Mary Kay Henry is the International President of Service Employees International Union, the country’s fastest-growing labor union, with more than 2 million members. In addition to being the first woman to lead the organization, she also happens to be the first out lesbian to hold such a position. According to Seattle Gay News, this makes her “the most powerful lesbian in the country.”
Henry accepted the position as president in May 2010, leaving her post as the head of SEIU’s health care division. That same year, SGN ran an interview where the leader talked about social justice, LGBT rights, and repairing the rift within the labor community after SEIU and five other unions left the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in 2005.
Henry was pivotal in establishing SEIU’s Lavender Caucus, the union’s LGBT member organization. She used the organization to educate and advocate for an end to oppression – a plan she detailed in her interview with SGN.