Martine Aliana Rothblatt, a multifaceted American attorney, author, entrepreneur, inventor, biotechnologist, and transgender rights advocate, has carved a unique path in the realms of law, business, and social activism. Born in Chicago, Illinois, her journey is marked by significant contributions across diverse fields.
Rothblatt's academic prowess and early interest in music and astronomy paved the way for a remarkable career. Graduating with J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981, she became actively involved with the Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement (OASIS), contributing articles on satellite communications law.
Commencing her professional journey at the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., Rothblatt's expertise expanded from communications satellite law to life sciences projects, including the Human Genome Project. Her influence extended into aviation, particularly electric aviation, and sustainable building. In 1986, she assumed the role of CEO at Geostar, where she secured international agreements for satellite orbits and spectrum frequencies, pioneering space-based navigation services. In 1990, she founded WorldSpace and Sirius Satellite Radio, making significant strides in global satellite radio networks. Rothblatt's commitment to innovation led to her role as Chairman and CEO until 1992.
A pivotal moment in her life occurred at age 40 when she underwent sex reassignment surgery, emerging as a vocal advocate for transgender rights. Her 1998 book, "Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender," reflected her deep thoughts on gender issues.
Rothblatt's personal challenges further fueled her quest for groundbreaking solutions. She founded the PPH Cure Foundation to mobilize research efforts for her daughter's illness, delving into medical ethics and xenotransplantation. In 1996, she established United Therapeutics, contributing to the development of life-saving medications for pulmonary hypertension and neuroblastoma.
Her profound impact extended to the international stage as she led the drafting of a Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights for the United Nations. In 2013, she became the highest-paid female CEO in America, and in 2017, Forbes recognized her as one of the "100 Greatest Living Business Minds." Beyond her professional achievements, Rothblatt is a certified airplane and helicopter pilot, receiving accolades for innovation in rotary-wing flight. Recognized as one of Business Insider's "Most Powerful LGBTQ+ People in Tech" in 2018, she was honored with the UCLA Medal for her groundbreaking contributions.
Rothblatt's indomitable spirit, visionary leadership, and commitment to human rights and innovation continue to leave an enduring mark on various facets of society, earning her a place among the most influential figures of our time.