Pride - Celebrating Humanity's Diversity
During Pride Month I adored seeing brands support the LGBTQ+ community by raising awareness and donations. From Primark to Skittles, we were all basking in brilliant multicolour throughout June.
I am still gagging over the ASOS X GLAAD collaboration, with 100% of the profits going to Glaad, an organisation dedicated to countering LGBTQ+ discrimination. The exclusive collaboration is reminiscent of 90s Fresh Prince vibes and I could devour the whole collection. If you saw my insta post, you saw I got my hands on this awesome tee from the Asos Marketplace. With 28% of each purchase going to LGBT Foundation, thanks to streetwear brand 808 LONDON STORE.
(Just a quick one, reminding you to check the brand you buy from isn’t rainbow washing and profiting off the back of Pride Month)
June is truly a wonderful time to celebrate the fact that we are all different and therefore the same.. but what about when the month ends? I share my opinion with one particular superstar who has spent her career campaigning for LGBTQ equality: Lady Gaga. Earlier this year she took time out of her show in Vegas to bring light on Pride Month.
“It’s Pride Month, but in my mind, it’s Pride all fucking year, let’s celebrate all sexual identities, every religion, every colour, every kind. Let’s go! Celebrate your freedom!” She exclaimed as she began her performance of LGBTQ anthem ‘Born This Way’.
And I am all for this. Pride month, along with black history month, mental awareness month and other designated times of focus, are brilliant for drawing attention to important topics, the fight for equality and individuals who have experienced less opportunities through discrimination.
So starting off the month of July I wanted to shout about some fucking awesome active members of the LGBTQ+ community that I personally adore, as well as notable community pages and LGBTQ pages. These individuals and publications inspire me, educate me and remind me why the world is so much better when we allow people to be who they were born to be.
Tash is a phenomenal Aussie musician who has taken the internet by storm with their fantastic busking vids in Melbourne. This overwhelmingly talented individual identifies as non-binary, and has long been a vocal advocate for mental health awareness, sharing their own struggles with mental wellbeing. This powerhouse has mastered over 12 instruments, and is often described as a one-person band due to their incredible talent to play multiple instruments on stage, often simultaneously. One of my favourite artists of all time, I will get to see this explosive musician live in a month. I am ready to be left awe stricken!
Schlacter is an intersiciplinary artist from New York City. Currently working on a series called “Did you know my body is woven”- they have interpreted their own experience identifying as nonbinary, while using textile media and weaving practices. Delving into the history of Drag King performance and queer theory, Zoe´s creative eye is unique and refreshing, so I am always excited to see what they release. Colourful, bold and fun, they have carved a new place within art while working as a freelance textile designer and designing kids clothing and crafts for lifestyle brand Kid Made Modern. Their instagram is a rainbow of nostalgia, inspiring and innovative. Go check them out, seriously!
Aaron Philip was the name on everyone’s lips as she made her debut as the finale for the much anticipated Willie Norris’ Fashion show earlier this month, as ´Queer Capital´emblazened the back of her chair. As a black, transgender teen with Cerebral Palsy, some think the cards have been stacked pretty high against this driven young woman. Instead, Philip embraces her unique qualities, going on to become the first Black, Trans disabled model to sign to a major agency in 2018. What is so impressive about Aaron is her drive to change the face of fashion. In 2017 she shared her hopes of becoming a professional model. In a few short years she managed to actualise her dreams and change the fashion industry forever. Now she worked on some major projects including Dove and in Miley Cyrus’ most recent music video, Mother´s Daughter.
Identifying as queer, Adam reflects on the origins of his activist lifestyle, attributing it to his Jewish background and the belief shared among Jews that we are obligated to look after one another. Applying his can do attitude and the ethos of looking after ones own, Adam feels its his duty to be a voice for the queer community and beyond. In 2018 he founded Voices4, ‘a non- violent direct action activist group committed to advancing global queer liberation’. Helping bring an end to queer persecution, fighting the corporation of Pride, and protesting the ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya are just some in a list of achievements toward a safer, fairer and more equal world for all.
Indya has taken the world by storm for their striking looks and undeniable performing talents, showcased in FX tv series Pose (a show that delves into the history of trans culture, with the largest cast of transgender actors ever to appear as series regulars). A stunning individual epitomising 21st century beauty standards (a conversation for another day!), this striking person hasn’t always embodied the stereotypically feminine characteristics, and long before being named one of Times Magazines 100 influential people this year, Moore was a transgender kid in the foster system. Now they use their fame to raise awareness for marginalised individuals through their acting, modelling and producing.
Okay, so now it’S been mentioned, we definitely can’t leave out Willie’s awesome pro queer streetwear brand, WILLIENORRISWORKSHOP. Norris takes the fashion industry head on, creating simple yet provoking sloganwear that both ‘encourage self awareness and reinforce the individual and collective power of the wearer’. Previous slogans include,What Exactly Is heterosexuality and What Causes It?´and Fuck me hard or love me tender whatever JUST DO IT. His most recent designs ( and his first full collection) #promotehomosexuality was presented on June 13th 2019 in Manhattan NY. Funded through Kickstarter, Norris found it imperative to have a brand that embodied queer culture, as opposed to being ‘queer by association´´.
Okay, this guy is really cool, and I only discovered him a day or two before I sat down to make this list. Genderqueer artist Chella Man creates the most brilliant art, simple yet intricate in design and theme. A member of the trans community, Chella is also deaf. Not one to allow differences to become a set back, he shares images that regularly challenge gender stereotypes. From muscular poses in the gym to whimsical pics in dresses, I love that Chella, along with his talented partner, constantly push the boundaries of gender. I find delving into the profiles of individuals like Chella and Zoe (mentioned above) can be highly educational as they both share their journeys toward a truer reflection so transparently, from hormones to surgery, and what gender means to them. Chella currently has a dope mini collection out with Opening Ceremony.
JONATHAN VAN NESS
JVN is best known for his many creative endeavours including Netflix series Queer Eye and the web series parody Gay of Thrones. What I love about him most is his journey of self discovery, and the way in which he has shared it. Speaking to Out Magazine Jonathan said, ´The older I get, the more I think that I´m nonbinary- I´m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman´. Jonathan proudly blurs the lines of gender with his eclectic style, and advocates self care- most recently through his partnership as first non-female spokesperson of nail polish brand Essie.
So, you probably all know by now I am Ru Paul Drag Race fanatic. I love so many of the queens that have graced my screen, their individuality inspiring me and their struggles humbling me. Yvie Oddly is the most recently crowned queen of the show, and for good reason. She bends gender norms through her art form, and facing each one of her weaknesses, she makes them her strength. A social justice warrior and one hell of a performer, I find her ability to channel her personality through art so inspiring. She is unconventional, and embraces her oddities. I just love her. I feel like I have a long lost sibling no one told me about. And the video I attached? I only just discovered it. Now I love her even more.
For the past decade, South African Olympic champion Semenya made all the headlines for a unique reason- her chromosomes. The Association for Athletics Federations ruled earlier this year that Semenya would not be permitted to compete in her excelled sports unless she underwent medical hormonal intervention to lower her natural levels of testosterone. The situation is still very much hot in the press, and continues to affect Caster´s career as the legal onslaught continues. What I love about Semenya is her continued positivity, shared through affirmations, quotes and smiling photos on her instagram as well as any public appearances she makes. She leaves me feeling like I can tackle anything, because she continues to fight for her right to play sport in the body she was born in.
These two awesome individuals have created the first inclusive and genderless jewellery range. A queer, trans owned family business, Automic Gold is a shining example not only for their mission to actively uplift the LGBTQ+ community by supplying a diamond collection, but for also being super ecofriendly. (I’m practically screaming from excitement!)
The brand uses gold recycled from electronics and old jewellery. Their natural diamonds are all also reclaimed. Using solid gold also increases longevity of an accessory- and all pieces are handmade. On July 27th they released their wedding band range to celebrate 4 years since the bill legalising gay marriage was passed. What a better way to support a community than by purchasing their awesome products?
PUBLICATIONS AND PAGES OF NOTE
Thanks for taking the time to read all about my chosen LGBTQ+ influencers and pages of note. This list took me a week to narrow down (as you can imagine) and I wish I could share everyone who inspires me!
We should all take the time to understand the experiences of others so that we can continue to fight for equality together. Let me know down below who in the LGBTQ+ community inspires you, and why?