International Women’s Day: 17 powerful and fearless queer women making the world a better place

International Women’s Day is celebrated globally every year on 8 March – and today the world marks the social, economic and political achievements of women in history and in present day.

Having started more than a century ago, the day continues to be of great importance to women across the globe. 

So use the hashtag, join the conversation, and take a look at this (not in any way exhaustive) list of some inspirational queer women using their visibility now to make us all more equal in the future.

Dylan Mulvaney

Dylan Mulvaney attends a red carpet event.
International Women’s Day: Dylan Mulvaney is a true source of joy for trans women everywhere. (Getty)

TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney has been taking trans-feminine happiness to a whole new level with her incredibly popular vlogs.

The social media star brushed off attempts by right-wing pundits to ridicule her in 2022 in favour of expressing pure joy and solidarity for trans people everywhere.

She recently underwent facial feminisation surgery and detailed her experiences to help educate people.

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During the recovery process, Mulvaney said she was “starting to enjoy being alive in ways [she] hadn’t before”.

Zaya Wade

Zaya Wade during a promotional event.
Zaya Wade’s journey has been incredibly inspiring. (Getty)

Zaya Wade is the 15-year-old transgender daughter of basketball star Dwyane Wade, and came out in 2020.

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Since then, she has become a high-profile figure on social media and, despite her age, has worked hard to help other young LGBTQ+ people accept themselves, and to help adults understand them.

“I honestly wish that a lot of adults understood and did not invalidate how confusing, uncomfortable and kind of abrupt, but also how beautiful, being a part of any LGBTQ+ community is,” she recently said. 

Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose at a red carpet event.
We hope Ariana DeBose will never stop doing the thing. (Getty)

American actress and singer Ariana DeBose is always doing the thing and we couldn’t be happier for her.

The star, who identifies as queer, turned the internet upside down after her BAFTA performance in February.

The meme “Angela Bassett did the thing” absolutely floored the internet, and it’s just one of the things that make the star a true legend.

Not only has she won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA, she was also named in Time’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.

JayCee Cooper

JayCee Cooper in a weight-lifting room
JayCee Cooper won the right to play for ever trans woman and man. (Twitter)

After years of fighting for the rights of trans women and men to receive equitable treatment in powerlifting, JayCee Cooper was finally handed a deserving victory on Monday (6 March).

The US-born powerlifter began a legal battle in 2021 after USA Powerlifting updated their policy to effectively ban transgender men and women.

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Following the win for her and trans people everywhere, Cooper said that each athlete deserves “the same rights and protections,” including gender-diverse competitors.

Erin Reed

Erine Rreed waving a trans flag.
Erin Reed has detailed hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills. (Instagram)

If there’s a discriminatory bill being proposed in the US, you can bet that Erin Reed won’t be far behind reporting on it – and debunking its justifications.

The recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across US states has been closely monitored by the activist, whose Twitter, Instagram and personal blog are filled with useful information on how to fight back against these bills

Her tireless efforts have helped raise awareness for these increasingly vitriolic bills, as well as mapping the sheer volume of attempts to restrict our rights.

Lady Phyll

Lady Phyll in a photoshoot
Lady Phyll has made waves of progress for Black queer women. (Getty)

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah – widely known as Lady Phyll – is the co-founder of UK Black Pride.

Opoku-Gyimah is also executive director at the Kaleidoscope Trust, which works to advance LGBT+ rights across the Commonwealth, in countries where anti-LGBT+ laws were imposed by British colonialists.

In January, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by London South Bank University for her “incredible leadership in the fight for equality”.

Eureka O’Hara

Eureka O'Hara during a red carpet event.
Eureka O’Hara came out in 2022 and we couldn’t be happier for her. (Getty)

Eureka O’Hara first blessed our TV screens in 2017 and the world hasn’t been quite the same since.

Following her appearance in season nine and 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the trans drag queen has used her platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ and marginalised communities.

Since then, she has starred alongside Shangela and Bob the Drag Queen in HBO’s We’re Here.

Boba

Boba in her livestream set up.
Boba has raised thousands for LGBTQ+ people. (Twitch)

Twitch streamer BobaWitch, usually abbreviated to Boba, shows how anyone can use their platform to show support for LGBTQ+ rights.

She gained attention in late 2022 following the creation of a fundraiser for Mermaids, as a way to boycott the divisive video game Hogwarts Legacy, which has since brought in £10,400.

Boba is also a member of the gaming media company The Yogscast, which routinely hosts charity live streams that have made millions for selected charities.

Jordan Gray

Jordan Gray during a stand-up set.
Jordan Gray is breaking the comedic barrier. (Instagram)

Jordan Gray is living proof that if any comedian can make an actually funny set about being trans, it’s probably a trans woman.

The Essex comic initially appeared as a contestant on the fifth series of The Voice UK, then, after releasing several songs, switched to stand-up comedy.

She’s best known for her Friday Night Live performance in October, when she stripped naked while playing the piano.

Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre in the White House press room.
Karine Jean-Pierre became White House press secretary in 2022. (Getty)

Karine Jean-Pierre has worked to become the voice of the Biden administration – and as the world’s first Black and openly LGBTQ+ White House press secretary.

She was appointed to the role in May 2022. Prior to this, she worked in the Obama administration as director for the White House office of political affairs.

Munroe Bergdorf

Munroe Bergdorf, model, activist and one of Britain’s most prominent trans voices, has tirelessly campaigned for trans rights in the UK.

Bergdorf, who is also a UN Women UK advocate, supporting its #DrawALine campaign which aims to put a stop to female genital mutilation, spoke to crowds at London Trans+ Pride in the summer of 2021.

She said: “When we have spaces like this, it’s a reminder to see God in each other, whatever God is. A higher power. To treat each other how we want to be treated.”

Daniela Arroyo González

Daniella Arroyo poses for a picture in a car.
Daniela is to make history at the Miss Universe competition this year. (Instagram)

Trans model Daniela Arroyo González is set to make history this year as the first-ever transgender Miss Universe contestant.

As well as representing Puerto Rico on the world stage, she has used her platform to try to improve the rights of LGBTQ+ people in her home land.

Additionally, she took part in a lawsuit against the Puerto Rican government, arguing that trans people should be able to change gender markers on legal documents.

JoJo Siwa

JoJo Siwa onstage during an event.
International Women’s Day: JoJo Siwa wowed on Dancing With the Stars. (Getty)

Originally of Dance Moms fame, JoJo Siwa has amassed a huge queer following since she came out in January 2021.

On the latest season of Dancing With the Stars, Siwa became one half of the show’s first-ever same-sex dance couple.

She and her dance partner Jenna Johnson brought queerness to the masses – and it was truly glorious to behold. They finished in second place.

Nadia Whittome

Nadia Whittome speaking into a microphone during a protest.
Nadia Whittome proves activism and political action go hand-in-hand. (Getty)

Nottingham East Labour MP Nadia Whittome has been more than outspoken for the LGBTQ+ community in her political career.

At 23, she became the youngest MP when she won her seat in 2019. Whittome has adopted a number of progressive policies and has even vowed to work in government under a “worker’s wage” of £35,000.

Rebel Wilson

Revel Wilson at a red-carpet event.
Rebel Wilson has thrived after coming out. (Getty)

While the circumstances surrounding Rebel Wilson’s coming out story were disappointingly problematic, the actress has dealt with being forced to announce her sexuality with grace.

Wilson was pushed into revealing her relationship with fashion designer Ramona Agruma after a journalist said he intended to publish the news with or without her consent.

But since then, she has flourished and, of course, the queer community has accepted her with open arms.

Jill Scott

Jill Scott during a football match.
Jill Scott helped to win the Euro’s in 2022. (Getty)

After winning Women’s Euro 2022, midfielder Jill Scott has been riding a high that’s hard to come down from.

The queer footballer went from making football history to winning the 2022 series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

She announced her retirement from football shortly after England picked up the Euro trophy and published a 3,000-word article in which she said: “Today, I may be saying my goodbyes to football, but we’re going to make this a celebration, no sad faces!!”

Cynthia Erivo

Cynthia Erivo during a red carpet event.
Is there anything Cynthia Erivo can’t do? (Getty)

Award-winning actress, singer and songwriter Cynthia Erivo is the every-woman we aspire to be.

Having won a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony, while also being nominated for two Academy Awards, there’s nothing this LGBTQ+ queen can’t do.

She is set to star in Wicked Part One in 2024, as well as Luther: The Fallen Sun this year.

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