Lou Sullivan

June is Pride month – a time for people around the world to celebrate the LGBTQ community. But there are still many stories of the community that haven’t yet been widely told. Local author Brice Smith tells one such story of a pioneer transgender activist in his new book Lou Sullivan: Daring to be a Man Among Men.

Lou Sullivan was born Sheila Jean Sullivan in 1951 in the Milwaukee area and grew up in Wauwatosa. Sullivan realized early in his life that he was attracted to men, but wasn’t comfortable with his gender identity as a girl.

Although Sullivan struggled with his own gender identity, he became a central part of Milwaukee’s gay community and liberation movement in his early twenties – particularly with the Gay People’s Union at UW-Milwaukee. It was in Milwaukee where he gained the tools he needed to become the trans activist and author he was known for later in life.