If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that oppressed communities can only grow in the face of fear and uncertainty. This is no different with the LGBTQ+ community, as we have seen countless members, celebrity or not, speak out against the wrong in the world. Today, we bring you a few of celebrities we want to celebrate and think should be in the spotlight more in 2020. To kick off the Celebrity news section at LGBTQ.com, here are 5 LGBTQ+ actors and actresses that used their voices to speak up about important issues:
Since breaking out in his role as Radar in 2015’s Paper Towns, Justice Smith has graced Hollywood on both the big and small screen. After smashing his roles as Tim Goodman and Theodore Finch in Pokemon Detective Pikachu and All the Bright Places, respectively, Justice continues to bring colorful and genuine characters to worldwide audiences.
He has since gone on to publicly show his support in the Black Lives Matter movement, posting his experience protesting on his Instagram back in June of this year. “If your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black,” his caption reads. “If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like #TonyMcDade [slip] through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black.” This caption is accompanied by a video of Justice’s attendance of a peaceful protest as well as heartwarming pictures of him embracing his boyfriend, Nicolas Ashe. Justice writes from a place of love and power, detailing what the BLM movement means to him as a Black queer man.
Tony McDade was a 38-year-old trans man who was wrongfully killed by police on May 27, 2020. He was unarmed at the time of his death. You can support Tony McDade’s family by donating here.
Be sure to catch Justice reprise his role as Franklin in the latest installment of the Jurassic World franchise and in his upcoming role as Thomas in The Voyeurs which is set to come out later this year.
For all you Disney lovers out there, you probably remember Auli’i Cravalho’s incredible impact she had on the world when she starred in her breakout role as the title role in Moana back in 2016. Playing a character who fights for self-identity, it honestly made sense when Auli’i announced her bisexuality back in April 2020.
Auli’i has become increasingly outspoken this year on her views of voting in the U.S. At 19 years old, Auli’i seems to keep up to date with the ongoing election, and makes sure to include her audience when discussing the importance of voting rights in her home state of Hawaii. “Every voice should be heard!” Auli’i writes in a recent Instagram post, linking an instructional website that aims to educate others on every aspect of U.S. voting. She is also seen promoting “WE COUNT! A Census Counting Book For Kids, (and the Grownups That Love Them),” an educational children’s book that teaches census counting through digestible storytelling. Using the hashtag #CountOnLibraries, Auli’i continues to speak up for the importance in her country.
You can catch Auli’i in her newest movie, All Together Now, available on Netflix now!
Indya Moore has held FX’s Pose in the palm of their hand since first appearing in the show’s pilot episode. Playing the snarky yet charming underdog Angel, Indya open our eyes to the world of sex work as a transgender woman. Through the seemingly unceasing ups and down on the show, we truly love and care for Indya both as their character and themself as a human being.
In real life, Indya does not let their representation and advocacy end on the small screen. As a transgender and non-binary person themself, Indya is unequivocally vocal when it comes to transgender representation in the entertainment industry. They fight for transgender people to be treated the same as cis people when it comes to movie roles. In a 2018 interview with MTV, Indya explained the irresponsibility that comes with cis people being in the spotlight of transgender spaces in the industry:
“Gender is a social construct but so is race, and that still doesn't make it okay for white women to play Asian women. Still doesn't make it okay for cis people to play trans people. It's not like [cis people] are doing us a favor because [they’re] flicking your nose, essentially at an entire demographic of people who are telling [them] we are not okay with it.”
Indya continues, saying that trans people are more than capable of telling both their own stories and storytelling in general. Trans people should be and have the right to be considered for cis roles just the same as cis people are consistently casted as trans characters. (E.g. Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl (2015) or Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club (2013).) No matter what, we can depend on Indya to keep us educated and motivated to amplify trans voices across the globe.
You can watch Indya reprise their role as Angel in the third season of Pose, set to air in 2021. Can’t wait? Be sure to follow their Instagram for all their latest updates!
Who doesn’t love Beanie Feldstein? From Lady Bird to Booksmart and everything in between, Beanie steals our hearts with every move she makes. This 27-year-old actress is known for playing lovable, quirky characters that tend to steal scene after scene. If you know and love Beanie for her roles (both as the star or as a supporting character) in movies depicting loving gay representation like Booksmart, you’ll be delighted to know that she is openly queer in real life! In fact, she’s been dating her girlfriend, Bonnie Chance Roberts, since 2018.
Beanie is also a great example that of queer representation that occurs post-adolesence. While media that does include LGBTQ+ representation tends to include queer relationship as kids and teens, Beanie’s experiences with her sexuality happened later in her life. According to Beanie, she hadn’t ever really thought about love or relationships until after entering adulthood, and when she did, gender was the last thing in her mind. Meeting Bonnie was a turning point for Beanie, who claims the spectacle of dating a woman did not seem strange or foerign in the slightest for her. As of 2020, Beanie has celebrated her two-year anniversary with Bonnie, sharing the celebration via an Instagram post.
Don’t forget to catch Beanie star as Brigid in The Humans and portray Monica Lewinsky in American Crime Story, both set to come out in 2021.
Where do we begin with Hunter Schaefer? Ever since making a name for herself on HBO’s newest iconic show Euphoria, it looks like we can’t get enough of Hunter! Starring as Jules Vaughn, a bubbly and elevated transgender teenager, Hunter brings highlights the hurdles and hardships transgender teens go through in their everday lives. Jules’ story is a trans story being played by a trans actress, as things should be. Hunter discusses the impact her character has had on the public in an interview that you can watch here. From unsupportive and harmful family members, to being objectified by the world around her, audiences can’t help but root for Jules as she stumbles through a world of uncertainty and discovery.
While Hunter made an undeniable impact on the world with her acting ability, some may remember her from back in 2016 for her activism. Before entering the modeling and acting world Hunter, along with her family and multiple other parties, sued the state of North Carolina after the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act was passed, a bill that restricted transgender people from using their respective public bathrooms. Commonly known as House Bill 2 or HB2, this bill sought out to further discriminate against transgender people by denying them the basic right to use public bathrooms of their choice. Their fight was won somewhat, with the bill ultimately being repealed. While the world was largely into Hunter during these legal proceedings, she and her family made their voices heard for trans people in an interview which can be found here.
As always, you can watch Hunter reprise her role as Jules Euphoria’s winter-special episodes set to air this December!