June is recognised as Pride Month, a time to honour the Stonewall Uprising and recognise the impact of the LGBTQ community. From Marsha Johnson to Dr Frank Kameny, here are five activists you should know about.
Marsha P. Johnson was an American trans activist, widely credited with starting the Stonewall uprising. Johnson played an active role in street activism with ACT UP throughout the 1980s. When George Segal’s Stonewall memorial was moved to Christopher Street from Ohio to recognise the gay liberation movement, Johnson commented, “How many people have died for these two little statues to be put in the park to recognize gay people? How many years does it take for people to see that we’re all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race?.”
Known for playing Sophia Burset in Orange Is The New Black, Laverne Cox is a black, trans woman, the first trans person to be nominated for an Emmy, and a proud advocate for LGBTQ rights. Cox has been outspoken about access to health care for LGBTQ communities and has particularly spoken for the rights of trans people and people of colour.
MENAKA GURUSWAMY AND ARUNDHATI KATJU
Lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju argued for the decriminalization of homosexuality in India, resulting in the unanimous Supreme Court decision to repeal Section 377 in 2018. “Arundhati and Menaka have helped take a giant step for LGBTQ rights in the world’s largest democracy. In their committed fight for justice, they have shown us that we as a society must continue to make progress, even after laws are changed, and that we must make an effort to understand, accept and love,” Priyanka Chopra wrote.
dr. Frank Kameny is widely hailed as one of the most prominent figures of the United States LGBTQ rights movement. For 2021 Pride Month, Google honoured the American astronomer, veteran, and gay rights activist, with a Doodle. Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the US Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate. After his defeat, Kameny and his campaign organization created the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, DC, an organization that continues to fight for equal rights.
Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay politicians to ever be elected in California. Milk made a name for himself as a prominent LGBTQ activist. He had predicted his death by saying, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country.” He was assassinated in 1978 in City Hall.