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Celebrating Five Queer Women Icons from Rhode Island: Trailblazers from Newport and Beyond

Updated: Mar 29

On Women's History Month, we're proud to spotlight five extraordinary women and individuals who made their mark on the world and called Rhode Island their home. From groundbreaking musicians to pioneering lawmakers and literary luminaries, these figures have helped shape our culture, advocated for equality, and inspired future generations. Join us as we celebrate their lives and their invaluable contributions.


Blanche Oelrichs (Michael Strange): Newport's Literary Luminary and Bisexual Trailblazer


Blanche Oelrichs (Micheal Strange), Bain Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


Blanche Oelrichs, also known by her pen name Michael Strange, was a renowned poet and playwright born in Newport, Rhode Island. Her work explored themes of love, identity, and desire, and her contribution to American literature was significant. As a bisexual woman, Oelrichs faced many challenges in a society that often marginalized LGBTQ+ voices. Nevertheless, she fearlessly expressed herself through her writing. Her legacy remains a testament to the ability of art to challenge norms and inspire change. Oelrichs' influence continues to be felt in Newport and beyond, inspiring future generations of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Melissa Dubose: Breaking Barriers on the U.S. District Court

Angela McCalla: First Queer Woman Of Color on the Newport City Council

Tiara Mack: Champion for Equality in Rhode Island Politics

Wendy Carlos: Electronic Music Pioneer and LGBTQ+ Trailblazer

As we reflect on the lives and legacies of these remarkable individuals, let us be inspired by their courage, creativity, and resilience. Whether through music, politics, law, or literature, they have left an indelible mark on the world and paved the way for future generations of LGBTQ+ individuals to thrive. Let us honor their memory by advocating for equality, celebrating diversity, and building a more inclusive society for all.

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