INTRODUCING THE PRIDE of the proud! As we all may now know, the month of June is a month that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and reminds the world of their existence. The month fosters pride, love, and appreciation for the community and advocates for progress concerning their rights and opportunities to be heard.
However, it wasn’t always this easy to show appreciation and discuss the LBGTQ+ community. Back then, the topic was one of sensitive nature, and it might have forever remained that way were it not for the pioneers who have fought to give the discussions a chance. That being said, here are seven of the most notable people from the LGBTQ+ community who pioneered the way to progress.
Barbara Gittings was a prominent activist for LGBT equality. She stood in front of protesting lines fighting against anti-gay discrimination. Gittings was one of the spearheads who paved the way for the battle for gay rights even a decade before the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969. She organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis from 58’ to 63’.
Dan Savage is a writer with significant advocacy for promoting the welfare of the LGBTQ+ community. He focused on the mental health of the young members of the community and even launched the “It Gets Better Project” in 2010 to uplift, empower, and connect the LGBTQ+ with his husband, Terry Miller. He aims to prevent the constant suicide cases of the LGBTQ+ community by encouraging the people in their community to speak up and share their life testimonies to inspire others to be confident of their gender preferences.
With his military service background, Gilbert Baker used his knowledge to dive deep into his artistic talent while exploring political movements against the homophobic culture he had once experienced in his military days. He then revolutionized and united the LGBTQ+ movement by designing the rainbow flag, a symbol of a glimmer of hope. The flag was showcased at the San Francisco Pride Parade in 1978, where it became a symbol for all community members to unite and stand with pride.
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsh, popularly known as Malcolm Michaels Jr. Johnson, was an activist, drag queen, and advocate for gay rights. He was one of the most prominent figures in the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. Although she did not start the Stonewall protest, she became one of the people that continued to push through with it and advocated such a vision of fighting for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Her bold crossdressing has soon been followed by many, with her vision and courage, despite being illegal in some parts of the United States at her time.
Frank Kameny was the first openly gay candidate who ran for the United States Congress. His mere presence and existence gave hope to all the members of the LGBTQ+, as their representative in the government for lobbying platforms advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. His perseverance became fruitful when homosexuality was removed as one of the classified mental disorders in 1973 by the American Psychiatric Association.
Just like Kameny, Harvey Milk was also engaged in politics. He was the first openly gay politician to be elected, again serving as a glimmer of hope and a representative for the people in the LGBTQ+ community. He actively fought to advance the political rights of homosexuals in the state.
RuPaul Andre Charles
Most famously known as the American Drag Queen, he appeared in several films as his drag persona. Such films included Crooklyn, The Brady Bunch Movie, and Blue in the Face. By gathering attention in the entertainment industry, RuPaul was able to create platforms for members of the LGBTQ+ where they can feel safe. At the same time, he became a living testament that community members can go out in the world and feel confident in themselves.
Although these people successfully conquered and prospered in their respective fields, the fight is far from over. Discrimination is still everywhere, and in our fight for equal rights, they may need our help more than ever. Always remember, looking the other way is just as bad as prejudice.