14 Quotes from LGBTQ+ Activists to Know During Pride Month—and Always

·3 min read

It's Pride Month. This usually means celebratory parties, protests, parades, and spending lots of time with our queer community. Part of the purpose of this month is to recognize the people who came before us and who inspire us in the fight ahead. Although many know that Pride started with the Stonewall Riot, Pride Month has also become known through corporate sponsorships and rainbow logos.

One big thing we can do as queer people—and allies—is to remember that Black trans women were at the forefront of the historic 1969 Stonewall Riots. Without the trans community and their activism, Pride, and the rights we have today, likely wouldn't exist. That said, it's important this month, as well as the rest of the year, to recognize the forces who got us to where we are today.

This month, as transgender violence is still on the rise, and the Supreme Court is still deciding cases that could affect our fundamental rights, consider donating money to organizations such as The Okra Project, the Trevor Project, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Here are quotes from notable LGBTQ+ activists worth getting to know.

Related: How the Rainbow Flag Became a Colorful Symbol of Pride

"We have to be visible. We are not ashamed of who we are." — Sylvia Rivera, American gay liberation and gay rights activist

"We are powerful because we have survived." — Audre Lorde, writer, and civil rights activist

"Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up, and start to fight." — Harvey Milk, first openly gay elected official in California

"Marriage is a magic word. And it has magic throughout the world. It has to do with our dignity as human beings, to be who we are openly." — Edie Windsor, a gay-rights activist who was pivotal in marriage equality in the U.S.

"How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race?" — Marsha P. Johnson, gay liberation activist, and drag queen

"We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers." — Bayard Rustin, civil rights and gay rights activist

"I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you." — Janet Mock, transgender rights activist, writer, TV host, director, and producer

"It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist." — Laverne Cox, transgender rights activist, and actress

"The Lord is my shepherd, and he knows I'm gay." — Troy Perry, religious leader and human rights activist

"The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why Gay Pride Month is June tell them 'A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.'" — Brenda Howard, bisexual rights activist, and the "Mother of Pride"

"Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it's a good place to start." — Jason Collins, openly gay NBA player

"Nature made a mistake, which I have corrected." — Christine Jorgenson, actress, and the first person to become well known for having gender confirmation surgery

"If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" — RuPaul, drag queen, actor, host, and producer of RuPaul's Drag Race

"You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don't live the only life you have, you won't live some other life, you won't live any life at all."— James Baldwin, writer, and activist