February is African American History Month a time where we pause, remember, celebrate and reflect on the power that is Black culture and history. It is a time to recognize the contributions of our African American siblings and to recall the struggle they have endured throughout history, despite being key enablers to this country's success.
As members of the LGBTQ+ community, we know all too well of the pioneering role our siblings played in our community's history. From the modern day fight for civil rights with Marsha P Johnson, Bayard Rustin, and Tyron Garner to the visibility they brought to the LGBTQ+ community in theater, film, TV, music and sports, such as with Lorraine Hansberry, Lee Daniels, Laverne Cox, Lil Nas X, and Sheryl Swoops, many of our community's firsts are because of brave people like them, some known to us, many lost to the pages of history.
While we honor the month of February as African American History Month, we carry forward a commitment to listen more, speak up more, and celebrate our African American siblings because as our collective history shows us, Black history is LGBTQ+ history is American history.
We celebrate National African American History Month to remember the struggles and honor the contributions of African Americans to American history. In recognition of our celebration of the LGBTQ community, Let's Talk About Gay Stuff is highlighting 29 African American LGBTQ pioneers. Learn about their stories below.
Let's Talk About Gay Stuff celebrates LGBTQ African American pioneers.
We recognize Wanda Alston for the pioneering role as a feminist and LGBT activist.
Born on April 7, 1959, in Newport News, Virginia, Wanda led a life for which we stand in amazement, and was sadly cut short when she was murdered in her home in 2005.
Honoring her legacy today, we are thankful for Wanda's efforts as an activist and advocate for women's rights and the LGBT+ community. During the 1990s
We recognize Josephine Baker for the pioneering role she played in film, theatre, and music.
Born on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri, Joseph Baker led a life of legends.
Making her career-start in the 1920s, she initially broke color barriers with her comedic performances as an actress and dancer. However, the racial tensions of the time soon gave way, and she was relegated to more minor roles
We recognize Mel Boozer today for the pioneering role he played as an activist for African American, LGBT, and HIV/AIDS issues.
Born on June 21, 1945, in Washington D.C., Boozer led a short but effective life for which we are grateful.
An esteemed professor at the University of Maryland, Boozer was a visible leader in the fight for LGBT+ rights. The first African American to head the Gay Activists
We recognize RuPaul Charles for the pioneering role he is paving for us in entertainment.
Born on November 17, 1960, in San Diego, California, at nearly 60 years old, RuPaul is having a moment (maybe it's a second or third moment).
The first openly gay man to bring drag mainstream, he has crushed a number of barriers. Rupaul has been on the national scene for over 30 years. In drag, RuPaul has bee
We recognize Jason Collins today for the pioneering role he played in sports.
Born on December 2, 1978, in Los Angeles, California, we stand proudly on Collins broad shoulder.
The first openly male gay athlete playing in a sport , he shocked the sports world and National Basketball Association when he came out publicly in a Sports Illustrated article on April 29, 2013. He was in his 13th season whe
We recognize Laverne Cox for the pioneering role she has played in giving a face to the trans community.
Born on May 29, 1972, in Mobile, Alabama, Laverne has led a life for which we celebrate.
The first to trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted TV show, she went on to become the first transwoman to be nominated for an Primetime Emmy award in an acting category. Inspir
We recognize Lee Daniels today for the pioneering role he has played in the entertainment industry.
Born on December 24, 1959, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Daniels has broken barriers as a film and TV writer, director, and producer.
The first African American to be nominated for the Director's Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature film, he has received numerous
We recognize Dr. Angela Davis for the pioneering role she played in civil rights and prison reform.
Born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Davis has led a life as an activist, author, and scholar for which we stand in awe.
A champion of equality, she has spoken to power for over 50 years. Once on the FBIs most wanted list, she was once fired from her job at UCLA for her social activ
We recognize Tryon Garner for bravely fighting for equality.
Born on July 10, 1967, in Houston, TX, Tyrone led a humble life for which we are thankful.
Garner is notably one of the two plaintiffs in the landmark case, Lawrence v Texas, arrested for allegedly violating Texas' sodomy law. For a five year period, Garner and John Geddes Lawrence, Jr., with the support of the Lamda Legal Defense and Educ
We recognize Lorraine Hansberry for the pioneering role she played as a playwright.
Born on May 19, 1930, in Chicago, IL, Hansberry led a life a storied life which was surrounded by sources of inspiration.
At an early stage, she was exposed to some major African American leaders - WEB DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Duke Ellington to name a few. Her family was subjected to segregation in Chicago after
We recognize Billie Holiday for the pioneering role she played in brining us music that we still cherish today.
Born on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, PA, Holiday led a life for which we stand in true awe.
She helped reinvent modern music with her powerful soulful voice. She came up during the Harlem Renaissance and then forged her own way, recording hits and earning her own top billing. This fea
We recognize Langston Hughes for the pioneering role he played in leading the intellectual, spiritual, and artistic explosion that is known as the Harlem Renaissance.
Born James Mercer Langston Hughes on Feb 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. He is said to be the first African American man to earn a living solely from his writing and public lectures.
As a poet and writer of short-stories, essays, play
We recognize Sylvester today for being a prominent voice in the disco era.
Born on September 6, 1947, in Watts, California, Sylvester helped us groove our way on the dance floor.
The creator of the disco hit and gay pride anthem, You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), he lives on playlists forever more. Not only did Sylvester gives us one of the greatest songs out there, he proudly lived life his way. A
We recognize Marsha P. Johnson today for being one of THE LGBT pioneers.
Born on August 24, 1945, in Elizabeth, NJ, she led a tough, yet proud, life for which we stand on her shoulders.
We recognize Marsha as a transwoman, noting that those close to her recall her describing herself as she, a transvestite, and Queen. This speaks to the pioneering role, that Marsh P. played because she was a poor, A
We recognize Don Lemon for the pioneering role he has played in the world of journalism.
Born on March 1, 1966, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lemon is a recipient of the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of the capture of the DC snipers back in 2002.
Lemon started with CNN and was one, and continues to be, one of just a few African American broadcast journalists in an anchor role, pa
We recognize Audre Lorde for the pioneering role she played as a proud civil rights activist, feminist, and lesbian.
Born on February 18, 1934, in New York City, Audre led a life for which we stand with pride.
A vocal leader, she stood bravely for civil rights, women's rights, and gay and lesbian rights. Lorde is a recognized writer, and was once the New York State Poet Laureate. She spoke truth
We recognize Janelle Monae for the pioneering role she has played on the screen and in music.
Born on December 1, 1985, in Kansas City, Kansas, Monae has led a life for which we proudly applaud.
When she's not producing chart-topping albums or starring in award winning films, Monae is a vocal advocate for the LGBT+ community. She starred in the Oscar winning film, Moonlight, which explored sexualit
We recognize Frank Ocean for gracing us with some amazing music.
Born on October 28, 1987, in Long Beach, California, and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ocean is leading a life for which we stand recognize what he's done for music and for his many fans in the African American and LGBT+ communities.
He is a man of many talents - a singer, songwriter, producer and photographer, he is a critically a
We recognize Billy Porter for the pioneering role he has is playing in film, TV, and the theater.
Born on September 21, 1969, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Billy is currently starring in a life for which seems to be hitting a stride.
Porter is having a moment and has been for some time. Recently winning an Emmy for his starring role in the groundbreaking show, Pose, he also earned a Tony and Grammy a
Born Gertrude Ma Rainey, we celebrate, Ma Rainey, as the mother of the Blues.
The first to bridge musical storytelling from vaudeville and authentic black Southern folk expression, she gained a national reputation with her energizing performances and powerful vocals. She gave white audiences a peak into black culture and offered black listeners an opportunity to take pride and celebrate their cult
We recognize Robin Roberts for her pioneering role in television and journalism.
Born on November 23, 1960, in Tuskegee, Alabama, and raised in Mississippi, she has led a life for which we stand in awe.
Where do we start? Standout basketball player from Southeastern Louisiana, journalism career that spans nearly 40 years, she was an ESPN sportscaster on Sports Center, the first African American wom
We recognize Bayard Rustin for the pioneering role he played in organizing the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.
Born on March 17, 1912, in Westchester, Pennsylvania, Bayard led a life for which we stand in awe.
A close confidant of Dr. King, he went on to help organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
We recognize Michael Sam for the pioneering role they played in being the first openly gay man drafted into the National Football League (NFL).
Born on January 7, 1990, in Galveston, TX, Michael broke a barrier for which we applaud.
The first to come out publicly as gay while being scouted for a prime role in the NFL, he faced a tough road ahead. Sam was a fierce college athlete at the University
We recognize Billy Strayhorn today for pioneering jazz musician.
Born on November 29, 1915, in Dayton, Ohio, Strayhorn helped compose music which we still celebrate today
A collaborative partner to Duke Ellington among other Jazz greats, he added Lena Horne and Nat King Cole to his collaboration partners. Strayhorn resigned to a behind the scenes man so that he could continue to live as an out gay
We recognize Sheryl Swoopes for the pioneering role she played in sports.
Born on March 25, 1971, in Brownfield, TX, Swoops has led a career for which we commend.
The first to woman signed to the fledgling WNBA league in 1997. She went on to play 12 seasons in the WNBA, over the course of her playing career, she one an NCAA Championship, a WNBA championship, and Olympic gold medal. She is a Hall of
We recognize Wanda Sykes for the pioneering role she has played, and continues to pave, in the entertainment industry.
Born on March 7, 1964, in Portsmouth, Virginia, Wanda has led a life for which we are thankful to be laughing at her hilarious jokes.
Celebrated as one of Entertainment Weekly's "25 Funniest People in America," she has broken barriers in the world of comedy. In a land where few wom
We recognize André Leon Talley today for the pioneering role he has played in fashion.
Born on October 16, 1949, in Washington D.C., Andre Leon Talley has led a life for which we celebrate this fashion industry giant.
Literally, giant in size - 6 ft 6 in, Talley became a prominent voice in fashion. More an aficionado than a designer, Andre was one of the most famous people in the fasion world. For
We recognize Lena Waithe for the pioneering role she is playing in entertainment.
Born on May 17, 1984, in Chicago, IL, Waithe has led a life as a writer for which we stand in awe.
The first African American Woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Writing for the Netflix series, Master of None, she broke a barrier, as a woman of color and an out lesbian. She acts, produces, and writes and aims
We recognize Lil Nas X today for the pioneering role he has played in music.
Born on April 9, 1999, in Lithia, Georgia, Lil Nas X had a breakout year in 2019, which is remarkable considering he was broke just one year earlier.
Gaining popularity on TikTok, with a sample of Nine Inch Nail beat, he went on to make Old Town Road, which beamce the longest charting No. 1 song - EVER! 19 weeks! AT AGE 2