From the entertainment industry to the advocacy community and everything in between, those at the intersection of the black and LGBTQ communities have made their mark. Here are just 11 of the many out black changemakers you should know.
Tiq Milan is a public speaker and writer who addresses issues about intersectional leadership, transgender rights and racial justice. From his home in the Bronx to conferences and colleges around the country, Milan has spent the past decade sharing his personal story and his vision of equality for trans people of color.
Dancer, activist and visual artist Kia LaBeija is a major presence on New York’s ballroom scene and an outspoken HIV and AIDS activist. Her self-portrait photography series, “24,” was the only work by a woman of color born with HIV to be featured in Arts AIDS America, an exhibition exploring the impact HIV and AIDS have had on American art and culture. She is among this year’s NBCBLK28 innovators.
Former NFL cornerback Wade Davis is a public speaker, writer, educator and outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community, women and people of color. He also serves as director of professional sports outreach at You Can Play, a nonprofit working to ensure, safety, inclusion and equality in sports.
Angelica Ross is one of the leading figures in the fight for transgender and racial equality in the workplace. Her company, TransTech Social Enterprises, prepares trans workers for careers in the technology industry and fights to eliminate workplace discrimination. Ross also stars in the Emmy-nominated web series “Her Story,” which details the professional and social struggles trans and queer women face today.
As one of the most prominent voices of the Black Lives Matter movement, DeRay McKesson has spent much of the past three years fighting injustice against people of color. He also co-founded Campaign Zero, a 10-point policy plan focused on police reform. McKesson is one of the country’s leading online activists, using Twitter to mobilize his more than 700,000 followers around issues of racial and LGBTQ equality.
Ashley C. Ford
Ashley C. Ford is a New York City-based writer, editor and public speaker best known for her thought-provoking essays centered around LGBTQ people of color. In December, Ford sparked a social movement when one of her tweets encouraged followers to donate money to school to pay off overdue lunch debts. Supporters subsequently donated more than $100,000 to schools nationwide and generated many regional movements in cities across the country.
Orlando-native Benjamin O’Keefe is a writer, public speaker and activist who addresses issues including LGBTQ equality, racial justice and body image. He's currently one of the writers behind MTV Decoded with Franchesca Ramsey, a weekly series focusing on race, social justice and popular culture.
Sekiya Dorsett is a Bahamian-born filmmaker dedicated to telling the stories of queer women of color. Her most recent film, “The Revival: Women and the Word,” follows a group of five poets and musicians on a salon-styled tour as they share their music, poems and words in bars and living rooms across U.S. and Canada. Dorsett is also a board member of NewFest, which organizes New York City’s annual LGBTQ film festival.
Sean Saifa Wall
Sean Saifa Wall is an intersex advocate, writer and researcher based in Atlanta. In a recent interview with NBC Out, Wall said his activism was fueled by “anger at what was done to my body without my thorough informed consent” and “love for what remains of my body and to protect a future generation from those violations.”
Trans feminist YouTube star Kat Blaque posts weekly discussions focusing on racial and gender equality. Her videos reach 117,000 subscribers on YouTube and 195,000 followers on Facebook. Blaque also empowers others through her regular contributions to the Huffington Post and Everyday Feminism.
Rodney McKenzie is a reverend, community organizer and director of the Academy of Leadership and Action at the National LGBTQ Task Force. Following the November election, he has been helping build “diverse coalitions” between the LGBTQ and faith communities.