Is there a trailblazer in the House?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is among the vanguards who will be recognized at this year’s VH1 Trailblazer Honors.
Kicking off Women’s History Month, the hourlong television special will air on International Women’s Day, March 8, at 9/8c on VH1 and Logo.
“VH1 Trailblazer Honors will celebrate today’s most respected politicians, entertainers, artists, activists, allies and icons who have dedicated their time and steadfast commitments to the women’s movement and beyond,” the network states in a press release. “Centered around this year’s incredible breakthroughs in female empowerment and human rights, the annual event will feature the landmark achievements of its honorees.”
Pelosi joins previously announced honoree Ava DuVernay, the Oscar-nominated director best known for Selma, A Wrinkle in Time, and OWN’s Queen Sugar.
— VH1 (@VH1) February 1, 2019
The Trailblazer ceremony will be held in Los Angeles at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, a National Historic Landmark and extension of the Ebell of Los Angeles, a 125-year-old organization founded by women for women.
Pelosi, 78, reaffirmed her commitment to LGBTQ equality last month as newly elected Speaker of the House, promising federal protections for LGBTQ people. During her gavel acceptance speech, addressing the U.S. House of Representatives, Pelosi announced that she is prioritizing the passage of the Equality Act.
The Equality Act, previously introduced in the House by gay Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, explicitly outlawing discrimination against LGBTQ citizens.
“This House will take action on overdue legislation that has bipartisan support in the Congress and across the country,” Pelosi said. “We will make America fairer by passing the Equality Act to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”
Pelosi, who led her Democratic party to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2018 midterm elections, returns to the speakership position she lost after Republicans took the House in 2010.
As House Democratic Leader, Pelosi revealed the support of more than 100 LGBTQ leaders and advocates in November as part of her campaign to reclaim the speakership.
The endorsement letter, joining a series of testimonials from various national groups, emphasized the San Francisco congresswoman’s “tireless” work for LGBTQ rights, including her efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic and pass hate crimes legislation. Signatories included HRC president Chad Griffin, Jim Obergefell, and first openly gay U.S. ambassador James Hormel.
Pelosi served as the 52nd Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011, becoming the first woman to hold the position. The appointment also made her the highest-ranking female politician in U.S. history.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 3, 2019
Pelosi also made a surprise appearance in November at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s National Dinner Gala in Washington, D.C., the Washington Blade reports.
“The American people elected a Democratic majority,” she told the crowd at the National Building Museum. “We are proud that so many new LGBTQ members… represent every corner of our country. LGBTQ members look like America: They’re mothers, business owners, people of color, and members of the native nations.”
Criticizing Trump’s transgender military ban and noting that 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Pelosi emphasized that the Equality Act will be “a top priority” for the Democratic majority, adding, “We must finally give sexual orientation and gender identity the full civil rights protection they deserve.”
Pelosi memorably visited the workroom last year on an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.
Additional Trailblazer honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.