Homosexuality has been a source of discrimination for decades, but the most famous gay politicians have proven that your sexual orientation doesn’t have to stand in the way of your professional success. From senators to prime ministers, the political figures on this list built a solid supporter base by advocating for freedom of speech and religion, as well as equal rights for all. Although the social stigma regard homosexuals is still very much at large in conservative states of the U.S., as well as religious nations around the world, the shift in our contemporary political landscape is significantly positive.
Some of the wealthiest photographers in the world, which we featured in a previous article, are openly gay and even focus their work on addressing the issue of social discrimination. But unlike the creative industries (music, film, and photography, etc.), where gender and sexuality are mostly explored with an open mind, politicians can be very scrupulous, using homosexuality as a weapon to destroy someone’s public image. So, let’s take a look at the most famous gay politicians and how they’ve managed to uphold their career by staying true to themselves.
7. Tammy Baldwin
Considered a pioneer amongst the US politicians, Tammy Baldwin has come a long way. The Wisconsin native has been actively involved in the political landscape since the early 90s, when she was elected as a member of the Wisconsin Assembly. She was already open about her sexual orientation at that time and went on to become the first gay person to be elected in the House of Representatives.
6. Barney Frank
As the first member of Congress to publicly announce his homosexuality in 1987, the U.S Representative from Massachusetts makes a point of consistently defending civil rights in America. As such, Frank is one of the most popular politicians amongst the LGBT community.
5. David Cicilline
This U.S. Representative of Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district since 2010 is a firm believer in opening up the debate on gay rights in the country. In fact, his position as the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital during his time as the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, was highly encouraging for homosexual politicians.
4. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
It’s one thing to be a pioneer in the local political landscape, but Jóhanna took courage and gay pride to the next level by openly admitting to her sexual orientation in 2009, whilst running for the post of Prime Minister in Iceland. Today, she’s the first female and lesbian head of government in the world, establishing herself not only as a political leader, but as an admirable role model for feminists and lesbians alike.
3. Annise Parker
It’s difficult to imagine what life must be like for an openly gay woman in Houston, Texas, but the odds seem to be growing in their favour ever since Annise Parker appeared on the political scene. As the first openly lesbian mayor of the city (elected in 2010), Parker has been fighting for social tolerance and civil rights in the largest U.S. city to elect a gay mayor.
2. Sean Patrick Maloney
This New York Congressman is not only openly gay, but also an incredibly charismatic politician. A family man at heart, Maloney has three adopted children with his long-time partner Randy Florke (they have been a couple since 1992). Therefore, the Canadian native focuses his agenda on promoting gay rights in America, such as legal marriage and adoption.
1. The most famous gay politician is Jared Polis
The Colorado Congressman is one of the most active advocates for civil rights in the U.S. since his election in 2009. With his Fearless Campaign in 2011, he encouraged political leaders to stand up for what the country truly needs, in spite of the political risk it may entail for them. The LGBT trooper, who is also extremely wealthy and donates fortunes to several causes, gears his political agenda around the topics of equal rights, education and immigration reform, and drug policy, amongst others. He is without a doubt one of the most famous gay politicians in America.