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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing LGBTQ+ Rights Advocate, Dies at 90

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing LGBTQ+ Rights Advocate, Dies at 90

Dianne Feinstein
Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Feinstein leaves legacy of championing women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.


U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, known for her groundbreaking roles in American politics, has died at 90.

News outlets like television station KGO of San Francisco and the New York Times confirmed the news of her death.

The California Democrat was a pioneer for women, becoming San Francisco’s first female Board of Supervisors president and mayor and later one of California’s first female U.S. senators.

During her time in public service, Feinstein championed women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.

In a time of crisis for San Francisco’s gay community, she took the politically risky step of closing the city’s bathhouses in an effort to combat the spread of AIDS. Under her leadership, San Francisco General Hospital became a global standard-setter for HIV/AIDS healthcare.

On women’s issues, Feinstein was instrumental in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and authored the 2022 Respect for Marriage Act, federalizing marriage equality. She became the first woman in California to win a major party’s gubernatorial nomination and was the first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Intelligence Committees.

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi added her voice to those mourning Feinstein’s passing.

“Dianne was a pioneering woman leader, who served as San Francisco’s first female Mayor with unmatched courage, poise and grace,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Her extraordinary career will continue to inspire countless young women and girls to pursue public service for generations to come.”

As Pelosi noted, Feinstein was also a powerhouse in women’s advocacy. She was the first woman to lead several Senate committees and was instrumental in renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

“A fierce champion for gender justice, her tireless advocacy was consequential in securing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act,” Pelosi stated.

Feinstein had announced plans to retire in 2024—her passing leaves a lasting legacy in American politics, particularly in women’s and LGBTQ rights.

This story is developing...

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story included a quote attributed to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi as published by KGO; however, the quote was erroneous, according to a spokesperson in Pelosi’s office.

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