When The Advocate chose its heroes for the annual People of the Year Luncheon, we looked to honor leaders in the LGBTQ+ community who share our mission to make a positive difference. These are the people that lift up their community by creating a space for others to share their stories, they are making a difference every day. They care for the people whose voices need to be amplified to make their community a better place. When we caught up with our honorees, we asked them about why they advocate for their community and how platforms like The Advocate make a difference. Watch highlights of their answers in the video above.
Meta was a proud partner for the luncheon, understanding how important having a platform is for the LGBTQ+ community. Speaking on behalf of Instagram, social media consultant Andraé Vigil-Romero had this to say about the partnership:
“As a social marketing consultant of Meta’s Family of Apps (FoA) Culture & Community Marketing team overseeing LGBTQ+ community programs, I initially proposed Instagram’s partnership with the Advocate, both as a long-time reader and understanding the cultural significance of this outlet for the community given its history as the longest-running LGBTQ+ publication. After meeting with the Equal Pride team, we identified The Advocate's People of the Year campaign as the prime opportunity to work together. Given the nature of this campaign that seeks to celebrate some of the year’s community leaders and allies who epitomize what it means to be an advocate, we were thrilled to support, especially given their presence on Instagram and how they use the platform to share their stories, build community and create change.
“Instagram is committed to supporting and amplifying diverse communities. So, we were proud to uplift these groundbreaking individuals who are making significant contributions in the name of equality, equity and accessibility. Safety and security are top of mind for everyone who works at Instagram. We recognize the importance of having a safe place to connect with others online and take a comprehensive approach to policies, building safeguards and developing resources with key LGBTQ+ safety and advocacy organizations around the world to foster a safer online environment. This approach is ever evolving, and input from our community is critical to informing and improving this approach. We want to make sure that Instagram is a place for the LGBTQIA+ community to explore their identity, share their story and enable them to connect with others so they find acceptance and belonging.”
It’s vital to have a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to share the joy that we experience every day. And we are proud to honor those that are creating that space, even in the face of adversity. To quote 2022 honoree poet, essayist, and cultural strategist Aurielle Marie, “Give us our 10s!” These heroes deserve it.
video by Austin Nunes (he/him) @austinunes
Amanda Bearse (she/her) @mandyblvd, Kevin Aviance (he/she) @kevinavianceofficial, Mrs. Kasha Davis (she/him) @mrskashadavis, Dot-Marie Jones (she/her) @dotmariejones, Neal Broverman (he/him) @nealbroverman, Gerald Garth (he/him) @garthdotgerald, Aurielle Marie (they/she) @yesaurielle