With the ongoing month of pride nearing an end on June 30th, people have started coming out and sharing their stories of “togetherness’’. Innumerable people coming out and speaking about their sexual preference/non-preference, pride month has ringed the bells of courage in everyone’s hearts. The LGBTQ community has faced its share of struggles.
Struggle to openly embrace who they are. Challenges to speak out loud about their love. Troubles in finally accepting their identity in a world typified with stereotypes.
Therefore, they have learned/had the fortitude to speak up in these situations, looking at inspirations. Looking at people who own up their choice of non-binaries without fearing the world. These people high at positions, doing so well for themselves, earning respect, despite falling into the apparent societal category of “being different”.
Let us look at a few inspirational LGBTQ personalities who have defied the jaws of discrimination and shaming, to hold up their identities in front of the whole world.
She was the first elected senator in American History who belonged to the LGBTQ community. Openly accepting herself as a lesbian, she was elected to the House of Representatives in 1999. Following this was the election to the Senate in 2013. She was also the first woman to become a representative to either chamber from Wisconsin.
Ever since her re-election, she has been very vocal about protecting LGBTO Americans from facing outward/inherent discrimination in the state. The Equality Act aims to re-shape the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ community in every sector, including household, public, and employment.
Though, looking at her, it seems that she is just another “easy-go-lucky” person, having hit a milestone on the American TV screen. However, one must remember that her journey has had many turbulences in it.
In 1997, when her reel character and her real character both simultaneously came out as gay, she paid a huge price for the same. This backlash went as far as death threats and the overall cancellation of her show.
However, despite going through all this, she never chose the road of compromising with her identity. She owned it like a boss and stood by it throughout her difficult times. Now, after so many years of constant struggle and upstanding, her talk show remains one of the most viewed and reputed in the world.
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One of the founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement has also brought to light the voices of the LGBTQ people. Out of the three women founders, two of them identify as queer.
Alicia proved that digitalism is the new weapon in war. With the initiation of this hashtag, not only straight, cisgender black men came into the forefront. It also included transgender people who used to face double discrimination owing to their race and sexual preference.
4.Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
An active past-master of the Stonewall riots, Miss Major has worked immensely for the rights of colored transgender women. Founder Executive director of the TGIJP (Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project) supports transgender people and intersex people around jails, prisons, detention centers, and retreat centers.
She works as a leader and activist, for matters of transgender rights and discrimination. Often referred to as “mama” by the people in her community, she has actively fought for Transgender Civil Rights, intersecting LGBTQ struggle with it.
An open gay personality in India, Seth has often been held up for his bold choices in the field of writing. One of his most acclaimed novels, ‘A Suitable Boy’, bought him immense credit and applause in the literary circles.
During the time of criminalization of section 377, he had openly expressed his displeasure and disappointment through his poem, “Through love’s great power.” He is also an active critique of queer and LGBTQ discrimination in India.
6. Marsha P. Johnson
An African-American Trans woman, his activism for equality became very famous in the 1960s and 1970s. He was a gay man, who used to dress up extravagantly like a woman, for their performances.
A veteran of the Stonewall riots. He was a co-founder of S.T.A.R., a key element of the 1970 gay liberation movement in the United States. It is also believed, that Marsha said that “P” in the name stood for “Pay it no mind”. This was put to use in times when people unnecessarily commented on their personal choices.
To date, he remains a pioneering figure in the LGBTQ activism or gay rights movement.
An exact month after the stonewall riots, New York City saw the biggest public gay march. It was The Christopher Street Liberation Day March, and one of the prime organizers behind it lays a bisexual woman, Brenda Howard.
This march saw people boldly coming out and accepting their identities. This was seen for the very first time in the streets of the United States. After the Stonewall iconic momentum, this became a second iconic moment in the history of America. All possible for a bisexual woman!
Iceland has always been a country that has profoundly been called, “gay friendly.” Therefore, when a lesbian, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir made history by getting elected as the first openly accepting LGBTQ leader of a nation, it was as shocking for them as the rest of the world.
With the removal of laws against gay sex in the 1940s, followed by a green signal for adoption rights to gay couples, Sigurðardóttir was just another leader for them. In her tenure, she passed a marriage equality law to allow gay couples for a final reuniting with their partners. She and her partner were the first ones to take advantage of the above-mentioned, passed legislation.
9.Miss J. Alexander
The first-ever real and accessible portrayal of the LGBTQ community on fashion television, Miss J. has taught a lot of queer and non-queer people how to walk the ramp. Alexander was one of the very few first persons to openly come out and walk the ramp on a reality show as queer.
He is a runaway coach, model, and author, and he denies conforming to the bindings of binaries.
Gittings was rejected for membership to the National Honor Society because another teacher suspected her to have “homosexual inclinations.” Born in a time, when homosexuality was a crime bigger than murder, Barbara was a psychiatrist confirmed lesbian.
After getting no support to help her identify and accept her sexuality, she decided to look into her “condition” herself. By the 1960s, she was actively participating in the liberation of gay rights.
She was also an active participant in the movement against the APA (American Psychiatric Association). This movement was calling for the removal of homosexuality from the section of mental illnesses. A lifetime member of the American Library Association, they named an entire award after her. The award for best gay/lesbian novel, The Barbara Gittings Award.
Though all of these above-mentioned luminaries are just a few out of the large sea of people who continue to be inspirations for not only the LGBTQ community but everyone in general.
Owning up their choices at times, when this choice could have cost them their entire lives, these people have shown immense bravery and courage. To speak up, own up and fight up is not a cakewalk. It requires a bag full of mental and physical efforts to put yourself out there.
In a world, where being different is seen as a threat, these people have defeated these challenges. They have emerged victorious in being diverse. Surely, right goes the phase, Pride in Pride!
For more articles, click here: 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT LGBTQ PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE