Black Queer Activists Who Made History

A few of the Black queer activists who made our world a better place

Black Queer Activists Who Made History

Cassie Santella, business/social media manager

Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Johnson was a prominent figure in the stonewall uprising of 1969. Johnson co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera. S.T.A.R helped marginalized groups of people who weren’t being represented by other LGBTQ+ organizations. “How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race?” Johnson said.


Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde was a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet.” She was an activist against racism, homophobia, classism, and sexism. Along with fellow writers, she founded the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press which furthered the writings of Black feminists. Her writings and poems left a huge impact on the issues of race and sexuality. “The love expressed between women is particular and powerful because we have had to love in order to live; love has been our survival,” Lorde said.

Phill Wilson

Phill Wilson is the founder of the Black AIDS Institute. It is the only HIV/AIDS institution that focuses on Black people. “There really was no one, in my opinion, that was taking on the larger Black community with HIV and AIDS. I felt like we had to break away from the concept of AIDS as a ‘gay disease’, and expand it so it was important to the entire Black community,” Wilson said.


Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins is the first openly transgender city council president. She previously served as the council’s vice president. She fights for public safety issues such as affordable housing and living wages and is an advocate for marginalized communities. “I hope that it serves as inspiration for other trans and gender-nonconforming people,” Jenkins said.


Willi Ninja

Willi Ninja is known as the Grandfather of Vogue. Vogueing, an intricate and dramatic style of dance, was around before Ninja yet he brought it a new level of visibility and perfection. He taught Vogueing all over the world and was known for presenting androgynous, helping dissolve gender stereotypes.


Billy Porter

Billy Porter won an Emmy for lead drama actor for his work in “Pose”. He is the first openly gay, black man to win in this Emmy category. Porter is an outspoken activist for the LGBTQ+ community. “Visibility and representation are the only things that create change, it’s when we’re visible that we have the power to create empathy through the way we tell stories. Being black and gay and out and being in this position and speaking from where I get to speak from is the change. I hope that young queer people of all colors can look at me and know that they can,” Porter said.


Indya Moore

Indya Moore is a Black nonbinary actor who starred on the tv show “Pose”. This show embraces the lives of queer people of color and the ballroom scene. The representation in the show made history with the largest amount of transgender actors cast. Moore uses their platform to raise money for queer youth, bail funds, anti-racism education, and many more important causes. “I think Hollywood is an incredible tool to teach people. It brings stories and information to the television screen, to the movie theater screens, that people get to empathize with,” Moore said.


Jules Turner

Jules Turner grew up experiencing homophobia, racism, and discrimination. Turner saw an opportunity to make a change in his community and so he educated his community about issues that LGBTQ+ youth face and even started his areas first gay-straight alliance. Jules is an inspiring role model especially for young queer people of color. “If we stop talking about the issues we face in the world, it makes it easier for others to ignore them. Sweeping dirt under the rug does not make it disappear; it just makes a bigger mess somewhere else.”