Black (LGBTQ2+) History Month

Black (LGBTQ2+) History Month

We often create different visual displays in the Youth Project that celebrate different aspects of our community, from LGBTQ2+ authors and athletes to local activists and fictional characters.

For Black History Month (also known as African Heritage Month), we’ve created a display celebrating the contributions of many LGBTQ2+ people. While the display itself is in our front room, we’re also going to highlight the profiles and lives of the persons within it here on our website. Check in throughout the month of February to see new people and learn more! If you want to follow our updates on social media, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins is an American policy aide, writer, and artist. She made history as the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States, serving since January 2018 on the Minneapolis City Council. She won roughly 73% of the vote against other candidates.

“As an out African American trans-identified woman, I know firsthand the feeling of being marginalized, left-out, thrown under the bus. Those days are over. We don’t just want a seat at the table—we want to set the table”. -Andrea’s election speech.

Learn more…

 

Todrick Hall

Todrick is an American singer, actor & dancer. After his performances on American Idol, Todrick has gained a large YouTube following. He’s perhaps best known for his Disney-inspired music videos, and has gone on to star in Broadway productions of Kinky Boots (as Lola) & Chicago (as Billy Flynn). You can also spot him as a guest judge and choreographer on RuPaul’s Drag Race, see his 2017 documentary Behind the Curtain, and hear him in the Bob’s Burgers Christmas special, The Bleakening, as Miss Triple XXXMas.

Learn more…

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was a civil rights organizer and activist, best known for his work as adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1950s and ’60s, and as the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. In addition to civil rights and the fight against racism, he was a leader in social movements for socialism, nonviolence and gay rights. Despite all his achievements and contributions, he was often behind the scenes or kept silent because he was openly gay in a violently homophobic era, and his sexuality was seen as a liability. When a man of his stature and resume of accomplishment dies, they are usually hailed in admiration, but for Rustin it would take many years for that to happen. For all of his influence and impact on human rights, his sexual orientation still caused even his  memory to hide in the background. Over the years, however, thoughts about him would emerge from the shadows to finally put him in the spotlight and showcase the enormity of his contributions. This includes a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom from Pres. Obama, and the documentary Brother Outsider, which explores his life and story.

Learn more…

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean is an American independent singer, songwriter, rapper & producer. He’s a two-time Grammy and GLAAD Media Award winner. His album Channel Orange prompted his coming out, as his songs explored his feelings for his first love, another guy.  He came out in the liner notes of the album: “4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Every day almost, and on the day we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless,” Ocean writes.

Learn more…

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya is a South African middle-distance runner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and 2017 World Championships bronze medalist.

Caster came to national attention when the IAAF put her through “sex verification testing”, a practice among Olympic athletics. Her abilities caused suspicion that she was “too good”, or advantaged in some way by her own biological makeup. This also brought to light the issues around sex testing, intersex bodies, and race with the more common practice of scrutinizing and testing women of colour. Added to this, Caster’s “test” information was leaked to the press and she had to be very resilient as her name was rocketing through the media and online. Her story is a powerful lesson in confidentiality and sensitivity as well as the ongoing issue of “sex testing”, and how we frame “advantage” in athletics. SO much could be written about her experience we’re struggling to keep it short, but check out the Learn More links to read more in-depth about it.

Caster has never publicly commented on her experience or how she defines her own sexual orientation, saying only “God made me the way I am and I accept myself. I am who I am and I’m proud of myself”. She’s married to her long-term partner Violet, and they’re now expecting a child (<3!).

Learn more…

 

Chi Chi DeVayne 

Chi Chi, aka Zavion Davenport, is a drag performer from Shreveport, Louisiana. ChiChi was a competitor on Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and a current competitor on Drag Race AllStars 3! Many viewers didn’t peg Chi Chi as a frontrunner in season 8, but as the weeks progressed, she won over the many fans who are cheering her on.

“I don’t get ready, I stay ready!”

Learn more…

 

Lena Waithe

Lena Waithe is an American actress, producer, and screenwriter. She made history at the 2017 Emmys when she won an award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, becoming the first black woman to do so. The episode for which she won the Emmy was partially based on her personal experience coming out to her mother.

Her Emmy acceptance speech included a message to the LGBTQIA community: “I love you all and last but certainly not least my LGBTQIA family. I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers — every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it”.

Learn more…

 

Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born Canadian author, known for her speculative fiction & science fiction. Nalo’s work often draws on Caribbean language, history and tradition & has won many awards and recognitions, including the Prix Aurora Award (Canada’s reader-voted award for science fiction and fantasy) and the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, making her the first author to receive the Sunburst Award twice. Nalo is currently a professor of Creative Writing at the University of California Riverside, and a member of a faculty research cluster in Science Fiction.

Learn more…

Tru Wilson

Tru Wilson is an articulate and bold thirteen-year old transgender advocate from Vancouver, British Columbia. Tru first made headlines when her human rights complaint filed against a local Catholic school resulted in a first-ever Catholic school policy that supported a child’s transition in school. With continued love and support from her family, Tru has become a proud and voracious speaker for Trans rights, and in 2015 was recognized by Vancouver Magazine as one of the city’s 50 most powerful and influential people. She has also been the parade marshall for Vancouver Pride, and she’s a filmmaker.

Learn more! 

 

Walter Borden

Walter Borden is a Canadian actor, poet and playwright. He is originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. He has appeared on stages across Canada. He wrote and performed an autobiographical play Tightrope Time: Ain’t Nuthin’ More Than Some Itty Bitty Madness Between Twilight and Dawn, one of the first plays in the history of Black Canadian literature to directly present themes of male homosexuality.

Borden was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the African Nova Scotia Music Association (ANSMA) Music Heritage Award, and the Portia White Prize (awarded annually by the Nova Scotia Arts Council to someone who has made a significant contribution to culture and the arts in Nova Scotia). He was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006, and a member of the Order of Nova Scotia in 2004

Learn more…