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Reader's Poll: The 25 Most Important LGBT Public Figures

by /bent
June 26, 2014 7:12 PM
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15. Audre Lorde - 67
Born: 1934 in New York, New York
Died: 1992 in St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Legacy: A Caribbean-American poet, writer, feminist, civil rights activist, she was a pioneering voice for both black feminists and black lesbians.

14. Gore Vidal - 70
Born: 1925 in West Point, New York
Died: 2012 in Los Angeles, California

Legacy: An author, playwright, essayist and public intellectual, he wrote some of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality (among many other things).

12 (tie). Harvey Fierstein - 76
Born: 1954 in Brooklyn, New York

Legacy: Tony winning actor and playwright who broke major barriers in the early 1980s by being out when few were and creating work like "Torch Song Trilogy."

12 (tie). Sir Ian McKellan - 76

Born: 1939 in Burnley, England

Legacy: Academy Award nominated actor who has worked extensively campaigning for LGBT rights since coming out publicly in 1988.

11. Laverne Cox - 80
Born: An unknown year in Mobile, Alabama

Legacy: Though only a public figure for a year or two, she has already become an icon and a wonderfully vocal voice of the trans rights movement. 

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  • Codex | June 29, 2014 11:38 PMReply

    ... in America... ;)

  • bob hawk | June 28, 2014 7:11 AMReply

    Very interesting (and telling) that three of the top five were martyrs. Very glad to see such less generally known figures as Audre Lorde and Harry Hay. Am a bit surprised that there were more performers (some of very recent vintage) than writers. Poet James Broughton, and playwrights Tony Kushner and Terrence McNally came to mind most immediately. Still, it's one of the best of the lists. Hope you do this every year.

  • Frank Hui | June 27, 2014 5:00 PMReply

    Overall a good, diverse list. I am a little disappointed that Rev Troy Perry didn't even make the runner up list. He founded MCC and was calling for marriage equality way back since 1972! He actually went on Donahue to talk about it

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