so beloved by the gay community, the phrase “Friends of Dorothy” was code for identifying other members of the community. (Photo: Archive)
2. Billie Jean King- First out lesbian in the world of sports, she paved the way for future athletes. (Photo: Archive)
4. Freddie Mercury- Legendary singer of Queen, Mercury was portrayed as the face of the countless victims of the AIDS crisis. (Photo: Archive)
5. Cher- She embodies power and fierceness, Cher is almost worshipped in the gay community as a beloved diva. (Photo: Archive)
6. Lady Gaga- Bisexual and a force of nature, Lady Gaga has been at the forefront of the recent political movement for years, lending her voice to her “little monsters.” (Photo: Archive)
7. Queen Latifah- Starting out as a breakout rap artist and moving on to film, Queen Latifah breaks barrier after barrier, and who she loves is an added bonus. (Photo: Archive)
8. Madonna- “The kiss heard round the world” was just one of the loudest examples of how Madonna expresses and supports freedom of sexuality for all people. (Photo: Archive)
9. Elton John- Fabulous is always the first word to come to mind with Elton John. He shows the glamour and glitz of the gay community, and is well loved for it. (Photo: Archive)
10. Harvey Milk- First gay elected politician in the US, he was assassinated and became the face of a political movement. (Photo: Archive)
11. Chaz Bono- Son of Cher, Bono was always a public figure, and his transition showed countless others that it could be done, with love.
12. Ellen DeGeneres- She came out in the 90’s, when almost no one in Hollywood would admit it in public. Her tremendous courage and capacity for kindness makes her a beloved icon. (Photo: Archive)
13. Trans activist and beloved gender outlaw Kate Bornstein tours the country preaching self acceptance and love all around the world. (Photo: Archive)
14. Tom Daley is an Olympic diver that took the world by storm when he came out as gay, being one of the first major athletes of the world to do so. (Photo: Archive)
15. RuPaul is one of the most famous drag queens ever known. His fierce desire to showcase the beauty of drag led to the show “Rupaul’s Drag Race. (Photo: Archive)
16. A rock/country artist, Melissa Etheridge was the first female mainstream musician to come out and openly admit to being gay. (Photo: Archive)
17. David Bowie was a visionary whose individual style and determination to live his life his way inspired countless others, including Lady Gaga. (Photo: Archive)
18. Sylvia Rivera was one of the leaders in the Stonewall riot, the event many call the beginning of the gay rights movement. She was an activist for many years after the riot. (Photo: Archive)
19. Front-man for the band Wham!, George Michael was known for his generous philanthropy towards nurses, sick children, the LGBT community, and others. (Photo: CNN)
20. Author of “Stone Butch Blues”, Feinberg was a lifelong activist for both the LGBT community and blue collar labor. (Photo: Archive)
The LGBT movement has been progressing steadily over the past 50 years. Same-sex marriage in all 50 states is the most recent legal victory. While there is a long way to go, it is important to remember the people who helped the movement grow from a fledgling idea to the political platform it has become.
The sacrifices these people have made should never be forgotten. Whether they were on the picket lines or a symbol to rally behind, these people made strides for the LGBT community that would not have been possible otherwise. It’s time they were recognized.