March is Women’s History Month and it is a vital and important month to recognize women from the past for their contribution and success that has inherently helped women be able to have opportunities today.
It’s also a month to remember the queer women who made giant leaps for women in their own respective careers, for without them, today’s queer women leaders like Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Kate Brown, Jane Lynch, E. Denise Simmons, Sapphire, Robin Roberts, Tammy Baldwin, and Annise Parker would not be where they are fighting for women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBT rights today.
Virginia Woolf is best known for her essay, "A Room of One's Own," a feminist text that called for women to have their own spaces and independence if they are to be writers. Some of Woolf's work discusses lesbianism and letters also reveal that Woolf was in a lesbian relationship with a young and aspiring writer.
Sally Ride was the first woman to go into space as an astronaut. After her death, it was discovered that she was in a long-term relationship of 27 years with a woman.
Billie Holiday was a successful jazz vocalist who was openly bisexual throughout most of her career.
Audre Lorde identified as a black feminist and published writings and poetry that pushed forward the civil rights and black female empowerment movements.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King was No. 1 in the world in women's tennis and was outspoken about gender equality. She also became the first prominent female athlete to come out as lesbian.
Gladys Bentley was a blues singer during the Harlem Renaissance. She wore men's clothes, performed at gay and lesbian clubs, and was involved with both men and women.
Gertrude Stein was a prolific American novelist who was friends with the likes of Pablo Picasso. Many of her works discussed homosexuality and sexual awakenings. Her most well-known piece of work, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, is an autobiography written by Stein in the voice of her long-time partner.
Frida Kahlo was an openly radical and feminist artist. Though married to Diego Rivera, she had relationships with many women. Kahlo is still a feminist icon and has helped redefine "beauty" in her many self-portraits.
The author of A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry was a voice for women and the LGBT rights movement. She was the first black woman whose work was performed on Broadway, and though she was married to a man, her private writings suggested that she was attracted to women.
Barbara Jordan was the first black woman to be elected to the Texas Senate. She was an activist for the Civil Rights Movement and was in a relationship with the same woman for 30 years.
Jane Addams was the first US woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She was a leader among the woman's suffrage movement and was in a 30-year relationship with her partner, Mary Rozet Smith.
Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't just a First Lady, she was also in a relationship with a female reporter. Letters documenting their relationship was found after her death.
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