Out With Clout

In corporations and churches, in classrooms and capital corridors, these 100 Queers have contributed to the "Good Life" in Minnesota.

Mary Tenucci

To Mary Tinucci's mind, the raison d'être behind GLBT support services in public schools is a no-brainer: "It's about making schools safe for students, staff, and families," she says. "Kids are never too young to learn respect and tolerance."

An enthusiastic social worker, Tinucci helped create and implement Out For Equity, the St. Paul School District's only program designed specifically to meet the needs of GLBT students, staff, and families, in 1994. The program remains just one of a handful of K-12 school-based programs in the country (including Out 4 Good in Minneapolis).

Tinucci's devotion to the program shows as she talks about Out For Equity's multifold mission, which includes training for educators regarding sexual-orientation issues, support for GLBT school professionals, support groups for queer high-school students, and outreach to families that include GLBT parents or youth. There are also Safe Staff Teams in every high school in St. Paul, working to eliminate harassment and violence and to create a climate of safety, respect, and support for queers in the hallways and classrooms.

Both the Catholic Defense League and the Minnesota Family Council have targeted Out for Equity since its inception, but Tinucci is quick to point out that school-board officials have stuck to their guns: The program continues to receive support -- and full funding -- from the district.

Wally Swan

Next fall, Minneapolis Board of Taxation and Estimate member Wally Swan hopes to take his political career to a higher level -- the rank of state treasurer. Swan's one of only a handful of openly queer candidates running for statewide office around the country this year. A Nebraska native who came to Minnesota to pursue a public-administration career, Swan will also figure prominently in this year's Twin Cities Pride, as one of the parade's grand marshals.

His candidacy for state treasurer has taken Swan and his partner of 13 years, Lyle Rossman, on whirlwind campaign tours of greater Minnesota in recent months. (The two were "married" at the '87 March on Washington and, Swan says, were the first gay-male couple to register as domestic partners at Minneapolis' City Hall in 1991.) The candidate says he's encouraged to see Pride celebrations popping up around Minnesota -- in St. Paul, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester. "It demonstrates that amending the state's Human Rights Act allowed this to happen," he says. "More and more people are coming out across Minnesota."

Law & Politics

Rob Allen Out at the Minneapolis Police Department, Allen heads up the force's crime-stopping CODEFOR initiative.

Beverly Balos A University of Minnesota law professor, Balos helped shape the same-sex marriage bill introduced this winter in the Legislature (the bill died, but the message carried) and worked to amend the state Human Rights Act in 1993.

Karen Clark After 18 years in the Legislature, Clark remains the most visible -- and only -- out lesbian in state politics.

D. Scott Dibble The aide to Minneapolis Council Member Doré Mead and longtime politico may have his eye on a Senate seat.

Mary Louise Fellows A nationally recognized expert on estate planning, Fellows recently found Minnesotans overwhelmingly support inheritance rights for same-sex partners.

Erin Ferguson & Nikki Kubista Lesbians x 2 now head up the U's Minnesota Student Association.

Allan Johnson A financial force in politics and consultant to billionaire businessman Vance Opperman.

Amy Johnson A cofounder of Johnson Gulling Heltzer & Burg, the largest firm comprised of queer attorneys in Minnesota -- if not the entire Midwest.

Paul Kaminski Partner at the firm of Best & Flanagan. MAP board member. Helps channel the Headwaters Fund.

Michael Krause The Green Institute's executive director expects his eco-friendly business incubator will help rejuvenate Minneapolis' Phillips neighborhood after the project breaks ground in July.

Sharon Krmpotich & Lisa Thornquist Members of the "founding mothers" group that began agitating for domestic-partner benefits in Minneapolis in the late '80s, these research hounds saw the battle lost in a lawsuit -- but have since watched domestic-partners rights bubble into the private sector.

Sharon Lubinski No out lesbian had reached the rank of precinct commander at the Minneapolis Police Department before Lubinski took charge of downtown. Is she eyeing the chief's job?

Dennis Miller The vice president of AFSCME Local 34 in Hennepin County and the first openly gay person to serve on the Minneapolis Charter Commission.

Jim Quinn His lawyering skills and analytical savvy have won the Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren partner a seat on the boards of MAP, Philanthrofund, HRC, and GLCAC.

Allan Spear A statesman respected by his peers, the University of Minnesota professor has spoken eloquently on behalf of our community since he was first elected to the Senate in 1972.


C. Hope Artichoker Already fired up about Native American and women's issues, this 22-year-old came out and added queer liberation to her portfolio. In April, she organized the OutFront conference.

Craig Carnahan More than 100 tuxedoed men stand at attention when the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus maestro waves his wand.

Ann DeGroot For 11 years, the executive director of the Twin Cities' most visible queer-advocacy organization has had an up-close perspective on gay politics in Minnesota.

Mark French Co-chairing the Human Rights Campaign's board of governors, this assistant principal's Rolodex has grown and grown.

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