LGBT Pride Month: Women Who Made LGBT History Share Their Most Important Life Lessons

From opening up discussion on LGBT issues, to making cultural "firsts", the women in the above video have certainly shaped LGBT history in recent years.

To coincide with LGBT Pride Month, they told Makers some of the life lessons they learned along the way.

Tennis champion and gay rights activist Billie Jean King describes how she told her PR company she wanted to hold a press conference to discuss her sexuality.

"They said: 'You cannot do that - no one has ever done that'," she says.

"And I said: 'I don't care what people have done before me, I'm telling you that I have to tell the truth'."

Comedian and TV show host Ellen Degeneres says she found true happiness when she started showing the world her true self.

"I was really successful, but I was really just playing a part, trying to please everybody else because God forbid they found out who I really am," she says.

"But it's like 'why am I ashamed of who I am'. So I just decided I was going to come out and it was the best thing that's ever happened to me."

Brenda Berkman, the first NYC female firefighter, says you shouldn't expect change to be easy.

"I think too often young people believe that one person can never really make a change," she says.

"I'm here to tell you that that's not true. One person can make a change - it may not be the easiest thing to do, but one person can make a change."

Country musician and gay rights activist Cherly Wright says we all have a duty to speak up for what we believe in.

"We just need more and more country music artists to say 'gays and lesbians should have the right to marry'. Not just say 'well it's not my place to judge'," she says.

"If you really, really are heartfelt about equality, be bold."

Attorney Roberta Kaplan points out that gay people in relationships are no different to other people in relationships, and says her son has a "really funny way" of expressing this.

She says: "We were home and we decided to watch My Fair Lady and then at the end of the movie, he said: 'Huh, I guess this must be one of those old fashioned movies that was made before men could marry men'.

"Because in my son's mind, what's 'old fashioned' is something that happened before men could marry men - that pretty much says it all."

The overall message from these fabulous ladies is simple: Be proud.


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