AMERICAE represents a life lived boldly and authentically. We advocate for living life on your own terms and standing up for what you believe in.
The women and femmes embody that.
On this last day of the month of June, we highlight a few women and femmes that have inspired us. They were called to speak on behalf of their community and did so with courage and persistence. They are powerful and unapologetic. They have owned their identities and accomplished feats despite atmospherics.
Pride month, and every other month, these individuals encourage us to be bold every day of the year.
Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin never let her challenges stand in her way. She was raised by her grandparents and, at nine years old, was diagnosed with a childhood illness that resembled spinal meningitis. She was forced to spend three months in the hospital and faced medical bills that no insurance company would cover. Tammy got better but her grandparents struggled to pay the bills and made sacrifices to make ends meet.
Tammy graduated high school and went on to double major in political science and mathematics at Smith College. Soon after, she received her law degree from UW-Madison. She began her political career on the Dane County Board of Supervisors and quickly was elected as State Representative in the Wisconsin State Assembly.
It was in 1998, however, that she made history: she became the state’s first female and the nation’s first openly gay member of Congress. She served seven terms and has now moved to the Senate, making history there too.
As a woman in a male-dominated space, she has forged her own path. She owned her identity, leading the way for members of the LGBTQ community that came after her. She irreversibly changed American politics and continues to do so today.
Bernice Bing was an expressionist artist in the San Francisco scene in the 50s and 60s and was also no stranger to tragedy. Losing both her parents at a young age, Bing was forced to live her life between her grandmother’s home and many different foster homes. She grew into a rebellious but talented teen who received a scholarship to study at the California College of Arts. As she grew as an artist, she fell in love with painting and transferred schools where she met different artists that sprung her career.
With paintings like Velázquez Family (1961), Burney Falls (1980), and A Lady and a Road Map (1963), the Chinese-American and lesbian artist established her space in the San Francisco art scene. She was well respected and was important in the Abstract Expressionist movement. And while, unfortunately, her contributions were overlooked over the years, she undoubtedly made her mark in the art world.
Black, lesbian poet Audre Lorde was a force in activist movements fighting injustices. Born in New York City to West Indian parents, Lorde fell in love with poetry at a young age. As early as twelve years old, Lorde would use poems to express herself to people around her.
Her writing has addressed issues of race, sexuality, and gender. Her poetry has influenced movements and she’s changed culture in the process.
Bamby Salcedo was born Guadalajara, Mexico and struggled with sexual abuse, drug use, and gang violence. In her attempt to survive life as a transgender teen, she became addicted to drugs and entered a cycle from juvenile detention centers to street crime. Repeatedly facing her mortality, Bamby committed herself to treatment for her addiction and learned the root cause of what was leading the life she was living. It was then that her purpose in life was revealed and when she decided to dedicate her life to helping others. In 2009, she founded the TransLatin@ Coalition to help Latin American transgender immigrants in the U.S.
Bamby has become an award-winning activist leader in Trans Latina rights and continues to empower LGBTQ+ youth around the country. Her life story teaches us all about persistence and uplifting an entire community through the process.
We recommend supporting the following organizations so that more voices feel empowered to tell their story and impact our world.