The Winner of SheWired's Out Woman of the Year Is...

Thanks to all who voted for SheWired's Out Woman of the Year 2012. We compiled a list of 20 out women whose visibility helped push the needle forward for awareness of LGBTs. The fierce women who comprised our top 20 women of the year have made incredible strides, not just for lesbians but for women, in pop culture, activism, politics and sports. And thanks to your persisent voting we have now determined our Out Woman of the Year. Here are the top five!
By: SheWired Editors
December 20 2012 5:31 PM

Thanks to all who voted for SheWired's Out Woman of the Year 2012. We compiled a list of 20 out women whose visibility helped push the needle forward for awareness of LGBTs. The fierce women who comprised our top 20 women of the year have made incredible strides, not just for lesbians but for women, in pop culture, activism, politics and sports. And thanks to your persisent voting we have now determined our Out Woman of the Year. Here are the top five! 

5. Kate McKinnon

 

The show's first out lesbian comic arrived just as Saturday Night Live lost the star comedy power of Kristen Wiig, adding pressure to keep audiences laughing. That's what Kate McKinnon has done this season. And maybe her success is because McKinnon isn't exactly a novice, coming from Upright Citizens Brigade and The Big Gay Sketch Show. Don't miss McKinnon on SNL doing a spot-on impersonation of Ellen DeGeneres. Even Ellen loved it, suggesting McKinnon go to Thanksgiving in her place.

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4. Edie Windsor 

This New York widow just may be the woman who brings down the Defense of Marriage Act. Windsor sued the federal government because its DOMA-based refusal to recognize her marriage to Thea Spyer meant she owed $363,000 in estate taxes after Spyer’s death in 2009—taxes she wouldn’t have owed if her spouse had been a man. In October a U.S. appeals court ruled that DOMA violated Windsor’s constitutional rights, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case next year, meaning it may decide the fate of DOMA, and same-sex marriage rights in general, once and for all. Windsor told CNN she was “elated” at the news that the high court would take her case, saying, “Did I ever think it could come to be, altogether?… Not a chance in hell.”

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3. Tammy Baldwin 

The Wisconsin Democrat carries on her state’s progressive political tradition by being elected as the first openly LGBT U.S. senator. She moves up from the House of Representatives, where she has served since 1999, being the first LGBT person elected to Congress while being out from the get-go (her predecessors had come out while in office). She’s also the first woman her state sent to the U.S. House, and now the first to the Senate. “Having a seat at the table matters, and I think we will see a Senate that is more reflective of America,” she told CNN after the votes were counted. “We’re certainly not there yet, but this will be a change that moves us forward.”

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2. Rachel Maddow 

Anchoring election night coverage for MSNBC, Maddow was the first newscaster to announce that President Obama had won a second term. Her eponymous nightly program has frequently bested archrival Fox News in the ratings, and while she is up front about her liberal beliefs, on her show she argues her case elegantly and eloquently, backing it up with exhaustive research on LGBT issues, women’s rights, economic concerns, and foreign policy. This year she often called out Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his tenuous relationship with facts and took down other politicians for untruths, and she continued to delight us with her “Moment of Geek” segment. The year also saw Maddow publish the book Drift, a much-praised critique of U.S. military spending, and receive the prestigious John Steinbeck Award, with Steinbeck’s son Tom calling her “a first-class observer and commentator.”

And the winner is... 

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1. Megan Rapinoe 

Congratulations to SheWired's Out Woman of the Year Megan Rapinoe. The funny, smart, talented and adorable Olympiad made headlines after she came out publicly during a July interview with Out Magazine. A fan favorite for both her prowess on the field and her personality off, Rapinoe is one of the most feared players in the world, recording 18 goals in 66 international caps. During the women’s Olympic run in August, Rapinoe, one of only three out LGBT Olympians from the US, started all six games, had a team high four assists (shared with Alex Morgan), and recorded three goals, including the game winner against Colombia. She was named to the short list for FIFA’s 2012 Women’s World Player of the Year Award and is also a finalist for Sports Illustrated's Most Inspiring Performers of 2012. In November Rapinoe was honored by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center during their 41st Anniversary Gala, where she received the Board of Directors Award for her courage in standing up against homophobia in sports. In a recent interview with SheWired, Rapinoe said, “It’s gonna be more difficult for barriers to be broken down until people start coming out regularly. I think the goal is to get to the point where people don’t have to, but until then, I think it is important to come out.”

Here are a couple of pics of Pinoe in action! 

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