Part 2: Our Hall of Fame

Any celebration of the The Advocate's founding in 1967 must honor the LGBT rights heroes that we've covered for 45 years. With one honoree named per year, the list will be announced in segments and culminate in an event in Los Angeles this month.

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 19 2012 2:00 AM ET

HEROES 1978 DIANE FEINSTEIN X560 | ADVOCATE.COMJust as AIDS began to ravage New York City in 1981, Sheryl Lee Ralph starred in the original production of the Broadway smash Dreamgirls. That time in her life would be formative, as she watched many of her gay friends succumb to AIDS. Ralph soon became one of the earliest celebrity HIV activists, with her work chronicled in a 1983 edition of The Advocate. The actress — who would move on to roles in Moesha and Barbershop — has raised millions for HIV charities through her DIVA Foundation and her Divas Simply Singing events. While many have turned their back on AIDS-related work, Ralph continues to shout from the rooftops.

"A young man called me up yesterday to say, 'Miss Ralph, you told me to take the test ... and I'm positive,'" Ralph told us recently. "That call has never changed over 30 years — the same fear, the same apprehension."
—Neal Broverman 

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