Lillian Nieves lost her best friend to AIDS in 1988, a tragedy that sparked Nieves’ tireless crusade to empower lesbian, bisexual and trans women through education, counseling and peer support. She currently serves as the president of PRIDE (Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment), an educational and social organization to promote visibility and causes of LGBT Puerto Ricans in New York, topping a long career in HIV/AIDS and community activism. A trained alcoholism and substance abuse counselor, Nieves developed the Latina Initiative for Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ Women’s Institute to provide culturally sensitive responses to HIV/AIDS and social issues facing the Latina lesbian community. After a decade with GMHC, Nieves decamped to New York Harm Reduction Educators, which works to improve the health and safety of marginalized, low-income individuals who use drugs. An inexhaustible advocate for her South Bronx community, Nieves also runs workshops, health fairs, community forums and fundraising events to instill an activist spirit in participants and encourage them to be the change they want to see in their neighborhoods. And she’s grateful for the chance to make a difference. “I have a lot of opportunity to apply creativity in my work,” she says, “with satisfaction and growth for myself, and for the great individuals I work with day to day, as the result.”
Drum roll, please! We’re excited to present this year’s 100 Women We Love—our most diverse group of out entertainers, artists, athletes, activists, business principals and elected officials yet. Each of these women is a superstar in her own right. Their achievements and contributions shape our lives —and elevate us in the eyes of the world . They’re working to raise LGBT awareness, increase our visibility and quicken our progress toward a just society.
We are extremely proud to present the class of 2012. There are no rankings or numbers. They are all leaders.