Salesforce employees walking in a Pride parade. [Office of Equality]
During Pride month and throughout the year, we honor the legacy and stories of the many LGBTQ+ trailblazers that came before and paved a new way for generations to come. The modern LGBTQ+ rights movement began with the Stonewall Uprising and we can thank two revolutionary transgender leaders.
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rae Rivera were women of color who galvanized many behind the movement. However, as transgender women, they did not feel accepted by the gay community. The early gay and lesbian movement rallied behind the leadership of white cisgender men and women, often leaving trans and LGBTQ+ people of color as outliers.
At Salesforce, we stand firmly against discrimination and are committed to implementing LGBTQ-inclusive policies, practices, and benefits supporting our communities. While there is still more work to be done, let's learn from the powerful stories of these nine LGBTQ+ women who have inspired - and continue to inspire - greater change, gender equity, and equality for all.
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was an activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor. She reportedly threw the first brick that launched the Stonewall riots and with her activism, sparked a new phase of the LGBTQ+ movement in 1969. Alongside Sylvia Rivera, she established the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) in 1970, which was an organization committed to providing support, shelter, and food to homeless LGBTQ+ youth and advocate for trans rights.
No pride for some of us, without liberation for all of us.
Marsha P. Johnson
Sylvia Rivera was a Latina-American gay liberation and transgender activist who fearlessly fought for transgender rights. During a New York City Council meeting where a gay rights bill was being debated, she tried to climb into a window (in a dress and heels no less) to participate. She later went on to be known as a seminal figure of the LGBTQ+ movement.
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project continues her legacy, working to guarantee 'all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.'
We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are.
Audre Lorde was a self-described 'Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet' whose work was committed to fighting homophobia, racism, and sexism. She was known for 'Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches' and 'The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde.' As an award-winning writer, activist and artist she spent her career spotlighting racial and sexual prejudices, calling for liberation across all aspects of identity. In 1981, Lorde helped found the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which focused on amplifying Black writers and feminists.
When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
Megan Rapinoe is a World Cup and Olympic champion, she advocates for equality and human rights. Rapinoe launched a gender-neutral clothing company and was one of the first white athletes to take a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick against police brutality. 'Uncomfortable is what we need to be right now,' Rapinoe shared during her Salesforce Leading Through Change interview. 'Insert antiracism education into your daily practice. It's your everyday actions that can do the work of antiracism and make you part of the solution and not the problem.'
I feel a responsibility to do what I can with what I have to try to make the world better in whatever way I'm able to.
Geena Rocero is a Filipino transgender advocate and the founder of Gender Proud, a media production company that tells stories of the worldwide transgender community. As she shared in an interview with Gap Inc, she often finds herself to be the 'only' trans woman, and sometimes the only person of color, in a room amongst decision and policymakers. This is how she came to realize the true importance of 'opening doors for others' - which is one reason why she started a production company.
Hire trans people. Hire people of color. Give people access by giving them jobs.
As an American LGBTQ+ rights activist and trailblazer, Edie Windsor was best known for her part in overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which banned same-sex marriage. Windsor was married in Canada before moving to the United States. When her wife passed away, she sued the federal government for over $360,000 in estate taxes when it was blocked by DOMA, creating one of the biggest landmark marriage-equality Supreme Court cases. When the Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4 in 2013, in her favor, the verdict overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. Windsor's case was the first time same-sex marriage was recognized by the courts in the United States.
There is no such thing as same-sex marriage. There is marriage in this country.
Jazzie Collins was a Black transgender woman and advocate for transgender and disability rights. For over a decade, she fought for the rights of marginalized communities. Collins served as the vice-chair of San Francisco's LGBT Aging Policy Taskforce and as the vice-chair of the Lesbian Gay Transgender Senior Disabled Housing Task Force. In 2003, she was a member of the Prop L Committee, successfully directing efforts to set the minimum wage to $8.50, making San Francisco the first city in the country to establish its own minimum wage. This was also the highest minimum wage in the country at the time.
In June 2013, Collins was honored on the floor of the California State Capitol by the Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus for her advocacy work for justice and equality.
We will not tolerate any form of discrimination against anyone.
Also known as Kumu Hina, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is an Indigenous Hawaiian transgender woman and māhū, which in Hawaiian culture is a person who embodies the third gender between male and female. They are a filmmaker and the founder of the Kulia Na Mamo Transgender Health Project. Wong-Kalu is also one of the first Indigenous Hawaiians to actively support marriage equality in Hawaiʻi.
Hopefully, one of the things I leave with my students is the ability to love and respect one another unconditionally.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is a global sports icon, tennis world champion, and gender equality activist. King broke barriers by pushing for equal prize money for women, most notably during the Battle of the Sexes, and is one of the first openly gay athletes. She led the formation of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) in 1973. King also threatened to boycott the 1973 U.S. Open if they didn't address the pay inequity, leading to the first major tournament in the world to award equal prize money to both women and men.
Everyone thinks women should be thrilled when we get crumbs, and I want women to have the cake, the icing, and the cherry on top too.
Billie Jean King
The Equality Act creates clear, consistent protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment - learn more about our support through the Human Rights Campaign. Together, we can reach equality in the workplace and build an industry that truly reflects the diverse communities around us. At Salesforce, we are committed to advancing equality in the workplace and in society. If you're interested in a career at Salesforce, visit our careers page.