LGBTQ History Month
This article was written by Dartmouth College Junior Ana Furtado from Brazil. Ana interned with the Launch gURLs Marketing and Communications team this summer and was pivotal in launching our brand!
October is LGBTQIA+ History Month, a time dedicated to recognizing, learning about, and spreading awareness of important moments in the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people around the world!
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community have historically been subjected to targeted violence and social discrimination. This is especially true for LGBTQIA+ womxn, who suffer from disproportionate levels of oppression and are often marginalized from positions of power within diverse social spaces like academia, politics, and entrepreneurship. For these reasons, our first blog post of the month is dedicated to those extraordinary LGBTQIA+ womxn, past and present, who have promoted change and who fight for an alternative socio political reality of existence. Here is a list of 5 female activists you should know about!
Do you love photography? Then you probably have heard of Zanele Muholi, a non-binary South African photographer and self-proclaimed visual activist. Zanele explores black lesbian and gay identities and politics in their country, and use portraits to map and preserve an often invisiblized community. Their photography pays homage to the black women in Africa by challenging stereotypes and Eurocentric standards of beauty that often eschew people of color, thus reimagining black identity and gender. Zanele is co-founder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (which advocates for the rights of South African black lesbians) and founder of Inkanyiso (an artistic forum for queer activism). Check out the New York Times article to learn more about this amazing artist!
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was a black trans woman, a sex worker, and an LGBTQIA+ activist who devoted most of her life to the struggle for equality. She was considered a leader to, and caretaker of, many drag queens, trans women, and homeless youths dwelling in Cristopher Street, New York. Marsha was the co-founder of S.T.A.R. Johnson alongside Sylvia Rivera and was a central figure in the Stonewall Riots and Gay Liberation Movement in the United States during the 1970s. To learn more, read the article written by BBC about Marsha’s life and protagonism.
Born February 24, 1956, in Clevland, Ohio, U.S., Judith Butler is considered by many to be one of the most influential thinkers of the twenty-first century. Identifying as lesbian and non-binary, Butler studied philosophy at Yale University and lectured at prestigious North American universities such as Wesleyan University, John Hopkins University, and UC Berkeley. Butler is most known for theorizing on the performative nature of gender and sex, proposing that social constructions serve to perpetuate patriarchal domination over womxn, homosexuals, and transgender people. Their best-known works are Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990) and Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence (2004).
Marielle Franco was a prominent Brazilian human rights activist and left-wing politician who denounced corruption and police brutality running rampant in Rio de Janeiro’s slum neighborhoods. An Afro-Brazilian lesbian, single mother, and lifelong resident of the Maré favela, Marielle used her agency in political circles to confront governmental neglect of her district’s poorest areas. While pursuing a master’s in Public Policy, she was also actively involved in the investigation of Rio de Janeiro’s militias and the criminal conduct of these paramilitary groups against Brazil’s most vulnerable. Marielle’s defiant political activism was met with an execution-style killing carried out by a former special operations officer from Rio de Janeiro’s military police force – a shocking murder whose investigation has still not come to a close. Despite Marielle’s assassination, her rallying cry for justice continues to echo in the streets, and activists from Franco’s groups have become ever bolder and feverous since her death. Learn more about Marielle Franco’s Institution!
Calling all cinephiles!! Céline Sciamma is an influential film director and screenwriter, born in the Parisian suburbs in 1978. Sciamma wrote the script for her first film, Water Lilies, as part of her final evaluation at La Fémis, which secured an impressive total of three nominations for the 2008 César Awards. A feminist and out lesbian, Sciamma has centered her cinematic career on female sexuality depicted through the perspectives of young women – an unconventional style of film-making that confronts the prevailing culture of the “male gaze” so widely dispersed in film. Among her numerous productions are Tomboy, Girlhood, and, most recently, Portrait of a Lady on Fire!
We hope you loved this blog post! Comment down below who you think should be included in our list in celebration of LGBTQIA+ History Month!