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Kuehl, Sheila James (b. 1941)  
page: 1  2  

Because of term limits in California, Kuehl was unable to seek reelection to the Assembly in 2000. After addressing the Democratic National Convention on the subject of diversity, she went on the campaign trail and won a seat in the state Senate, where she has continued to advocate for glbtq rights and other issues of importance.

In 2004 the Log Cabin Republicans fielded a gay man, Leonard Lanzi--a former executive director of the Boy Scouts in Santa Barbara, who had been forced to leave the organization because of its discriminatory policies--to run against Kuehl. She won handily and is currently serving her last Senate term allowable under the California term-limits law.

In the Senate Kuehl chairs the Natural Resources and Water Committee, the Budget Subcommittee on Resources, Water, and Energy, the Select Committee on School Safety, and the Select Committee on the Health Insurance Crisis in California, and sits on several others. During her distinguished career she has written over 130 bills that have been passed into law. She has also spoken in favor of bills to legalize gay marriage, which have so far been unsuccessful.

Kuehl has also been a strong supporter of National Coming Out Day, a project designed to help glbtq people stand up and express their identity with pride. She was at the side of her friend and Broadside co-star Dick Sargent when he came out at a 1991 event. In 2003, as part of the celebration of National Coming Out Week, Kuehl had the honor of cutting the lavender ribbon at the grand opening of the LGBT Resource Center at her alma mater, UCLA.

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Situation Comedies

American television sitcoms have consistently reflected the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, often in distorted and stereotyped ways, but occasionally in ways that acknowledge our humanity and complexity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Domestic Violence

In the l980s, domestic violence advocates turned their attention to violence directed at, and within, the glbtq community, but much work still needs to be done.

social sciences >> Overview:  Elected Officials

In the United States, glbtq candidates have achieved some significant successes at the ballot box in the last three decades, running for and winning local, state, and national elections.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is a national organization in the United States dedicated to creating safe school environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America, formed to rehabilitate masculinity in the early twentieth century, has constantly seen itself as under attack or at least challenged by homosexuality or effeminacy, and its official policy excluding homosexuals has recently led to several legal and social challenges.

social sciences >> Democratic Party (United States)

The American glbtq movement for equality has largely allied itself with the Democratic Party.

social sciences >> Equality California (EQCA)

Equality California (EQCA) is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide glbtq advocacy and civil rights organizations in the United States.

social sciences >> Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

The largest glbtq political organization in the United States, the Human Rights Campaign has emerged as the leading national organization representing glbtq concerns.

social sciences >> Log Cabin Republicans

Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian organization, is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment under the law for gay men and women is consistent with the principles and values of the Republican Party.

arts >> Sargent, Dick

Most widely remembered as "the second Darrin" on the television sitcom Bewitched, actor Dick Sargent remained closeted for most of his career, but came out in 1991 and embraced gay activism as a "new mission in life."


Asimov, Nanette. "New Law Fights Anti-Gay Bias in Schools." San Francisco Chronicle (April 12, 2001): A3.

Curiel, Jonathan. "Lesbian Legislators: In the Country's Most Populous State, Sheila Kuehl and Carole Migden Gain Ground in the Race to Win over a Tough Audience." The Advocate 738 (July 22, 1997): 37.

Hardy, Terry, and Dorothy Korber. "Capitol Notebook: '99 Best, Worst of Legislature Remembered." Daily News of Los Angeles (November 28, 1999): Viewpoint.

Herdt, Timm. "Two Challengers Face Kuehl." Ventura County Star (October 20, 2004): 3.

Min, Janice. "Zelda's Choice: Ex-TV Star Sheila Kuehl Is out of the Closet and Running for Office." People Weekly 41.18 (May 16, 1994): 93-94.

"Sheila Kuehl--Senate District 23."


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Kuehl, Sheila James  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated December 12, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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