Harvey Milk broke barriers when he stormed onto the American political scene. Although Harvey Milk would become most famous for being elected as the first openly gay official in Californian history, the firebrand politician did not aspire to either politics or social justice in his early career.
Milk instead found himself at the forefront of politics after being involved in the uprisings of the 1960s. That was where gay rights shared the social justice stage alongside civil rights, the Vietnam war, and the hippie counterculture revolution. Among the many policies that Milk instituted, gay rights in federally protected legislation were his most recognized.
Gilbert Baker’s influence is widespread nowadays, but his name remains mostly anonymous against his most iconic artwork: the rainbow flag. Gilbert Baker’s emblematic, six-colored flag first flew at an event in 1978. Baker was adamant that the flag represented the collective, not any single individual, and refused to copyright the design.
When the rainbow flag reached its twenty-fifth anniversary, Baker designed a pride flag so large that it ran from the Gulf of Mexico right through to the Key West islands in Florida. The flag was then cut up and a piece was sent to one hundred cities worldwide.
Bayard Rustin’s name is not as popular as his counterpart’s, Martin Luther King Jr., due to the sad indictment of the attitude towards gay men in 1960s America. Bayard Rustin was the right hand to Martin Luther King Jr. and was responsible for orchestrating one of the largest civil rights protests in American history: the “March on Washington.”
However, due to Rustin’s open acknowledgment of being a gay man, the organizers of the movement had to suppress Rustin’s involvement as it was feared that his sexuality would be used as a weapon to discredit its figurehead Martin Luther King Jr.
The massively famous actor Elliot Page, formerly knowns as Ellen Page, broke the internet with his second coming out statement. He now joins the ranks of his fellow trans peers. As a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ world, Page first came out as gay in 2014 before coming forward as a masculine-identifying transperson.
Page expressed immense gratitude in his statement, expressing how happy he is to be a part of a world where he feels accepted. The actor has an enormous resume, of course, with an Oscar nomination for the film "Juno." Going through his transition in between two seasons of the hit Netflix show "The Umbrella Academy," the transition had to be written into the series.
Stormé DeLarverie holds the honorific title of “the Rosa Parks of the Gay community.” She is widely recognized as the spark of the “Stonewall Uprising” flame after it was reported that she was the first to be arrested, an arrest which she resisted, that fateful evening at Stonewall nightclub.
The events of Stonewall reinforced DeLarverie’s role in the fight for civil rights in the LGBTQ+ movement, featuring prominently in the streets of New York as an armed protector and guardian of its lesbian denizens.