As we continue to celebrate Pride, I was reminded recently that Pride is a time not just for being allies for people who have been hurt by family, community, church, society, etc. because of their identity as LGBTQ+. But Pride is a time to celebrate all the wonderful gifts that LGBTQ+ individuals bring to the world.

So I did some Google searching to help us do just that – celebrate. I was not surprised to learn of the ways the LGBTQ+ community have influenced history and culture, society and politics, literature and the arts, science and mathematics and medicine

Obviously, there are many, many more LGBTQ+ individuals leaving their marks on the world – more than can be identified and named in this short message. They care for animals…they teach in all levels of education…they are artists, and dancers and performers. They are doctors and lawyers and sanitation workers and farmers. They are Bishops and Pastors and Music Ministers and more. They are moms and dads and spouses. They are children and aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins. They are friends and co-workers. They are neighbors.

Some of the figures I lift up lived in times when the concept of homosexuality or gender identity was not known as we know it today. The history of same-sex relationships and gender fluidity is long and complex, dating back to ancient times and lands and where such were not criminalized as they have been in the modern era. But some are among us yet today.

Alan Turing – a British mathematician whose work was instrumental in cracking the German’s Enigma Code during WWII thus shortening the span of the war by years and saving countless lives. He was also significant in helping win the Battle of the Atlantic and would go on to create and build machines that would become the forerunner of the modern day computer.

Bayard Rushkin – a civil rights activist who served as an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and who played a key role in organizing the March on Washington.

Marsha P. Johnson – a self-proclaimed drag queen and gay rights activist, it was reported she was one of the first to stand against the police during the Stonewall uprising

Jackie Shane – one of the first transgender women performers in the 1950’s and 60’s whose work contributed to the Rhythm and Blues movement

Willem Arondeus – Dutch painter and resistance fighter and protector of Jews who participated in the bombing of the Amsterdam public records office in order to block the Nazis from identifying Dutch Jews and others wanted by the Gestapo

Emily Dickinson – American poet whose work has influenced many a human being and who was believed to be, by the dedications of her poems and the nature of her own correspondences, in a romantic relationship with her sister-in-law Susan Gilbert Dickinson.

And let’s celebrate – Alexander the Great, Leonarda DaVinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Lili Elbe, Josephine Baker, Frida Kahlo, Gore Vidal, Harvey Milk, Andy Warhol, Divine, Freddie Mercury, Dr. James Barry, Rock Hudson, RuPaul, Elton John, Pete Buttigieg, and so many, many more.

Happy Pride!

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