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Cathy Woolard Elected Atlanta City Council President

Cathy Woolard
Cathy Woolard

First elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1997, Cathy Woolard had the distinction of becoming Georgia’s first out LGBTQ+ elected official. In 2001, she campaigned and won the citywide election for president of the council, making her one of the earliest out leaders of a major American city. Woolard was the first woman ever elected council president in Atlanta. 

Though unsuccessful, Woolard’s bid for mayor in 2017 re-animated LGBTQ+ advocates in Georgia, who pointed to her record on the council.

“Cathy Woolard has spent much of her life leading the fight for LGBT equality around the country and in Georgia, going back to the 1980s,” said Georgia Equality’s Jeff Graham in a statement endorsing Woolard. “The progress we enjoy today really rests on the shoulders of champions like Cathy. LGBT people would not have civil rights protections in Atlanta if it weren’t for her. We couldn’t have defeated all of the anti-gay legislation in the Capitol in recent years if it weren’t for Cathy. She has been, and continues to be, a remarkable leader for our community.”

Two Lesbian Lawmakers Come Out

Maggie McIntosh

Having authored a civil unions bill in the Rhode Island House, Rep. Nancy Hetherington hoped to appeal to her colleagues’ humanity by publicly coming out as a lesbian, someone directly affected by her bill. She did so in an op-ed in The Providence Journal on March 8, 2001. 

“What do civil unions mean to me?” Hetherington wrote. “As a gay person, they mean having the same concerns for my family as everyone else has and wanting to see those I love protected by every means legally available to me."

She didn’t seek re-election and retired from the legislature in 2002.

Maryland Delegate Maggie McIntosh had served in the state House since 1992, when she was appointed to fill a vacancy. In May 2001, she came out in a speech while accepting an award and went on to be re-elected in 2002 and also chosen as majority leader by her caucus that year. 

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund Endorsed Candidates in 2001

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund endorsed 38 candidates in 2001


Neil Giuliano (R), Tempe Mayor, Arizona

Jeffery Prang (D), West Hollywood Mayor, California

John Duran (D), Hollywood City Council, California

Cathy Woolard (D), Atlanta City Council, Georgia

Anne Fauver (D), Atlanta City Council, Georgia

Wally Swan (D), Minneapolis City Board, Minnesota

Gary Schiff (D), Minneapolis City Council, Minnesota

Robert Lilligren (D), Minneapolis  City Council, Minnesota

Rod Kreuger (D), Minneapolis Library Board, Minnesota

Scott Benson (D), Minneapolis City Council, Minnesota

Dan Stewart (D), Plattsburgh Mayor, New York

Bill Schmidt (R), Peekskill City Council, New York

Philip Reed (D), New York City Council, New York

Christine Quinn (D), New York City Council, New York

Margarita Lopez (D), New York City Council, New York

Louis Escobar (D), Cleveland City Council, Ohio

Gail Hoover (D), Allentown City Council, Pennsylvania

Annise Parker (D), Houston City Council, Texas

Ed Oakley (D), Dallas City Council, Texas

Jay Fisette (D), Arlington County Board, Virginia

Curt Pavola (D), Olympia City Council, Washington


Joel Wachs (D), Los Angeles Mayor, California

Conrado Terrazas (D), Los Angeles City Council, California

Laurette Healey (D), Los Angeles County Controller, California

Mark Aguirre (D), Rehoboth Beach City Council, Delaware

Malcolm Gideons (D), Atlanta City Council, Georgia

Juliet De La Cruz (D), DeKalb County Sheriff, Georgia

Alex Arroyo (D), Chicago City Council, Illinois

Cheryl Jacques (D), Lieutenant Governor, Massachusetts

Kip Koontz (D), Frederick City Council, Maryland

Patrick Peterson (D), Minneapolis School Board, Minnesota

Doug Kress (D), Minneapolis City Council, Minnesota

Dean Kallenbach (D), Minneapolis City Council, Minnesota

Jimmy Van Bramer (D), New York City Council, New York

Brad Hoylman (D), New York City Council, New York

Joe Santiago (D), Cleveland City Council, Ohio

Charlotte Comito (D), Multnomah County Board, Oregon

Steve Howard (D), Rutland City Council, Vermont

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