October 13, 2022

Black History Month: Celebrating Black LGBTQ+ History

Black History Month: Celebrating Black LGBTQ+ History

From throwing the first brick at Stonewall to the vibrant ballroom scenes of NYC, black queer people have always been at the forefront of the LGBTQ+ liberation movement. This month, we highlight the work and contributions of black queer people and their stories.

From leaders like Marsha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie who led Stonewall to cultural figures like James Baldwin and Gladys Bentley, and our modern-day contemporaries, Munroe Bergdorf and Lady Phyll. Let’s take a look at some of their stories.

Marsha P. Johnson.

Johnson was an American queer liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

Stormé DeLarverie

DeLarverie was a butch lesbian whose scuffle with police was the spark that ignited the Stonewall uprising. She was born in New Orleans and moved to New York City as a drag king. She remained a lifelong queer activist.

Gladys Bentley.

Bentley was an American Blues singer, pianist, and entertainer during the Harlem Renaissance. She was known for her signature white top hat, tuxedo, and tails, and lyrics full of double-entendres. She was a huge musical influence in the Harlem Renaissance, which influences the music we hear today.

James Baldwin

Baldwin was an American writer and activist, known for novels such as Go Tell It on the Mountain and essays such as Notes of a Native Son. His fiction is admired for its complex views on racial, sexual, and religious identities, informed by his own homosexuality and his childhood in Harlem.

Munroe Bergdorf

Bergdorf was the first transgender model in the UK for L'Oréal, and now advocates for queer rights, anti-sexual harassment, anShe is a passionate leader for the queer community. Bergdorf is also soon releasing her upcoming book, 'Transitional: How to Live Your Authentic Life'.

Lady Phyll

Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah, is leading the charge for for racial, gender and LGBT+ equality as the Co-founder and director of UK Black Pride, the first event of its kind in Europe. This year, attendance for Black Pride rose to 25,000 people in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, making it the most successful turnout on record.

"When we rise together, we are mighty.” -Lady Phyll

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