Billy Porter, Megan Rapinoe, BLM Founders Among Time 100 LGBTQ+ Icons

Time celebrated many LGBTQ+ public figures and allies in its annual Time 100 list.

These “most influential” figures from every cultural sphere include Megan Rapinoe, Chase Strangio, Halsey, Greg Berlanti, Tourmaline, Chi Chia-wei, the Black Lives Matter cofounders, Angela Davis, and Billy Porter, as well as allies like Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union, who are raising a transgender daughter, Zaya.

Laverne Cox wrote the praise of Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for transgender justice, who helped represent plaintiff Aimee Stephens in securing this year’s landmark 6-3 Supreme Court victory for LGBTQ+ employment protections.

“Chase has the fortitude to speak with clarity on the messy contradictions and limitations of our legal system, while simultaneously wielding the powers of that system to help the most vulnerable,” Cox wrote. “Now he is being heralded as the lawyer behind the biggest LGBTQ+ legal victory in history. I couldn’t be prouder to call him my friend.”

Another transgender pioneer, the filmmaker Tourmaline, was honored by Janet Mock — in part for her groundbreaking short film Salacia, about a Black trans outlaw, which was recently added to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. Tourmaline also made headlines in 2018 for accusing documentarian David France of stealing her archival work on Marsha P. Johnson; Mock was a vocal advocate for her then as well.

“Because of Tourmaline, Black trans women exist in a mainstream art institution, where thousands will witness us taking up space, centered in the frame as our own heroes,” Mock wrote. “Tourmaline is a beacon in the foreboding darkness, lighting a pathway toward better tomorrows.

In the category of artists, The Advocate’s recent cover star, the bisexual singer Halsey, was featured; her profile was written by the Korean group BTS. “Working with her was everything we could have wished for and more,” said BTS, who collaborated with her on the single “Boy With Luv.”

“Halsey is not only a strikingly talented artist, but also a dedicated partner who sincerely devotes everything to the art we create together. She inspires us, and we’re incredibly honored to be able to call her our cherished friend. We cannot wait to see what she has for the world down the road.”

Actress Jennifer Garner penned the blurb for Greg Berlanti; Garner had worked with the prolific gay showrunner and director in Love, Simon, and she praised Simon’s scene of coming out to her, playing his mother, as the “most beautiful scene I had ever read.” 

“As a matter of fact, I loved everything about his script—it was fresh and brave, with a teen protagonist who just happened to be gay. In other words, exactly what the world needed,” she wrote, adding, “Love, Simon follows me around in the happiest way. More times than I can count, strangers have felt moved to talk to me about the film and have cited my scene with Nick Robinson as a source of comfort and wisdom in their own journeys.”

The Icons category featured Black Lives Matter cofounders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, who all identify as queer. Sybrina Fulton, founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, wrote, “There are only three of them, but they are everywhere. They are getting people to think: What if you had a 17-year-old son in a hoodie, and no weapon, just a candy and a drink, and now he’s dead on the ground? What if your daughter was sleeping in her own bed and the police knocked down the door and killed her? How would you feel? That is what ‘Black Lives Matter’ asks.”

Also an Icon is Billy Porter, the gay star of Pose. Cyndi Lauper, who worked with Porter on the Broadway hit Kinky Boots, penned his praise: “We both moved through the world as people who didn’t fit in, and we made use of what made us different as an asset. When you can embrace those things about yourself that don’t fit in, that is when the magic happens. … Billy can sing anything. He brings electricity into a room. When you watch him on Pose, you experience that same magic.”

Tsai Ing Wen, the president of Taiwan, uplifted the LGBTQ+ activist Chi Chia-wei, who helped bring marriage equality to the Asian nation. “Through the years, Chi has stood tall against immense prejudice with his larger-than-life courage. I’m confident that Chi will light the way to a future where everyone deserves to love and be loved,” Tsai wrote.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand lauded the advocacy of Megan Rapinoe, the out athlete who led the U.S. women’s soccer team to victory at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup: “In an era where many demand that athletes ‘stick to sports,’ Rapinoe — a proud feminist and an out gay advocate — refuses to be silenced. In the past year, her activism for gender pay equality, racial justice and LGBTQ rights has become as iconic as her fabulous pink hair. Some critics are threatened by her boldness and power. Millions of her fans around the world — and I count myself one — are inspired.”

And the rapper Common uplifted Angela Davis, a pioneering Black lesbian activist: “As a political leader, she was attacked, hunted and imprisoned; she dared to stand against a racist system. She’s seen and witnessed it all, and she continues to inspire, educate and resist oppression.”

Allies were also given a spotlight. Tarana Burke, the founder of #MeToo and mother of a nonbinary activist, praised Gabrielle Union for her advocacy: “She is intentionally directing her attention, influence and resources to advance an agenda that deliberately celebrates the most marginalized among us, including Black women and girls and queer and trans folks.”

While John Legend wrote about how Union and her husband, star athlete Dwyane Wade, are role model parents: “With his support for his daughter Zaya, who is transgender, Dwyane has set a powerful example for parents and for society of how to be good allies to young people who are figuring out who they are. … He’s modeling how parents can champion their kids, and fight for them, and help them become the best adult that they can be.”


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