While entertainment might be a more fun subject than politics, lawmakers are an integral part of all our lives, whether we know their names or not. So when there are prominent political figures or commentators that capture our hearts or imaginations we really sit up and pay attention. And I would even say that the charismatic and cute political pundit Rachel Maddow has inspired more lesbians than ever to sit up and take notice of politics. Not only is she the first out butch lesbian anchor, but she relates the issues she discusses in very down to earth terms.
So it comes as no surprise that she tops a list of the 20 most powerful lesbians in American politics. An interesting mix of politicians, and the lesbians that talk about them, blogger David Mixner’s list speaks to the relevance of media, politics and entertainment in a way that highlights the importance of both community and story in influencing public policy and discourse.
Second on the list is Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. This well-beyond-Freshman has been in the House of Representatives for a decade as an out lesbian and has the ear of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She does not shy away from advocating LGBT rights no matter their popularity and continues to be a voice for all of us, even if she technically represents the 2nd district of Wisconsin. We still don’t boast any out Senators so she seems the highest lezzie in US congress.
Another interesting choice is political blogger Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. In a world where increasingly the Huffington Post gets as much traffic and credibility as the newsprint on your doorstep, Spaulding is our own Arianna Huffington.
Of course, local politics are important too, and mere months after Portland celebrated having the first openly gay mayor of a major city, Houston stole our thunder with the election of an out lesbian not ensconced in scandal. Mayor Annise Parker leads a city in a state much more famous for its homophobia than its tolerance and so far so good.
The article also speaks of Christine Quinn New York City Council and Randi Weingarten who, as president of the American Federation of Teachers, is the most powerful open LGBT person in American labor as well as political power broker Hilary Rosen, who would make ever lesbian who’s who list.
The rest of the list consists of the heads of various NGOs and activists, chief among them Rea Carey, the only lesbian heading the big three national organizations (The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) in Washington and Urvashi Vaid, a popular foundation head, writer, activist and speaker who tours the country’s universities with academic activists following her every step.
Do you think Rachel Maddow has more political pull than politicians themselves?