One of the great benefits that social media provides is representation to many underrepresented groups of people from all over the world. It is so important and comforting to see other individuals that look like you or have similar traits or interests on Instagram. The LGBTQIA+ community is large and continuously growing, with people of different races, religious beliefs and ethnicities among its number. From the United States to the UK, there are men, women, non-binary individuals and so many more people that contribute to the representation and much-needed advocacy for Black LGBTQIA+ people.
Whether it’s through their artistic talents or their work with the youth, these seven Instagram personalities speak out for the causes that they care about, utilizing their voices, passion, transparency and expertise to share stories and advice to their dedicated followers.
As an artist and illustrator, Shanée Benjamin uses her platform @shaneebenjamin and her art to advocate for queer, urban communities of color and to educate others on the importance of advocacy for these underrepresented groups. As a queer woman living in Brooklyn, she understands the importance of advocacy and education and uses her creativity to engage her followers. Working with clients such as Netflix, Spotify and YouTube, Shanée creates illustrations that discuss relevant topics such as diversity within media and intersectional feminism.
Devin-Norelle is a non-binary model, writer and trans youth advocate. Not only has ze written about hir passions and advocacy for publications including Teen Vogue, Allure and them magazine, ze also uses Instagram to speak out and spread awareness for important issues regarding trans youth and correct pronoun usage. Devin-Norelle’s account, @steroidbeyonce, is full of helpful links and infographics about how to help specific causes and ensure that everyone understands prejudice and complications that non-binary individuals and trans youth face.
Being transgender and non-binary, Arrows Fitz, commonly known as Ari, provides advice and tips to their audience on learning about yourself while navigating through a not-so-understanding or accepting world. Ari is a UC Berkeley grad, model and musician who uses platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Depop to showcase their creativity and educate their followers. Their @angryarrows account is all about transparency and openness regarding the struggles faced as a non-binary individual.
Self-titled “the unapologetic queer Black woman of your dreams,” Char Ellesse is definitely not afraid to express herself and be the bald goddess that she is on her Instagram page @ellessechar. As the founder of the community organization @girlswillbeboys, UK-based Char works to create online platforms that blur the lines of socially constructed gender roles and open up discussions exploring masculinity and femininity in the modern world. She prioritizes self-acceptance and promotes Black girl joy on her Instagram, and she shows off her interior design tastes with @hausofellessechar, an account dedicated to home decor.
With her many roles, Ericka Hart aka @ihartericka ensures that multiple underrepresented and minority groups feel seen in an online environment. She is a trained sex educator who works as a racial/social/gender justice advocate, a writer and a model, and she is also a breast cancer survivor. Her social media posts tell stories of family and heritage and speak out against racism, sexism and ableism.
Born and raised in South Africa and now living in London, Sade Giliberti uses her background and talent to stress representation within the television and movie industry. As an award-winning TV presenter, actress and overall creative, Sade uses her various platforms to campaign and promote impactful companies and organizations that work with LGBTQIA+ individuals and create Pride month collections. On her Instagram page @sadegiliberti, she posts fun content that incorporates her wife and friends as they take part in the joys of life.
Working with Black LGTBQIA+ youth through multiple avenues highlights the importance of early education within a community that needs to know the stigma and barriers that they could confront and hopefully dismantle. British youth worker and charity/non-profit consultant Tanya Compas runs workshops and provides information to young people through her foundation Exist Loudly. She uses her Instagram @tanyacompas to speak openly about her experiences as a queer individual and works to erase negative stigmas about being queer.
Top image: Char Ellesse and Skye Lukowski-Standley by Shingi Rice
Words by Claire Blaha