Martine Rothblatt

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Businesswoman, attorney, and author Martine Rothblatt is sometimes introduced in headlines as “the highest-paid female CEO in America“. While a breakdown of her earnings is publicly available for the interested, her technology startup accomplishments make for more compelling stories. She began her career working on satellites for NASA, which she turned into a successful business venture creating and selling satellite radios, including the well-known Sirius system. When her daughter was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension she founded a pharmaceutical company to produce a treatment; she has since begun to venture into xenotransplantation.

Rothblatt is a dedicated transhumanist. She founded the Terasem Movement Foundation and commissioned a robot doppelgänger of her wife. The archives of her blog go into more depth on her technological philosophy.

Dean Spade

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Named one of the Advocate‘s “Forty Under 40” in 2010 and one of Utne Reader‘s “50 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World” in 2009, transgender attorney and law professor Dean Spade has been getting attention for his work in areas of queer rights that have largely been ignored by the broader public, such as the rights of queer immigrants and prisoners. He founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a nonprofit organization that offers legal assistance to trans people who have difficulty accessing services. His writings, including the book Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of the Law, are geared toward criticism of capitalism and social structures such as monogamy and military service.

Spade’s Facebook page is available here and his Twitter feed is available here. His personal website where he links to his writing is here.

Jamison Green

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The author of the memoir Becoming a Visible Man is himself one of the more visible transgender men out there, having appeared in numerous documentaries, helped govern prominent queer political groups like the UCSF Center of Excellent for Transgender Health and the Human Rights Campaign (abandoned after their 2007 stance on trans inclusion in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), and written some policy himself. When Lou Sullivan passed away, Green took over publication of the FTMInternational newsletter.

Outside of his public speaking, staffing, and other assorted activism, Green has a corporate management background and a doctorate in law from Manchester Metropolitan University in England. His personal website is here; his (infrequently updated) Facebook page is here; and his LinkedIn page is here.

Vaughn Walker

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Although his nomination to the bench in the late 1980s was originally opposed by gay rights groups for his role in forcing the then-called Gay Olympic Games to change its name, Judge Vaughn Walker would go on to rule against California’s Proposition 8, making his state the first to find against a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage. Although Perry v. Schwarzenegger brought him national attention, his law career contained thousands of complex cases involving mail theft, copyright, antitrust, prisoners of war, and securities. At the time of this writing Walker has retired from his position as judge and moved into private practice.

Following Perry Walker came out as a gay man, and was subject to accusations of judicial bias. His 1989 confirmation makes him the first LGBT judge to have served in the federal judiciary.

Tammy Baldwin

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Although she claims not to have been motivated by a desire to make history, Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin politician, has an extensive list of firsts to her name: first lesbian member of the Wisconsin Assembly; first openly gay person elected to the House of Representatives; first woman to serve as a Wisconsin Senator; and, most recently, first openly gay Senator. Although she has a J.D., she only practiced law for three years before departing her (concurrently held) position on her local Board of Supervisors to work in government full-time.

Baldwin describes her political views as progressive, comparing them to notable Wisconsin politician Robert “Fighting Bob” LaFollette. She opposed the Iraq war and supported a bill to impeach former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Baldwin’s personal website can be found here; her official Facebook page is here.

 

Sir Francis Bacon

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Sir Francis Bacon, a 17th century English intellectual, was so prolific and influential that, even if the dubious claims that he was the real Shakespeare are true, penning theatrical masterpieces would have been one of his lesser accomplishments. How he would have found the time between proposing judicial reforms credited with forming the backbone of the Napoleonic Code and modern common law, (possibly) drafting the charters for the Virginia colony, completing enough books and treatises that Wikipedia has assigned them their own page, and establishing methods of induction and parallel philosophical arguments to support them that led to the empiricist movement (and arguably the industrial revolution), while simultaneously running himself into financial ruin by holding civic positions that didn’t pay well enough to cover the bills, is a mystery for the historians.

Bacon’s sexuality is a matter of some debate among scholars, though considerable evidence does exist that points to him being, if not gay, at least fond enough of his young Welsh serving-men to cheat on his wife with them. A fellow member of Parliament quoted the following delightful couplet in his diary, footnote and all:

“‘Within this sty a *hogg doth ly,

That must be hang’d for Sodomy.’

(*alluding both to his sirname of Bacon, & to that swinish abominable sinne.)”

Bacon’s own writing on the subject was markedly less crude: “Although nuptial love maketh mankind, friendly love [between men] perfecteth it.”

Kylar Broadus

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When Broadus notified his corporate law job of his intent to transition in 1995, he quickly found himself forced out of the company through a series of passive-aggressive attacks, including hourly phone calls from his supervisor and prohibitions against speaking with certain people. Even taking time off for stress leave failed to cure the problem. When he finally called it quits, he was shocked to learn that there were no laws under which he could sue for discrimination, and began a decades long quest to remedy the problem.

Though best known for founding the Trans People of Color Coalition and being the first trans person to testify before the US Senate when he spoke on ENDA, Broadus is also an attorney, professor at Lincoln University of Missouri, board member of the National Black Justice Coalition (an organization for black LGBT folks), and the 2011 recipient of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Sue J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement. His blog (not updated since 2012) can be found here, and you can follow his active Twitter account here. For more information on employment discrimination faced by trans people – and a mention of Broadus – click here.