Curve Power List: 50 LGBTQ+ Women and Nonbinary Trailblazers

We asked, and you nominated. Here are the top 50 outstanding individuals who made our inaugural Power List for their incredible work in the public eye, behind the scenes, in our community, or the mainstream. They come from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds, gender identities, and professions and are making a difference in their chosen fields.

From left to right:
Emily “Hawking” Shilling, Kristen Kish, Imani Rupert-Gordon, Sarah Kate Ellis, Karine Jean-Pierre, Ariane DeBose, Sharice Davids, Kristen Stewart, Kelley Robinson; Ellis/Jean-Pierre/DeBose photo by Getty Images for GLAAD

Amber Glenn

Ice Skater

Andy Marra

Politician and human rights activist

Ariana DeBose Photo By: Cameron Smith

Ariana DeBose


Ariana made her name on Broadway before wowing audiences with her Oscar-winning performance as an Afro-Latina Anita in the 2021 film remake of West Side Story. She is the first Afro-Latina, the first openly queer actor of color, and the first openly queer woman to win an Oscar, as well as the first openly queer woman of color to receive an acting nomination. She will host the Tony Awards for the third consecutive year.

Ayo Edebiri


Billie Jean King

Tennis legend

Brandi Carlile


Brandy Clark


Brittney Griner


Caitlin Kalinowski Photo By: Chloe Aftel

Caitlin (“CK”) Kalinowski

Head of AR Glasses Hardware for Reality Labs at Meta

Caitlin was previously the head of VR Hardware, responsible for the hardware design and engineering of Oculus’s award-winning VR devices. A recognized leader in virtual reality and product design, she serves on the board of Axon Enterprise. Prior to joining Meta, from 2007 to 2013, Ms. Kalinowski was a Product Design Engineer for Apple, where she led technical teams for the Mac Pro and MacBook Air and was part of the original Unibody MacBook Pro team. She holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Caitlin is passionate about increasing the number of women and other underrepresented minorities in technology and design and is on the strategic advisory board of Lesbians Who Tech.

Cheryl Dunye Photo By: Jamie Hopper

Cheryl Dunye


Cheryl’s films frequently touch on themes of race, sexuality, gender, and intersectional identity. Part of the “Queer New Wave” of young filmmakers in the early 1990s, her feature film, The Watermelon Woman, won the Berlin International Film Festival. Now working in television as well (The Umbrella Academy, Bridgerton), Dunye launched her Oakland-based production company Jingletown Films to provide a platform for storytellers and filmmakers that identify as people of color and/or queer.

Christa Rose 

Christa Rose

Neuroscience researcher

Christa’s research is focused on improving mental health. As a DEI strategist, Rose has worked extensively with higher education administrators to improve their institutional climate, resources, and policies to better support LGBTQ+, BIPOC, disabled, first-generation, and low-income folks. Some of her achievements include the historic creation of Boston University’s LGBTQIA+ Student Resource Center and increased access to gender-affirming healthcare services.

Dana Goldberg


Deirdre O’Brien

Senior Vice President of Retail and People at Apple

Désirée Yael Vester

Archivist/librarian at the Lesbian Herstory Archives 

Diana Nyad

Long-distance swimmer/motivational speaker

Emily “Hawking” Shilling Photo By: US Navy

Emily “Hawking” Shilling, Commander, United States Navy

Commander, US Navy

Commander Emily “Hawking” Shilling is a distinguished Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, and Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer. She is also the Navy’s most senior openly transgender line officer and aviator. Her career with the US Navy includes two Aircraft Carrier deployments, 60 combat missions, over 1700 flight hours, and the piloting of 21 different aircraft types. In 2023, she achieved a historic milestone as the first transgender individual to regain Naval Flight Clearance for tactical jets post-transition. She is President of SPARTA, supporting trans-inclusive military service, and serves on the board of Out & Equal.

Fawzia Mirza 

Fawzia Mirza


A South Asian, Muslim filmmaker, Fawzia co-wrote and starred in the award-winning feature Signature Move. Her feature film script Heirloom was named to the 2022 Muslim List, published by The Black List, an annual survey of the most-liked motion picture screenplays not yet produced. She’s written for TV, and executive-produced documentaries, and her award-winning short films have screened all over the world.

Gail Frederick 

Gail Frederick

CTO of Heroku at Salesforce

Gail’s mission is to deliver world-class and highly productive DevOps experiences on Heroku’s cloud computing platform. She’s an executive advisor for Outforce, Salesforce’s LGBTQ+ equality group, and serves on the Executive Advisory Board for Lesbians Who Tech. She holds a B.S. in computer science from the University of Michigan, an M.S. in computer science from the University of Washington, and executive certificates from MIT Sloan.

Hannah Gadsby


Hayley Kiyoko


Imani Rupert-Gordon 

Imani Rupert-Gordon

ED of the National Center for Lesbian Rights

Imani is a nationally recognized leader and well-known for her visionary leadership. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including being named to The Root 100 list, recognizing her as one of the most influential Black leaders in the country, as well as receiving the Judith Butler Award by The Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice for her strong commitment to social change, leadership, and innovative approaches to the field of social work.

Imara Jones

Journalist /activist

Jamie Bannister

SVP, Head of Planning & Business Services for HSBC USA

Janelle Monáe


Jen Wong

COO of Reddit

Jo Yurcaba


Jodie Foster


Karine Jean-Pierre Photo By: White House/Oliver Contreras

Karine Jean-Pierre

White House Press Secretary

Karine is the first Black person and the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as White House Press Secretary. She has worked as senior advisor and national spokeswoman for the progressive advocacy group She was previously a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and a lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.

Kate McKinnon


Kelley Robinson

President, Human Rights Campaign

Kristen Kish Photo: Bravo/David Moir

Kristen Kish

Celebrity chef/author

Kristen is the chef/partner of Arlo Grey in Austin, Texas, and the host of Bravo’s Emmy Award-winning Top Chef. She’s also host and producer of Restaurants at the End of the World on National Geographic/Disney+. In 2023, she was named to TIME 100’s Next, AdWeek’s Creative 100 and Marie Claire’s Power lists. Born in South Korea and adopted into a family in Kentwood, Mich., Kish’s TV career began when she competed on and won season 10 of Top Chef. In a full circle moment, she was named host of the beloved series for the 21st season beginning in March.

Kristen Stewart


Leanne Pittsford

Entrepreneur/founder Lesbians Who Tech 

Lena Waithe


Lily Tomlin




Margaret Cho


Mariah Moore


Marx Cassity 

Marx Cassity


An up-and-coming rock artist, Cassity released their new album, 2Sacred as a response to a 3-year-old statistic of 33% of Native queer youth attempting suicide. Cassity says they are inspired to use music to bring visibility to the struggles of Indigi-queer people. Cassity is also a trauma therapist for Native American LGBTQ+ clients. They are currently working on one of the first research studies for psychedelic treatments for gender-diverse people with treatment-resistant PTSD.

Maura Healey

Governor of Massachusetts

Megan Rapinoe

Soccer legend

Nadine Smith

CEO of Equality Florida 

Rachel Maddow


Sarah Kate Ellis

President of GLAAD 

Sarah Paulson


Sharice Davids Photo By:

Sharice Davids, United States Representative

United States Representative

Sharice is an attorney, former mixed martial artist, and politician serving as the U.S. representative from Kansas’s 3rd congressional district since 2019. She is also the second Native American to represent Kansas in Congress. Queerty named Davids one of the Pride50 “trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance, and dignity for all queer people.” She was also named to the 2021 Fast Company Queer 50 list.

Sue Bird


Tara Llanes 

Tara Llanes


A Mountain Bike Downhill/Dual World Cup winner, World Championship silver and bronze medalist, 5x US National Champion, and X-Games Gold medalist, Tara raced professionally for 15 years and in 2007 was paralyzed from the waist down in a Jeep King of the Mountain race in Beaver Creek, Colorado. After years of rehabilitation from her spinal cord injury, she began playing wheelchair tennis and met former wheelchair players from the Canadian National Team. She quickly transitioned from tennis to basketball. In 2018, she made the Canadian women’s national team and won a ParaPan Am Games gold medal in 2019. She made her Paralympics debut at Tokyo 2020 and competed at her second world championships in 2023.

Tracy Baim


Wanda Sykes


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Disclaimer this list was compiled through public nominations. If your name has been included  in error, please contact us to have it removed.