In honor of Women's History Month, I asked a few of the women at GLAAD for their thoughts on women in the LGBT movement. Here's what they had to say:
"Women's voices have long led the LGBT movement. On the ground and in the public eye, behind the scenes and at the forefront – women have been shaping the narrative, shining a light on the multiplicity of experiences and driving success. Women bring a distinct set of leadership skills to the movement that encourage collaboration and empower the movement to reach new heights." - Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO
"For me, being a transgender woman was a little bit like being an immigrant. Early in transition I "spoke with an accent," and bore with me the customs of the land of my birth, even if it was a land I was bent on fleeing. In time, as I have become a naturalized citizen of this gender, I think I have found an immigrant's sense of pride--call it patriotism--for womanhood. As the Irish song goes, 'When we cross o'er, we shall surely discover, that place is the land of sweet liberty.'
There are tens of thousands of women--and men--trying to find the courage to set out upon similar journeys. It is GLAAD's mission to help all of us find safe passage, from a world of hurt to lives of meaning, and truth, and solace." - Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU, and GLAAD national co-chair.
"Women's History Month is as important to LGBT women as it is for all women, not simply because our experiences contribute to the understanding of all women's lives, but also because so many admirable LGBT women have empowered and improved the lives of all women. The example of a social reformer like Jane Addams certainly inspires me to this day at the same time that, as a sportswriter, I remain so very grateful to Billy Jean King, Martina Navratilova, and Fallon Fox for their willingness to blaze trails in sports." - Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com sportswriter and editor, GLAAD board member
"Being a woman in a man's world is hard. Being a lesbian, or a trans woman can be even more difficult. As my fellow firefighters might attest, I am not one to shy away from challenge. Facing challenge is when we get to find out who we really are! Never before have women been making so many strides in breaking down gender barriers. In some cases, trans women have been leading the charge, getting society to rethink how we view male/female roles and abilities. People are starting to question age old assumptions about what really defines a person, and that's a very good thing. This is an exciting time to be a woman!" – Lana Moore, fire captain and GLAAD board member
"I have in my lifetime seen the rise of feminism, in spurts at times, but steadily though with so much further to go. As I say in my website, the planet will not know peace until the world adopts a more feminine face in its leadership. Women are key to a future where the mankind's true priorities are central to foreign and domestic policy across the globe." – Marci Bowers, doctor and GLAAD board member
"I am still an Audre Lorde and Gloria Anazaldua quoting kind of woman. The best way forward is to bridge our intersectional struggles as we work towards immigration reform, reproductive justice, equality, trans health, access, a world without violence and a world without discrimination on any basis. Cheers to all the women and men, trans and cisgender that are doing this in our times." - Janet Quezada, Spanish-Language Media Strategist
"My big sister is my LGBT hero and role model. When I grow up I hope to be just like her." - Becca Palmer, Operations Manager
"I've recently been re-watching The L Word. What keeps me watching is its focus on both interpersonal and institutional oppression: the show highlights discrimination from strangers, friends, and family, as well as in the work place, in the healthcare system, in the government, in the military, and in the media. This was pretty groundbreaking for a TV show—many shy away from critiquing our social systems. That's part of what still makes it relatable to queer women like me, who encounter homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in many different aspects of our lives. This Women's History month, I'm hoping more shows take The L Word's lead by discussing the systematic discrimination LGBT women like me experience." - Lauren Herold, Administrative Assistant
"Being a woman, particularly a bi woman, in the LGBT movement has really taught me the importance of my voice and the power I have in sharing it with others. If we don't make ourselves visible and have that dialogue, prejudice and ignorance go unchallenged and the conversation will not be changed. I admire all the people who came before me, those alongside me now and those who will come in the future who have the courage to share their stories and inspire others to live openly." – Megan Townsend, Entertainment & Operations Coordinator
"For me, the identities as a woman and a lesbian as a feminist and an LGBT advocate have intersected and sort of built on each other. I suppose it started with, thankfully, my parents telling me I shouldn't let anyone make me think I couldn't do something because I was a girl. I then applied that theory to being a lesbian. Eventually that led to being very out, including in Spanish language media, where I hope I can model pride and openness as a woman and a Latina lesbian. And the icing on the cake is having the privilege, thanks to my work at GLAAD, of being able to help others tell their stories and model that same pride." – Monica Trasandes, Director of Spanish Language Media
"We are in a unique moment for LGBT equality. The majority of Americans are coming to understand and support our community's needs, and we're seeing that they have a real impact on policy and people's lives. Like never before, the world is paying close attention. Which is good, because we have a lot more work to do. While there are many women helping to lead the movement—nationally, locally, in the media—we still need legislators, allies, and the community as a whole to understand the issues that LGBT women face, why they're important, and what can be done." – Charlotte Wells, Vice President of Operations
"I'm drawn to feminism for the same reasons I'm drawn to the LGBT movement. At the crux of both are the beliefs that all people deserve equal access, respect, bodily autonomy, and the right to thrive. Within both movements, I think there's a dedication to community building, to processing personal experiences, and to challenging oppressive and destructive systemic norms. I find these efforts and the mission behind them empowering because they create connectedness by seeking and rewarding what's most beautiful about humanity." - Alexandra Bolles, Programs & Communications Fellow
"For me it's impossible to separate feminism from LGBTQ movement-building. The LGBTQ movement is built on feminist principles that sex and gender do not determine how we live and who we love. Even though I grew up in feminist household, I didn't really identify with feminism until I became involved in queer communities.
We need to keep our feminism active within our LGBTQ groups and organizations by resisting patriarchal power structures and centering LGBTQ women -- especially women of color, trans women, working-class women, rural women, immigrant women, and disabled women.
The biggest challenge I personally face is how to honor all my feminist and queer communities, especially when caught in the middle of debates about trans inclusion, body positivity, or marriage equality. I hope that we can use the momentum and visibility of the LGBTQ movement to re-ignite an inclusive feminist movement that all women want to be a part of!" - Anna Wolk, Online Production Manager