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PRIDE 2020: Out on the Frontline

This Pride Month, amid the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic, we’re recognizing 12 LGBTQ people contributing to the fight against COVID-19 and its ripple effects.

This Pride Month, amid the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic, we’re recognizing 12 LGBTQ people contributing to the fight against COVID-19 and its ripple effects.

  • Image: Indya Moore.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Actor With a Cause

    Actor Indya Moore has raised over $20,000 since the start of the pandemic to help transgender women of color pay for food, rent and gender-affirming care.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Actor With a Cause

    Actor Indya Moore has raised over $20,000 since the start of the pandemic to help transgender women of color pay for food, rent and gender-affirming care.

    “Every dollar goes back to the most vulnerable of our LGBTQ community,” Moore said of their fundraising efforts. “It was just a no brainer to step into action, and try to organize what I can for my community.”

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  • Image: Ally Schmaling.
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    Queerantine' Photographer

    Ally Schmaling says their Instagram photo series celebrates “queer personhood, chosen family” and “community resiliency” during the coronavirus pandemic.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Queerantine' Photographer

    Ally Schmaling says their Instagram photo series celebrates “queer personhood, chosen family” and “community resiliency” during the coronavirus pandemic.

    "I imagined this project to be a seed planting in itself for future connections and community once this is over," the Boston-based photographer said of their "Queerantine" project.

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  • Image: Gary "Sushi" Marion.
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    Mask-Sewing Drag Queen

    Gary "Sushi" Marion is working with other drag performers to sew masks from his home in Key West, Florida.
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    Mask-Sewing Drag Queen

    Gary "Sushi" Marion is working with other drag performers to sew masks from his home in Key West, Florida.

    Confined to his home amid the pandemic, Marion realized he had everything he needed to make masks for friends and neighbors: two industrial sewing machines, an eclectic selection of tropical-themed fabrics and a dozen drag queens who knew how to sew.

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  • Image: Rev. Kim Jackson.
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    Pastor to the Homeless

    Amid the pandemic, the Rev. Kim Jackson, vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Common Ground, is focused on protecting her vulnerable congregation.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Pastor to the Homeless

    Amid the pandemic, the Rev. Kim Jackson, vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Common Ground, is focused on protecting her vulnerable congregation.

    "Fundamentally, we're concerned about their health and making sure they don't get infected with COVID-19," Jackson said of her homeless congregants. "We're making sure they live through this pandemic."

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  • Image: Carter Brown.
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    Southern Trans Advocate

    Black Trans Advocacy Coalition founder Carter Brown is taking steps to ensure black transgender people don’t get pushed further to the margins.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Southern Trans Advocate

    Black Trans Advocacy Coalition founder Carter Brown is taking steps to ensure black transgender people don’t get pushed further to the margins.

    Under Brown's leadership, the coalition launched a program in April that delivers small grants to black trans people who need emergency funds for food, utilities, rent assistance, health care, transportation and other necessities during the pandemic.

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  • Image: Dr. Rachel Levine.
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    Pennsylvania's Top Doc

    Dr. Rachel Levine, the Keystone State’s secretary of health, is earning high marks for her response to the coronavirus pandemic.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Pennsylvania's Top Doc

    Dr. Rachel Levine, the Keystone State’s secretary of health, is earning high marks for her response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Unlike neighboring New York and New Jersey, where governors have taken a central role in delivering pandemic updates, Pennsylvania has largely left the job to Levine, the state’s health secretary — and the most prominent transgender public official in the United States.

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  • Image: Shannon Bennett.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Fallen Deputy Sheriff

    Shannon Bennett, 39, was the first law enforcement officer in Florida to die from the coronavirus.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Fallen Deputy Sheriff

    Shannon Bennett, 39, was the first law enforcement officer in Florida to die from the coronavirus.

    “He confidently served as an openly gay deputy and used his platform to help bridge the gap between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement,” the Broward County Sheriff said of Bennett.

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  • Image: Dr. Jane Bedell.
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    Pandemic-Fighting Physician

    Dr. Jane Bedell retired in February after a 30-year career as a physician and health official, but it wasn’t long before she volunteered to jump back in.
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    Pandemic-Fighting Physician

    Dr. Jane Bedell retired in February after a 30-year career as a physician and health official, but it wasn’t long before she volunteered to jump back in.

    Instead of her planned post-retirement trip to Wyoming with her partner and son, Bedell signed up for the New York City Medical Reserve Corps, so she could be drafted right back into the coming public health battle.

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  • Image: Jayson Conner.
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    Once-Homeless Nonprofit Leader

    Backpacks for the Street co-founder Jayson Conner delivers masks, hand sanitizer and other pandemic supplies to those experiencing homelessness.
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    Once-Homeless Nonprofit Leader

    Backpacks for the Street co-founder Jayson Conner delivers masks, hand sanitizer and other pandemic supplies to those experiencing homelessness.

    "Helping people gets me high," Conner said. "The euphoria feeling that I get when I see people — the reaction of helping them — it's really cool, and I just think it's amazing when I can cheer somebody up."

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  • Image: Kious Kelly.
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    NYC's 'Angel' Nurse

    Kious Kelly, one of New York’s first front-line workers to die of COVID-19, was a nurse whose death galvanized colleagues fed up with a lack of protective gear.
    NBC Out & Proud

    NYC's 'Angel' Nurse

    Kious Kelly, one of New York’s first front-line workers to die of COVID-19, was a nurse whose death galvanized colleagues fed up with a lack of protective gear.

    As his back-to-back shifts stacked up amid the pandemic, Kelly continued to bring the same care and empathy to the job that had inspired one man to write the hospital system earlier this year to praise Kelly as an "angel" who “went above and beyond” to show "empathy and compassion."

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  • Image: Liliana Angel Reyes.
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    Advocate for the Vulnerable

    Lilianna Angel Reyes is the director of the LGBTQ youth drop-in service at Detroit's Ruth Ellis Center and head of the Trans Sisters of Color Project.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Advocate for the Vulnerable

    Lilianna Angel Reyes is the director of the LGBTQ youth drop-in service at Detroit's Ruth Ellis Center and head of the Trans Sisters of Color Project.

    Reyes is dedicated to ensuring LGBTQ people feeling vulnerable amid this public health crisis know they are not alone. “Know that someone out there, even if it's hard to believe, loves you,” she said.

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  • Image: Mark Kanemura.
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    Quarantine Dance Host

    Mark Kanemura, a former Lady Gaga backup dancer and a “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant, isn't letting the pandemic stop the party.
    NBC Out & Proud

    Quarantine Dance Host

    Mark Kanemura, a former Lady Gaga backup dancer and a “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant, isn't letting the pandemic stop the party.

    “I had this idea to start these Instagram dance parties that would allow people from all over the world to join in and dance with me,” Kanemura said. “I wanted it to be accessible for everyone and anyone, because I've always believed that anyone can dance."

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