A two-spirit lesbian Menominee activist, poet, artist, and lecturer
They are a two-spirit Menominee poet who writes about their experiences as a native American and the trauma they went through. They have been in many anthologies like This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981), edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldú and published their own books including Not Vanishing (1988), Dream On (1991), and Fire Power (1995), where they do their own artwork for the covers. They are an advocate against sexual assault and erasure that many native America people experience and they also advocate for two-spirt people, who most Americans do not know exist due to the erasure of two-spirit people throughout our history. They break gender roles by living most authentically as a two-spirit person and speaking out against the violence native American people face in a society that does not care for native American nations.
HELEN ZIA (SHE/HER)
A lesbian activist, author, former journalist, and advocate of human rights.
She is an award winning journalist that wrote about Asian American violence after the death of Vincent Chin and also how Asian Americans struggle to be part of America’s democracy when America ignores the issues Asian Americans face. She is also an activist for human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and countering hate violence and homophobia. She wrote Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People and co-wrote My Country Versus Me in the 90s about discrimintion and violence Asian people face. In 1997 she testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the impact of the campaign finance hearings on Asian Americans, and helped author a complaint to the Commission against Congress, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and the news media for their racially discriminatory treatment of Asian Americans (Helen Zia (A/P/A Institute at NYU). She breaks gender roles by using her writing to uncover stories that society usually ignores because we live in a heteronormative patriarchal society. She also lives unapologetically with her partner Lia for 13 years.
TARANA BURKE (SHE/ HER)
An activist and founder of the #Metoo movement
She started the #Metoo movement in 2006 to raise awareness for women and anyone who had been abused. She was highlighting how black women get sexually abused and it gets ignored in the media. She started the movement, but it did not gain global awareness until Alyssa Milano tweeted it out in 2017 saying she was a survivor of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein. Burke’s efforts are usually erased from history because Milano never gave her credit for the phrase, but has later apologized to Burke. Tarana Burke created a movement to say enough is enough. We should not shame women for coming forward and the perpetrators cannot keep getting away with it. She is a trailblazer that broke gender roles because she said she will not be silent. For so long, society has not believed the people who come forward saying they were sexually assaulted or harrased and this movement changed that for so many people.
BAMBY SALCEDO (SHE/HER/ELLA)
A transgender activist, founder, and president
She is a transgender latina activist and President of the TransLatin@ Coalition. She helped form the coalition in 2009 and has become the president and CEO of the group. She also founded The TransLives Matter National Day of Action in 2015 to affirmatively address the issues of institutional violence against trans people within our society. Bamby also developed the Center for Violence Prevention & Transgender Wellness, a multipurpose, multiservice space for Trans people in Los Angeles. Her work also tackles migration, HIV, youth advocacy, LGBTQ+, incarceration and Latin@ communities. She breaks gender roles by being the President and CEO in a very male dominated society and also speaks out against institutions that do harm to transgender people. She is a trailblazer for the transgender latina activists advocating for issues the latina community face on a daily basis.
PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS (SHE/HER)
A queer author, a Black Lives Matter co - founder, and an artist
She has been an activist all her life watching her brother’s subjection to constant police brutality who started the hashtag BlackLivesMatter after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for Trayvon Martin’s murder. Cullors, along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tomet, started the movement with a tweet in 2013. They then organized many demonstrations and protests marching against police brutality and against systemic racism. Cullors is a trailblazer for black queer women everywhere saying their voices are important and their lives matter as much as anyone else’s. She broke many gender roles by being unapologetically queer and marrying her transgender partner, challenging the white, heteronormative institution that is marriage.
INDYA MOORE (THEY/THEM)
A nonbinary actor, activist, and model
They gained fame and a platform from starring as Angel Evangelista in FX’s Pose in 2018. Their character is a transgender sex worker who later becomes a sucessful model. The show became a hit and Indiya has used their new platform to advocate for many groups of people. They have used Pose to talk about the Aids pandemic that America has diminisioned because it involved queer people. They also have used their social media to talk about black trans people who need to be included in BlackLivesMatter or they will die left behind. They have used their voice to also talk about being a nonbinary actor and model in an industry that does not recognize people out of the norm. They break gender roles by being a voice for nonbinary and transgender people in America and are a trailblazer for the nonbinary people who will come after them.