Tag Archives: LGBTQ activist

LGBT Trailblazer Edith Windsor, Whose Same-Sex Marriage Fight Led to Landmark Ruling, Dies at 88

Edith Windsor, the gay-rights activist whose legal battles for same sex marriage rights resulted in the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 88.

Her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, confirmed the death, at a hospital, but did not specify a cause. They were married in 2016.

Windsor first rose to national prominence by suing the federal government for spousal benefits after her first wife, Thea Spyer, whom she’d legally married in Canada – died in 2009.

DOMA, which banned all federal recognition of same sex marriage, barred her from receiving those benefits.

Windsor’s case, United States v. Windsor, made it to the Supreme Court, and in 2013, the Court ruled in her favour.

The Windsor decision, was limited to 13 states and the District of Columbia. However in a more expansive ruling in 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges and three related cases, the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry anywhere in the nation, with all the protections and privileges of heterosexual couples.

Its historic significance was likened to that of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which decriminalized gay sex in the United States.

Born Edith Schlain, Windsor kept her last name after marrying Saul Windsor in a union that lasted just one year.

She met Spyer in 1963. In 1967, Windsor proposed to Spyer. They waited 40 years before they got married in Canada.

Windsor spent decades working tirelessly as an LGBTQ activist in and around New York, including once going to so far to donate her Cadillac to a Village Halloween parade in Manhattan.

Through her tireless efforts, Windsor became a leading star in the world of LGBTQ activism.

Celebrating the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision declaring marriage as a fundamental right for all Americans, Windsor told The New Yorker she was “thrilled with the content of the decision.”

But, despite the monumental victory, Windsor was realistic about how it fit into the larger fight for rights and representation for the LGBTQ community.

I think it’s only the next major step. We have a history: beginning to see each other with Stonewall, when a whole new community began to recognize itself; the AIDS crisis—we’d always been separated! Gays and lesbians, separated! But when lesbians came forward to help with the victims of AIDS, we all saw each other very differently. I see this as another huge step towards equality—I combine, it, obviously, with my case.

Rest in Power, Edith Windsor.



LGBTQ Activist Wins Australian Young People’s Human Rights Medal

An Australian equality advocate, Yen Eriksen, has been named winner of the Australian Human Rights Commission 2015 Young People’s Human Rights Medal.

The 23-year-old is a founding member of the ACT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTIQ) Ministerial Advisory Council and a passionate campaigner against social oppression.

Eriksen told Australian news station, 666 ABC Canberra she was committed to giving a voice to people who experienced all kinds of oppression, including racial and gender discrimination.

Working at Canberra community radio station 2XX, Eriksen is involved in a program for Canberra’s gay and lesbian community called Friday Night Lip Service.

Yen Eriksen

The radio program that I’m involved in is a queer women’s program, where we’ve made a really big effort to bring in a huge diversity of voices. When you’re working to address equality, inequality or experiences of oppression, you can see that the things that drive inequality are huge social forces. Most days it feels like you can’t make a difference, but working at a grassroots and individual level is a way to keep grounded and remind yourself of why activism is really important.”

Eriksen said her experiences growing up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne as the daughter of migrant parents had inspired her mission to promote equality.

Coming out as queer at a very young age has definitely shaped my experience too. All of my experiences have informed the sorts of reasons I do community work and volunteering.”

Eriksen added she had grown used to being treated as “different”.

I look pretty queer so I wear it on my body a bit, so there isn’t a moment in which people are surprised when I tell them. If you present in a way that’s a bit non-normative — with a short haircut and in masculine dress — people get surprised when they have an interaction with me and it’s wholly positive and I’m friendly and genuine. People prepare themselves to be put off by people who present with a little bit of a subversive look.”

Eriksen was one of five finalists from around Australia selected for the 2015 Young People’s Human Rights Medal.

She added she was just one of many people around the country working hard to respond to social injustice.

If it wasn’t for community advocates, social workers, youth workers and people who dedicate their free time to supporting people, I think a lot of injustice would go unnoticed. It’s not just about identifying injustice, it’s about responding to it and having an ongoing response. In the end, the thing that really counts is whether things really change for people.”

Have you seen Molly’s Girl?

Have you seen Molly’s Girl? It is one of the many LGBT films Netfilx are featuring under the gay and lesbian genre section. Molly who is played by Kristina Valada-Viars, is a “misfit” who engages in a one night stand with a lesbian LGBTQ activist named Mercedes (played by Emily Schweitz) .

The film takes a surprising turn when Mercedes learns that Molly’s father is the State Senator who also happens to be a homophobe. Mercedes sees this as an opportunity to get to know Senator Tom Cranston and change his mind about gay marriage.


Molly, an emotional misfit, believes she’s found love in a drunken one-night stand with a lesbian /gay marriage activist named Mercedes who has just broken it off with her fiancée…

Once sober, Mercedes discovers she cannot escape the clingy and desperate Molly. As she’s about to call upon all of her legal options to rid herself of Molly, Mercedes learns that Molly’s father is actually an influential state senator opposed to gay marriage.

Seeing this as a golden opportunity to drive a stake into the senator’s politics, Mercedes convinces Molly (who turns out, after all, to be straight) to get her parents’ attention by pretending that they are an engaged lesbian couple. Mercedes poses as “Molly’s girl”.

But, as she gets to know Molly’s family (and especially her controlling mother, Ginger) Mercedes begins to understand who Molly really is and why they surprisingly have so much in common.

This movie is a definite must watch. You can check it out on Netflix.