Ruth Ellis (1899 – 2000) dedicated countless years of service to her community, and particularly black LGBT youth. In 1937 Ruth moved to Detroit with her partner Babe, the two bought a house, which from 1946 to 1971 was known as the “Gay Spot.” Not only did their home serve as a safe space for Detroit’s LGBT community, but the couple also offered lodging and support to many black LGBT youth in need. In a time before the Gay Civil Rights Movement began Ruth was a beacon of light for many LGBT youth who found themselves in the dark. In 1999 The Ruth Ellis Center was founded in Detroit, MI, which continues to offer lodging and support to LGBT youth in need. She continued working with LGBT organizations until her death in 2000 at an age of 101.
Jen Corey was crowned Miss DC in 2009 and made it to the top 10 of the Miss America Pageant in 2010. A tall and striking blonde, Jen has battled with overzealous men approaching her since she was a teenager. An incident at a D.C. bar prompted her to use her platform as a beauty queen to speak out against street harassment, a topic that is often dismissed as just ‘boys being boys.’ But Jen and other women argue that there is something more sinister that lies beneath the motivation to aggressively cat-call or approach women in public places: “Street harassment is almost never about sex. It’s about power. Which is the same way we view rape. So saying street harassment is not a big deal is opening up the doorway for men to view women as an object to be obtained.”