The Digital Issue

6 LGBTQ+ Influencers Who Are Owning What It Means to “Be Yourself”

Thanks to the growth of mental health awareness, there is no shortage of influencers on social media sharing their experiences and wisdom so that you can feel good about the time you spend scrolling. And luckily, there is also no shortage of specifically LGBTQ+ influencers who are on there to enhance your mental wellness.

We’ve gathered together six LGBTQ+ influencers whose content focuses on mental health. From the first trans man to star in a period advertising campaign to a Mexican-Samoan nonbinary queer person who wants to show you how to get in touch with your higher self, these influencers are helping us celebrate what it means to be ourselves and everything that makes us unique, for all the world to see. Read on to view our top choices.

Sabine Maxine Lopez

Handle: @atribecalledqueer

What They Champion on Their Account: Gender and racial equality, mental health

Black, non-binary femme Sabine Maxine Lopez is the owner and creative director of A Tribe Called Queer, a clothing brand that sells items with messages such as “Immigrants Are the Backbone of America” and “Femmes Can Be Thems.”

Sabine alternates posting clothing images with mental health content centered around gender and race equality for the brand’s social account. Sabine says, “I use clothing and many other mediums as a way of creating conversations about mental health and wellness. Whether it’s a t-shirt, ’zine, podcast, or blog, my purpose is to use these mediums in a positive way, to discuss important issues, and create more conversations.”

Based in Los Angeles, Sabine hopes their message improves the lives of people everywhere, noting, “I want to inspire that person in the middle of America: people who have no one around them that look likes them, is queer like them, or thinks like them. I want to create space for them and let them know that I see them, that they’re beautiful and important, and they have a voice as well. I want to inspire other people to do whatever they can to create change in the world.”

Kenny Ethan Jones

Handle: @kennyethanjones

What They Champion on Their Account: Trans awareness and advocacy

Model, activist, and entrepreneur Kenny Ethan Jones was the first trans man to front a period advertising campaign, which he credits for launching his career in activism. That activism encompasses menstruation, body politics, mental health, and intimacy, all of which he shares proudly on his Instagram.

Beyond his profile on the platform, Instagram contacted Kenny to provide consulting education around deadnaming and misgendering. He says that when Instagram decided to implement policies on these topics, “As a key figure in the LGBTQ+ community, I was asked to talk about my experience navigating this issue on their platform and ways in which I believed they could better protect people like myself.”

While his social feed consists mostly of selfies, it’s in the captions that Kenny works to inspire others. One post includes the advice:

“It doesn’t make you any less of a man if you bleed

It doesn’t make you any less of a woman if you don’t.

Gender is yours to claim. And validation of that should never come from a tick box exercise based on stereotypes. Live within and without labels, claim your space, and most importantly, focus on the things that make you feel more like you.”

Sonia Agarwal

Handle: @brownqueerfeminist

What They Champion on Their Account: Neurodivergence awareness and feminism

Sonia Agarwal created their Brown Queer Feminist account “to explore the intersecting identities” of their life as a mixed, queer person with ADHD who holds a master’s degree in autism.

Regarding the evolution of the account, Sonia says, “I’m passionate about...the issues people like me face when navigating a society that wasn’t necessarily built with us in mind. I didn’t expect people to care nearly as much as they have, and the fact that people do and I can provide some level of community and togetherness for so many people is extremely gratifying.”

On the Brown Queer Feminist account, Sonia seeks to help other neurodivergent people feel less alone and lead heterosexual and neurotypical people to “become increasingly mindful of the challenges LGBT and ADHD/autistic people face.”

Sonia tells Verywell, “It’s exciting to get to share my thoughts with other people and get instant feedback, and if I’ve helped anyone learn anything about themselves or the people close to them, I’m beyond grateful.”

Lyric

Handle: @neurodivergentrebel

What They Champion on Their Account: Neurodivergence awareness and advocacy

Neurodivergent Rebel began as a blog when queer, trans, non-binary Lyric found out they were autistic at 29. They were disheartened by the lack of material available by autistic people, which they describe as being mostly “from people complaining about Autistic People, caregivers, medical professionals, and organizations selling services and therapies to scared parents.”

“It was all very gloom and doom, and almost nothing for a late discovered adult like me,” Lyric tells Verywell.

They moved from blogging to social media because “that’s where people can use hashtags to find each other, while web searches tend to downrank the voices of Autistic People in favor of the organizations that medicalize and pathologize us.” Hashtags like #actuallyautistic enabled Lyric to find community and grow their own brand.

As for their social goals, Lyric seeks to both educate and add value to others. They note, “Whether it’s been educational, relatable, entertaining, or helped you to feel less alone, I hope you get something from spending your valuable time with me...I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to educate so many people over the years and look forward to seeing what the future will bring.”

Bunny Michael

Handle: @bunnymichael

What They Champion on Their Account: Self-love and awareness

Writer, artist, musician, and “spiritual activist” Bunny Michael wants to help you connect with your higher self and uses their Instagram, XO Higher Self podcast, and two books—“Me and My Higher Self” (2017) and “Love Notes From Your Higher Self” (2018)—to do that.

As a Mexican-Samoan queer, nonbinary person, Bunny’s social career began on MySpace in the aughts. While already known for their rapping and performance work, their Instagram grew quickly with a series of self/higher self memes that went viral. Their account continues to feature these photos, with captions centered around messages from our higher selves, along with videos on the topic and daily challenges like the below:

“Today’s #higherself challenge: Write something you love about yourself in the comments below. I’ll go first- I love my lil fuzzy mustache.”

Anna Zoe Quirke

Handle: @annazoequirke

What They Champion on Their Account: Autism awareness, eating disorder recovery

Go to mental health advocate Anna Zoe’s Instagram for the vibrant-colored outfits and impeccably styled photos, but stay for the forthright autism and body politics education. Anna discusses her experience as an autistic person and as someone who has recovered from an eating disorder using no-frills and no-holds-barred language, as in one caption that reads:

“Eating disorder recovery is really f*cking hard, but I don’t regret a single one of the tears because they’re the reason I’m still alive to write this today. If you’re in recovery from an eating disorder right now, then please know that you’re an absolute bloody legend for getting up and fighting every day, whether you feel like you’re doing a good job or not.”

In addition to offering hope and community for other autistic people like herself, Anna’s profile offers tips for neurotypical people to better accommodate the neurodivergent people in their lives, as in this post that details how to support neurodiverse people over the holidays.

About her work, Anna says, “I know who I am now. I’m a brave person, a kind person, an outspoken person, a passionate person, a person who cares about things intensely and unashamedly, a person who loves books and plants and rainbows and spinning letters into sentences into gold.”