Nancy Wechsler

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Nancy Wechsler
Ann Arbor City Council, Second Ward
In office
Preceded by Robert E. Weaver (R)
Succeeded by Kathy Kozachenko (HR)
Personal details
Political party Human Rights Party
Alma mater University of Michigan
Profession Activist, politician, writer

Nancy Wechsler is an activist, writer, and former member of the Ann Arbor City Council. During her term on the city council, she came out as a lesbian.[1][2] She and Jerry DeGrieck, a fellow member of the Ann Arbor City Council and Human Rights Party elected alongside Wechsler who also came out as gay while serving, are typically cited as the first openly LGBT elected officials in the United States.[3]

Ann Arbor City Council[edit]

Wechsler and Jerry DeGrieck were elected to the Ann Arbor City Council as members of the Human Rights Party on April 3, 1972. Political observers did not believe the third party had much chance of winning any seats, but the party's liberal platform appealed to young voters and beat university professors running as Democrats in the 1st and 2nd wards.[4] At the time of the election, Wechsler was 22, a recent University of Michigan graduate and an employee of a local college bookstore. In 1973, while serving on the council, Wechsler came out as a lesbian and DeGrieck as a gay man in response to an anti-LGBT incident at a local restaurant.[5][6] In 1974, rather than seek re-election, Wechsler moved to Boston, Massachusetts where she went on to become a writer for the Gay Community News.[7] Kathy Kozachenko, an out lesbian, was elected to fill Wechsler's seat on the Council, becoming the first openly LGBT politician to win an election in the United States.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Nichols, Larry (October 18, 2007). "Noble Woman". Metro Weekly. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Clendinen, Dudley & Nagourney, Adam (2013). Out For Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in Ame. Simon and Schuster. 
  3. ^ Stein, Marc (2012). Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Routledge. p. 107. 
  4. ^ "Ann Arbor Human Rights Party, 1972". September 18, 2007. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Marcus, Eric (2009). Out in All Directions: A Treasury of Gay and Lesbian America. Hachette Digital, Inc. 
  6. ^ DeGrieck, Jerry (January 21, 2009). "Think Harvey Milk Was the First Openly-Gay Politician? Think Again" (Interview). Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ Eshenroder, Owen (February 5, 1985). "HRP's light burned briefly but brightly in city politics". Ann Arbor News. Retrieved December 8, 2013.