Headshots of influential LGBTQ+ women

Join us in celebrating amazing LGBTQ+ activists for Women’s History Month. These incredible women, femmes, and nonbinary folks are making history. We’re excited to share their stories, whether they are storytellers, trailblazers, educators, or all of the above.  

Lena Waithe (she/her)

Lena Waithe is a writer, producer, and actor who created and executive produces The Chi. Lena was the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2017 for her writing on Master of None. In The Chi, Master of None, and her other work, Lena is known for centering Black LGBTQ+ characters and stories. 

Danica Roem (she/her)

Danica Roem (she/her) was a journalist before she turned to politics, covering everything from education and business to transportation. She won the 2017 race for the Virginia House of Delegates, making her the first transgender person to be elected to office in the Virginia General Assembly.  When she won in 2019 she made history again as the first transgender state legislator to be reelected. In 2023 she ran and won for State Senate, becoming the first trans state senator in the US South. Danica released a memoir in 2022, Burn the Page.

Dr. Margaret Chung (she/her)

Dr. Margaret Chung 张玛珠 (she/her) was the first Chinese American woman to become a physician. Throughout her career, Margaret, or “Mom” as her adopted family knew her, persevered against discrimination based on her race, gender, and presumed sexuality. During World War II, Dr. Chung used her influence to support the war effort and lobbied for the creation of WAVES, the US Naval Women’s Reserve. Although she faced prejudice on multiple fronts, Margaret forged a distinctive path for herself throughout her life.  

Lani Ka'ahumanu (she/her)

Lani Ka’ahumanu (she/her) is Kanaka Maoli and a leading activist who has worked for greater visibility for bisexuals both within the LGBTQ+ movement as well as broader society. An author, community organizer, and health advocate, she has been a driving force behind the fight against biphobia since 1980. In 1983, Lani co-founded BiPOL, the first feminist bisexual political action group, which first focused on education and advocacy during the AIDS epidemic. She went on to become a key organizer of a group that would become known as BiNet USA, and then a founding organizer of the San Francisco Bay Area Bisexual Network (BABN). Lani published the anthology Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out in 1991, a major text in the modern bisexual rights movement and was listed by
the Lambda Book Review as one of the top 100 GLBT books of the twentieth century.

Lamya H (she/they)

Lamya H (she/they) is a queer, brown, nonbinary, Muslim writer. A former Lambda Literary, Aspen Words, and Queer|Arts fellow, her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Vice, Autostraddle, Vox, and more. Their memoir, Hijab Butch Blues was released in 2023 and traces their literal and figurative journeys of coming of age and finding a connection to figures in the Qu’ran as a way to navigate her identities as a practicing Muslim, queer, and gender non-conforming person, immigrant, and fierce social justice advocate.  

Kai Chen Thom (she/her)

Kai Cheng Thom (she/her) is a writer, performer, facilitator, and speaker, whose novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir runs the genre gamut from fantasy coming-of-age tale to magical realism memoir. She has been a finalist for Lambda Literary, Stonewall Book Award, and Publishing Triangle Award. Kai Cheng’s essays have appeared in Buzzfeed, them, and Everyday Feminism, often on issues like transformative justice, radical love, and much more. 

Frida Kahlo (she/her)

Frida Kahlo (she/her) was a Mexican artist whose work was inspired by nature and Indigenous Mexican culture.  She suffered polio as a child and at eighteen was involved in a bus accident that led her to have over 30 surgeries. Bedridden from the collision, she turned to painting. Her deeply symbolic work had a huge impact on art history and the LGBTQ+ community. Her work has been celebrated internationally by feminists, often because of the way she used self-portraiture to explore her gender and gender expression, and many of her pieces have been used in political activism and pop culture.

Tracy Chapman (she/her)

Tracy Chapman (she/her) is an American singer and songwriter popularly known for her singles Fast Car and Give Me One Reason. Her iconic 1988 song Fast Car became an LGBTQ+ anthem during the 1980s when queerness was still being swept under the mat. It also brought Tracy one of three Grammys she brought home that year. The song has been covered multiple times, but reemerged in a big way when Luke Combs’ version hit number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in July 2023, leading her to win Country Music Awards Song of the Year in 2023 – the first time a Black songwriter has won in the category. Tracy is an advocate and activist for racial and gender equity, human rights, and HIV/AIDS.

Marylize Biubwa (they/them) is a nonbinary queer lesbian activist from Nairobi, Kenya who extensively advocates for LGBTQ+ rights in Kenya. Marylize uses social media platforms to dispel myths about women’s sexuality and the LGBTQ+ community. Kenya still has colonial-era laws that criminalize same-sex sex, and there are current attacks on LGBTQ+ justice that Marylize is working against, such as ensuring access to education for LGBTQ+ youth.

Rosie Jones (she/ her) is a stand-up comedian, actor, and screenwriter who lives with ataxia cerebral palsy and came out as a lesbian years ago. Rosie created the TV short Disability Benefits in 2022, hosted the miniseries Disability Comedy Extravaganza, and was a writer on season two of Netflix’s Sex Education. She is passionate about intersectionality related to sexuality, gender, race, and disability and works these passions into her comedy and other areas of her work. 

Stella Nyanzi (she/her) is a Ugandan activist and medical anthropologist who, in her own words, is “a radical queer African feminist activist who contests patriarchy, misogyny, heteronormativity and homophobia.” She is a poet and scholar, and released a paper, “Dismantling Reified African Culture through Localised Homosexualities in Uganda,” which critiques Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and the dominant narrative in such harmful legal writing that “queerness is ‘un-African.’” Stella was imprisoned twice on charges of criticizing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Stella currently lives in Germany on a “Writers in Exile” program with her children.