Meet the first of Mamamia's 50 most kick-arse LGBTQI women.

To celebrate Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras, Mamamia is proud to launch our 50 most kick-arse LGBTQI women list.

We’re here to celebrate the women who inspire us. The women we admire and want to be friends with. The women we want to date. The women who are changing the game.

Mamamia will be counting down from today until Mardi Gras — here is our first group of amazing women:

Sally Rugg

(Source: Supplied.)

Sally Rugg is a campaigner, activist and public speaker for LGBTQIA+ rights. She is a Campaigns Director at political activist group GetUp, leading their national campaign for marriage equality, and helps run the community campaign to save the Safe Schools program. Rugg believes that a combination of legislative reform and policy intervention, as well as positive public narratives, will create an Australia where everyone – no matter their sexuality or gender – understands that being LGBTQIA+ is not only acceptable, but it's wonderful.


Adele Moleta

(Source: Facebook)

Adele Moleta is a teacher, performer, event organiser and the kind of person you wish you were friends with. Moleta has worked endlessly to create safe spaces for the LGBTQI community that platform their talents and celebrate their every last sparkle. Moleta is the creator of Unicorns, an event she developed for LGBTQIA+ community to come together and celebrate queer life. Moleta is also the founder and host of Unicorn Youth on Joy 94.9, a weekly radio show that gives a voice to the LGBTIQA+ youth community. Moleta invites young queer Australians onto the airwaves to share their stories and engage in topics that matter to them and their community.

Penny Wong

(Source: Facebook.)

Senator Penny Wong has long been a voice for LGBTQI rights within the Australian government as a Labor frontbrencher, and now the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. No stranger to breaking down barriers, Wong was the first woman to hold the positions of Leader of the Government, and Shadow Leader in the senate. Having held a seat in parliament for 15 years, Penny will continue to put a face to the fight for marriage equality.

Listen: Penny Wong talks about getting married. Post continues...

 Jacqui Cunningham

(Source: Supplied.)

Jacqueline Cunningham is a leading DJ and event organiser whose parties, such as Girlthing, have been a longstanding hallmark of the Australian LGBTQI scene. Cunningham has launched a variety of charitable collaborations over the years in order to raise money for the LGBTQI individuals. The young talent continues to create safe space for LGBTQI individuals to party along the major cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Roj Amedi

(Source: Twitter.)

Roj Amedi is an accomplished editor, writer, spokesperson and activist for refugee rights. Amedi, a former Iraqi Kurdish refugee herself, is passionate about achieving change for asylum seekers. The young activist is determined to give a voice to the voiceless and change the harmful dialogues that exist around why refugees seek asylum. Amedi continues to raise awareness and lobby for her cause across social and mainstream media platforms.

Sezzo Snot

(Source: Facebook.)

Sezzo Snot is a DJ, promoter, radio presenter, writer, activist, booty-shaker and irrepressible energy-source bred in Brisbane. Snot’s music career has shot from strength to strength after initially entering the scene in 2013. The young musician has harnessed her talents and influence to create the first queer/people of colour club nights in her hometown. Snot continues to work as an activist within the Indigenous and people of colour community.

Catherine Humphries

(Source: SBS.)

As a Transgender Squadron Leader in Australian Defence Force, Catherine Humphries is the first female in a combat role within RAAF, having served for 18 years including in Afghanistan and the Middle East. She has worked tireless to reduce the stigma of gender within the armed forces, educating her Defence Force colleagues about gender identity and expression.

Jennifer Westacott

(Source: YouTube/Business Council of Australia.)

Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott, is an industry leader whose desire for progress extends into the social realm. Westacott has used her influence and profile to publicly criticise toxic ideas such as sexuality being a lifestyle choice. Westacott and her partner of over 30 years continues to present a positive and inspirational model for LGBTQI Australians.

Kat Dopper

(Source; LinkedIn)

Kat Dopper is breathing new life into this year’s Mardis Gras in her role as one of the directors of the Sydney festival. She’s the founder Heaps Gay, a regular series of parties for LGBTQI+ kids and friends, while serves as a non-for-profit platform for young writers. Dopper is also the co-host on King & Queens, a queer culture radio show on FB radio.

Hannah Gadsby

(Source; Facebook.)

Taking audiences nationwide through her upbringing in Tasmania, and experiences seeking shelter in the school library to escape homophobic bullying in her stand-up show, Nanette, comedian Hannah Gadsby uses humour to explore the impact sexuality and public opinion can impact on mental health in the LGBTQI community, particularly young people.

Professor Kerryn Phelps

(Source: LinkedIn.)

Professor Kerryn Phelps is a long-standing advocate for LGBTQI rights, and is one of Australia’s most influential gay women. Being ‘the first’ is her specialty, being both the first woman and LGBTQI person to be elected president of the Australian Medical Association. Doctor, author, Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney and marriage equality campaigner, Kerryn was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2011 for her contribution to society in medicine and activism.

Michelle Heyman

(Source: Facebook.)

The only LGBTQI athlete to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Matilda’s soccer player, Michelle Heyman is proof that sexuality doesn’t play a role on the field. Heyman is currently lending her skills to Canberra United in the Australian W-League, and uses her profile as an openly gay athlete to support Rainbow Fertility, Australia’s first LGBTQI dedicated IVF provider.

Carol ‘Carlotta’ Spencer

(Source: Facebook.)

One of the original Les Girls showgirls, Carol ‘Carlotta’ Spencer was arrested for ‘offensive behaviour’ while walking home from work through Sydney’s Kings Cross one night. Since then, Carlotta has dedicated her life to performing and speaking openly about her life as a transgender woman. Carlotta was a loud, proud pioneer when the majority of Australians were too afraid to speak up about the LGBT experience.

To see Mamamia's complete list, scroll through the gallery below. Stay tuned to learn more about each of these incredible women in our next installments.

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