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Queer Icons – 2022

In honor of Pride, we’re celebrating some of our favorite queer folks who live in the revolutionary spirit of Pride through their unapologetic self-love, activism, and creative expression.

Here’s a short list of badass queer icons out in the community that deserve endless support for their culture-shifting work as writers, artists, educators, and movement leaders.

Pick your favorite quote from any of these brilliant individuals as a word of wisdom to carry out of this month into your summer, and follow them on social media to stay inspired all year.

Chella Man | @chellaman

Artist, Director, and Author

“What people highlight about your identity shifts depending on the environment you’re in. That’s true with anyone. I’m definitely all of the above, but I’m also creative, passionate, empathetic, goofy, tired — sometimes hungry. I’m a lot of different things, but one of those won’t ever rise above. I just am all those things.”

from Interview with Advocate

Jasmine Mans | @poetjasminemans

Poet, Artist, and Author

“When you see a Black girl and she says, ‘I’m going to tell my story and, and I’m going to be scared, but I’m going to still show up. I’m going to say some things that I might be ashamed of and scared to say, but I’m still going to show up,’ it gives room for the Black girl behind her to do the exact same thing and so I’m showing up like the woman before me. They were girls first.”

from Interview with Essence

Isaias Hernandez | @queerbrownvegan

Environmentalist

“The truth is, a lot of social justice and environmental justice work is emotionally exhausting and even painful. The odds are usually stacked against you and when you don’t succeed it feels like you’ve let the world down. But that’s not true and no one should face that pressure alone. I burn out less frequently now because I have an amazing team that I can lean on, I make resting a priority, and I focus on having a healthy relationship with my work.”

from Interview with The Humane League

Tiaret Mitchell | @tiarettee

Tattoo Artist

 “It boils down to knowing that you have to have a different approach, you have to experiment more, and you have to have more understanding…when you’re dealing with dark skin, you’ve got to evaluate undertones, you have to study color theory… and then apply it.”

from Allure Feature “43 Color Tattoos on Dark Skin”

Moorea Masa | @mooreamasa

Singer, Songwriter, and Guitarist

“When we are able to talk about mental illness, when we’re able to talk about our experiences, our heartache, it just makes it easier,” she adds. “It’s like we’re not all having to hold it on our own and it also takes away a lot of our shame… that is really healing for me to just be able to share that with other people; I’m helping somebody else feel less alone. And that is really important to me. It’s the reason why I bare my soul.”

from Interview with Portland Mercury

Gabrielle Smith | @bygabriellesmith

Polyamory Educator and Writer

“My favorite part of Non-Monogamy is the fluidity it allows me. No longer do I feel like my relationships have to be loaded with an end goal. No longer do they have to be strictly platonic or strictly romantic. They can just be.”

from Instagram Post on Non-Monogamy

Jalen Amir King | @jalenamirking

Visual Artist

“People are people. What a beautifully consistent thing. I have decided I am letting my guard down and making the choice to remember who I am and who I am not. Relishing in the fact that some days, that means different things. Working towards a day and a night where the gap between who I am and who I want to be is so thin that nobody can tell the difference.”

from Instagram Post on Growth and Acceptance

Jazzmyne Jay | @jazzmynejay

Model, Podcaster, and Influencer

“Coming out is such an interesting topic and a lot of people ask me about how to come out. My advice is to come out when you are ready, when you are supported and when you are safe. There is no shame at all if you do not come out, especially when it is for your safety. Whenever you decide to let people know, you will have a community here for you.”

from Interview with Hypebae

Devin-Norelle | @steroidbeyonce

Model, Actor, and Writer

“My community is my rock and foundation. To find a safe space and find others can be a powerful thing, motivating one another to take one more step forward and not feel so alone. That is a lot of the reason why I’ve been so excited to see the conversation around depression come to the forefront, to see support tools and resources developed that are more tailored to the various and unique intersections of our diverse community.”

from Interview with Queerty

Annika Hansteen-Izora | @annika.izora

Artist, Writer, and Designer

“I think a lot of the time, people like to put me into the box of a designer, but I really do rep creative direction as a whole. I play in design, digital tools, poetry, in community space making, and all of that flows together to me. People like boxes and binaries, we like to be able to “place” one another. So creative direction as a way for me to play in any mode of creativity spoke to me, and has now guided me as my full-time career.”

from Interview with the Creative Independent
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