2019 Icons

  1. Ethel Allen
  2. Kwame Anthony Appiah
  3. Gladys Bentley
  4. Jackie Biskupski
  5. Kate Bornstein
  6. Ana Brnabic
  7. Pete Buttigieg
  8. Eliza Byard
  9. Brandi Carlile
  10. George Chauncey
  11. Lou Chibbaro Jr.
  12. Sharice Davids
  13. Babe Didrickson
  14. Cheryl Dunye
  15. Lillian Faderman
  16. Ronan Farrow
  17. Jewelle Gomez
  18. Emma González
  19. Sherenté Harris
  20. Rock Hudson
  21. Robert Indiana
  22. James Ivory
  23. Anne Lister
  24. Arthur Mitchell
  25. Julia Morgan
  26. Anaraa Nyamdorj
  27. Jared Polis
  28. Angela Ponce
  29. Keshav Suri
  30. Lillian Wald
  31. Edith Wharton

Elaine Noble


b. January 22, 1944

“I was elected in spite of being gay.”

Elaine Noble served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for two terms starting in 1975, becoming the first-ever openly gay candidate elected to a state office. Noble says that during her controversial, groundbreaking campaign, her windows were shot out, her car was vandalized, and she and her staff suffered ongoing harassment. She still managed to win the election.  

“I was elected in an largely Irish Catholic town,” she later said. “There was a level of animosity in all strata of society against homosexuality.” Noble’s victory came three years before Harvey Milk, the gay San Francisco supervisor, was shot to death.

In 1977 Noble was among the first delegation of gays and lesbians invited to the White House by President Jimmy Carter. She helped form the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus with Ann Lewis, the sister of former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank. Frank was not out about his sexuality at the time. 

Noble ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and went on to work for Boston Mayor Kevin White. At the time, she was romantically involved with the writer Rita Mae Brown. 

In 1986 Noble helped create the Pride Institute, an LGBT alcohol and drug treatment center in Minneapolis. She eventually moved to Florida to teach and sell real estate. She also became involved in the local Democratic Party. In 2009 she helped raise money to build the Palm Beach LGBT Center.