~ article originally published by Stonewall Japan’s Diversity & Awareness Team, January Newsletter 2018 ~
*Order of appearance does not equal precedency of importance.
1. Janet Mock
Janet Mock is a writer, TV host, and transgender rights activist from Hawaii. Her debut book, Redefining Realness, became a New York Times best seller in 2014, and she also released another book in 2017 discussing an autobiographical journey through her 20s. She is a contributing editor for Marie Claire, and has used her platform to be the role model she never had as a youth: “Within communities of color I never saw anyone like me…I hope that what it does is empower young girls”. For some more information about Janet, have a look at this video: goo.gl/ehcCYx
2. Munroe Bergdorf
Munroe Bergdorf is a British model, DJ, and social activist. She became the first transgender model to front a L’Oréal campaign in the UK. She started with activism with gender, and progressed to being an emerging voice for intersectionalities for “black queerness”, “feminism” and against white supremacy and white privilege. Munroe’s message to activists: “Activism can be as large or small as you feel you are able to take on. It comes with a great amount of emotional labor, so my main advice would be to make sure you are kind to yourself.”
3. Ruth Hunt
British activist Ruth Hunt is Chief Executive of Stonewall, the largest LGBT equality charity in Europe.
Since 2005, Ruth Hunt has taken on a variety of roles within the organisation leading work on Stonewall’s research into homophobic bullying in schools, instigating research, producing the iconic Stonewall openly-gay role model guides, and strategic development and delivery of Stonewall’s policy. If you’ve not seen their campaigns, visit Stonewall’s website here: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/
4. Penny Wong
As an Australian politician, Penny Wong has represented South Australia in the Senate since 2002. She was the first out lesbian cabinet member in Australia, and has spoken openly about the gay right movement consistently throughout her career. As a mother of two with her partner, she is one of Australia’s most influential people of 2017 in regards to her activism for the LGBT community. She has made numerous speeches on YouTube that portrays her fierce stand against inequality in politics, this one is particularly moving: goo.gl/WVBiUx
5. Jacq Applebee
Jacq Applebee is an activist, writer, and one of the founders of Bi’s of Colour, a British-based support and social group which has been running since 2010 for bisexual people of colour. Jacq produced the Bi’s of Colour Survey Report in 2015, a “first of its kind in the world”, documenting the lives and experiences of non-white/monosexual people. Jacq continues today to act as an activist against bisexual erasure, and supporting bisexual people of colour.
Please take a look at Jacq’s brief history of bisexuality from the Queer Sunday School event on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3QzSgQAV58] or their tumblr site: http://bisofcolour.tumblr.com/
Currently Bi’s of Colour is seeking submissions for a project to document and celebrate the lives and experiences of bisexuals of colour. The deadline is the end of May 2018:
6. Jazzie Collins
An activist and LGBT Caucus honoree, Jazzie Collins was described by the chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus as an advocate who “worked tirelessly on behalf of all communities, serving as an untiring advocate for the poor, for the transgender community and truly, for all San Francisco residents”.
She was Vice-Chair of the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force, and helped to break down legislative policies for her communities. Although passing in 2013, especially as a HIV-positive transgender female of color, Jazzie Collins remains a inspiration to the queer community of San Francisco.
7. Alice Walker
Famous for her 1983 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Color Purple, Alice Walker is a bisexual African American author and poet who has made numerous contributions to activism for race and gender for decades.
Born and raised in the USA, Walker was the first black woman to win the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She, with famous civil rights lawyer Melvyn Leventhal, were the “first legally married interracial couple” in the state of Mississippi. Now she continues to work in activism, and has worked closely with CODEPINK, a “women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives”. There is a documentary about her called Beauty in Truth (2013).
8. Jennicet Gutiérrez
Jennicet Gutiérrez is a Latinx activist for transgender rights and immigrant rights in the USA. Self-described as a “risk taker”, she gained recognition in 2015 for standing up for immigrants and trans people during an Obama speech during Pride month. Subsequently, she was listed in Out magazine’s Out100 List in 2015. A founding member of La Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, her activism raises awareness for racial, economic, and trans justice.
Please visit her work at www.familiatqlm.org.
9. Jacob Tobia
Arguably one of the most known figures on this list, and role model for individuals in the genderqueer community, Jacob Tobia is a LGBTQ+ activist in the broadest sense. They are a writer, advocate for gender equality, co-producer of the MSNBC television series Queer 2.0 amongst a number of other things. Following the zeitgeist, they have made use of multiple social media platforms to enable their activism and featured on MTV, Buzzfeed, Mic, The Guardian, The New York Times, TIME and so on. For more information, visit their website: http://jacobtobia.com/
10. Sonia Zafra
Information is not easy to find on Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, especially in English. Nevertheless Sonia Zafra was a homeless, transgender Spanish woman who was attacked and brutally murdered by a group of teenage neo-nazis in Barcelona, Spain on October 6th, 1991. Where the tragic crime was committed now a memorial bandstand is erected, La Glorieta de la transexual Sonia (the bandstand of Sonia, the transexual). Despite there being no doubt that Sonia was not the first transgender person to be murdered in Spain, she was the first “crime of a transexual” to be persecuted in court. Disgustingly, the killers were sentenced to less than 11 months in jail, and the majority of them spent less than half of that before early release.
These are just 10 people you should know about; how many did you know?
We could have written for weeks, months, YEARS about all the LGBT+ people that members should know about. However, there is only so much time and resources available. If you know of someone other members should know about, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!