These LGBTQ+ Icons are Making History

By: Catherine He

If you’ve ben missing your daily dose of successful LGBTQ+ stars defying societal norms, we’re here to supply you just that! Enjoy this lighthearted celebration of successes amidst these uncertain times.


James Charles

The first male COVERGIRL model, James Charles, from ABC News.

If you’ve ever dipped even a toe into the excessively deep pool of social media beauty, then it’s nearly a guarantee that you’ve heard of James Charles, the first male spokesmodel for COVERGIRL and a superstar makeup artist with a huge following. He first gained traction for sharing a very ‘extra’ senior portrait of himself, which multiple celebrities celebrated and endorsed (this is what led to his deal with CoverGirl!).

What’s so special about James Charles is that he was a keystone in revolutionizing the beauty industry for young and impressionable children who were just moving into the social media scene. Before our current era, life was completely different. Boys were bullied for liking ‘feminine’ items, girls were bullied for being ‘boyish’. It was . However, stars like James Charles helped bridge the gap towards inclusivity, and helped usher in the current epoch, with new heights of inclusiveness that just keep skyrocketing. Going on YouTube and seeing a wide array of diverse makeup artists and beauty stars broadens the horizons of many of the leaders of tomorrow. Although we still have ways to go, unlike the preceding generation, youth today have the luxury of being able to see new and different faces across their timelines, and a large part of this is thanks to James Charles defying everyone’s expectations and making it mainstream.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga at the MET Gala from ET.

There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lady Gaga is a household name. After all, she produced international hits that would go on to define the 2010s, such as the catchy ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Paparazzi’. However, not only is she a Grammy award-winning singer and artist, she is also a critically acclaimed actress and overall icon. She revealed that she was bisexual in 2010, and continues to be as successful as ever with no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Lady Gaga made history at the 2019 Oscars for being the first bisexual woman to receive dual nominations for ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ (Ally in A Star Is Born) and ‘Best Song’ (“Shallow” in A Star is Born). This entertainment mogul has helped to redefine the standards of the music and entertainment industries, and laid groundwork to pave the way to a brighter and more inclusive future. She has become an inspiration to members of the LGBTQ+ community all across the world in that barriers can be broken, and to reach higher than they even thought was possible.

Kaytranada

From Fact Magazine.

If you’re ever wanting to listen to something new, you should give Kaytranada a listen! He’s a highly talented Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer, and specializes in the funk genre. Some of his most popular albums include ‘99.9%’ and ‘Bubba’. He revealed that he was gay in a 2016 article with The Fader, and has been thriving ever since.

“DO IT” from ‘Bubba’, Kaytranada’s second studio album released in 2019.

For his stunning first debut album on XL Recordings ‘99.9%’, he won the Polaris Music Prize, which honours the year’s best album by a Canadian artist. The album featured guest vocals from many rising voices in the music scene, including Anderson .Paak and AlunaGeorge. A year after the release, Kaytranada celebrated winning ‘Electronic Album of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards. Kaytranada is defying the norms put out by the hip-hop industry, and serves as inspiration to up and coming LGBTQ+ artists everywhere.

RuPaul

From Decider.

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ is one of the highest ranking shows on Netflix, and we have RuPaul to thank for that. He is a drag queen (a given since he has his own show on drag), an actor, model, singer, songwriter, and television star. If you’re looking for a dramatic and suspense-inducing show that features drag like you’ve never seen before, there’s no better option than ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’!

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ first began in 2009, and from that point on RuPaul has crushed records by receiving EIGHT Primetime Emmy Awards, and is the first drag queen to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On top of that, just last year in 2020, he won the PGA Television Producer of the Year Award, which goes to show just how far RuPaul has come. This award-winning show is responsible for introducing drag to a broad audience, an art form that has been a form of expression for the LGBTQ+ community for centuries. Thanks to RuPaul, drag’s power and purpose has grown exponentially, and is now able to be appreciated by a wide array of different audiences!

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox on the carpet from USA Today.

Laverne Cox’s social media is like a depressurizing haven of soothing goodness. Her feed is filled with sensitive and heartfelt content, and this unguarded strength of hers may have something to do with the mark she’s left on the world.

Laverne Cox’s iconic TIME Magazine cover.

Since becoming a regular on the hit series ‘Orange Is the New Black’, Laverne Cox has become the first transgender person to grace the cover of TIME, the first transgender woman to to receive a Daytime Emmy as the executive producer for ‘Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word’, which also happens to be the first transgender documentary to win a Daytime Emmy. She is also the first transgender person to play a transgender series regular on broadcast television, the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy for an acting category, and so much more.


Of course, this list doesn’t even begin to cover all of our history-making LGBTQ+ figures, but hearing about the steps that we’re making, however small, is always great to reflect on and fuel our efforts. Hopefully this gave you some inspiration as to what you can do to ensure that success continues to roll in for the LGBTQ+ community! It can be as simple as listening to LGBTQ+ artists’ music (such a Kaytranada) or following LGBTQ+ figures on your social media of choice. Now, go on ahead and support the LGBTQ+ community!

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