Time after time, queer feminists have proven that they are capable of changing the world. Whether through art, politics, literature or advocacy queer feminists remind us that even against great adversity and odds, a strong feminist is a force to be reckoned with. In honor of Pride Month, we are celebrate queer feminists throughout history.
Frida Kahlo is considered one of the greatest Mexican artists of all time. Kahlo is best known for her self-portraits, use of bold colors and the passion she evoked in her work. Kahlo used her art to express feminist themes and is still considered a popular feminist icon.
Edie Windsor is a LGBTQ activist who led the marriage equality Supreme Court case. The Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor was a groundbreaking triumph for marriage equality. Windsor was also an accomplished technology professional, serving as a high-ranking manager at IBM and proving to other girls and women that women can assume leadership positions in technology. Windsor is 83 and is still a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Audre Lorde dedicated her life to fighting the injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia through her poetry and advocacy. Lorde is best known for her works From a Land Where Other People Live and The Black Unicorn. Lorde is a proud feminist who in her words said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” Lorde will always remain one of the most influential and iconic women of her time because of both her talent and pursuit of justice against great adversity.
Alice Walker is an American novelist and influential activist who undoubtedly changed the world for the better. Through her writings, she was able to bring attention and focus to the lives of black women. Walker is best well known for her novel, The Color Purple. Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel, The Color Purple, making her the first African-American women to be awarded the prize, as well as the National Book Award.
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson is known for pushing gender boundaries through her transgender activism. Marsha resisted police at the Stonewall Riots and co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) an organization dedicated to helping homeless trans and LGBTQ teens. Today, Marsha P. Johnson still remains an icon and an important figure for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in NYC.
Leslie Feinberg, was a transgender writer and social activist who dedicated much of her life to promoting transgender issues and raising awareness on the complexity of gender studies. The author of “Stone Butch Blues,” Feinberg used her literary works as platforms to educate the public on issues that were not commonly discussed or written. Feinberg, who identified as an anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist embodied feminism in both her words and her actions.
Sylvia Rivera was a transgender LBGT, Latina, activist who worked tirelessly to advance transgender rights. Rivera was one of the first transgender activists who became a prominent figure for justice and civil rights. Much of her passion and activism stemmed from personal experiences living on the streets, contributing to her founding, with friend Marsha P. Johnson, of STAR, an organization dedicated to helping homeless youth.
bell hooks, born Gloria Jean Watkins, is a writer, professor, and social critic who focuses her writing, advocacy, and teachings on themes of race and gender. bell hooks is the author of Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism, a book later acclaimed as among the “twenty most influential women’s books of the previous twenty years” by Publishers Weekly. bell hooks has also written extensively on feminism. In her book, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, hooks writes “Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”
Ellen DeGeneres is not only a popular TV personality and comedian but also a feminist and LGBTQ activist. DeGeneres was one of the first celebrities to discuss her homosexuality on air, serving as a leader and inspiration to many around the world. Through The Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres is able to create spaces for honest conversation about sexuality and homosexuality.
Jack Halberstam is both an admired Professor and author. At the University of Southern California, Halberstam teaches American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature. At USC, Halberstam also serves as Director of The Center for Feminist Research. Halberstam’s writings focus on gender identity, specifically focusing on the topics of tomboys and female masculinity.
From all of us at Feminist Campus, Happy Pride season! Tell us some of your favorite queer feminists in the comment section below!