L.G.B.T.Q. people unite every June, Pride Month, to celebrate milestones like the Stonewall uprising and the activists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of gay rights.
Often overlooked, however, are the unsung heroes of color who have broken ground and continue to make strides. In a year when at least 29 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been killed, and as states are moving to restrict the participation of transgender women and girls in sports, Black L.G.B.T.Q. artists, performers, entrepreneurs and designers are using their talents to protect and heal, as they have for years.
“I’m willing to help anyone, I don’t care,” said Brenda Holder, a transgender activist and celebrated ballroom performer. “Because of the struggles and the trials and tribulations that I went through, I won’t let anyone else go through it.”
Ms. Holder is not alone in the effort to help L.G.B.T.Q. people. She and four others featured here have been working for decades to open doors through their art, activism, entrepreneurship and mentorship. Collectively, they have created a legacy of empowerment.
the video for Madonna’s 1994 single “Secret.”
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