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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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5. Brandon Teena - 109
Born: 1972 in Lincoln, Nebraska
Died: 1993 in Humboldt, Nebraska

Legacy: A trans man who was raped and murdered, Teena's tragic story was the subject of the 1999 film "Boys Don't Cry" and led to increased lobbying for hate crimes legislation.

4. Barney Frank - 118
Born: 1940 in Bayonne, New Jersey

Legacy: Politician and first U.S. congressman to come voluntarily out as gay. Has since been an imperative, often pioneering advocate for LGBT rights within the U.S. government.

3. Matthew Shepard - 156
Born: 1976 in Casper, Wyoming
Died: 1998 in Fort Collins, Colorado
Legacy: Murdered student who became tragic symbol for hate crimes against gays in America. In 2009, the U.S. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was named after him.

2. Ellen DeGeneres - 224
Born: 1958 in Metairie, Louisiana 

Legacy: Comedienne, actress and talk show host who has brought LGBT visibility into our living rooms like no one else before her and has arguably become the most famous LGBT person in the world.

1. Harvey Milk - 262
Born: 1930 in Woodmere, New York
Died: 1978 in San Francisco, California

Profession: The first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, he became a leader and an icon of the late 1970s gay rights movement before being assassinated.

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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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