Elaine Noble Information

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Elaine Noble
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
from the 6th Suffolk district
In office
January 1, 1975 – January 1, 1979
Personal details
Born (1944-01-22) January 22, 1944 (age 75)
New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Residence Florida

Elaine Noble (born January 22, 1944) is an American politician and LGBT activist who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for two terms starting in January 1975. She was the first openly lesbian or gay candidate elected to a state legislature. [1] She served two terms as representative for the Fenway-Kenmore and Back Bay neighborhoods of Boston. [2]

Life and career

Noble gained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Boston University and went on to study at Boston University, Emerson College and Harvard University. [1] Before entering politics she worked as a speech instructor and an advertising manager. She was involved in LGBT rights activism in Boston. [1]

In 1974 she was elected to the state House of Representatives with 59% of the vote. [1] She has described the campaign as "very ugly": it included her windows being shot in, her car being destroyed, her campaign headquarters having their windows broken and her supporters suffering serious harassment. [3] Nevertheless, she was successful and was sworn into office on New Year's Day 1975 by governor Michael Dukakis. [4] Her election made her the first openly LGBT candidate elected to a state-level office in the United States; the second, after Kathy Kozachenko, to be elected to office; and the third openly LGBT elected official overall (Kozachenko's predecessors, Nancy Wechsler and Jerry DeGrieck, having come out while in office but not publicly known to be lesbian and gay at the time they were elected). [4] [5]

Noble was an early critic of Father Paul Shanley, a Catholic priest who was convicted of sex crimes in 2005. From the early 1970s, she reported Shanley to Boston officials on several occasions based on some of his questionable comments and behavior, but to no avail. [6]

In March 1977, she was part of the first delegation of gay men and lesbians invited to the White House under President Jimmy Carter to discuss issues important to the LGBT community. [7] After two terms in the House of Representatives, Noble ran for the United States Senate in 1978. She was one of five Democrats who competed in the primary, finishing fifth with 52,464 votes (5.8%). [8] She later went to work for Kevin White who was Boston mayor at the time. Whilst working for White's office, Noble became involved in an FBI investigation in which she had to testify in front of a grand jury for nineteen hours. No charges were brought against Noble. [1] In the 1990s she unsuccessfully ran for Cambridge, Massachusetts city council. [1]

In 1986 Noble and Ellen Ratner formed a LGBT alcohol and drug treatment center in Minneapolis called the Pride Institute. More recently she has worked as a healthcare administrator and a realtor. [2]

In 2009, she made a rare fundraising appearing at a Stonewall gala benefiting Palm Beach, Florida's LGBT center, Compass Community Center in Lake Worth, FL.

Personal life

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. [2]


In 2015, she was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the 2015 LGBT History Month. [9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Gianoulis, Tina (2005-10-13). "Noble, Elaine". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  2. ^ a b c "30 Years after the White House Meeting: Participants then and now". National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  3. ^ "OutHistory: Elaine Noble". Archived from the original on 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  4. ^ a b Neff, Lisa (2002-11-12). "Elaine Noble November 1974: a progressive Massachusetts candidate becomes the first openly gay person elected to a state-level office". The Advocate. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  5. ^ Stein, Marc (2012). Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Routledge. p. 107.
  6. ^ Sally Jacobs, ['If they knew the madness in me': A search for the real Rev. Paul Shanley suggests he was part hero, part horror], The Boston Globe (2002), accessed 09 September 2018
  7. ^ Sklar, Roberta. "Press conference commemorates first White House meeting". Qnotes. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  8. ^ "Massachusetts Election Results, 1978 (PDF)" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  9. ^ Malcolm Lazin (August 20, 2015). "Op-ed: Here Are the 31 Icons of 2015's Gay History Month". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2015-08-21.

External links