Pride Month Roundup: Elissa & Stef’s LGBTQ+ Role Models
With one week left of Pride Month, Elissa & Stef have decided to shed light on some of the instrumental influencers defining the LGBT+ movement within our modern and constantly evolving society. Whether they use social media to spread their personal message, express their identity through fashion and makeup, or define a generation’s ideas through writing and visual arts, we believe that these icons should bask in their spotlight not just this month, but every month.
Blair Amadeus Imani - @blairimani
Blair is a queer African-American Muslim author and historian who strongly identifies with the Black Lives Matter movement and co-hosts the ‘America Did What?’ podcast. This podcast aims to provide listeners with a no-nonsense, anti-racist approach to American politics and society and her @modernherstory book celebrates 70 women and nonbinary figures that have driven social change. Known for her activism and physical presence at several protests, Imani converted to Islam in 2015 after feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome in Christian churches. Elissa & Stef have chosen to support and promote Blair’s work during Pride Month as she has received support from queer Muslims and younger people all over the world after finding solace in the LGBT+ movement and her story is certainly one for our readers to engage with and be inspired by!
Adam Eli - @adameli
New York based writer and community worker Adam Eli published his book ‘The New Queer Conscience’ at the start of this month and with a 5/5 Amazon score and a 4.2/5 rating on Goodreads, this book should definitely be added to your summer reading list. During his interview with Mashable UK, Eli stresses that ‘the biggest misconception about activism is that it’s really difficult to get into’ meaning his inclusive and attainable approach to influencing is a breath of fresh air in the hard-to-crack influencer world. His Instagram is definitely worth the follow as his regular posts provide inspiration and information as he also talks about his experiences as a young Jewish male in America as well as his views on sexuality and gender theory.
Sasha Velour - @sashavelour
Now if you haven’t yet binged a series of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then we strongly recommend you have a late-night Netflix session and immerse yourself in the world of drag. Sasha Velour is a drag queen with a bold and innovative look to match her unique performance style as she embraces drag as a ‘political and historical art form’. Drag has a long and powerful history within the LGBT+ community and Velour has studied literature and queer theory at university, allowing her to truly understand the art form in both a serious and expressive way. One of Sasha Velour’s most recognisable features is her bald head. Many drag queens choose to wear wigs to increase their feminine image, but after her mother was treated with chemotherapy, she ditched the wig and found new ways to feel feminine and authentic. We strongly suggest you enter the Velour Instagram world in the hope that her confidence and fearlessness stimulates you too.
Johanna Toruño - @johannareign
Johanna is a visual artist, creator and TED talks speaker who uses a plethora of creative art practices to explore issues and innovation within the LGBT+ community. Her Unapologetic Street Series (@theunapologeticstreetseries) is a visual series which uses Instagram as a public space for storytelling by Queer People of Colour. Selling posters and prints via her online store and sharing the artists graphics and art via her grid posts and stories, Johanna is a perfect example of expressing yourself through whatever means you find inspiring. The stories and opinions of these queer creators doesn’t always have to be expressed through words and her TED talks can be found on YouTube as she speaks passionately about documenting the stories of queer migrants, revolutionising public art and passing down her healing methods to younger generations.
The four names mentioned above are ones that you should definitely get to know if you don’t already. Give their Instagram’s a follow, read one of their books or watch Johanna Toruño’s Ted Talk (its only 8 minutes and 57 seconds of your day). Pride Month is all about education, expression and understanding and the team at Elissa & Stef believe that activists and influencers who stand for these prevalent causes should get all of the promotion possible.