Every movement has its iconic pioneers.

The ones who had the courage to suffer the brunt of resistance to change so later generations may possibly enjoy the fruits of their hard labor and heavy burdens.

As we celebrate culture and orientation during PRIDE 2018, theGrio turns our focus to today’s Black groundbreakers and innovators who are reinventing and creating new ways towards acceptance. Certainly no an easy task in a country guided by a president and an attorney general who have supported policies that neglect and devalue the of the LGBTQ+ community.

We raise our collective glasses and wave our rainbow flags in honor of these 15 Black LGBTQ+ advocates who are inspiring the community with their vision and leading the way for a more inclusive future.


1Lena Waithe

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 07: Lena Waithe attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Twitter: @LenaWaithe
Location: Chicago

This award-winning actress, producer, and screenwriter broke barriers in 2017 after becoming the first Black woman to ever win a Primetime Emmy award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on the hit show Master of None. Since then, this trailblazer has gone on to create her own show, The Chi, which has received rave reviews and renewed for a second season on Showtime.

Waite has continued to be a strong advocate for LGBTQ people of color, recently gracing the cover of Vanity Fair and proudly rocking a rainbow pride flag at the Met Gala.