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10 people to follow this month

10 People To Follow This Month  

10 people to follow this month: The inspired woman’s guide to people, places and things  

This month we want to create space to talk about the trailblazers of gender equality and representation, clearing the stage to elevate a spectrum of voices from the LGBTQ+ community. Only when we hear voices from every community will true equality be met. We have compiled a list of the 10 people to follow this month to flood your timelines and news feeds with stories, history and learnings from the most incredibly creative, insightful and inspiring humans.  

This group of inspirational and transformative humans are advocating, supporting and educating the world about the LGBTQ+ community and doing vital work supporting the movement. But it begs the question, what can we do, just a small thing to help support the community? It all starts on social media, so before we dive into the 10 people to follow this month, let’s learn a little more about unconscious bias and how damaging it is to creating more safe spaces for those in the LGBTQ+ community online and offline.

Unconscious bias  

Humans are fallible and error-prone. Our brains are wired to respond to what we see and what we are familiar with. The tech we use in our daily lives, namely social media apps, are essentially making important decisions about our lives without us even being aware of it.  

Algorithms are deciding which advertisements you see, what type of organic creative content you see the most and perhaps even convincing you who to vote for in political scenarios. Over time, when we get caught in an echo chamber of content, we develop deep-seated unconscious bias about society- society begins to look to us, as it does on social media from the standpoint of representation, diversity and inclusion.  

For example, suppose we don’t follow a wide variety of content creators. In that case, we create an unconscious bias, a warped view of society, which begins to influence our ideological stance, political affiliation and ability to empathise with all types of people, we arent exposed to the stories, cultures and plight of other groups. That’s why it’s vitally important to flood your social media feeds with a variety of people representing the whole spectrum of humanity. This way, the AI will continually provide you with more varied content from different creators from the BIPOC and LGBTQ + community who help you visualise a more representative society and understand people who might be different to you. Trick your brain and social apps into seeing the world as it is to better understand the experiences of others and the privilege you own. 

So, who are the 10 people to follow this month for entertainment, education and solidarity? Let’s dive in…

Laverne Cox 

As the first transgender person to be on the cover of Time magazine; the first to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy; the first to have a waxwork in Madame Tussauds; the first to have a transgender barbie doll; as well as the first transgender woman to win a Daytime Emmy as an executive producer, Laverne Cox is the number one trailblazer of broadening societies perspective on gender as well as being a vital advocate and voice to the LGBTQ+ community. It comes as no surprise that with this success, Cox has been highly influential in society’s movements towards progression. Particularly so, in May 2016, Cox was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School in New York City for her progressive work in the fight for gender equality. 

“I want to encourage each and every one of us to interrogate how we might be an oppressor and how we might be able to become liberators for ourselves and for each other.” 

Follow them here

Ru Paul 

Over the last few decades, there has been one polarizing figure in the media, who not only knocked on the entertainment world’s doors but kicked them off the hinges. That figure is RuPaul Charles. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. RuPaul has been paving the runway and the world for tolerance and education of the LGBTQ+ community. He is a prominent figure who has supported LGBTQ+ rights and has fought for equality throughout his career. 

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community credit RuPaul with bringing drag into the spotlight. In 2018, he was the first drag queen to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. RuPaul paved the way as the first openly gay national television host on The RuPaul Show on VH1 in 1996. Currently, as the host of RuPaul’s Drag Race, he has helped launch the careers of more than 120 drag queens. 

“If you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” 

Follow them here

Jonathan Van Ness 

Van Ness’s interchangeable use of pronouns, he/him, she/her and they/them, has paved the way for those who identify as non-binary to find their identity. This has been revolutionising in the expression of gender identity – being a role model for millions. The reality-show star living with H.I.V. speaks honestly about being an addict and a sexual abuse survivor. Holding a host of successes, Van Ness is an American hairdresserpodcast host, activist, actor, author, comedian and television personality. They are most well known as the grooming expert on the Netflix series Queer Eye, for his work on the web series parody Gay of Thrones, and for hosting the Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness podcast. They currently work at MoJoHair and Style Salon, which they co-founded with Monique Northrop of Arte Salon. JVN’s staple, “Yas Queen”, surges to uplift and empower women and men without judgement. Their mission to self-love inspires many others to accept and love themselves as they are. JVN shows that there is much more to gender pronouns and gender discrimination. You can follow their journey to reclaiming an old love of gymnastics, reinforcing the mantra that you can do anything love, no matter your age, size or gender.  

“Life is so much a daily exercise in learning to love yourself and forgive yourself, over and over.” 

Follow them here

Sam Smith 

British singer, Sam Smith, has gained wide-reaching recognition, not only for their success as a singer, but also for their progressive stance on feminism and gender equality, sexuality and body positivity. Smith uses their platform to express their attitudes on being non-binary and recently called out BRIT awards for their plans to keep gender-based categories. Their confidence to stand up and call out society’s inequalities has been an inspiration in British music and for many who also identify as non-binary.

“I didn’t become successful until I became myself”  

Follow them here

Florence Given 

Sunday Times Best-Selling, record-breaking author and an award-winning influencer, Florence Given, at just 23 years old has blasted through the barriers of small talk around typically taboo subjects to elevate the topics that demand a voice and leader to trailblaze its following. She keeps alive the conversations discussed in her first book Women Don’t Owe You Pretty in her podcast ‘Exactly’, which addresses social issues surrounding sexuality and gender. Unpacking provocative subjects each week from sexual empowerment and trans liberation to queer and sexual identity. As one of the most powerful voices of the moment, the 23-year-old’s name is synonymous with feminism and empowerment. 

“I want to connect us, I want to empower us, I want to educate us and figure this s*** out myself along the way.” 

Follow them here

Ashlee Marie Preston 

Ashlee Marie Preston is a powerhouse American journalist, activist online and TV personality and first openly trans person to run for state office in California. As if that wasn’t enough, Ashlee is the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication, Wear Your Voice Magazine. Ashlee grew up in the republican state of Kentucky, so she moved to Los Angeles and began transitioning at 19. Ashlee gained public notoriety by confronting Caitlyn Jenner over her disappointing support for the Trump administration. In addition, she advocated for the hashtag #ThriveOver35, highlighting the average life expectancy of black trans women in the US, among many other impressive accolades of social activism. 

“We don’t need an invitation to access our greatness.” 

Follow them here

Brit Barron 

Brit Barron is an inspirational speaker, teacher and author of “Worth It”. Brit focuses on areas of personal development, race, gender, and sexuality. In addition, Brit is an enigmatic storyteller using personal narratives and experiences to highlight larger, universal truths. 

Brit spent the first part of her life in the evangelical church and eventually became a pastor at a mega-church at the young age of 26, which is where she confronted her sexuality and what she truly wanted from her life. This is when she met her partner- Sami, which was the catalyst for leaving the church, coming out and getting married. Brit has a deep-seated passion for reminding people that choosing freedom is always worth it, no matter the cost. 

If you stand still or try to stop the ripples you create for others, you are going to miss the very best parts that this life has to offer.” 

Follow them here

Lena Waithe 

Lena Waithe is an American actress, producer, and screenwriter, as well as being listed in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018 and on Fast Company’s Queer 50 list in 2021.  

She is the creator of The Chi, the BET comedy series Boomerang, and Twenties. She also wrote and produced the crime film Queen & Slim and is the executive producer of the horror anthology series Them, she has been busy recently, to say the least. 

Waithe gained recognition for her role in the Netflix comedy-drama series Master of None. Lena then became the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2017 for writing the show’s “Thanksgiving” episode, loosely based on her experience of coming out to her mother. 

“The things that make us different, those are our superpowers — every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.” 

Follow them here

Tanya Compas 

Tanya is an award-Winning Youth Worker and has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 100 most inspiring women. Tanya is also head of youth engagement for @UKBlackpride, an organisation celebrating LGBTQ+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent. A youth worker and LGBTQ+ rights advocate, Tanya Compas also founded Exist Loudly to support queer Black youth in London. Her posts are often joyful and beautifully honest.  

“The past couple years I’ve played around with my gender expression a lot but honestly, I only needed to look back to a young tom boy Tanya to know exactly what feels like me.” 

Follow them here

Billy Porter 

Billy Porter is a ground-breaking American actor, singer, and author, as well as a musical theatre legend. Members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies will surely know him from his Tony and Grammy award-winning turn in the Broadway run of the musical Kinky Boots. Porter has also appeared in the off-Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels In America, Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story anthology series and Amazon Prime’s recent reimagining of Cinderella. Billy’s work in the theatrical arts has helped bring representation to the forefront of the conversation. 

“For me, life is about being positive and hopeful, choosing to be joyful, choosing to be encouraging, choosing to be empowering.” 

Follow them here

What a list of incredible humans. We hope this list has inspired you and you will head to Instagram to follow them and enjoy their fantastic content.

Share this article with your colleagues and the people around you and encourage a healthy discussion. And for anything else, follow us on social media or get in touch via email but remember when women thrive, men thrive, business thrives.  

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