24 Black LGBTQ+ Activists Who Changed The World

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.
Like much of history, stories about the LGBTQ+ movement have been largely whitewashed. It was Black and Latinx people, many of them transgender women, who started the fight with police at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 — a riot that's often credited as the turning point in the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. So why was a fictional white, gay man at the heart of the 2015 movie that depicted the riot?
Black LGBTQ+ people have hardly been given their due in the stories of the LGBTQ+ community's past and present, and it's time to change that. So, in honor of Black History Month, we've collected a list of prominent Black LGBTQ+ activists throughout history. These 24 people have worked tirelessly to make their communities safer and more empowered. They deserve our recognition and praise. So, let's raise a glass to the Black LGBTQ+ activists on this list — as well as those whose names we don't know because their stories were never told.

More from Wellness

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.