Historic coin series to honour inspiring LGBTQ+ women

The new series of coins by the United States Mint will feature five notable women, including two inspiring LGBTQ+ women.

LGBTQ+ Women Coins. Illustration of Five coins featuring different women
Image: Twitter @USMint

The United States Mint has announced the new American Women Quarters Programme with the limited-edition series to be launched next year will feature two prominent LGBTQ+ women among them. 

The programme will include a broad intersection of notable American women.

The five women to be featured are; astronaut and physicist, Sally Ride; poet and civil-rights activist, Maya Angelou; Chinese American actor Anna May Wong; Cherokee activist and community leader Wilma Mankiller; and suffragist Nina Otero-Warren.

The historic series will honour Sally Ride in becoming the first out LGBTQ+ person to be commemorated on a US coin.

In 1983, Ride set a record by becoming the first American woman to go into space. Although she had been married to fellow astronaut, Steven Hawley at the time of the flight, the couple divorced a few years later. 

Ride later began a 27-year relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessey. They were never public about her relationship but it is understood that they were out to close friends and family. Ride and O’Shaughnessey remained together until Ride’s death in 2012 following a struggle against pancreatic cancer. Following her death, knowledge of their relationship was made public.

Whilst Anna May Wong is rumoured to have had relationships with other women, including Marlene Deitrich, Nina Otero-Warren is widely understood to have been LGBTQ+.

Otero-Warren was one of the first women in government in New Mexico’s, serving as Superintendent of Instruction from 1017 to 1929. She also became the first Latina to run for congress and through the American Women Quarters Programme, will be the first Hispanic American to appear on US currency

Like Ride, Otero-Warren was initially married to a man but later formed a long-term relationship with a woman named Mamie Meadors. The couple lived in separate houses were never open about their relationship but were known as ‘Los Dos’ which translates as ‘The Pair’. 

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