HRC mourns the heroic trailblazers and advocates we lost this year. Their work continues to inspire us as we fight for full equality at home and abroad.

Edie Windsor

Edie Windsor became an icon and trailblazer in the LGBTQ community when she won her case Windsor v. United States in 2013. Striking down Section 3 of The Defense of Marriage Act, Windsor’s victory paved the way for nationwide marriage equality.

In September, Hillary Clinton gave the eulogy at Windsor’s funeral, encouraging all of us to continue the fight for full equality.

Gilbert Baker

In 1978, Gilbert Baker hand-dyed and stitched the fabric that would become one of the most important and enduring symbols of LGBTQ pride -- the rainbow flag. Baker’s creation reflects the diversity of the LGBTQ community and has brought hope to millions across the globe.

Ed Flanagan

Ed Flanagan made history as the first openly gay statewide elected official in the country. A passionate and progressive lawmaker, his legacy serves as a powerful reminder that the LGBTQ community deserves equal representation in all levels of government.

Ceci Bulaong Gratias

Ceci Bulaong Gratias served for several years on HRC’s Austin steering committee. Through her work with HRC, Equality Texas and Out Youth, she gave voice to the voiceless and touched countless lives.

Ed Lee

Mayor Ed Lee was a tireless advocate for LGBTQ equality who worked to make San Francisco a stronger, more vibrant and inclusive community. As the first Asian-American mayor in the city’s history, he was both a trailblazer and a dedicated public servant admired by millions.

Cassidy Karakorn

Over her 17-year career at HRC, Cassidy Karakorn championed civil rights for the LGBTQ community. As director of consumer marketing, her creative genius and passion were unmatched. She will always be a part of the HRC family and we will carry her memory with us always.

Ann Kaner Roth

Ann Kaner Roth was a fierce ally and leader of Minnesota’s LGBTQ community. Serving as Executive Director of Project 515, she led a successful legislative campaign to win marriage equality in the North Star State. She was a member of HRC’s national Board of Governors and went on to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for Minnesota. Roth dedicated her life to securing equality and civil rights for LGBTQ and all marginalized communities


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