Part 3: Our Hall of Fame
BY Advocate Contributors
March 21 2012 2:00 AM ET
Before there was Harvey Milk, there was Elaine Noble, the first known openly gay person to ever be elected to a state legislature. Noble was the target of harassment from colleagues when she first entered the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1974, but she eventually endeared herself to her fellow representatives, and constituents alike. Her 1976 reelection campaign was a sweep, with Noble winning nearly 90% of the vote in her heavily Irish-Catholic, Boston-area district.
Noble was part of the first delegation of LGBT people to be invited to the White House for a conversation with President Jimmy Carter on gay rights in 1977. Though she did put out a staunch effort to boost gay rights in Massachusetts, Noble saw that one of the most important fights of her time in office would be to help desegregate Boston's schools. Noble broke from other white legislators and some gay rights activists who thought she was abandoning her own people. She recruited volunteers and members of her campaign staff to ride buses with Boston's black children to predominantly white schools to ensure their safety. Noble left the office after two terms, but her efforts did not go in vain. A decade later, Massachusetts was an early adopter to a statewide gay rights bill, and in 2003, it became the first state to legalize marriage equality.
- Retirement Low-Income Apartment Complex for LGBT Seniors Opens in Philadelphia 1 hour 1 min ago
- Comedy Johnny and Tara at 30 Rock, Can't Stop With Play-By-Play 1 hour 50 min ago
- Comedy 8 Movies Made Better With 'Let It Go' 11:50 AM
- Film Gay-Helmed Sci-Fi Film Space Station 76 Debuts at SXSW March 08 2014 8:15 PM
- Religion Archbishop Dolan to NFL Hopeful Michael Sam: 'Bravo' UPDATED: March 08 2014 6:04 PM
- Love and Sex Sexually Explicit Videos No Longer Allowed on Vine March 08 2014 2:06 PM
- Dance NYC Boylesque Fest Teases Return March 08 2014 7:00 AM