As queer women, we have a particularly rough time finding role models that fit our lifestyle. Up until very recently, there were relatively few “out” women in the spotlight – leaving us only a small sampling of celebrities to idolize. But as we enter into 2016, we would like to take the time to acknowledge these 11 women who have done wonders for increasing lesbian visibility and inclusion.
Thank you so much, ladies! Keep it up!
When Anna was appointed to the Parliament in Poland, she became the very first transgender member in the world – which is a huge accomplishment for the trans community at large. She has founded an organization dedicated to the advancement of LGBT+ rights, including issues facing the trans community in Poland. Thank you, Anna!
Tammy was a big deal to lesbians with dreams of politics in the United States – being the first openly gay senator as well as the first woman ever elected to represent the state of Wisconsin. You are truly an inspiration – maybe someday you’ll run for president! Thank you, Tammy!
For the creative tomboy types, Sarah Gilbert has been an icon since her early days on Roseanne – but after she came out of the closet and opened up about her marriage to Linda Perry (of 4 Non Blondes fame), she reminded every single lesbian that had a crush on her in the early ‘90s that she really was one of us. Thank you, Sarah!
This sassy-mouthed goddess embodies so many life goals for me, and she is another one of the faces that helped make mainstream Hollywood lesbians a real possibility. Thank you, Jane!
Laverne Cox is one of the first transgender actresses to make it to super-mega-mainstream fame. More than just becoming a household name, she has also taken huge steps in support of the LGBT+ community at large. Thank you, Laverne!
Sue is a leader in the LGBT activism community, and the socially-involved among us will aspire to create as much change as she has. Since 2004, she has been the chair of Schools Out, an organization that deals with LGBT people in education professions. Thank you, Sue!
For our representation of lesbians in the print medias, Julie is an active journalist covering the complex topics of transgenderism, violence against women, feminism, sex workers, and even radical lesbianism, among other things. Her voice represents many who cannot find their own. Thank you, Julie!
No list of lesbian heroes would be complete without Ellen. She is collectively our lesbian mother, and someone we all wish we could have on speed dial. Being one of the first openly gay comedians, she helped pave the way for mainstream acceptance of “out” Hollywood faces. Thank you, Ellen!
Sarah Kate Ellis
In terms of making strides for the gay community, Sarah is one of the leaders – specifically the President and CEO of GLAAD. One of the most widely-known companies helping to put a stop to issues of discrimination, Sarah has fostered a relationship to help dispel homophobic slander in the mainstream media. Thank you, Sarah!
For those in the UK with political dreams, consider Angela Eagle – she was the first openly gay Parliament member when she came out in 1997. She maintains an active membership with a recent appointing to Jeremy Corbin’s first Shadow Cabinet in September 2015. Thank you, Angela!
Mary is well-known for her big opening bringing lesbian topics into mainstream country (and rap!) music – something that hadn’t really been done before her. She openly speaks about her feelings, mental health, and body positivity – three things that received a huge amount of attention in 2015 (and we hope the trend continues in 2016). Thank you, Mary!
What heroes do you look up to? We are always looking to recognize influential faces in the gay community, especially those who inspire others to live up to their full potential. This world is full of too much doubt already – let’s appreciate the women who have overcome it.