LGBTQ+ History Month 2021: Creators

by Jesse St. Andre

Today, we focus on some LGBTQ+ creators - artists, musicians, writers - who are making history here & now.. Whatever the medium, these people bring their creations into our lives as they follow their passions.

“Hi! My name is Meg and I'm trans non-binary. I'm following my dreams of pursuing art that helps create a safe space for the QTBIPOC LGBTQIA+ community.”

Meg created art for our APA OUT LOUD campaign as well as for the Spring 2021 edition of Equality magazine. Their main goal is to create art, apparel and content that reminds everyone in the QTBIPOC communities that they are never alone in this fight for equality.

Zeyn Joukhadar is a trans author whose works explore themes such as identity, family and hope.

Zeyn has written two books: The Thirty Names of Night and The Map of Salt and Stars. He has won multiple awards, including the 2021 Barbara Gittings Stonewall Book Award and the 2021 Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Fiction.

The Map of Salt and Stars is currently being translated into 20 languages and has received critical acclaim across the globe.

Shea Diamond describes herself as “nightmare to gatekeepers and oppressors everywhere.” A singer/songwriter, actress and well as a trans right activist, Shea released her first album Seen it All in 2018.

Shea has been an amazing, talented supporter of HRC for years. She has performed at our LGBTQ inaugural event, helped us launch our My Body My Health program, and spoke at our Dallas Black Tie Dinner - to name a few of the times we’ve had the privilege to work with her.

You can keep up with her and be among the first to know what projects she’s working on via her Instagram.

As the creator of the #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike movement on Twitter and the person behind International Asexuality Day (April 6th!), Yasmin Benoit aims to show the world that there is no one way someone who is asexual looks or acts. She also strives to create equality within the LGBTQ+ community, where too often asexuals are not fully embraced.

As part of her advocacy, her articles and interviews have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, Vogue and many other publications. She also won an Attitude Pride Award in June 2021for her activism/advocacy work - making her the first British

This is the 1st time an aromantic-asexual activist has received an LGBTQ+ award in this country!

“It’s very humbling for a kid who grew up closeted in Nebraska to be able to be able to take pictures with a rainbow flag in front of our most iconic National Parks Service Sites.”

Mikah Meyer is the first person to visit all of the U.S. National Park Service Sites in a single journey. That’s impressive, considering there are 419 of them!

He also founded the Outside Safe Space initiative to help people let LGBTQ+ people around them know they are in a safe space.

Julian K. Jarboe is a nonbinary writer and artist. Their book Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel has won several awards, including the Lambda Literary Award Winner in Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror in 2021.

They also create games (such as Inscrutable Cities), do woodworking and write zines (such as The Marshmallow Test).

Julian is currently located in Massachusetts, but you can also find them on Twitter.

“I don’t consider myself of any sex. I consider myself an experience.”

Angel Haze is an agender, pansexual artist, musician, rapper, and poet. Angel wrote her first poem at age 13. Nine years after that, Angel’s music was first released in 2012.

Nine years later, Angel is still going strong.

Leilah Babirye fled Uganda, her homeland, after being publicly outed as lesbian. She was granted asylum in spring of 2018. Today, she is a sculptor who turns discarded materials into art. To explain her medium choice: “The pejorative term for a gay person in the Luganda language is ‘ebisiyaga’, meaning sugarcane husk...the part you throw away.”

She also “frequently uses traditional African masks to explore the diversity of LGBTQI identities, assembling them from ceramics, metal and hand-carved wood.”

Jae Lin is a trans, nonbinary artist whose Doodle Me Alive project revolves around “affirmations, cute illustrations, and other creative projects for trans liberation.” They’ve also participated in Gender Unbound, which “creates artistic events that celebrate trans and intersex people, promoting intra-community pride and resilience.”

Kendrick Daye - one of the artists we partnered for during #ArtistsForEquality - describes himself as a “creator, collage artist + art director” who “aims to create work that imagines a future where black queer life is prosperous and thriving.”

He is also the creator of the Black Queer Tarot. He set out to create the deck because he could not find decks that he saw himself in as both a queer man and a black man.

He uploads videos of his creative process to his Instagram.

There are countless more LGBTQ+ creators making their mark today, and we hope they all make history.