Queer activists to follow this Pride Month

Saturday, 20 June 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

When the police got violent with the patrons of Stonewall Inn on the fateful morning of 28 June 1969, it led to a series of riots, now memorialised as the ‘Stonewall Riots’. Thus a movement was born: Pride. 

Over the days that followed, multiple protests broke out across the country, and for the first time ever, LGBTI+ people came together in droves to fight police brutality and systemic oppression. That’s what we commemorate every June, or Pride Month. 

As it is Pride Month at the moment, here are a few notable present-day LGBTI+ activists you can follow to learn more about queer culture and support the community. 

Laverne Cox

Shooting to fame almost overnight back in 2013, Laverne went on to become the representative of the trans community in Hollywood. Widely acknowledged as a trailblazer for the community, Laverne was born in Alabama, where she went through a traumatic childhood while fighting gender dysphoria. 

Her big break came through ‘Orange Is The New Black,’ a show centred on characters in a women’s prison, following which Laverne’s platform grew tremendously. She uses her platform to bring awareness to the plights of transgender folk and queer rights in general. 

Laverne has many firsts under her belt, including being the first openly trans person to be on the cover of TIME magazine as well as the first to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy and have her very own wax figure at the famous Madame Tussauds wax museum. Her activism and impact has led to much discourse around being trans as well as the intersection between gender identity and race.

George M. Johnson 

New York-based journalist and activist George M. Johnson has an extensive library of writings on gender, sex, and race. George has written for a plethora of notable publications, including Buzzfeed News, Teen Vogue, The Advocate and many more. 

His memoir ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ deconstructs his experiences, from what it was like to grow up queer and black to the toxic facets of masculinity, and retellings of how he was bullied for being queer and fighting structural racism. 

George continues to give a voice to an underrepresented community — particularly black queer folk — and places them at the forefront of stories that he says he never had growing up. 

Ross Murray

Walking the rickety line between religion and queerness, Ross Murray is the director of News and Faith Initiatives at the American LGBT+ media monitoring organisation ‘GLAAD’. Leading the newsfront, Ross is a good source of the latest news on queer movements and rights. 

He has written and consulted for Huffington Post, CNN, the Washington Post, and MSNBC.

But an interesting aspect of his work is actually based in the more faith-focused initiatives he heads, such as the Naming Project — a faith-based camp for LGBT youth and allies.

Ross, a consecrated Deacon in the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, has been a crucial voice in bridging religious and LGBTI communities, working with religious leaders to undo anti-gay sentiments and promote acceptance while giving religious queer kids a safe space to be themselves. 

Alok V. Menon

Alok is a gender non-conforming poet, artist, and queer rights activist. Their bright and bold personality and fashion sense gained a lot of traction online and soon, Alok amassed a significant following.

A supporter of being authentically oneself, Alok is unapologetic about their gender expression, whether sartorial, physical or vocal. Their book ‘Femme In Public’ provides several personal accounts of what its like to be transfeminine and out. 

They constantly use their platform to boost a very much underexposed minority within the queer community that mostly consists of genderqueer and gender-fluid activists.

Chella Man

Chella is a Chinese-American YouTuber who is also a model, actor, artists and queer rights activist. Chella is a Jewish person of colour who started losing his hearing at age four, and by 13, was completely deaf. 

He also battled gender dysphoria growing up, leading to his transition. Today, Chella is an icon for trans men, as well as the deaf and genderqueer community, using his platform to educate people about what it is like to be trans as well as fighting for more inclusivity for the deaf community.

Chella made his acting debut on season two of DC’s Titans, portraying the mute superhero Jericho. A man of many talents, his pursuits do not stop there. He is currently studying virtual 

reality programming at Manhattan-based The New School.