10 queer women who’ve changed the world in the last year-TGN

Friday (8 March) marks International Women’s Day 2024, an annual day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – not that that shouldn’t be happening every day already, mind.

This year’s theme, Inspire Inclusion, aims to “inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion”.

As a section on the International Women’s Day website reads: “When women are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. Collectively, let’s forge a more inclusive world for women.”

So, as we get ready to raise a glass, here are 10 queer women who have been shaping our world.

Adore Delano

Drag Race‘s Adore Delano came out as trans last summer. (Instagram)

Drag Race alumni Adore Delano has been inspiring women across the world with her uplifting social media posts after coming out as trans in July 2023.

From documenting her journey with facial feminisation surgery, to sharing the small and big moments of euphoria she has experienced in her journey, we could all use a little bit of Adore’s positivity in our life.

Nadia Whittome

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

Labour’s Nadia Whittome is known not only for being, for a time, the youngest serving MP, but also for her advocacy of all people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

Whittome, who identifies as queer, has chalked up a number of achievement, with her most recent triumphs including advocating for a full and comprehensive conversion therapy ban, and co-hosting a talk in parliament with a group of trans under-18s.

As well as her LGBTQ+ and feminist activism, Whittome has taken great strides to help ease the cost-of-living crisis, taking a pay cut from £79,468 to £35,000. The difference is paid to local causes in her Nottingham East constituency.

Ayo Edebiri

Ayo Edebiri stars as Sydney in The Bear.
Ayo Edebiri stars as Sydney in The Bear. (Disney+)

Ayo Edebiri’s queer energy is perhaps best seen in her award-winning performance in The Bear, where she plays novice perfectionist chef Sydney Adamu.

That and performances in fan-favourites such as Bottoms and Abbott Elementary have led some to consider her the next big queer acting legend – not surprising, given she’s already been among the awards in 2024, including picking up a Golden Globe for best actress and getting the nod from the Screen Actors Guild.

Emily Bridges

Emily Bridges photographed on a red carpet.
Trans cyclist Emily Bridges is ready to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights. (Getty)

Emily Bridges is not only a one-of-a-kind athlete, but also a staunch campaigner for trans inclusion in sport.

Two years after coming out, in 2020, trans cyclist Bridges found herself at the centre of a toxic debate after she was barred from a major British Cycling championship on the basis of her gender identity.

Not content to take the ban lying down, Bridges has continued to campaign for her right to compete professionally. She made her feelings clear in an interview last month, in which she said she is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Brianna Ghey

Brianna Ghey.
Transgender schoolgirl Brianna Ghey was murdered last year. (GoFundMe)

The murder of Brianna Ghey, aged just 16, made international headlines. Family and friends have described her as “unique and joyful”, and her legacy will be that of a trans woman who was never afraid to be her true self – as fellow pupils of Birchwood Community High, in Warrington, described in a letter dedicated to her memory.

“We will miss her wit and her humour,” the letter read. “We will even miss her insults and her putting as all in our place. We learned so much about strength and determination to be one’s true self. And that is something that we all carry with us.

“She was a true one-off, unique and truly unforgettable. What a privilege it was to know her.”

Sara Ahmed

Sara Ahmed pictured holding up her book which reads "The Feminist Killjoy."
Author Sara Ahmed analyses feminism. (Twitter/X)

Self-described “feminist killjoy” – referring to the title of her latest book – British-Australian lesbian writer and academic Sara Ahmed has been doing her utmost to create a comprehensive and modern analysis of feminism in the 21st century.

The Feminist Killjoy Handbook analyses how the term “killjoy” has been used to dismiss modern feminist and progressive talking points such as sexist micro-aggressions or racist jokes. The book draws its conclusions based on anecdotes from Ahmed herself and others, as well as from feminist history.

Her other book, arguably the most famous of her prolific library, Living a Feminist Life, is a comprehensive guide on how feminist theory is considered, used and implemented every day.

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner smiles while wears a red, white and blue Team USA Olympic basketball jersey
Basketball star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia two years ago. (Getty)

Following her release from a Russian prison, after being jailed for nine years after vape cartridges containing a small amount of medically-prescribed cannabis oil were found in her luggage in February 2022, lesbian basketball star Brittney Griner is reported to be doing “remarkably well”.

Efforts by the US government to get her back home early proved successful in December 2022, and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said last year that they were “excited to have her back in the league after an awful ordeal”.

What’s more, the athlete has been using her platform to promote LGBTQ+ activism, including during a news conference last May when she denounced attacks on trans athletes.

“Everyone deserves the right to come here, sit in these seats and feel safe, and not feel like there’s the threat, or they can’t be who they are, or like it’s all eyes on them,” she said.

Yasmin Finney

Yasmin Finney.
Yasmin Finney has been hailed as brilliant by Russel T Davies. (Getty)

Yasmin Finney’s performance in last year’s Doctor Who special has been hailed as “magic”. The trans star was already making waves in Netflix school drama Heartstopper, and for her activism.

During 2023’s London Trans+Pride, Finney was seen leading crowds in spreading trans and LGBTQ+ joy across London, yelling chants of solidarity and proclaiming that “trans rights are human rights.”

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies described her as “brilliant” and her performance as Rose in “The Star Beast” as “ a journey and a joy.”

Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon, pictured screaming at a Barbie premiere.
Kate McKinnon made audiences laugh with her spot-on impressions. (Getty)

Saturday Night Live comic-turned Barbie star Kate McKinnon is a joy to watch not just because of her hilariously captivating energy on screen, but also for how she manages to weave progressive activism and feminism into her work.

During her time on SNL, prior to her departure after 10 seasons, McKinnon managed to stick it to anti-LGBTQ+ naysayers, all while performing perfect impressions of Justin Bieber, Hillary Clinton and – unforgettably – fellow lesbian Ellen DeGeneres.

Yasmin Benoit

Yasmin Benoit, pictured holding up an asexual Pride flag.
Asexual activist Yasmin Benoit made history at NYC Pride. (Getty)

Yasmin Benoit has been making waves with her advocacy for asexual and aromantic visibility.

Last year, she made history by becoming the first asexual grand marshal of NYC Pride, which will be the “beginning of change”, she hopes.

“There is more momentum and more interest, but we still almost need to prove that asexuality is a real thing, (a) real orientation, which sounds bad, but that’s how early on it is for people working out what it means, what the actual definition is,” she told PinkNews in June.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *