We live in a world that is colourful only because of the people in it. The same goes for the internet. Our social media platforms are only as colourful and inclusive as the people on them. And thankfully, India's very own LGBTQIA influencers are ensuring that the internet belongs to everyone.
This pride month, we celebrate these influencers for all that they are and all that they do.
Here are just a few that you should be following right now.
With over 195k followers on Instagram, Dr. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju is a well-known queer influencer on social media. She also has her own YouTube channel where she raises awareness and educates people on topics like gender and sexuality among other topics. She has also collaborated with other influencers like Kusha Kapila and Srishti Dixit in the past to educate the masses about the LGBTQI+ community. Recently, she made history by becoming the first trans woman surgeon in Karnataka.
Priyanka Paul is a self-taught poet, writer, storyteller and content creator and she is well-known for her activism on social media. Apart from having a huge fan following on Instagram, she has also achieved global recognition for her amazing artworks that reflect progressive, bold and edgy perspectives towards women empowerment.
Durga Gawde is an educator, artist, and drag performer who has popularised gender-neutral fashion in India. Gawde identifies as a non-binary gender-fluid person and uses social media as a platform to raise awareness about gender fluidity. Apart from that, Gawde also loves experimenting with make-up and fashion.
Sushant is a model, actor, VJ, drag performer, and LGBTQIA+ activist who has over 1.1 million followers on Instagram. He has made appearances on a number of television shows and in fact, in 2014 he won Mr. Gay India and represented our country at Mr. Gay World. He was also a contestant on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa in 2018. He's quite active on social media and he loves entertaining his followers.
Rishi Raj is an intersectional LGBTQIAP+ and anti-caste activist, poet and educator who uses his online presence to educate his followers about caste and queer issues through poems and videos. He's also a tarot card reader and a fashion and beauty influencer.
Alex is an LBGTQ+ influencer, singer, actor and drag queen by profession who hails from Bengaluru. He uses his social media to create awareness about the queer community and he often shares his own experience to amplify his activism.
Vivek is a trans artist, model, actor, musician and author who also works as an assistant professor for creative writing at the University of Calgary, Canada. She is also an author of the award-winning book titled I’m Afraid Of Men that explores how she was forced into masculinity due to her sex assigned at birth which traumatised her as a girl. She is also an advocate of mental health, gender and sexuality.
Anwesh is a motivational speaker, actor, dancer, model and blogger. He is also the winner of Mr. Gay World India 2016. He won the crown when he was just 20 years old, making him the youngest winner. He uses his social media account to create awareness about the queer community and he loves posting artwork, poems and pictures from his photoshoots.
Maitrayanee Mahanta is an upcoming social media influencer who hails from Assam. She is a content writer/creator, model and artist who also has her own YouTube channel where she posts regular updates about her life. She and her partner have also collaborated with influencers like Dolly Singh and artists like Ritviz.
With over 672k followers, Alok Menon is quite popular on social media who identifies as a gender non-conforming person. Alok is an author, performer, fashionista, model, media personality and motivational speaker. They (the pronoun preferred) use their social media account to also speak up on topics like gender, sexuality, race, human existence and pain. Menon has also walked the ramp for many fashion brands and has featured on fashion magazines like Vogue and Bust Magazine.
Ankit is a gay activist and a television strategist at a popular television network. He actively stands by the LGBT+ community and he uses his Instagram account to document his daily life, his ideologies, experiences and his opinions to educate his followers. He also worked closely with known journalist Faye D Souza to promote amendments in Article 377 towards the acceptance of homosexuality.
Vikramaditya is a teacher by profession at Ambedkar University and he takes a firm stand on LGBT+ issues. He uses his social media platform to talk about gender inequality, mental health issues and violence on LGBT+ among other topics.