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.


9AbdulAliy Muhammad & Shani Akilah (co-founders of the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative)

Shani Akilah and Abdul-Aliy Muhammad (l-r) are the co-founders of the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative. (Photo courtesy of he Black and Brown Workers Cooperative)

Twitter: @twiddaFingaHz & @BBworkers
Location: Philadelphia

This incredible queer duo of Shani Akilah and Abdul-Aliy Muhammad are the co-founders of the Black & Brown Workers Cooperative (BBWC), an intersectional activist collective that combats white supremacy in local communities. Their organizing efforts have influenced institutional policy changes within the City of Philadelphia regarding racial discrimination in the LGBTQ community.

The duo continues to lead successful campaigns that address local gentrification and displacement, harassment at nonprofits, while also providing anti-oppression trainings for schools and businesses. Their LGBTQ activism has also been cited as part of the reason why there are now Black & brown stripes on Philadelphia’s new official pride flag.