Annise Parker's win in her 2009 mayoral race makes Houston the largest city in the U.S. to have a gay mayor, even though the red state has a history of antigay views.
Parker, 56, emphasized her experience of managing the city's budget rather than focusing on her sexuality. But Parker has always been an LGBT activist and was one of the founding members of Rice University's gay alliance.
The Texas pioneer has three adopted children together with her partner, Kathy Hubbard. Before President Obama's announcement that he supports same-sex marriage, Parker was critical of him, saying Obama "needed to evolve."
In September's Democratic National Convention, the Houston executive officer talked with The Huffington Post's Mike Signorile. She spoke about where she thinks LGBT rights are going, saying, "It's really clear to anybody who spends any time at all in popular culture and with young people in America, that this is a war that has already been won with young people. Full equality in this country is going to be in our lifetimes."
Each day in October, which is LGBT History Month, we'll be featuring a different LGBT icon. Check back tomorrow for a look at another incredible individual who changed history and visit our LGBT History Month Big News Page for more stories.