Queer Black History: Queer Women Activists

Photos: Phasepocalypse at Black Cat
February 10, 2015
Lee Ann
February 10, 2015
Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry (Photo courtesy of The Root)

Celebrating black history only in February, as if it is separate from American history is both a blessing and a curse of the legacy of race relations in the United States. Some look at February as the month we have to celebrate black history as an obligatory gesture attempting to right the long and treacherous legacy of wrongs against people of color. However, the richness and importance of black culture and the celebration of its heroes is categorically more meaningful and important to the building of this nation than we are taught in schools. So, I look at February as the month to celebrate greatness with an illuminating spotlight.

Today we celebrate The Activist. Specifically, the black, queer, woman activist.

U.S. history is “glittered” with the fabulousness of black queerness. People who were unapologetic in their demand for change. These activists paved the way for change with a boldness and a fire that fuels so many of our modern day activists.

Women like

  • Journalist and early feminist Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Playwright and journalist Lorraine Hansberry
  • The iconic Angela Davis who is easily one of the most influential women activist in this century
  • Ruth Ellis, the first woman to own her own printing business and the name sake of the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit
  • Alice Walker, the revolutionary author of The Color Purple among a litany of literary gold
  • Audre Lorde, prolific author and black feminist icon
  • Best friends Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who were key players in the Stonewall Riots and the mothers of trans visibility
  • Pat Parker author, speaker, revolutionary and leading voice on black queer love and intimacy
  • Barbara Jordan, the first woman of color to be elected to the U.S. House of representatives and to deliver the keynote speech at the DNC
  • Margaret Sloan-Hunter, a writer and prominent early feminist

All of these women were driven by the knowledge that their time here mattered in a huge way. Their life, talent and words would be food to nourish movements of liberation from oppression and inequality.  These are the women who would lead the path of future activists and world changers.

Women like

  • StacyAnn Chin, queer mommy writer and poet
  • Lourdes Ashley Hunter, unapologetic trans activist and co-founder of The Trans Women of Color Collective
  • Monica Roberts, writer and founder of TransGriot
  • Mia Mckenzie, the mastermind behind, Black Girl Dangerous and award winning novelist
  • Janet Mock, trans activist, journalist and NY Times best selling author
  • Simone Bell, elected official to the Georgia House of Representative and southern LGBTQ rights champion
  • Feminista Jones, originator of #YouOkSis, feminist and author
  • Imani  Evans, advocate and healer of  women harmed by sexual violence
  • Angelica Ross, musician, trans activist and owner of Trans Tech Social

Just as the past paves the road forward, these young activists pave the way for change. It is these women who carve out space for our future voices. We appreciate the legacy you are leaving and we celebrate you every day.