She was born in The Bronx, New York and moved to Florida in 1964. During the constitutional revision session for the state in 1968, she was legislative assistant to George Firestone. She was elected to the Florida House of Representatives for North Miami-Dade County in 1972. She sponsored the bills which created the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, the 1989 hate crime law and the Patients Bill of Rights. She helped introduce legislation that protected women and children by enforcing child support and protecting against domestic violence. Gordon served as Speaker Pro-Tempore (acting speaker) for the state assembly. In 1992, she was named Dean of the Florida House. She retired from the Florida legislature in 1994.
She worked on the unsuccessful ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida; although the amendment passed in the House of Representatives several times, it was defeated in the Florida Senate.
After her divorce, Gordon was unable to get a credit card in her name since she was a women. As a result, she teamed up with Nikki Beare, an American feminist and journalist, to start a statewide feminist credit union. She also worked with Beare and Elaine Bloom on WKAT Radio with a feminist radio show titled "Women's Powerline".
Gordon was a founding member of the National Organization for Women and of the Florida Women's Political Caucus.
After leaving politics, she served as assistant vice-president at Florida International University.
She died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 68.
In 2000, Florida International University established the Elaine Gordon Scholarship in her honor. She was the mother of J. Brian Gadinsky.
- "About Elaine Gordon". Center for Women's and Gender Studies.
- "Mother and daughter are allies for LGBT equality". Miami Herald. May 10, 2014.
- "Diaper-clad Guests in Spotlight". Sun Sentinel. April 9, 1986.
- "Elaine Gordon". Florida Women's Hall of Fame.
- Harakas, Margo (March 14, 1999). "ADVANCING EQUALITY". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
She eventually struck back by teaming with Nikki Beare, another Miami women's rights activist, to start "a statewide feminist credit union."
- Love, Barbra J., ed. (September 22, 2006). Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975 (illustrated ed.). University of Illinois Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 9780252031892. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
- "Elaine Gordon Scholarship". Florida International University.