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The Advocate's 45 years of LGBT heroes

This month The Advocate is celebrating its founding in 1967 and its editors decided it could not do so without also honoring the heroes for LGBT rights they've covered for those 45 years.

Identifying one honoree per year, here is the cumulative list broken up into three parts.

The Advocate's LGBT Hall of Fame: Part I

In 1970, Jack Baker and his partner Michael McConnell became the first-ever same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license, despite being turned away. Baker sued the state of Minnesota in the landmark case Baker v. Nelson. His case was eventually thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he lost his job as a librarian at the University of Minnesota, but still Baker persevered.

To see more of Baker's story and the other LGBT heroes in Part I, click HERE.

The Advocate's LGBT Hall of Fame: Part II

While many of us associate the 1960s and 1970s with sexual liberation, mainstream films were still fairly buttoned up. But Pat Rocco made gay films when no one else dared take the risk. His homocentric, erotic love stories and were the first films of their kind to be shown in public movie theaters.

To see more of Rocco's story and the other LGBT heroes in Part II, click HERE.

The Advocate's LGBT Hall of Fame: Part III

California Assemblyman Willie Brown successfully combined his "outrage" with his skill for political maneuvering and finally passed a bill that decriminalized gay sex with its signing in 1976. He had introduced the legislation every year since 1969.

"Passing the bill required one of the most daring — and fun — political capers I ever was involved in," the former San Francisco mayor wrote in his memoir. "It wasn't all political opportunism. The legislation also emerged from a sense of outrage. My outrage. The penalties didn't affect just gays; they affected everyone."

To see more of Willie Brown's story and the other LGBT heroes in Part III, click HERE.