Today is the first day of Women's History Month, which means it is time to reflect on the past milestones for women, examine the issues facing women today, and celebrate the incredible women who are working to change lives around the world. Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women make up some of the most important female figures in history and have made some of the most important contributions to history. Tammy Baldwin is currently serving as the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate. Wanda Sykes is an openly lesbian comedian and actress. Anna Paquin is an out bisexual actress. Georgina Beyer was the world's first openly transgender mayor and member of parliament.
Despite the great strides LGBT women have made, there is still more work to do. Not only do women face more discrimination in employment than men, you can still be fired in 29 states for being LGBT. Transgender women, especially transgender women of color, face a disproportionately higher rate of discrimination in employment, housing and several other areas compared to the general population, according to reports from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. LGBT women also continue to face high levels of bias-motivated and intimate partner violence. A study by the Williams Institute of UCLA found bisexual women were at an elevated risk of facing intimate partner violence compared to lesbian and heterosexual women. In the 2011 report on anti-LGBT bias-motivated violence by the Anti-Violence Project, transgender women made up 40% of murder victims, but only 10% of violence survivors. On Thursday, the House approved a version of the Violence Against Women Act, which means it will now move on to the president's desk. The bill passed with protections for LGBT victims of domestic violence.
Throughout the month, GLAAD will be sharing stories of LGBT and ally women across a diversity of communities, who are bringing about important change in the world.