Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2013

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Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2013

This year, Jen Manion received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society to support her Crossing Gender in the Long 19th Century project. Though originally envisioned as a deep gaze into the idea of female masculinity, the piece has evolved. Now tentatively titled, American Transgender Histories: from Revolution to Civil War, it aims to take a look at the transgender experience by examining how history has distinguished gender roles and representations in American culture. For her day job, Manion serves as Associate Professor of History and Director of LGBTQ Center at Connecticut College. Further still, Manion’s upcoming book, Liberty's Prisoners: Gender, Sexuality, and Punishment in Early America, tackles queerness in regard to the penitentiary system’s development and social norms of a young United States.

19) "The Strategist"– Andy Marra, Writer / Korean Reunification Advocate

Andy Marra has spent her lifetime breaking binaries through personal strength, achievement, and activism. As a Korean American adoptee and transwoman, Andy is familiar with potential barriers and measures of inequality. In a blog post for, Andy wrote poignantly, “My identity is a prime reason for why I became an activist. I became an activist so that I could liberate myself from the stereotypes surrounding my identity.” Currently, Andy serves as the Co-Director for Nodutdol for Korean Community Development. Previously, Andy worked as the Senior Media Strategist for (GLAAD), influencing much of GLAAD’s media advocacy work impacting transgender people, communities of color, and international affairs. With this background, it is no wonder that she has held leadership positions on various boards and councils, including the Human Rights Campaign, Chinese for Affirmative Action,the National Center for Transgender Equality, and Asian Pacific Islander Equality, among many others. You can find Andy’s work on HuffPost and GLSEN, along with various press releases and reports on LGBTQ equality.

20) "No Schtick in the Mud" – Anna Margarita Albelo, filmmaker / writer / performer

Anna Margarita Albelo is no new kid on the block. Born into a Cuban-American family in Miami, Albelo set her sights on Gay Paris, where she became a queer nightlife impresario and video producer. She moved on to Hollywood, where she continued writing, producing, and occasionally performing in an over-sized vagina costume. Her latest project, Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolfhit the LGBT and independent film circuit this year garnering praise and awards along the way... made all the more amazing that Albelo sacrificed an entire year of her life living in a friend's garage (much like her character in the film) to conceive and complete this film. It has certainly paid off.

21) "The Dynamic Duo" – Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid, community organizers

Since its founding in 2010, Everyone Is Gay — the organization founded by Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid — has worked hard to better the lives of LGBTQ youth. Their three-layered cake of helping involves honest, often humorous advice; entertaining and engaging presentations in schools across the country; and reality-based support for parents. The latter element, dubbed The Parents Project, was added in 2013 after the pair raised more than $53,000 via an Indiegogo campaign. No wonder the Bloggie Awards named them best of last year.

22) "Literal Figuration" – Ajuan Mance, professor of literature and art / artist