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Equality Forum Announces 2016 LGBT History Month Icons

Josephine Baker; Jose Antonia Vargas; James Obergefell; Lili Elbe
Josephine Baker, upper left; Jose Antonia Vargas, lower left; James Obergefell, upper right; Lili Elbe, lower right. AP, Reuters

Equality Forum, an LGBT civil rights organization with a focus on education, has released its annual list of LGBT History Month Icons.

Each year the organization releases the names of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people - living or deceased - who have made a positive impact on the community. Then throughout October, which is LGBT History Month, Equality Forum profiles one icon per day.

"As we move forward towards equality, it’s important that we honor and acknowledge where we came from and how far we have left to go. From scientists to athletes and elected officials, the LGBT community is woven tightly into the fabric of our country," said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum.

Here are a few of the icons who made this year's list:

Josephine Baker, Singer/Actress

JOSEPHINE BAKER
Singer Josephine Baker poses in her dressing room at the Strand Theater in New York City on March 6, 1961. AP

Lili Elbe, Transgender Pioneer & Painter

LILI ELBE (1886-1931). The first known recipient of sexual reassignment surgery.
LILI ELBE (1886-1931). The first known recipient of sexual reassignment surgery. ullstein bild via Getty Images

James Obergefell, Marriage Equality Hero

James Obergefell, Jim
James Obergefell is photographed in the office of his attorney, Gerhardstein & Branch Co. LPA, Friday, April 3, 2015 in Cincinnati. Obergefell is among the 19 men and 12 women whose same-sex marriage cases from those two states, plus Michigan and Tennessee, was be argued at the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015. AP

Ashok Row Kavi, Indian Gay Pioneer & Journalist

Indian gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi gestures during a news conference in Bombay August 8, 2003..
Indian gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi gestures during a news conference in Bombay August 8, 2003. Reuters

Tammy Smith, U.S. General

Brigadier General Tammy S. Smith Deputy Chief of Staff, Army Reserve. U.S. Army Reserve

Jose Antonio Vargas, Immigration Activist

Jose Antonio Vargas
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and immigration reform activist Jose Antonio Vargas, who revealed that he entered the U.S. illegally, listens as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan testify at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security hearing regarding immigration reform and the DREAM Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 2011. AP

Check out Equality Forum's website for the full list of 2016 LGBT History Month Icons.

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