March is Women’s History Month! It’s a time to celebrate how women, including LGBT women, have shaped history. At GLSEN, we want to specifically recognize women in the LGBT community who have made a significant contribution to the movement for LGBT justice and for safe and affirming schools. Here are four of these women.
Tammy Baldwin is the first openly LGBT Senator in US history and one of the most progressive members of Congress. In 1999, Baldwin became the first Wisconsin woman elected to Congress and the first openly gay non-incumbent to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She served for seven terms, fighting for Wisconsin families, women, the middle class, veterans, affordable education, the environment and affordable health care. Upon her election to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Baldwin was the highest-ranking incoming senator due to her 14 years in the House. Learn more about Sen. Baldwin here.
At the time of her election, Kim Coco Iwamoto was the highest-ranking elected official in the United States who openly identified as transgender. Born and raised in Hawai’i, she attended law school in New Mexico and then returned home, where she volunteered while working as a civil rights attorney. She became a foster parent to several children in Hawai’i, which led to her involvement with the Hawaii Board of Education, to which she was elected in 2006. She has also participated in the Hawaii Board of Education’s Safe School Community Advisory Committee, the Hawai’i Teacher Standards Board, and the Career and Technical Education Coordinating Advisory Council. Learn more here.
Megan Rapinoe is an Olympic gold medalist and member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. After attending the University of Portland, she helped the U.S. team place second in the 2011 FIFA World Cup and was honored by being named ESPN’s Next Level Player of the Week, among other honors. In 2012, she came out before taking part in the London Olympics, where she helped lead the U.S. to the gold medal. Just last year, Rapinoe helped the U.S. team capture the 2015 FIFA World Cup. She has been honored by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center with a Board of Director’s Award for being a symbol of hope for LGBT people and has been a vocal supporter of GLSEN’s work. Learn more about Rapinoe here.
Deborah Batts is the first openly lesbian African American sworn into the federal judgeship in the United States. After being appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, she was hired by Fordham University School of Law, where she was the first African American faculty member. In 1994, Batts was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to the federal bench. She has been involved in numerous high profile cases and remains an active member of the Bar Association of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York. Learn more here.
These four LGBT women have made heroic contributions to our world, and they are among countless other women who have shaped history. Celebrate Women’s History Month by learning more about these and other history-making women here.