When GO Magazine first launched our annual feature, 100 Women We Love, nearly two decades ago, the world was a different place. The L Word had just wrapped its third season (did Shane just leave Carmen at the altar?); legal same-sex marriage was only available in Massachusetts (and briefly, San Francisco); “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy meant to protect queers in the military, backfired spectacularly and was used to keep us from serving at all; and the very first gay woman, Patricia Todd, took office in the Alabama legislature (though her male counterpart in Washington was recently booted from office for looking at gay websites on his work computer).
Since that year, Women We Love, which includes cisgender and transgender women across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, has featured nearly 2,000 women, each of whom has worked in her own way to make her community, her state, her country, or the larger global environment a better and more inclusive place for us all.
But progress doesn’t always move us forward. The Supreme Court may have granted marriage equality in 2015, but it overturned Roe v. Wade last year (a ruling which, in the mid-2000s, still seemed sacrosanct). Black Lives Matter highlighted the ongoing struggle for racial equality, while #MeToo did the same for sexual harassment and assault—even in LGBTQ+ spaces. And while being queer (however you define it) doesn’t carry the same stigma it did even a decade ago, the recent rollbacks of women’s rights, the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in state houses nationwide, and the ongoing cultural attacks on transgender people are daily reminders that our rights—as women; people of color; gender nonconforming, nonbinary, or trans individuals; the working class, disabled, or otherwise marginalized among us—must still be fought for.
“Women We Love” spotlights those who continue the good fight— who, through their work, advocacy, and visibility assert that there is a place in this world for all of us. The individuals we celebrate include 100 women (but this year several also identify as Two-Spirit, gender nonconforming, or nonbinary) who recognize that the rights of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ individuals are intrinsically connected. They are advocates and actors, performers and politicians, educators and entrepreneurs who remind us that we can create positive change even in reactionary times. In this spirit, we’re proud to present Women We Love, Class of 2023.