10/10/2012 08:59 am ET

LGBT History Month: 21 Influential Black LGBT Icons


The struggle for equality in the LGBT black community has a long history with roots stemming back to the Harlem Renaissance and The Civil Rights Movement. Historical figures such as Bayard Rustin, Langston Hughes, and James Baldwin battled against both racial and sexual discrimination in an attempt to rise above the hatred and intolerance that tainted their generations.

Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage honors the legacy of these prominent figures by continuing the fight for equality in the LGBT community. But the progress that has been made in this movement may not have been possible without this crop of eminent idols.

In honor of LGBT history month here are 21 influential black icons that have helped shape the LGBT movement.

Influential Black LGBT Icons