This list contains actors, performers, activists, writers, community leaders, health leaders, and government leaders, all who have left an indelible mark on history in their own rights.


Stormé DeLarverie

StorméDeLarverie, a biracial, butch lesbian, found her calling in performance from an early age. For over a decade, from 1955 to 1969, she captivated audiences as the charismatic MC and sole drag king of the groundbreaking Jewel Box Revue, the first drag show in North America to embrace racial integration. 

In the '80s and '90s, she was a bouncer at several lesbian bars in New York City and assumed leadership positions within the Stonewall Veterans Association. Revered as the 'guardian of lesbians in the Village,' she devoted herself to community service, patrolling the streets, and organizing fundraisers for survivors of domestic violence and their families, leaving an enduring legacy of advocacy and compassion.


Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox has been a trailblazer for trans representation in the media. After her groundbreaking role in Orange is the New Black, she was the first openly trans person to make it onto the cover of TIME. She was also the first trans person to win a Daytime Emmy for executive producing Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, which was also the first trans documentary to win a Daytime Emmy. 

Among her many 'firsts,' Cox is also recognized as the first transgender individual to portray a transgender series regular on broadcast television and to receive a Primetime Emmy nomination for acting.


Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho has been celebrated for her roles as a comedian, actress, and author. At the heart of her activism lies a commitment to LGBTQ rights and advocacy for Asian Americans. Through her comedy, Cho bravely tackles personal struggles like substance abuse and eating disorders, while also shedding light on bisexuality and challenging stereotypes within the Asian American community. 

Margaret Cho's accolades are as diverse as her talents. From receiving the Victory Fund’s Leadership Award to the First Amendment Award from the ACLU of Southern California, she's garnered recognition across various platforms. GLAAD, American Women in Radio and Television, and PFLAG are just a few organizations that have honored her contributions. Notably, LA Pride presented Margaret with a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her profound impact on the LGBT community. Read more about Margaret Cho by visiting her website.


Dr. Margaret Chung

Dr. Margaret Chung is celebrated as the pioneering first Chinese American woman to enter the medical field, yet her identity as a queer woman, catering to lesbian couples and individuals seeking birth control, remains less recognized. During WWII, she gained renown for nurturing a vast network of 'adopted sons,' mostly American servicemen who affectionately dubbed her 'Mom.' Hosting grand weekly dinners at her San Francisco residence, Dr. Chung welcomed soldiers, celebrities, and high-ranking officials, leveraging her influence to bolster the Allied war efforts.

Patients like lesbian poet and journalist Elsa Gidlow sought out Dr. Chung, suspecting she might be a fellow lesbian. Although Dr. Chung never identified with the label, she had romantic connections with women, including Gidlow and entertainer Sophie Tucker. She participated in the community from a distance to protect her career from rumors of her sexuality, preferring to stick to bars and cafes outside Chinatown, where San Francisco's burgeoning queer community thrived in North Beach. Learn more about Dr. Chung by visiting the National Park Services’ website.


Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was a world-renowned performer, activist, and WWII hero. Rising to fame during the Harlem Renaissance, she captivated audiences for over fifty years. In 1927, she shattered barriers by becoming the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture with 'Siren of the Tropics.' Beyond entertainment, Baker was a fierce civil rights advocate and had relationships with both women and men throughout her life.

A true trailblazer, Baker's personal life reflected her political convictions. In addition to her career achievements, she boldly challenged racial injustices and promoted cultural harmony. Adopting 13 children from diverse backgrounds, Baker formed her “rainbow tribe' to showcase the beauty of diversity. Her final performance in 1975 was a testament to her enduring legacy, as she received a standing ovation from a sold-out crowd. Josephine Baker's impact transcends generations, inspiring us to strive for equality and unity. Read more about her by visiting the Women’s Natural History Museum’s website.


Lea DeLaria

Lea DeLaria's rise to stardom was not overnight; her illustrious career spans decades across comedy, acting, and jazz music. Breaking barriers as the first openly gay comic on American television, she's brought her bold humor to countless TV and film roles, from 'Orange is the New Black' to 'Broad City' and beyond. With Obie and Theater World Awards under her belt, DeLaria's versatility shines on stage, from her acclaimed portrayal in 'On The Town' to her gender-bending performances in 'The Rocky Horror Show' on Broadway.

Beyond the screen, DeLaria's musical talent has graced prestigious venues worldwide, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. As the featured vocalist at the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, she continues to captivate audiences with her powerhouse voice and magnetic presence. Lea DeLaria's impact transcends genres, proving her to be a true icon in entertainment. Read more about her career by visiting her website

Cecilia GentiScreenshot_2024-03-05_at_10_MHQCOrg.jpeg

Cecilia Gentili, a beloved transgender actress, author, and activist, has left an indelible mark on New York City and beyond. As an asylum seeker from Argentina, she devoted her life to advocating for the rights of undocumented immigrants, sex workers, and LGBTQ+ individuals. A founding member of Decrim NY, she tirelessly championed decriminalization, decarceration, and destigmatization of sex work, leaving a lasting legacy of social justice activism.

In addition to her advocacy work, Gentili's compassion extended to healthcare initiatives for marginalized communities. She spearheaded Cecilia’s Occupational Inclusion Network, providing free healthcare for sex workers through the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Cecilia Gentili's memory will continue to inspire generations to come, reminding us of the importance of advocacy, compassion, and inclusivity. She passed away on February 6, 2024. Read more about her legacy by visiting People’s website.


bell hooks

bell hooks, born Gloria Jean Watkins, left an indelible mark on academia and feminist discourse through her prolific writings and teachings. Raised in segregated schools in Kentucky, she pursued higher education, earning degrees from prestigious institutions like Stanford University and the University of California. Throughout her illustrious career, hooks held teaching positions at esteemed universities such as Stanford, Yale, and Oberlin College, where she shared her insights on feminism, race, and literature.

As a prolific author, hooks penned over three dozen influential books, including 'Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism' and 'Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center.' These seminal works challenged and reshaped feminist discourse, critiquing the movement's focus on the experiences of white women while advocating for intersectional perspectives. In her later years, hooks returned to her roots in Kentucky, teaching at Berea College and establishing the bell hooks center, ensuring her legacy continues to inspire future generations of scholars and activists alike. Read more about her legacy by visiting NPR’s website.


Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is celebrated as a pioneering Mexican painter renowned for her bold and introspective self-portraits. Her vibrant canvases delve into themes of identity, the human body, and mortality, reflecting the complexities of her own life experiences. In 1925, Kahlo endured a life-altering bus accident that left her with severe injuries, leading to over 30 surgeries throughout her lifetime. Despite her physical challenges, Kahlo persevered, using her recovery period to explore her artistic talents and develop her unique style.

Throughout her life, Kahlo's relationships defied societal norms, as she engaged in romantic affairs with both men and women. While she achieved recognition as an artist during her lifetime, it was in the decades following her death in 1954 that Kahlo's legacy truly flourished. Today, Kahlo's indelible contributions to the art world continue to inspire countless admirers worldwide, showcasing the enduring power of her creative vision and unyielding spirit. Read more about Frida Kahlo by visiting the Encyclopedia Britannica website. 


Sharice Davids 

Sharice Davids, a Democratic congresswoman, made history as one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, alongside being the first openly gay representative from Kansas. Holding a law degree from Cornell Law School, Davids hails from the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin and has been actively involved in economic development initiatives within Native American communities. Alongside her legal pursuits, Davids also pursued her passion for martial arts, competing as an amateur MMA fighter during her law school years and briefly exploring professional competition in the UFC’s strawweight division. 

During her tenure as a White House fellow in 2016, Davids worked under the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she witnessed firsthand the potential impact of policy decisions on critical issues like the environment and LGBTQ+ rights. Concerned about the potential regression of progress under the new administration, Davids was motivated to enter politics as a means to advocate for marginalized communities and counteract policies that could adversely affect them. Her journey reflects a commitment to public service and a determination to effect positive change in her community and beyond.

Learn more about Sharice Davids by visiting