Maria-Elena Grant

Matthew Mathews


“I think society is always trying to push lesbians aside or silence us,” says Maria-Elena Grant. “I have found it necessary to spend my entire life being out, loud, and proud, and educating people about why such actions remain very necessary even when it feels as if we have made so much progress.” Born in the U.K. to Jamaican parents who emigrated to New York, Grant has been an activist since the 1980s, when she co-founded Blues, a social networking group for lesbians in The Bronx (the first of its kind in the borough). Since then, Grant has been a “founding mother” of the Audre Lorde Project, a member of the POC Steering Committee—a group of LGBTQ+ organizations of color working to achieve stronger community visibility—and a member of the staff that broke ground on the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. However, Grant finds the most pride and joy in her work with Lavender Light Gospel Choir, the world’s first LGBTQ+ gospel choir. “Lavender Light is 38 years old this year,” says Grant, who’s been singing with the group for 33 years and has served as chairperson for over two decades. “I am very proud of the fact that, thanks to my efforts, the choir is still here.” She’s also the current president of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, an organization that represents 200 LGBTQ+ choruses with over 12,000 singers. A surprising fact about Grant: “One of my favorite things to do is go to Disney World and ride … ‘It’s a Small World’ and sing the song at the top of my lungs.”

Click here to check out the entire list of Women We Love 2023!

What Do You Think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *