This June was the 51st annual Pride Month commemorating the Stonewall riots that largely contributed to the gay liberation movement. Black members of the LGBTQ+ community like Marsha P. Johnson, Stormé DeLarverie, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy participated in the Stonewall revolution and were early leaders in the pursuit of gay rights.
The LGBTQ+ community has leaned on its Black members to ignite revolutions, and have benefited from their work, particularly through the efforts of Black trans women. Yet, Black trans women have seen the least benefits of the movement and are disproportionately affected by high rates of fatal violence.
It is necessary to acknowledge Black members of the LGBTQ+ community are important figures in the history and the continued pursuit of LGBTQ+ rights, and that they are especially targeted by violence and oppression related to both their race and their sexuality. This is created and perpetuated by the system built by white supremacy, and it is our job to seek out education and work to dismantle this unjust system.
A few of those advocates and educators, including the infamous Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, are on this list. Each of the individuals listed run companies, organizations, or funds that support the LGBTQ+ community and use their platforms to share about being a Black member of the community. There is an overlap in race and sexuality, and we can't acknowledge the successes of the gay liberation movement without the inequities that still exist within it.
About Zim: Devin-Norelle is a non-binary model, trans advocate, writer, and creator of Trans is Beautiful Apparel. Ze can be found in a recent New York Fashion Week show for Chromat or in published articles for Teen Vogue, Allure, them, and Out magazine.
Zis company: Trans Is Beautiful Apparel
Trans Is Beautiful Apparel is inspired by Laverne Cox. This store makes fashionable attire that donates a portion of all proceeds to the Bye Gender Trans Wellness Fund.
Aria Sa'id she/her/hers
About her: Aria is a trans advocate and award-winning political strategist. She is a founder and the Executive Director of the first transgender district in the world and the founder of the Kween Culture Initiative to empower Black transgender women.
Her causes: The Transgender District
Compton’s Transgender Cultural District is the world's first legally recognized transgender district. The district aims to stabilize and uplift the transgender community with the ownership of businesses, homes, and safe community spaces.
The Kween Culture Initiative is a project that aims to create a framework for the social and cultural empowerment of Black transgender women in the Bay Area.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy all pronouns
About her: Miss Major is the aforementioned legendary pioneer of the gay rights movement who was physically present during both the Stonewall raid and riots. Miss Major is a long-time community advocate and human rights activist who has been participating in the pursuit of equity and justice for more than 50 years. Miss Major is also the former executive director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project and subject of the 2015 documentary, Major!
Her organization: House of GG
Miss Major founded this nonprofit to create safe and transformative spaces where members of the Black trans community can heal with a primary focus on supporting transgender women of color living the south.
LaSaia Wade she/her/hers
About her: LaSaia is the founder of the Tennessee Trans Journey Project and the Brave Space Alliance as well as a member of Chicago Trans Gender-Nonconforming Collective, and the Trans Liberation Collective. LaSaia is a dedicated trans advocate and has 10+ years of experience in community organizing and advocacy work.
Her organization: Brave Space Alliance
The Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Center which is dedicated to the creation of affirming and culturally-competent resources and programming for LGBTQ+ individuals in the South and West sides of Chicago.
Devin Michael Lowe he/they
About him: Devin is an actor and media producer who focuses on content that highlights the lived experiences of queer, transgender & gender non-conforming individuals with an emphasis on Black folks and communities of color. Additionally, Devin is a model, activist, and founder of The Black Trans Travel Fund.
His fund: The Black Trans Travel Fund
The Black Trans Travel Fund is a mutual-aid project that pays for private car rides for Black trans women in NY & NJ so they can self-determine safer alternatives to travel.