6 Incredible Women Working For LGBTQ Rights You Need To Know About

Women run the world. I mean, we all know that, but you need to get these women working for LGBTQ rights on your radar, because they are killing it. It’s amazing to see women at the forefront of LGBTQ advocacy and how some LGBT rights are actually closely tied to gender equality. It’s not exactly the same fight though — LGBTQ individuals still face massive amounts of legal discrimination, which is why the Equality Act needs to get passed immediately. The act would amend the existing law to be a little more inclusionary and precise about what sex and gender means.

As the recent shooting in Orlanda has reminded us, the dangers are very, very real. Having legal provisions for LGBTQ individuals can’t save everyone, but bigotry needs to end somewhere. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has said that passing the Equality Act is her “highest priority.” She’s also talked about how her own views have evolved over the years concerning gay marriage. “There might be some exceptions, but largely because of my strong opposition to discrimination of any sort and my personal relationships with a lot of people over the years, I certainly concluded that marriage equality should be the law of the land,” Clinton said at a town hall meeting last year.

These are some other women running the fight for LGBTQ equality you need to know about.

LGBTQ Advocate Arielle Scarcella

Arielle Scarcella is a YouTube star who makes videos about LGBTQ culture, like what vagina tastes like and comedy about lesbians breaking up. She’s amazing, and she’s raising awareness about what it means to be queer.

Human Rights Campaign’s Joni Madison

Joni Madison Human Rights Campaign
CREDIT: Human Rights Campaign

Joni Madison is the chief operating officer and chief of staff for the Human Rights Campaign, which is a leading organization for LGBTQ rights. She comes from an advertising background and has been with her wife for more than 20 years, though they were just married in 2014.

GLAAD’s Sarah Kate Ellis

Sarah Kate Ellis is the president and CEO of GLAAD, which is at the center of LGBTQ rights and acceptance. Among numerous other things, she’s used GLAAD’s influence to demand coverage of LGBTQ Russians during the 2014 Olympic Games, expand Facebook’s gender options, and demand that FIFA do something about anti-LGBTQ slurs at soccer games.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

The attorney general has led the fight against discriminatory bathroom bills and the Obama administration’s fight for civil rights for all. “This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms,” she said when announcing that the government would sue North Carolina for its discriminatory law. “This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them – indeed, to protect all of us.” Yeah, she’s pretty badass.

Tennis Player Martina Navratilova

BNP Paribas WTA Finals: Singapore 2015 - Day Six
CREDIT: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Martina Navratilova is a retired pro tennis player who came out as bisexual in 1981 and lost a lot of sponsorships because of it. She was one of the first openly queer athletes at the time. Since then, Navratilova has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights. “Just by being out you’re doing your part,” she’s quoted saying. “It’s like recycling. You’re doing your part for the environment if you recycle; you’re doing your part for the gay movement if you’re out.”

Marie Claire’s Janet Mock

Janet Mock is a contributing editor for Marie Claire, where she first came out as a transgender woman in 2011. Mock founded #GirlsLikeUs, a social media project that empowers trans women, and is a fearless advocate for trans rights and visibility. Her memoir 2014, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, was a New York Times bestseller.

There are all different kinds of advocates — from politicians to Lady Gaga — who champion civil rights. Spread the good word about them.