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LGBTIQA+ Role Models

Educate Marsha P Johnson GIF by Ava Davis


Pioneers, activists and trailblazers built the LGBTIQA+ rights movement. In the face of adversity, they refused to be quiet, paving the way for generations to come. 


Queer history is rich and dates back to ancient times – we've been around forever, and we're not going anywhere. Of course, a lot has changed since the days of the very first Mardi Gras, but there is still a need for strong role models. 


While we carve out our unique paths in life, navigating sexuality and gender, there are times when it can feel lonely and scary. Finding your place within the LGBTIQA+ community can take time, but having a role model can give you a sense of belonging and reassurance that you're not walking this path alone. 


So, who is your LGBTIQA+ role model? Here are a few of mine.




Bhenji Ra is a transgender woman,  the Mother of the House of Sle and an Australian ballroom community leader. She created the incredible Sissy Ball event, which has become an unforgettable part of annual Mardi Gras celebrations. She's a role model for queer people of colour and proudly represents her Filipino heritage. I'll never forget the first time I saw her host a ballroom event, and she asked the crowd to make space up the front for all the people of colour to get a front-seat view of the competition. The joy on everyone's faces, rushing to the front row, reminded me of how people like Bhenji create space for diversity and how crucial it is. 


She commands a room, lives authentically and nurtures her community – I absolutely adore her. 


The stunning Marsha P. Johnson was an African-American transgender woman and LGBTQ rights activist who made a massive impact on the LGBTQ community. She was a charismatic leader in the fight for LGBTQ rights and is remembered as one of the key figures in the Stonewall riots, which are considered the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement.


Marsha P. Johnson's bravery and activism have inspired countless people, and her legacy inspires new generations of LGBTQ people. She is a role model for anyone who wants to stand up for what is right and fight for equality and justice for all. Marsha's courage and determination remind me of activism's power and the importance of speaking out against oppression.





Penny Wong is the first openly lesbian member of the Australian Parliament and is a strong advocate for the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community in Australia. A vocal champion for marriage equality, she worked tirelessly to promote equality and inclusiveness for all Australians, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2012, she delivered a powerful speech in the Senate supporting marriage equality, a turning point in the debate.


When we finally won the battle for marriage equality, her usual composed nature made way for an outpouring of emotion – the kind of humanness we love to see in politics. 




Elliot Page is more than the actor we grew to love watching Juno - he is also a passionate advocate for transgender rights. He has used his platform to raise awareness about the issues faced by the transgender community, including violence and discrimination. He is also a strong supporter of healthcare access for trans people and is actively working to raise funds for organisations that support trans youth. 


Check out his TV show Gaycation, where he travels to different countries learning about LGBTIQA+ cultures around the world. 



Steven Oliver is a descendant of the Kuku-Yalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi peoples and a true national treasure. He's graced our screens, made us laugh and is responsible for bringing the first-ever televised gay marriage in "Black Comedy". 


In "A Chance Affair", he gave us a heartwarming story of gay Aboriginal love, bringing us vital First Nations representation. His use of comedy and creativity in advocating for the LGBTIQA+ community is second to none. 


Check out one of his spoken word performances entitled "Me I Am" here




And last but not least, Lady Gaga. Many don't realise this powerhouse of a woman isn't just an ally but a member of our community (and that's on bi-erasure 👀). Lady Gaga publicly came out in 2009 as bisexual; ever since, she's been a vocal supporter of LGBTIQA+ rights. Her song" Born This Way" has been the soundtrack to pride marches and celebrations worldwide. It also inspired the Born This Way Foundation, co-founded and led by the queen herself. 


Her speech at World Pride in New York never fails to bring a happy tear to my eye –  check it out here



We want to know all about your LGBTIQA+ role models in the comments, whether it's someone in your life, a historical figure, performer, activist or sportsperson! 


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