Matthew’s Place
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Matthew’s Place

Queer Women Inspiring Us in 2022

by Judy Bokao

Lia Thomas photographed by Brett Davis, USA Today Sports

The future is female. This month is a time to celebrate the social, cultural, and political achievements of women from all over the world. This year, we wanted to honor the fearless queer women who inspire us every day. They have not only shattered the glass ceiling, but they also stand their ground and show us that it is possible to be authentic and achieve our dreams.

Lia Thomas

Lia Thomas photographed by Brett Davis, USA Today Sports

Lia, a 22-year-old trans swimmer from Penn, has been a target of transphobic attacks after her season-long dominance. She, however, did not let the negativity get to her and chose to participate in the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships. Although she has followed every eligibility rule and policy set forth by the NCAA, some people are still opposed to her participation in the competition. Meanwhile, states such as Indiana and Arizona which are considering legislation that would affect transgender girls’ ability to participate in girls’ sports at the youth level, are bringing up Thomas as justification as to why such laws were needed. Through all this media scrutiny, Lia has remained unfazed and gracefully continues to focus on swimming.

Chantale Wong

Photographed by the Victory Institute

Wong made history when she became the first out, queer person of color and the first out lesbian to be confirmed by the Senate as an ambassador in the U.S. Her appointment comes at a pivotal moment for the fight for LGBTQ+ inclusion in America. Her nomination and confirmation were lauded by the LGBTQ Victory Institute.

“As the first out LGBTQ person of color confirmed to an ambassador-level position, Ambassador Wong is also a symbol of hope and strength for LGBTQ leaders and community members fighting for LGBTQ rights across the globe,” Victory Institute President and CEO Annise Parker said in her congratulatory statement.

Ariana DeBose

Photographed by Caitlin Flynn

Ariana made history as the first openly queer woman of color to win an individual film Screen Actors Guild Award and to be recognized by the guild for acting. She also won a Golden Globe Award for the same role in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 adaptation of West Side Story.

In her speech to the press after the win, she was beyond elated. “I think it’s just indicative that the doors are opening,” she told the press. “It’s an honor to be seen. It’s an honor to be an Afro-Latina — an openly queer woman of color, a dancer, a singer, and an actor. It’s indicative to me that I will not be the last, and that’s the important part. Whatever firsts are attached to my name, they are immensely special to me, but I’m focused on the fact that if I’m the first of anything that means I won’t be the last.”

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

Photographed by Kevin Lowery

Jasmine is shattering expectations as a queer, Christian minister running for Congress in North Carolina. If she were to win, she would unseat Madison Cawthorn, a Republican with a long record of homophobia, including voting against the Equality Act. While she is facing an uphill battle in a conservative district, her race proves we can all stand up and speak out to make a difference in our own communities.

Kristen Stewart

Photographed by Elizabeth Bennet, Grazia Magazine

The out actress has been making waves for years for her daring fashion and compelling roles in massive franchises, but this year she found stunning success in her portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer. While she is currently on the awards circuit for her acclaimed performance, she also recently announced her engagement to her long-term girlfriend. For her legions of teenage fans, the Twilight actress is proving you can be young, queer, and fierce.

Who are the queer women in your life who you’ll be uplifting this month? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.

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Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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Matthew's Place

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MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email patrick@matthewshepard.org

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