(1963 - living) U.S.A.
Connie Hines, eight-grade social studies teacher who, when accepting an award for Broward County (Florida) Teacher of the Year due to her excellence in teaching and community service, came out of the closet when she publicly thanked her partner of five years in her acceptance speech for the award.
Hines has a new lesson for her eighth-grade U.S. history students and her fellow teachers in Fort Lauderdale: It's all right to be gay. Beloved by her students and celebrated by her colleagues, she came out as a lesbian February 28 when she accepted the award given by the county school board.
"There was no way I would have stood up in front of the audience and not thanked Becky," Hines said, referring to her lover.