QUEER VOICES

Meet 11 People Who Stood Up To Bigots In 2015 With Spectacular Results

A look back at some of our favorite heroes from the past 12 months.

There's no denying that 2015 was a remarkable year for mainstream rights and visibility for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

However, when it comes to reminders of how far we still have to go in fighting for full equality and liberation, few things are as powerful or obvious as the bigotry offered by those who hate, fear or misunderstand queer people.

Throughout the past 12 months, many individuals went the extra mile to show solidarity with and support for the LGBT community. From a little girl bravely waving a rainbow flag in the face of extreme hate to a digital activist whose trolling exposed the lunacy of those who despise queer people, these are just a handful of some of our favorite people who took on anti-LGBT sentiment in 2015. Thank you!

  • The Equality House
    2015 proved to be another remarkable year for The Equality House -- the rainbow structure that sits in direct opposition to t
    Courtesy of Equality Housr
    2015 proved to be another remarkable year for The Equality House -- the rainbow structure that sits in direct opposition to the Westboro Baptist Church compound.

    Throughout the past year, The Equality House held a virtual pizza fundraiser for homeless youth in response to an anti-gay pizza shop, staged a gay "Wizard Wedding" between Gandalf and Dumbledore and erected a billboard calling out the ignorance of Kim Davis in her own hometown -- just to name a few.

    Head here to see more from The Equality House.
  • Omar Currie
    A third grade teacher made a bold move this spring after he heard a number of his students calling another classmate "gay." <
    HARRY LYNCH/TNS/Landov
    A third grade teacher made a bold move this spring after he heard a number of his students calling another classmate "gay."

    Omar Currie handled the situation by reading his students King & King, a children's book that features a same-sex romance. 

    "One student said that it made them uncomfortable, saying, ‘Well, I’ve never seen two men marry each other,’" Currie told HuffPost. "I said: 'Well, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable when you feel something new, but what is the moral? The moral is to treat people well, no matter who they are.'"
  • Zea, The Ohio Girl Who Stood Up To A Homophobic Preacher
    YouTube
    Following the Supreme Court's ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, supporters gathered in celebration all over the country -- but, of course, so did some haters. One 7-year-old in Ohio, Zea, stood firm in the face of hate by waving her rainbow flag at a homophobic street preacher ranting at her through a microphone. Three cheers for Zea for never backing down.
  • Kelly Lauren
    A transgender woman in Chicago, Illinois,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/this-trans-woman-asks-you-really-want-
    Matthew Mills
    A transgender woman in Chicago, Illinois, made a bold and powerful statement in November in response to Houston, Texas, voters striking down proposed legislation that would extend nondiscrimination protections to the LGBT community, including enabling trans people to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

    Kelly Lauren, a transgender woman and drag entertainer, posted the photo to her Facebook account as a tounge-in-cheek response asking, "Houston, do you REALLY want me in the same restroom as your husband or boyfriend?"
  • Paul Henson & Ashley Ramage
    The parents&nbsp;of a three-year-old boy in Virginia gained&nbsp;<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/this-kids-mom-and-da
    Courtesy of Paul Henson
    The parents of a three-year-old boy in Virginia gained viral fame this year when they posted a photo of their son, Caiden, wearing a princess Halloween costume from the popular movie "Frozen."

    The pair told Caiden that he could be whatever he wanted for Halloween -- it didn't matter if the outfit was marketed for a boy or girl. 

    "As children get older, they distance themselves from their parents. Why start that split sooner than they need to?" Henson told The Huffington Post. "It's important for children to know that their parents will stand by them no matter what. Ashley and I will do whatever it takes to keep our son happy and not take his innocence and imagination from him."
  • Digital Activist Mike Melgaard
    One of the breakout heroes of 2015 proved to be Mike Melgaard -- an activist who brilliantly trolled anti-LGBT bigots on vari
    Courtesy of Mike Melgaard
    One of the breakout heroes of 2015 proved to be Mike Melgaard -- an activist who brilliantly trolled anti-LGBT bigots on various business' Facebook pages throughout the year.

    Melgaard created fake support accounts for different businesses after they made pro-queer moves and experienced anti-LGBT backlash from the public.

    Did you miss his brilliant digital activist trolling? Check out his work from the Target, Campbell's and Frito-Lay Facebook pages.
  • Carla Lewis
    Carla Lewis, a&nbsp;transgender veteran, made waves across the Internet this year when she <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/
    Courtesy of Carla Lewis
    Carla Lewis, a transgender veteran, made waves across the Internet this year when she posted a photo of herself wearing a polarizing t-shirt: "Transgender Veteran: I fought for your right to hate me."

    The shirt commented on an often-overlooked reality: a number of the men and women who have or are currently serving in the United States military identify as transgender.

    Thank you for this, Carla!
  • Russell Hughes
    A hair salon owner <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gay-hair-salon-sign_n_7561994">made a public declaration against d
    masonwilliamsowen/Instagram
    A hair salon owner made a public declaration against discrimination in June after a customer refused to let an employee cut his son's hair because he perceived the man to be gay. 

    Russell Hughes installed this sign on the front of his hair salon after the incident, proudly letting customers know that they can expect a haircut free of any form of discrimination when they enter his establishment.
  • The Red Raven Espresso Parlor
    The Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo, North Dakota, took a stand against legislators in April who struck down a bill that w
    shutterstock
    The Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo, North Dakota, took a stand against legislators in April who struck down a bill that would have provided discrimination protections for the queer community. 

    Owners posted a sign banning the legislators who struck down the bill from the establishment, and claimed they could only enter the shop if accompanied by a member of the LGBT community. The owner later clarified in a Facebook post that the ban was meant to "satirize the environment that the legislators created for the LGBTQ+ community by voting against" the bill.
  • 'Willy Wonka' Subway Rider
    YouTube
    An unidentified subway rider in New York City shut down a homophobic preacher in January by drowning out his hate with a beautiful rendition of "I've Got A Golden Ticket" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

    The subway hero's actions were applauded by his fellow mass transit passengers.
  • Jesse Mount
    In&nbsp;June, Australian&nbsp;Nick Jensen wrote <a href="http://citynews.com.au/2015/gay-law-change-may-force-us-to-divorce/"
    Canberra City News
    In June, Australian Nick Jensen wrote an op-ed for the Canberra CityNews in which he claimed that he and his wife Sarah would “as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognize the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnization of same-sex couples" -- effectively saying they would divorce if Australia legalized same-sex marriage.

    In response, Jesse Mount organized a Facebook group for people who agreed they would celebrate the couple's divorce if and when same-sex marriage came Down Under. The massive Facebook group became a place where same-sex couples shared photos and stories about their own lives and relationships in an effort to show the faces of healthy queer love.

Also on The Huffington Post:

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