Since the late 90's, June has been designated Pride month - a month long celebration of our LGBTQ+ community. To a newcomer, it may look like fabulous parades and parties full of glitter and rainbows but its roots go much deeper.
Without the bravery, tenacity, and leadership within the LGBTQ+ community, Pride today would simply not exist. Racism, sexism, discrimination, homophobia, and violence are just some of the major things these leaders experienced and fought against and what many in this community still experience and fight today.
We've put together a short list of some of the leaders who paved the way for today's Pride (before Pride was even a thing) dedicated to not only celebrating sexual diversity but peacefully protesting and raising political awareness of current issues facing the community - mainly discrimination and violence.
It's important to continually support and uplift LGBTQ+ leaders and work toward true equality worldwide embracing all sexualities and identities.
Pioneers of LGBTQ+ Rights
✨ Martha P. Johnson ✨ is an icon of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. She was an HIV activist, self-described drag queen and advocate for gay rights. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 which would inspire the contemporary tradition of Pride.
✨ Alan Turing ✨ was a mathematician who is now considered the father of modern computing. He worked as a codebreaker for the UK government during World War II and his efforts to read and decode German intelligence are said to have helped bring about a significant turning point in the war. He was convicted for "gross indecency" under homophobic Victorian laws, which led to a punishment of chemical castration. In 2019, it was announced he would be the new face of the £50 note.
✨ April Ashley ✨ was a model and actress. She modeled for the likes of British Vogue before a friend sold her story to the press and she was publicly outed as trans in 1961.
✨ Stormé DeLarverie ✨ was a butch lesbian and drag king. Many eyewitnesses credit her interactions with police as the flashpoint for the Stonewall Uprising which helped spark the queer rights movement.
✨ Audre Lorde ✨ was an American feminist, activist, and author. She was a lesbian who explored ethical non-monogamy within her relationships and whose writing is seen as fundamental for the intersectional feminist movement. Her works include Zami, Uses of the Erotic, Sister/Outsider and the essay The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House.
✨ Sylvia Rivera ✨ was an activist and community worker associated with the historic Stonewall Uprising. She was an activist within the Gay Liberation Front and, alongside Martha P Johnson, founded STAR: an organization aimed at helping trans, gender-non-conforming and queer individuals facing homelessness.