LGBTQ Women’s Political History in the United States

“Hey Kathy, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we run you as openly gay?”

The year was 1974. The rise of the New Left had produced a new generation of young, idealistic leaders running for office. Among them was Kathy Kozachenko, a 21-year-old English major, who agreed to the idea of running as an out candidate. Kathy went on to win her race for a seat on the Ann Arbor City Council on April 2, making history as the first openly LGBTQ candidate to win an election in the United States.

American history is full of queer women, and much of women’s history is queer history. With this timeline, we seek to highlight the women and the movements that have shaped our common story. Each of the women listed here represents a milestone in the tide for LGBTQ rights and visibility. For them, we are eternally grateful.

Notice someone missing? Click here to submit a timeline entry for review.