Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals continue to endure endemic violence, legal discrimination, and other human rights violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity around the world but the worldwide politics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights has seen a development of transnational activist and advocacy networks during the last three decades. There are some activists who have been fighting for equality, who believes that all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have fundamental human rights. This list includes some of the best and prominent activists from around the world. 

Sue Sanders

Sue Sanders was born in 1947 and is a disability and LGBTQ+ rights activist and a teacher. She became the co-chair of Schools Out in 2000, an organization that was founded in 1974 to promote LGBT equality in the education sector. Sanders was one of the founders of the UK’s first LGBT History Month with the support of the Schools Out group – launched in December 2004 at Tate Modern. The Classroom, a website with over 50 free lesson plans for teachers to ‘Usualize’ and ‘Actualize’ LGBT topics across the curriculum and in all key stages related to the national curriculum, was founded by her in 2011. It went viral after being shared by the TES and the Guardian, and has gained the attention of thousands across the nation.

Sue has written poetry, short stories, and several essays and pamphlets on feminist concerns, education, and homophobia. She’s been a keynote speaker and workshop leader at numerous conferences dealing with diversity, homophobia, and LGBT issues. She has also directed a number of plays in London’s fringe theatres and worked on the production of radio shows, routinely appearing TV and radio programs dealing with equality and LGBT topics.

Arsham Parsi

Born in 1981, Arsham Parsi, is a Canadian-based Iranian LGBT rights activist. He’s the founder and executive director of the International Railroad for Queer Refugees, a Toronto-based international non-profit that assists Iranian queers and those who have fled Iran because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

He began working secretly in Iran to enhance lesbian and gay civil rights. In 2003, he assisted in the formation of Voice Celebration, a secret Yahoo chat club for LGBT Iranians. The group included 50 members who discussed the best ways to obtain civil rights. He was asked to speak publicly before the second session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, less than three years later, and on the fourth anniversary, all international media published pieces on Iranian gay and lesbian individuals.

Some of his awards include Felipa de Souza Award, which was presented by The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in New York, Pride Toronto Award for Excellence in Human Rights and the International Trailblazer Award.

Todd Emerson

Todd Emerson, born in 1964, is an ‘out and proud’ gay, Irish-American man and a LGBT rights activist. He was the first person to arrange the ‘Ocean Spring’s Pride March’ in Mississippi and believes in achieving equality through his work and his organizations such as the Mississippi Gay and Lesbian Task Force, South Mississippi Aid Task Force, and GL Friendly. Despite receiving hundreds of death threats, he has never stopped in challenging oppression and voicing out his opinions. In fact, he has dedicated his life to the cause of helping his community achieve equality.

Todd has also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Roland Watts Show, as well as numerous other newspapers, radio stations, and magazines. His main goal has always been to bring attention to the persecution and prejudice that the LGBTQ population suffers and he does just that every single day!

These are some of the leading LGBTQ+ rights activists of today. Commitment and hard work has helped the queer community in so many ways and the success and bravery of these individuals must be recognized and appreciated!

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