It has never been easy for queer women. The rigid patriarchal structures and various forms of discrimination that have existed for centuries have made it tough for them to claim their space in the world. But despite the increase in hate crimes against queer and trans women in 2018, many of them have risen above the negativity.
Here are five queer women who have battled societal perceptions and stigmas, and are making a difference:
38-year-old attorney and former MMA fighter Sharice Davids emerged victorious after the midterm elections in the US this November, as the first openly queer person to ever represent Kansas. She is also the second openly lesbian member of Congress, and one of the first two Native American Congresswomen in the US.
Sharice Davids is determined to bring equity and opportunity to all communities.
In June this year, 26-year-old model Angela Ponce made history by becoming the first transgender woman to be crowned Miss Universe Spain, inspiring many other hopefuls. She will be participating in the global Miss Universe pageant on December 17 in Thailand.
Angela Ponce aims to be a “spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity”.
After she came out as transgender to her traditional Chinese family, Cecilia Chung was ostracised and left homeless. She became a sex worker, and was diagnosed with HIV in 1993.
Today, 53-year-old Cecilia Chung is Senior Strategist at Transgender Law Centre, and directs Positively Trans (T+), a project that addresses structural inequalities that contribute to the high rates of HIV/AIDS in transgender people in the US.
25-year-old Blair Imani is a black, queer, Muslim activist who is known for being a leading voice during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2016. This October, she released her first book 'Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History'.
Blair Imani is also the founder of Equality for HER, an organisation that empowers women and people who identify as non-binary, focusing on health and education, and providing resource material.
Fondly dubbed ‘Lesbian Jesus’ by fans, Hayley Kiyoko is an Asian-American musician whose hits such as Girls Like Girls, What I Need (ft.Kehlani) and Feelings send out strong messages about exploring one’s sexuality, with an upbeat, youthful, and relatable vibe.
Hayley Kiyoko serves as a role model to many today, and is offering the representation young queer Asians need.