In honor of Pride Month, we want to celebrate the extraordinary people who are doing fearless work to give a voice to marginalized communities. Here, eight awesome LGBTQ activists who are inspiring a generation and changing the course of history.
A non-binary transgender writer and award-winning speaker, Leah Juliett passionately covers issues around gender and sexuality, political disenfranchisement and mental health. Juliett founded #MarchAgainstRevengePorn, a cyber civil rights campaign dedicated to combating revenge pornography through protests and marches. A passion for creating legislative change, led to politics. Juliett now serves as an intern for Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and created the National LGBTQ+ Youth Town Hall to help empower queer and trans youth to get to the polls for the 2018 Midterm Elections.
A queer Muslim activist, Blair Imani is the founder and executive director of “Equality for HER.” The nonprofit provides free educational resources on crucial issues like gender diversity, representation in media and interpersonal violence.
Known for his social media activism work, Adam Eli launched Voices4 after news broke of the wrongful detention and torture of LGBTQ Chechen in spring of last year. The advocacy group organized rallies, marches and sit-ins to shed light on the atrocities and is now dedicated to protecting queer communities around the world that are facing untold violence. His motto: “When you mess with one queer, you mess with us all!”
Hanne Gaby Odiele
The Belgian model made waves when she revealed to Vogue magazine that she was intersex. Hanne Gaby Odiele partnered with Interact Advocates for Intersex Youth to raise awareness about human rights protections and the importance of intersex bodily autonomy saying, “It is time for intersex people to come out of the shadows, claim our status, let go of shame, and speak out against the unnecessary and harmful surgeries many of us were subjected to as children.”
Danica Roem made history in January when she assumed office as the first openly transgender person in a U.S. state legislature. After winning her election, she dedicated her victory speech “to every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatized, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the kid in the corner.”
The founder of advocacy organizations “Everybody is Gay” and “My Kid is Gay,” is a fearless spokesperson for LGBTQ issues. Kristin Russo is an eloquent and hilarious speaker, writer and Instagrammer, and has even written an important book of helpful advice titled This is a Book for the Parents of Gay Kids. Somehow she’s also managed to co-found Our Restroom (an initiative to remove gender labeling from restrooms) and a podcast about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Phillip Picardi was tapped to head Teen Vogue at just 26-years-old and has been instrumental in revamping the publication to focus on politically and socially aware issues. Last year, the wunderkind and Anna Wintour protégé, also created a new digital title for Conde Nast called Them. The LGBTQ-focused publication is a community platform aimed at celebrating the stories, people and voices in the LGBTQ community.
Who could forget Lena Waithe’s colorful statement cape at this years Met Gala? The first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing, Waithe is determined to re-write the rules. Through her work on “The Chi” and “Master of None,” she’s using her platform and talents to amplify marginalized voices and share the black and queer stories that are seldom told. A recent Vanity Fair cover story on Waithe described her as “disrupting the hell out of Hollywood.” Cheers to that!