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Maura Healey
Jessica Rinaldi-The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Maura Healey

Maura Healey

Meet one of the artists, disruptors, educators, groundbreakers, innovators, and storytellers who all helped make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people.

For Gov. Maura Healey of Massachusetts, the biggest obstacle of 2023 was herself — the worry that she’s falling short in tackling the myriad problems her state faces.

“Am I doing enough?” she says after briefly halting the conversation to help her partner Joanna Lydgate’s 10-year-old get to soccer practice. “There’s such an urgency and intensity on what needs to be done, whether it’s about protecting access to abortion, protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community, going after climate [change]. What more can we do today to make a difference?”

Healey has already done so much for the people of Massachusetts and the nation as a whole. During the aughts, she brought the first successful legal challenge to the anti-LGBTQ+ Defense of Marriage Act as chief of the Civil Rights Division in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. After she was elected attorney general of Massachusetts, she never shied away from fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, especially for the state’s trans community.

Healey’s devotion to queer causes, gun control, reproductive freedom, and criminal justice reform were rewarded last year when she won the Bay State’s gubernatorial election in a landslide. She made history with her victory, becoming the state’s first female governor and one of the nation’s first two out lesbian governors, the other being Oregon’s Tina Kotek, who also won office in November 2022.

“In the face of intolerance, injustice, and bigotry, it’s all the more important that people know there are people like me and others in government to make sure rights and freedoms are protected,” Healey says. “If my election and me being in this role can provide a measure of comfort to someone and lets them know it’s going to be OK, I really want them to believe that. I take that responsibility [as a role model] very seriously because I know people are scared, are nervous. I know the mental health, particularly that of young people in the LGBTQ community, has suffered the last few years. It just makes someone like me even more committed to not only having good policies but making sure [my office is] representative and inclusive.”

Healey expressed anger at politicians who exploit fear and ignorance concerning vulnerable groups to further political gain. But she thinks younger generations will face even more pressing challenges.

“Democracy and climate” demand the most attention, the governor warns. “We need to do everything we can to protect democracy and make sure we have a future. And we have not done enough for climate change.” @maura_healey


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Neal Broverman