Althea Garrison was elected as the first transgender state legislator in America, and served one term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives; however, it was not publicly known she was transgender when she was elected.
Marcella Di Folco – world’s first openly transgender person to be elected for an administrative role, as municipal Councillor in Bologna, Italy 1990.
Matthew Shepard was taken from this world to soon. His journey will never be forgotten. On the date of his passing we honer him and others who have been taken from us.
Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. He was taken by rescuers to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he died six days later from severe head injuries.
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were arrested shortly after the attack and charged with first-degree murder following Shepard’s death. Significant media coverage was given to the killing and to what role Shepard’s sexual orientation played as a motive in the commission of the crime. The prosecutor argued that McKinney’s murder of Shepard was premeditated and driven by greed. McKinney’s defense counsel countered that he had intended only to rob Shepard but had killed him in a rage when Shepard made a sexual advance toward him. McKinney’s girlfriend told police that he had been motivated by anti-gay sentiment but later recanted her statement, saying that she had lied because she thought it would help him. Both McKinney and Henderson were convicted of the murder, and each received two consecutive life sentences.
Shepard’s murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly the “Matthew Shepard Act” or “Shepard/Byrd Act” for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law. Following her son’s murder, Judy Shepard became a prominent LGBT rights activist and established the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Shepard’s death inspired films, novels, plays, songs, and other works.
The first gay rights legislation enacted in America: March 7, 1972, the East Lansing, Michigan, city council approved by a vote of 4-to-1 an act declaring the city must seek to “employ the best applicant for each vacancy on the basis of his [sic] qualifications for the job and without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex or homosexuality.”
July 1972, the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan – home to University of Michigan – would take East Lansing’s measure one step further, prohibiting discrimination against gays not only in employment, but housing and public accommodations as well – becoming the first community-wide gay rights legislation in the nation. Ann Arbor’s act was spurred by the election to the city council in 1972 of Jerry DeGrieck and Nancy Wechsler, who had run on the Human Rights Party ticket. Both would come out as gay in 1973.
Nancy Wechsler and Jerry DeGrieck simultaneously became the first openly lesbian and openly gay elected officials in America. They both graduated from the University of Michigan. They were elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in 1972 as members of the Human Rights Party. They came out in at a City Council meeting in October 1973 when the Chief of Police was in attendance. An anti-gay attack at a local bar had occurred the night before, which violated the recently passed Human Rights Ordinance, and they wanted to ask the Chief of Police why the Police who were called to the scene did not seem to be aware of the contents of the ordinance.
Harvey Milk Day is organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation and celebrated each year held May 22 in memory of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist assassinated in 1978.
The new congresswoman from the 10th district of Virginia said she hung it to honor trans friends and family.
Newly elected Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., started her term with a statement of transgender equality by hanging the trans pride flag outside her office in Washington.
The flag, which can be seen by visitors to the Longworth House Office Building on the south side of the Capitol, is one of the flags that officials traditionally display outside their offices. The American flag and state flags are most common, but representatives can choose what flags to hang.
Abby Carter, Wexton’s chief of staff, confirmed that Wexton — the aunt to a transgender child — hung the flag to make a statement about trans inclusion.
“This is personal for me. We’re talking about my family and friends,” Wexton said in a statement to NBC News. “I want everyone in the trans community to know that they are welcome and loved even in the face of this administration and its attacks on who they are.”
“I didn’t think putting it up would be a big deal, but I’ve received a huge outpouring of support and appreciation from the LGBT community in the past two days,” Wexton added. “We’ve been receiving messages from across the country and they’ve been telling me how much it means to them to see that in the halls of Congress.”
Kyrsten Lea Sinema is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Arizona since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as the U.S. Representative from Arizona’s 9th congressional district from 2013 to 2019. She previously served in both chambers of the Arizona State Legislature, having been elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2004 and the Arizona Senate in 2010.
Sinema began her political career as an activist for the Green Party before joining the Arizona Democratic Party in 2004. In the 2012 elections, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first openly bisexual member of Congress in the history of the United States.