June is Pride month, where the LGBTQ+ community and their allies honor the pioneers of the past, celebrate the present, and look ahead the future.
This year, New York City is gearing up for WorldPride to commemorate the 50th anniversary since the Stonewall riots (and the birth of the modern gay right movement), with the annual Pride March taking place June 30. Theatre has its own intricate history with the queer community. While there is always more work to be done to ensure that the theatre is an inclusive community for all, it is often a space where LGBTQ+ stories are amplified and uplifted. Beyond onstage representation, the theatre community is made up of many LGBTQ+-identifying artists, who bring their talent, experience, and artistry to tell important stories across the country.
We asked our social media followers to share the LGBTQ+ heroes who inspire them.
Flip through the gallery to see 50 LBGTQ+ theatrical heroes:
Several of our readers shared their personal stories about the people who inspire them:
“Caitlin Kinnunen, obviously. Her portrayal of Emma [in The Prom] is so beautifully real, and her speaking out about her relationship with sexuality and labels have made this little unruly heart of mine feel so validated.” —Jaylin
"[Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs, and Lauren Patten in Fun Home] changed my life and made it so easy that when I figured out my own sexuality, I was completely comfortable to be me. I feel so lucky to have had a show as amazing as Fun Home as a part of my life.” —Beth
“Max von Essen and his empathetic, relevant portrayal of Marvin in Falsettos. Gerard Canonico from Be More Chill, for inspiring a trans kid to sing Rich Goranski—a human, masculine role that is way beyond the parameters or normalcy deemed by society and myself for trans guys. Billy Porter for obvious reasons. Kyle Taylor Parker for similar reasons, being the [Kinky Boots'] Lola I saw in my first live musical. Lastly, Caitlin Kinnunen for filling my mom and I with joy every time we see The Prom on TV or somewhere. Just being in this community makes me proud to be a trans gay actor.” —Oliver Schilling
“Not only is [Michael Arden] an extremely talented actor and singer, he is also a creative genius when it comes to direction. I look up to him in so many ways, and the fact that he’s so open about his queerness is an inspiration: that it’s possible to be both out and successful.” —Meg Fangmann
"100 percet without a doubt Billy Porter! What a fashion icon and Broadway legend. It’s so refreshing to see a black, queer person be so unapologetically themselves.” —Gary Fuqua
"[Billy Porter, Alan Cumming, Jerry Mitchell, and Jordan Roth] have all given time, effort, and a voice for making the LGBTQ+ community visible in the theatre but also to the world. They use their platforms to raise awareness of issues, send positive messages to the younger generation, and support us all.”—Liam Nathan Nicks