On Wednesday, TIME announced their 2013 Person of the Year rankings. While Pope Francis took the top slot, LGBT hero Edith Windsor came in third, following Edward Snowden at number two. Bashar Assad is ranked fourth and Ted Cruz, fifth.
On Edith Windsor’s importance this year, TIME’s Eliza Gray writes:
It is difficult to overstate the practical benefits to every gay American following Windsor’s victory in June. After the Supreme Court decision, gay couples could file joint tax returns, get access to veterans’ and Social Security benefits, hold on to their homes when their spouses died and get green cards for their foreign husbands and wives. For many couples—especially those with children and those without means—these benefits and protections are not merely symbolic.
You can read Gray’s full profile of Windsor here.
In an interview with TIME, Windsor speaks about LGBT people in her generation, and how, “Most of us have spent most of our lives coming out selectively. It’s safe here. It’s good here. You can say you have a wife here, but not there.”
In a press release, Winsor said she was “honored” by the nomination, but stressed that she was “just one person who was part of the extraordinary and on-going fight for marriage equality for all our families.”
The gay community is my ‘person of the year’ and I look forward to continuing to fight for equal rights and educate the public about our lives alongside my gay brothers and sisters and our allies. Even without taking the ‘Person of the Year’ even being in the top 5 is an extraordinary way to end a year that has been historic for all of us and truly spectacular for me and gave me the chance to tell my story via Time…Thea would be thrilled, proud and so happy to see what we have all accomplished together.
You can check out Edith Windsor’s newly launched website here.
On the naming of Pope Francis as the 2013 Person of the Year, a man who has also played a significant role in influencing the conversation concerning equality, TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs writes:
Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly—young and old, faithful and cynical—as has Pope Francis. In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power…. He is embracing complexity and acknowledging the risk that a church obsessed with its own rights and righteousness could inflict more wounds than it heals…. For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs, and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year.”
You can also read an exclusive interview, conducted over email, with runner-up Edward Snowden in which he reveals more about his motivations and what he thinks of the fall-out since the leaks.
“What we recoil against is not that such surveillance can theoretically occur,” he says, “but that it was done without a majority of society even being aware it was possible.”
Barack Obama was named TIME’s Person of the Year in 2012; “The Protester” in 2011; Mark Zuckerberg in 2010; Ben Bernanke in 2009; and Barack Obama again in 2008.
The December 16, 2013 Person of the Year issue of TIME goes on sale on news stands Friday, December 13 and is available on tablets now.