50 Years of History Being Made and Taboos Being Shattered
In the 1950s and 1960s, many members of the LGBT community faced discrimination. In fact, there were very few places for the LGBT community to gather. The Greenwich Village in New York City was home to (often raided) LGBT friendly locations. Many of these locations were bars operated without liquor licenses, leaving them prone to frequent police raids.
The Stonewall Inn was one of the few places drag queens, transgender people, butch lesbians, male sex workers, and homeless youth could be amongst each other without fear of persecution. In June 1969 a few moments after midnight the police raided the Stonewall. These interactions lead to what we now know as the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall riots introduced us to activists Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two trans women of color who went on to found the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries or STAR. Because of the bravery of those who fought back at Stonewall, in 1970 LGBT activists decided to pick the month of June to celebrate pride month a month made in honor to celebrate the LGBT community and their contributions to society.
To celebrate Pride and the women of color who fought for LGBT rights, Walker’s Legacy picked four individuals who not break down the barriers of race, gender, and sexuality.
At a point in time, Arlan Hamilton experienced homelessness like many members of the LGBT community. With nothing more than a dream and a suitcase, Hamilton moved to Silicon Valley to build her empire. Despite having no connections, Arlan quickly made her own. In 2015 she became the Co-founder, and CEO of Backstage Capital, an investment company with the goal of helping those who identify as women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. Hamilton’s actions bravely give hope to minority startup owners. She was named as one of the 23 Most Powerful LGBTQ+ People in Tech by Business Insider in June 2019.
Whether it be behind the camera or in the boardroom Angelica Ross uses her voice to speak for trans women. Mostly known for her role as Candy Ferocity on the FX hit show POSE, who’s story closely resembles that of Venus Xtravaganza. Outside of her role as a Candy on PoseFX she is also largely known for being CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a firm that helps employ transgender people in the tech industry. After being kicked out of her mother’s home, Ross enlisted in the US Navy to afford college. However, she had to leave the navy “uncharacterized” due to the harassment she faced from her fellow soldiers. At the time the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was enforced. After leaving the navy, Angelica learned coding and graphic design before becoming a breakout star.
From working in Silicon Valley to presidential campaign management, Ann Mei Chang is a woman who does it all. She spent over twenty years working for Silicon Valley Startups such as Apple and Inuit and even served as Senior Engineering Director where she also led the product development team for Emerging Market for Google for eight years. Chang then made an industry shift to the social and public sectors. A few of these roles included being the former chief innovation officer at USAID, the Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps in 2013, and the Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State, where she was part of the committee that conceived and launched the Alliance for Affordable. We have seen her make history again as the Chief Innovation Officer of Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential candidate, who ran for the Democratic ticket in 2020.
When Ruby Corado arrived in Washington, DC she noticed a problem, there were no places that advocated for immigrant trans individuals and other members of the LGBT community. Motivated by the lack of resources, Ruby decided to step up and create a solution, Casa Ruby. Casa Ruby is the only LGBTQ bilingual and multicultural organization in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that provides social services and programs catering to the most vulnerable populations in the city and surrounding areas. These services included preventive health, housing services, social services, Latino and immigration services, and support services for victims of violence. Casa Ruby serves as the number one employer for trans women in the nation.