Making History

"As long as there have been Black people, there have been Black LGBTQ and same-gender-loving people," says David Johnson, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (Aviles, Jao and Sopelsa, 2020).

The fact is, we can't tell the African American story--or the American story--without understanding the contributions of Black LGBTQ+ persons. But racism, homophobia and transphobia have often obscured the identities and accomplishments of groundbreaking pioneers such as the choreographer Alvin Ailey, transgender rights activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

To learn more about these and other African American LGBTQ+ trail blazers, check out the profiles published by NBC News.

16 Queer Black Pioneers Who Made History


Aviles, Gwen, Jao, Ariel and Brooke Sopelsa. (2020, February 13). 16 queer black pioneers who made history. NBC News.

Gender Identity Gender identity icon Our core sense of who we are as a man, a woman, a mixture of both, or neither.

Gender Expression Gender expression icon How we show up in the world through choices like clothing, hair style, mannerisms or tone of voice.

Attraction attraction icon How we feel toward others sexually, romantically and/or emotionally.

Biological Sex Biological sex icon Physical attributes such as reproductive organs and genitalia, chromosomes, genes and hormone levels.

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