Words by Hayley
We’re proud. And we’re gonna be loud about it here at Rocycle. We are so grateful to live in a time where diversity is celebrated, where you can be exactly who you want to be, love yourself and have the world love you back.
Pretty incredible, don’t you think?
Because it’s Pride, we want to celebrate some of our most iconic LGBTQI+ icons. We want to lift up those folks who made us feel free to embrace our truest selves and break free from the pressures of convention.
We had a chat with a few members of our Diversity & Inclusivity Committee to find out who inspires them and why.
Dennis: Troye Sivan because he is a proud queer artist. He doesn’t shy away from expressing himself in a queer way through his music, clothes and appearance. He makes queer life visible to a wide audience. When Years & Years started getting famous, Olly wasn’t out as a gay man to the public, and I even think that the label tried to keep it quiet at first. But look at him now. He is an example of someone who is unapologetically himself in the way he expresses himself. Just like Troye, he makes queer life visible and seen. He is an example for young queer people. Lady GaGa has always supported the queer community, and from the moment her career took off, she always stayed true to the queer community. She is an example to so many people because she took what people found “weird” and showed everyone how wonderful it really is. Turns out there were more “weird” people. Maybe “weird” wasn’t all that weird, but it was never represented like this. She made sure the LGBTQI+ community was represented in society. For me there is not one ultimate LGBTQI+ icon because there are so many people right now representing the LGBTQI+ life. And that to me is what an LGBTQI+ icon should do, represent!
Tiela: Marsha P. Johnson is a name I feel all people who fall under the LGBTQI+ community should know. A black trans women, a forerunner for gay rights and an activist paving the way for the future generations, Marsha P. Johnson was and will always been an icon to me. We are all human; we bleed the same even if we may come from different walks of life and experience society differently due to ethnicity, sexuality and class. A lot of my activist drive derives from legends like Marsha who have inspired the future generations.
Alicia: Munroe Bergdorf! She's an English transgender model and activist. Munroe discusses and raises awareness around social issues, from white privilege to trans equality and everything in between! She also works hard to be a positive influence and role model for queer young people in the UK too. I love her because she's tireless about using her position to speak up and is vocal about calling out the hypocrisy of both politicians and businesses who are insincere about their allyship when working with or representing LGBTQI+ POC.
Christina: While I was thinking about who my queer icon is, I realised that I don’t have one icon in particular. For me, more impactful are the queer people close to me that are unapologetically themselves and not afraid of judgement. Of course, seeing famous people using their platform creates more visibility and acceptance. But we should not forget to preach all queer people close to us. It is those people who, regardless of judgment and discrimination, keep going, do not beg down and do not compromise who they are in order to fit in, truly inspire me.
Ellee: Keith Haring made a difference and left behind a legacy in his short life. He believed in the power of people to make a change and used his art to raise awareness about AIDS when it was still an unspoken issue. He chose to be brave and strong and shared his situation to encourage research, education, and open conversations. His art pieces are timeless, have left a lasting legacy and have inspired thousands of people.