Part 5: Our Hall of Fame

Any celebration of the The Advocate's founding in 1967 must honor the heroes for LGBT rights that we've covered for 45 years. With one honoree named per year, this is the final installment before a celebration Thursday in Los Angeles.

BY Advocate Contributors

March 28 2012 1:00 AM ET

HEROES 1986 DONNA DEITCH X 560 | ADVOCATE.COMWhen Patricia Ireland became president of the National Organization for Women in 1991, The Advocate praised her as "America's Most Powerful Woman." That was the headline on the cover story in which Ireland came out as bisexual in an interview that same year.

For her part, Ireland avoided labels of her influence or her relationships, saying, "The words I use are the words I use."

Ireland was already well known as a guiding voice for lesbian rights through her work with NOW in Florida. During her 10 years running NOW and those that would follow, Ireland has fought antigay ballot initiatives, been arrested in front of the White House for protesting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and she helped organize the 1993 March on Washington for Gay, Lesbian and Bi Civil Rights. "I am not the exception to the rule," Ireland wrote in her memoir of the realization that propelled her into activism on behalf of women. "I fall into an oppressed category, and I damn well don't like it."
-Lucas Grindley 

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