2020 Icons

  1. Nikolay Alexeyev
  2. Deborah Batts
  3. Angie Craig
  4. Emily Dickinson
  5. Felicia Elizondo
  6. Rob Epstein
  7. Emile Griffith
  8. Menaka Guruswamy & Arundhati Katju
  9. Alexander von Humboldt
  10. Christopher Isherwood
  11. Moisés Kaufman
  12. Lori Lightfoot
  13. Claudia López
  14. Bernárd Lynch
  15. Anne McClain
  16. Kate McKinnon
  17. Harris Glenn Milstead “Divine”
  18. David Mixner
  19. Lauren Morelli
  20. Ifti Nasim
  21. Jess O’Connell
  22. Mary Oliver
  23. Billy Porter
  24. Laura Ricketts
  25. Angelica Ross
  26. Sappho
  27. Megan Smith
  28. Baron von Steuben
  29. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
  30. Deborah Waxman
  31. Lil Nas X

Roberta Achtenberg



 

Government

b. July 20, 1950

“The ability to be in public life has been enormously positive to our movement.”

Roberta Achtenberg serves as a commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She is the first openly gay presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate.

Achtenberg was born in Los Angeles. Her father emigrated from the Soviet Union and her mother from Canada. The family owned a neighborhood grocery store. Achtenberg earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she met her future husband. The couple moved to Salt Lake City, where Achtenberg earned a law degree from the University of Utah.

In 1979, after divorcing, Achtenberg met Mary Morgan, an attorney later appointed to a judgeship in the San Francisco Municipal Court. The couple became partners and had a son.

Achtenberg was first elected to public office on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. As an out lesbian elected official, she garnered national attention. During the Clinton administration she served as Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. In 1993, she was appointed Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Despite Senator Jesse Helms’s vocal refusal to vote for “that damned lesbian,” Achtenberg became the first out appointee confirmed by the Senate. Despite Ku Klux Klan opposition, she developed an integrated public housing project in a previously all- white Texas town.

In 2011, President Obama named Achtenberg to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

She serves as a corporate advisor in community development to the Lennar Corporation and is a director of the software company AJWI. Previously, she was a staff attorney for the Lesbian Rights Project of Equal Rights Advocates. She is a cofounder of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Achtenberg received a GLAAD Visibility Award and was recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Bay Area’s “Most Influential Businesswomen.”