Kathy Kozachenko was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the United States when she won an Ann Arbor City Council seat on April 2, 1974.
Kathy joined thousands of LGBTQ+ folks who “came out” as a political act after the 1969 Stonewall Inn Uprising. Before Stonewall, people rarely “outted” themselves, because they faced losing their jobs, their housing, and their lives for being identified as gay or transgender. “Coming out” became a protest against discrimination and violence.
In the 1970s, Ann Arbor and Detroit developed into centers for the Gay Liberation Movement in Michigan. Ann Arbor was the first municipality in the U.S. to acknowledge Gay Pride Week and one of the first to pass anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation.
Today, the LGBTQ+ community is underrepresented in American politics making up just 0.17% of all elected officials.