Annise Parker was today elected Mayor of Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in the United States. She will be the first openly gay person to lead a major U.S. city. Parker began her political career in the 1980's as an advocate for gay rights. She has been with her partner, Kathy Hubbard, for 19 years and they have three adopted children.
Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history. I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.
Jeanette Winterson is a British writer who has been out since the publication of her debut novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, in 1985. Winterson is an outspoken public figure and has won several major literary awards. Recently she has been in the tabloids due to her relationship with the previously married psychotherapist Susie Orbach.
In an interview with The Times this week, she criticised the media for using the term 'lesbian' as a negative headline-grabbing stunt. Ironically The Times themselves then used that quote in much the same way with their article "Enough of the 'lesbian' tag, says author".
I have been collecting headlines from the tabloids and overwhelmingly, 'lesbian' (their favourite) or 'gay' is used negatively, as though once the sexuality is identified, the rest of the horror story (benefit fraud, underage sex, battering etcetera) naturally follows. There are some rotten no-good lesbians and some rotten no-good gay men, but there are rotten no-good heterosexuals too, and we don’t use sexuality as the explanation of whatever it is they have done.
- Jeanette Winterson
Rachel Maddow burst into the mainstream public eye in the lead up to the 2008 US presidential election. She hosts her own nightly news show, The Rachel Maddow Show, on MSNBC. She was the first openly gay American to win a Rhodes Scholarship and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in politics from Oxford University. Her intelligent, well researched and refreshingly left leaning reporting has won her many fans.
Every night is a memorable night on Maddow's show, but last night was particularly satisfying as she took on and demolished ex-gay therapist Richard Cohen over his involvement in the Ugandan "Kill The Gays" bill. Watch and be astounded!
Tila Tequila is a model and television personality, originally from Singapore. She was the star of the first bisexual reality dating show, "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila". Tequila recently came out as a lesbian and has announced today that she is planning to marry her girlfriend, socialite Casey Johnson (heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune).
Some call Tila a publicity hound and both her and Casey have been accused of giving lesbians a bad name, but I for one support any celebrity that is living out and proud. All the best to Tila and Casey, and long may their sudden marriage last!
Cynthia Nixon became a huge star in the nineties as one of the four friends on Sex In The City. In 2004 she began dating Christine Marinoni and has become an outspoken activist for gay marriage and parenting rights. A few days ago she wrote an excellent article on the Huffington Post about the defeat of gay marriage legislation in the New York Senate.
Because you never know when a simple conversation can help change someone's heart and mind. Because if we keep at it "they" will finally realize that we're just people like them. Because time is on our side.
- Cynthia Nixon
Carol Ann Duffy is an out British poet and playwright. Earlier this year she was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, the first female and the first openly homosexual person to ascend to the traditional post. Today she published her new Christmas work which attacks the war in Afghanistan, MP's expenses, banking and many more current issues.
Public roles should be inhabited comfortably and happily by people whatever their sexuality is.
- Carol Ann Duffy
Yesterday Mary Glasspool was elected the first lesbian and second openly gay bishop in the Anglican church. Her election, in a Los Angeles Episcopal diocese, will have serious consequences for the divided Anglican fellowship, as the Episcopal church supports gay and lesbian bishops and other international Anglican churches do not. A majority of Episcopal dioceses across the country must still confirm the election before she is formally appointed.
Glasspool has said that she had an intense struggle with her sexuality in college, but came to reconcile it with her calling to become a priest. She llives with her partner of 21 years, Becki Sander. She said in a statement after the vote:
Any group of people who have been oppressed because of any one, isolated aspect of their persons yearns for justice and equal rights.
Wife of the USA's most beloved lesbian, Ellen deGeneres, Portia de Rossi is a talented comedic actress in her own right, starring in the cult series Arrested Development and one of my current favourites, Better Off Ted. She's also one of the most famous celesbians hailing from my adopted land, Australia.
Without the word [marriage], we don’t have equal rights… Every citizen of this country should have that legal right to be married. Marriage the word actually does mean something because people who see a gay coupling as a lesser thing in society can continue to [think] it’s lesser than marriage when really it’s the exact same thing. The exact same love, the exact same commitment, love of family.
She also had a lot of other things to say about being an out actress, check it out:
photo by ERIC LAMAND/AFP/Getty Images
Today, lesbian tennis player and former World No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo announced her retirement from the sport at the ripe old age of 30. Mauresmo has been out for ten years, but the focus of the media has always been on her tennis and not her sexuality. Vive la Amelie!
This is a political act. If anybody knows someone who is gay or lesbian... they're less likely to vote against them, to take away their rights. So if you knew me before, and you cared about me before, I'm the same woman... I can be that lesbian you know now.