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Elaine Noble
(January 22, 1944 - living) U.S.A.

Elaine Noble

Politician

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On November 5, 1974, Elaine Noble, an openly gay teacher and activist, was elected to represent Boston's Fenway and Back Bay neighborhoods in the Massachusetts House of Representatives; Noble was the first openly LGBT candidate elected to a state-level office in the United States.

Noble had a relationship with writer Rita Mae Brown in the 1970s and has since retained privacy regarding her personal life. She lives in Florida.

Elaine Noble
Representative Elaine Noble, Gay Pride Rally, Boston Common, Boston, Massachusetts, June 13, 1977. Photo by Stan Grossfeld

In 1974, Noble became the first openly lesbian (or gay) candidate elected to to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Noble came out first in 1974 as an open lesbian after being elected. She won re-election easily in 1976.

While Noble won with 59% of the vote, the campaign was exceedingly ugly and, in fact, quite dangerous: Noble was barraged with threats, her tires were slashed, her windows shot in, and her campaign headquarters were vandalized a number of times.

During her second term, Anita Bryant began her anti-gay crusade, and Noble came under more pressure than ever to speak out on behalf of lesbians and gays. When not in politics, she has worked in health-care administration and consulting.

Elaine Noble
Gay Peoples Union News, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, January 1977

Noble, who, at the time of her election, was partnered with pioneering writer and activist Rita Mae Brown, worked to avoid being typecast as a single issue candidate and official; on election night, for example, when asked what her victory meant to her, Noble replied simply: "It means I have a job".

Noble served two terms before redistricting would have forced her to run against her friend Barney Frank; she declined to enter the race and eventually left public life. Elaine Noble is retired and living with her partner in the Florida panhandle.

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Source: excerpt from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001 - http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/

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