Elaine Noble



Elaine Noble is an American former politician. Born on January 22, 1944 in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, she served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for two terms starting in January 1975. She was the first openly lesbian or gay candidate elected to a state legislature. She served two terms as representative for the Fenway-Kenmore/Back Bay neighborhoods of Boston. Noble gained her degree from Massachusetts and went on to study at Boston University, Emerson College and Harvard University. Before entering politics she worked as a speech instructor and an advertising manager. She was involved in LGBT rights activism in Boston.

In 1974 she was elected to the state House of Representatives with 59% of the vote. She has described the campaign as "very ugly": it included her windows being shot in, her car being destroyed, her campaign headquarters having their windows broken and her supporters suffering serious harassment. Nevertheless, she was successful and was sworn into office on New Year's Day 1975 by governor Michael Dukakis. Her election made her the first openly LGBT candidate elected to a state-level office in the United States; the second, after Kathy Kozachenko, to be elected to office; and the third openly LGBT elected official overall (Kozachenko's predecessor, Nancy Wechsler, having come out while in office but not publicly known to be lesbian at the time she was elected).

In March 1977, she was part of the first delegation of gay men and lesbians invited to the White House under President Jimmy Carter to discuss issues important to the LGBT community. After two terms in the House of Representatives, Noble ran for the United States Senate in 1978. She later went to work for Kevin White who was Boston mayor at the time. Whilst working for White's office, Noble became involved in an FBI investigation in which she had to testify in front of a grand jury for nineteen hours. No charges were brought against Noble. In 1986 Noble and Ellen Ratner formed a gay and lesbian alcohol and drug treatment center in Minneapolis called the Pride Institute. More recently she has worked as a healthcare administrator and a realtor. Noble had a relationship with writer Rita Mae Brown in the 1970s and has since retained privacy regarding her personal life. She lives in Florida.