LGBT Dream Team: 9 Celebs Who Made a Difference This Year
As Pride month comes to a close (and we prep for the Pride ragers in NYC this weekend), it’s the perfect time to highlight a few LGBT activists who made a difference in the public eye this year.
This time last year, the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage which was a massive win for the LGBT community.
But as the mass shooting in Orlando at Pulse nightclub proved earlier this month, the fight isn’t over. From the straight-washing of the shooting coverage to discrimination in North Carolina against trans people, there is still so much to be done.
But, the members of our Galore 2016 LBGT Dream Team are bringing these issues into the public eye this year and we love it. We picked these celebs based on their positive activity within the LGBT community, and their loud and proud advocacy in the fight for equality.
This list is not definitive — just a collection of people in the public eye who we would like to highlight for doing some awesome work over the past year.
Check out our dream team with illustrations by Jake Walker.
1. Laverne Cox
The actress is known for starring in “Orange is the New Black,” but she is also an advocate for the LGBT community. Laverne was the first trans actress to appear on a Time Magazine cover, and the first trans actor of color to appear in a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show. She was also the host and executive producer of the documentary called “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word” which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. She’s also a speaker on behalf of the community, bringing awareness to the Trans community.
2. Ellen Page
In 2014, Ellen came out as gay during a speech at Time to Thrive Conference. Using that courage, she has continually challenged Hollywood’s standards of straightness and the lack of gay representation in movies and television. She was recently on Chelsea Handler’s self-titled show on Netflix to discuss the events in Orlando. She got emotional talking about the event, dismissing the hateful homophobic talk around the shooting. She even recorded a video for Toronto Pride.
3. Tim Cook
The CEO of Apple is the “most high-profile executive to ever come out“, and the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He had an opinion piece published in Bloomberg, confirming that he was gay, and advocating for equality and human rights in general. Apple has been known as one of the most accepting companies in embracing this equality, and their CEO has also promised to continue advocating for equal rights for the LGBT community.
4. Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn was the first to bring the experience of transitioning to a global audience. She came out on a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, which had over 20 million viewers and brought about more trans-visibility than probably any other event in history. Then she was on the cover of Vanity Fair, which was the first time the world got to see Caitlyn. Her documentary series on E! “I Am Cait” followed her transition and the friends she made, who are also transgender women. The show’s premiere episode had 2.73 million viewers.
5. The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has been generally ruling toward more accepting policy within the last few years. First in 2003, they struck down a previous Supreme Court decision from 1986 that said consenting adults do not have a right to engage in homosexual acts in public. In 2013, the Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA, was ruled unconstitutional. Almost a year ago to the day on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the biggest victory of the LGBT rights movement: legalized gay marriage in the US.
6. Nick Jonas/Demi Levato
These two straight allies might be a controversial choice for our dream team, but the work they’ve done this year is important nonetheless. The duo were scheduled to perform in North Carolina on their shared tour, but cancelled the show because of the HB2 discriminatory laws against transgendered people using the bathroom the identify with. Demi has also headlined several gay pride events. He has also been playing several gay characters in upcoming TV roles, which breaks down the stigma that straight actors have to play straight characters.
7. Loretta Lynch
Loretta Lynch, despite receiving nasty backlash from many Congress members for her opinions on several LGBT issues, is one of the few members in government actually taking a stand against discriminatory laws. The Attorney General denounced North Carolina’s anti- LGBT law, and recently made comments about the Orlando shooting, saying that the most powerful response against hate is “compassion, unity and love.” And people are calling for her to resign over that. You go, girl.
8. Chad Griffin
Chad Griffin is the President of Human Rights Campaign, but also a huge LGBT activist. He played a huge role in striking down Prop 8 and DOMA, also challenging discriminatory laws in courts. He was named one of The Advocate’s people of the year, is a reoccurring feature in OUT Magazine’s OUT 100. He was also named one of the most influential Washingtonians by The Washington Post.
9. Kate McKinnon
The SNL superstar known for her hilarious impressions of Hillary Clinton and Justin Bieber is also a huge advocate within the LGBT community. She is the first openly lesbian cast member on the comedy show, and got her start on a LOGO television show that was like SNL, but had more LGBT themes. She has also said that her sexuality is mostly what inspires her comedy.