Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Tom Ammiano

Born to a working-class Italian Catholic family in Montclair, New Jersey, Ammiano went to Seton Hall University and later received a master’s in education from San Francisco State University. After teaching children in South Vietnam as part of a Quaker social justice program, he returned to San Francisco and became the first public school teacher there to come out as gay. In 1978, Ammiano worked closely with Harvey Milk and others to defeat Proposition 6, the so-called Briggs Initiative, which would have banned not only gay and lesbian teachers but also any favorable mention of gay subject matter in the schools. Ammiano has served in elective office for over twenty years: the San Francisco Board of Education (1991 – 1994), the Board of Supervisors (1995-2008), and the California State Assembly (2009 - ). He has sponsored much progressive social and economic legislation, including protecting the rights of immigrants, extending access to health care, and providing assistance to the homeless. On the Board of Education, he helped make San Francisco’s sex education curriculum the most inclusive in the U.S. Ammiano is also known for his stand-up comedy performances. He appears in the Oscar-winning documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk, and also in the Hollywood film, Milk.