Pride isn’t just celebrated in June, it’s a year-round commitment. For LGBTQ+ allies, every day brings a new opportunity to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community and use our resources to support and elevate their work. This pursuit of progress is a continual one, and as more people advocate for equal opportunities and unbiased policies, the call for change has only grown stronger.
To accelerate this movement, we’re teaming up with NEONxGLAAD to elevate the stories of four Black LGBTQ+ changemakers who are doing it right in their communities. Their innovative work in education, fashion and beyond is creating opportunities for often overlooked individuals and furthering the causes of the Black LGBTQ+ community. Once a month through December, we’ll introduce you to these changemakers, their organizations and the work they’re doing to build a more inclusive society.
Episode 1: K.ngsley
Kingsley Gbadesein, founder of K.ngsley. Photo credit: LaQuann Dawson
K.NGSLEY is an advanced contemporary clothing line birthed from the vibrancy and community of activism and the club scene. Launched by Nigerian-American designer Kingsley Gbadegesin, the brand exists to serve the Black, Queer, Femme and Trans community, using fashion as a lightning rod to not just reclaim the meaning of their bodies, but also to raise resources to lift up and empower people and groups through community organizing and direct support.
The mission to allow yourself to show up as your most authentic person came from Gbadegesin’s own “aha” moment when he realized there is no such thing as what a Black gay person should be. Gbadegesin recalls, “The moment that I just started living for myself and putting that message out there, it’s just so beautiful to see how it resonated with so many people.”
“Giving back to the community is a part of my business model because I wouldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for the community,” Gbadesein explains. “So, if they’re investing in me, the only thing I can do is to invest back.”
Work That Matters
LGBTQ+ changemakers are using their voices year-round to advocate for overlooked communities and usher in a new age of acceptance. Their work is opening doors for members of the community and giving them space to feel safe, heard and accepted. Ally is supporting the continuation of this important work by rewarding each business with $10,000 to carry on with making positive changes in the world. The stories of these Ally and GLAAD changemakers hold inspiring messages for those who stop to listen.
Interested in hearing more? Check back next month to meet another changemaker and learn about the impact of their work.