Happy Pride Month! It first began when President Bill Clinton declared June to be “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999 and 2000. Then, with each year President Barack Obama was in office, he declared June LGBT Pride Month. As we all become more educated, open minded, and accepting with broader and more diverse forms of identity, we all must continue to spread love and support to the LGBTQ+ community.
Being an LGBTQ+ ally is important to help educate others and create a comfortable environment for everyone to express themselves freely. As an ally, it is important for us to be great listeners, have an open mind, and be willing to talk. It is also important to not assume anyone’s sexual orientation or identity. Stand up for them and do not let anti-LGBTQ+ comments or discrimination slide. Educate yourself and others to confront prejudice and bias. Everyone deserves respect, love, and equal opportunity in this world!
Here are six inspirational LGBTQ+ activists who have devoted their life to influencing how the rest of the world perceives people of their community.
Marsha P. Johnson
For almost 25 years, Marsha P. Johnson was in the epicenter of New York City’s gay liberation movement. She fought for more than LGBT rights. She was in the forefront of anti-oppressive policing demonstrations. She was a big part of the establishment of one of the country’s first safe spaces for transgender and homeless adolescents.
Billie Jean King
King was the first woman athlete to win $100,000 in a single year (1971). The Women’s Tennis Association was founded when she persuaded her colleagues to establish a players’ union. The Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative was founded to help build a more inclusive workplace that assures equal pay and supports self-expression.
Milk began his term as a member of Congress by supporting a civil rights bill that made discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal. According to The New York Times, the legislation was the “most stringent and encompassing in the nation,” and indicated “the growing political power of homosexuals.”
She was a powerful speaker during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979. Lorde created Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press in 1981 with Barbara Smith and numerous other writers. Kitchen Table was dedicated to supporting feminists of color and their works.
He co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which has grown to become the world’s biggest private AIDS group. Kramer became upset with bureaucratic procrastination and homosexual men’s indifference about the AIDS pandemic; and sought to do more than the social services offered by GMHC.
RuPaul has been paving the runway and the world for the LGBTQ+ community. Many credit him for bringing drag into the spotlight and he was the first drag queen to be on Hollywood Walk of Fame. He became the first openly gay national television host in 1996 because of his show, The RuPaul Show on VH1. He believes drag is helping fight the patriarchy and the dangers of strict definitions of masculinity. Drag is a form of expression where you can be anyone you want, no matter what race, sexual orientation, etc., you can make your mark!