LGBTQ+ artists show us what celebrating visibility and inclusion looks like to them

What are the issues – and what can we do?

The LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by extreme poverty – and the COVID-19 pandemic, a global wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and increasing violence and discrimination are further compounding the problem. The world must step up to ensure that no one is left behind in our fight to end extreme poverty. Take action with us now to support local LGBTQ+ emergency initiatives, and tune in to P&G’s Can’t Cancel Pride 2022 on June 14 at 8 p.m. ET to celebrate visibility and inclusivity for all and for supporting impactful organizations.

The concepts of visibility, inclusivity, and LGBTQ+ community have, in many ways, found renewed urgency over the past two years.

Despite record numbers of people in the United States identifying as LGBTQ+, new challenges – and longstanding but newly exacerbated ones – threaten to render queer people invisible, all at a time when the global LGBTQ+ community is facing increased violence, discrimination and poverty.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, closing gay spaces in its wake as many people have nowhere to turn, and putting further strain on the mental health of young people. Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has skyrocketed in the United States, with more than 300 bills introduced in 2022 alone, seemingly intended to erase the community’s very existence. And queer people of color, especially of trans and non-binary experience, continue to face disproportionate violence simply for being themselves, while LGBTQ+ people with disabilities face heightened systemic barriers to care. health, employment, etc.

But with this urgency comes a renewed sense of purpose and spirit. LGBTQ+ people and their allies are rising up to stop a reversal of all the progress that queer and trans activists have spent decades fighting for – and taking action for a more just and inclusive world. Pride, after all, is always a protest.

So in 2022, as these complex challenges persist, what does the celebration of visibility, inclusivity and community look like?

We asked LGBTQ+ artists, visual storytellers and performers from artist collective Up Until Now to answer this question, using their respective mediums to explore these concepts and their own lived experiences through poetry, movement and the song.

Up Until Now Collective produces intersectional and interdisciplinary work that “explores empathy, intimacy and community”, which is clear in each artist’s creation for the series.

American Sign Language (ASL) artist, director and choreographer Brandon Kazen-Maddox and members of New York’s Queer Deaf community performed an original chorepoem, written by Deaf poet and author Jonaz McMillan, on the community and unity. Makeup artist Suki Tsuji painted the performers’ hands with the colors of the rainbow pride flag.

Operatic mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who uses her presence on and off stage to uplift women, queer people and other marginalized communities, performed a powerful revival of the classic Wizard of Oz ballad “Over the Rainbow”, signed by Kazen-Maddox in ASL.

Visual artist and filmmaker Brian Gonzalez (aka Taxiplasm) has created a short film using a poem by trans poet Olaiya Olayemi, read by multidisciplinary artist Helga Davis, as the backdrop, featuring dancers moving gracefully in the water of the river in an intimate celebration of queer love and strength.

Global Citizen produced the series in partnership with P&G, ahead of P&G and iHeartRadio’s Can’t Cancel Pride 2022 streaming event and fundraiser for the LGBTQ+ community on June 14, celebrating visibility and advocating for inclusivity as well as the health and safety of all LGBTQ+ people.

Hosted by JoJo Siwa with performances by Katy Perry, Sam Smith, Anitta, Dove Cameron, Kim Petras and Betty Who, Can’t Cancel Pride will highlight a year of activism and the issues that continue to impact the LGBTQ+ community in 2022, along with “intersectional messages of spirit and strength.” Elton John will also receive the event’s first Impact Award, and Lizzo will take part in a special moment.

The third annual Can’t Cancel Pride is the latest effort in P&G’s 30-year commitment to LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion, dating back to 1992, when it was one of the first companies of the Fortune 500 to add “sexual orientation” to its diversity. statement. The company’s LGBTQ+ initiatives have always been led by LGBTQ+ employees, and the magnitude of the impact they can have today, throughout the year, is in large part due to the courageous efforts of early LGBTQ+ advocates.

This year’s theme is “Proud AND Together,” and P&G is using the event to call for greater visibility for marginalized communities, more authentic and accurate representation of the LGBTQ+ community, and increased financial support for people in the need.

“This year, as gathering restrictions have been lifted, we celebrate Proud AND Together!” Brent Miller, senior director of global LGBTQ+ equality at P&G and co-founder of Can’t Cancel Pride, told Global Citizen.

“Now more than ever, we are called to be visible and to work together to safeguard the progress we have made as a community. We are also proud of our partnership with Global Citizen and deeply moved by the work produced by the Up Until Now collective – in support of Can’t Cancel Pride – which echoes the unity, hope and kindness that helps us to emerge from the prolonged isolation of the pandemic to face today’s cultural challenges head-on.

Can’t Cancel Pride 2022 will raise critical funds for impactful LGBTQ+ organizations including the National Black Justice Coalition, GLAAD, SAGE, The Trevor Project, CenterLink, and OutRight Action International (OutRight is also a Global Citizen partner). In its first two years, Can’t Cancel Pride collectively raised over $8.3 million.

Watch and check out the incredible artwork from Up Until Now Collective below, and be sure to tune in to the premiere of Can’t Cancel Pride 2022 on June 14 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on TikTok, YouTube and iHeartRadio. Facebook pages; iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com; and Revry. The show will also be available on demand until June 30.


“Can our inner children kiss each other?”

“Do you ever think about how many things are happening in our world and how they are going to get better? I think about that every day. I always think — where to start? Yes. I start with my heart…As a deaf queer artist and writer, I often think about what core value I prioritize and what it is. Healing is my core value because it is what guides me on a daily basis. Healing makes me think about how I want the world to truly change… Can you imagine if little me and little you pulled away and had this conversation about what’s going on and how to promote more love? — Jonaz McMillan

  • ➨ A short film by the collective Up Until Now
  • ➨ Poetry by Jonaz McMillan
  • ➨ ASL choreography by Brandon Kazen-Maddox
  • ➨ Cast (in order of appearance): Shiran Zhavan; Cassie Mae Blomquist; Lorne Farovitch; Joan Joel; Claudia Gawlas; Traz Tiffany Freeman; Brandon Kazen Maddox
  • ➨ Director of photography: Taxiplasm
  • ➨ Makeup creation by Suki Tsuji
  • ➨ Produced by Kevin Newbury and Brandon Kazen-Maddox

“Over the Rainbow”

“This song is something that I think all of us in the western world know. From when we were young, it’s just a song that we know, so for me it got personal when I came out. .It’s kind of like the anthem for ‘it gets better’ for me, this idea of, I have hope for a lifetime of happiness that I can pursue. rainbow that I can dream of, wish for, work towards, direct my life towards. And, of course, that’s been kind of a queer anthem for a long time – you know, over the Rainbow, it is difficult that this is not the case. But at the same time, it was personal to me because I had lived this life, where I didn’t honor my own homosexuality for 33 years. And then seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, above that rainbow, understanding that I had a place in the rainbow flag and was welcome as a member of the community queer, gave me the courage I was really looking for to come out and own who I was as a bisexual woman. —Jamie Barton

  • ➨ Created by the collective Up Until now
  • ➨ Voice of Jamie Barton
  • ➨ ASL interpretation by Brandon Kazen-Maddox
  • ➨ Director of photography: Angélica Pérez-Castro
  • ➨ Directed and produced by Brandon Kazen-Maddox and Kevin Newbury

“(To reemerge”

“To me, celebrating visibility, inclusiveness and community is really how we reclaim each other. How we resurrect, how we resurrect, how we resurrect. How we become the angels each other, how we become each other’s heroes, how we remember that we are the oxygen we all need to survive, together, how our unanimity is unbreakable, and with this strong community, we are unstoppable. — Brian Gonzalez (aka Taxiplasm)

  • ➨ A film by Taxiplasm
  • ➨ Poetry by Olaiya Olayemi
  • ➨ Read by Helga Davis
  • ➨ With (in order of appearance): Claude Johnson; Martell Ruffin; Keerati Jinakunwiphat; Alicia C. Dellimore
  • ➨ Music: “Witness” by Lyra Pramuk
  • ➨ Produced by Kevin Newbury and Steven Vega
  • ➨ Special thanks: Marc Urselli and José Galvez