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10 Queer Activists To Follow On Instagram

Instagram can be a great place to waste time, but its power to bring people and communities together cannot be overlooked. Whether you’re queer or not, here are some accounts to add to your feed and maybe learn a thing or two from while you’re at it.

1. Chella Man and MaryV Benoit: @chellaman, @maryvbenoit  

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Jaw DROPPED when MaryV and I found out we made one of the covers of the New York Times this morning! The lovely @ryanmcginleystudios photographed 24 hours of couples kissing in new york city, and we were lucky enough to be a part of it! SO SO HONORED. In this photo, we were kissing off of the top of a double-decker bus, strapped down by harnesses, and ducking as the street lights breezed past our heads. It was definitely one of the most memorable photo shoots I’ve done and I’m glad it was with @ryanmcginleystudios and @lil_leaf_son as they have shot MaryV and I throughout our relationship/my transition on testosterone. Side-note: ELATED you can see my cochlear implant in the shot! Big kisses to all the couples! Here’s to love!

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Chella Man and his partner MaryV Benoit are the queer powerhouse couple that we all need in our lives.

Man is a deaf, trans, and genderqueer 20 year old living in New York City. Truly a jack-of-all trades, he is a model, an artist (@chellamanart), and is set to debut as an actor in Season 2 of Netflix’s “Titans.” On Instagram, Man livestreams his testosterone shots quite often, and discusses life as a deaf and trans individual.

Benoit, also 20, works as a photographer and performance artist. Much of her work features queer people and issues; one of her most recent works, “Standing Performance,” involves a group of queer people dressed in monochrome, forming a pride flag.

Follow these two for an abundance of art, fashion, insightful discourse, and queer love in your feed!

2. ALOK: @alokvmenon

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“I dream of a world without gender – or rather with so many genders that genders become irrelevant. I dream of a world where people are able to experiment, mess up, try again. I believe in a world where we don’t have to compromise our creativity in order to be taken seriously – a world where people are given permission and resources to make art out of their bodies and their canvasses (whatever they may be). I dream of a world infused with romance and interdependence and vulnerability – where there are no strangers, there are just potential friends.” preview from the forthcoming issue of @laud_unleashed @laudmagazine makeup: @beccagilmartin hair: @deetrannybear style: @mariadelalma photo: @englishenglish

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Art, poetry, and everything in between- that’s ALOK for you.

ALOK is a gender non-conforming writer, performance artist, public speaker, and educator. They released their poetry chapbook, Femme in Public, in 2017, and recently received the Live Works Performance Art Award.

ALOK’s Instagram is home to absolutely stunning fashion looks, captivating writings on life and queerness, and more. They truly bring joy and light to your feed like no other. Also, this writer has had the pleasure of seeing ALOK perform live, and can personally attest that their poetry and performance art is absolutely stunning in every possible way.

3. Ericka Hart: @iharterika

 

Erika Hart cannot be contained in just one category. Sex educator, writer, model, breast cancer survivor, activist, and podcast host, the list goes on. Hart first became well known when pictures of her displaying her double mastectomy scars at Afropunk Fest in 2016 went viral.

Hart’s Instagram reflects this deviation from categorization. On her page, you can find anything from writing on the importance of reparations, to modeling pictures, to wholesome videos of Hart and her partner Ebony. Hart’s Instagram showcases queer black love and joy, as well as knowledge and empowerment, in a time when all of these things are dearly needed.

4. Kelly Rakowski: @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y

 

Kelly Rakowski created @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y in November of 2014, after discovering the Lesbian Herstory Archives digital collection. Disappointed with the lack of archival information on lesbians in particular, Rakowski created the account to share the images and information that she found with her friends and others.

Now don’t get confused– @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y is not an archive. Instead, it’s a sort of curated blend of lesbian culture mixed with old photos and bits of queer knowledge, and it’s definitely worth a follow whether you identify as lesbian or not.

5.  Fran Tirado- @fransqishco

 

Fran Tirado describes himself as a “writer and speaker for all things queer.” More specifically, this means that Tirado is the deputy editor of Out Magazine, has spoken at numerous institutions about LGBTQ+ issues, and is the co-host of the podcasts Food 4 Thot and Queerly Beloved.

Tirado’s Instagram is filled with queer art and writing, as well as luxurious bubble baths and the occasional memes. His online presence is hilarious, charming, and incredibly well-spoken– definitely worth a follow.

6. Wednesday: @hellomynameiswednesday

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Queer is family, Queer is love, Queer is strength

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Known to their followers simply as Wednesday, this queer agender artist and advocate is not one to be overlooked.

The London based artist invites the viewer into a vibrant world of stylized line work mixed with bits of writing. Colorful and heartfelt, Wednesday’s work is a reminder that art is inherently queer, and a reassurance for days when your identity and experiences don’t feel seen or heard by those around you.

Wednesday puts a lot of effort into validating and educating their followers through their work, so whether you follow them for their art or their activism (or both!), you won’t be disappointed.

7. Adam Eli: @adameli

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Dear High School Adam Eli, (PART ONE) I am writing you this letter on the eve of our 10 year high school reunion. Right now your plate is full of emotions that you don’t really understand and certainly do not have the tools to handle. Ten years of distance, three years of therapy, two boyfriends and four Lady Gaga albums have given us some clarity and healing. If you don’t mind I am going to explain your two biggest fears in words I hope you can understand and explain why it is all going to be ok. If this letter is too much for you – fold it away and read it some other time. Your future self is here for you and we aren’t going anywhere. _ FEAR 1: That when you leave HS and come out as gay everyone you know, and therefore everyone you love, will abandon you. I am excited to tell you that this does not happen! The support you receive from your classmates and the people that populate your life is pretty much unilateral. This feels great. With that said it is important to note that the fear and anxiety you feel is right now is VALID (even though it ends up ok). Nobody around you ever said a positive word about queer people. In your heart of hearts, in your gut, you sort of knew your friends were going to stand by you – but how could you know for sure? That (extremely valid) uncertainty is the cause of this anxiety and pain. You are handling it the best you can and I am proud of you. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. _ CONT IN NEXT POST – #highschoolreunion #10yearchallenge #tenyearhighschoolreunion #10yearhighschoolreunion #closeted #jewishdayschool #yeshiva

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Named one of Them‘s “Queeroes 2018,” Adam Eli is a well known voice in the queer community. Eli is a community organizer and writer, and founder of the queer liberation activist group Voices4.

Eli’s Instagram is a call to action. It’s filled with pictures of protests and queer events, as well as thoughtful pieces on sex and dating, antisemitism, and queer persecution across the globe. However, Eli’s isn’t the only voice you’ll see on his page; he often highlights other queer and marginalized people to bring awareness and attention to their work and issues.

When asked by Them what his Queero superpower is, Eli responded “Radical empathy and my ability to use social media to create tangible action offline!” From a look at his Instagram, that sounds about right.

8. Munroe Bergdorf: @munroebergdorf

Model, activist, editor: Munroe Bergdorf does it all. Bergdorf first came into the public’s consciousness when she became the first openly transgender model for L’Oréal Cosmetics, although the company later dropped her due to her comments about race and white supremacy. This helped to expose the common problem of companies using marginalized people as tokens rather than actual people whose thoughts and ideas are taken into consideration.

Bergdorf’s social media is a mix of eloquent writing and wise words on a variety of issues such as race, gender, sexuality and more, as well as fashion and modeling shots. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss out on.

9. Matthew Riemer & Leighton Brown of @lgbt_history

 

History is a required class in schools across the world, but the queer history that isn’t in textbooks is just as important as what is. Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown created the Instagram account @lgbt_history in January of 2016 to fight queer history erasure and share the knowledge that was skipped over in school.

Knowledge about history is vitally important in order to ensure change and progress for the generations of queer people to come, and @lgbt_history is the perfect resource for this.

Want to learn even more? The couple’s commitment to sharing queer history has not stopped at Instagram- they have a book, We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation now available for preorder.

 

10. @theaidsmemorial

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— Paul Wegman (1944 — August 24, 2004) was an actor and drag performer who died of AIDS in Orlando, Florida. He was 59 years old. . Wegman grew up in Rochester, New York, before moving to Orlando in 1965 where he worked as a female stripper. . Wegman first developed his Miss P drag act in the early 1970s at the Palace Club, near the Orlando Executive Airport. He also emceed the other drag queens. . In the late 1970s, Wegman studied theater at Seminole Community College where he would later direct. He also staged plays at various theaters in the area including an all-male version of A Chorus Line. . Wegman's ashes are buried under the stage where he used to perform during his 25 year career with the Parliament House — a gay resort on the Orange Blossom Trail in Florida. . #whatisrememberedlives #theaidsmemorial #aidsmemorial #neverforget #endaids

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The Aids Memorial’s goal is simple: to remember the lives of loved ones who were lost to AIDS. Using the hashtag #whatisrememberedlives, The Aids Memorial (TAM) posts follower’s submissions of pictures of the deceased person, along with a couple paragraphs of fond memories or condolences. The comment section of these posts are poignant and touching, a place where relatives and loved ones remenise, and strangers send their love.

For those touched by the loss of friends and family to AIDS, TAM is a reminder that they are not alone in their experiences. At the same time, followers who have been lucky enough not to have experience with the disease can learn about the impact that it had (and still has)on the LGBTQ+ community. Hopefully, the action of sharing these memories will help to inform the importance of preventing and eradicating AIDS once and for all.

 

Instagram is a thing unique to any other generation- the ability to have the words and images of so many vastly different people right at our fingertips. Although it can be its own wild adventure, the internet is one of the places where real, tangible change begins. This change starts with harnessing the power of Instagram for good. By following people who expand your mind, show you life through a different lens, and provide the representation that mainstream media still greatly lacks, together we can incite change. Hopefully these 10 queer activists will help you to see yourself and your worth in a whole new light, and create action one ‘like’ at a time.

 

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Martina Taylor
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Martina Taylor is a high school student who writes for Affinity and Aspirants Magazine. She creates with the hope that her writing will facilitate needed change in communities around the world. Her passions other than writing include art, taking photos on her film camera, and learning more about people.

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