11 LGBTQ2S+ Canadians You Need to Know

These artists, drag queens, activists and politicians light up our feeds.

June is Pride Month and all around the world, people are celebrating and commemorating LGBTQ2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two spirit) history. Here, we’re highlighting the work (and social media feeds) of some truly inspiring Canadians.

(Related: 10 Drool-Worthy Canadian Food Accounts to Follow on Instagram)

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Ilona Verley

Since appearing on the first season of Canada’s Drag Race, Ilona Verley made herstory as the first Indigenous, two-spirit and openly non-binary drag queen to appear in a Drag Race franchise. Verley, who is Nlaka’pamux, made headlines after walking the runway in a pastel-coloured take on a traditional ribbon skirt and jingle dress (which are traditionally worn by dancers at pow wow ceremonies) and red handprints to draw attention to Canada’s on-going missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls crisis.

Dr. Jill Andrew

Dr. Jill Andrew is an MPP for Toronto-St.Paul’s and is the first Black and queer person to be elected as an MPP in Ontario. Since her election in 2018, Andrew’s been busy: recently, her first private member’s bill advocating for the establishment of an Eating Disorders Awareness Week in February was passed. Outside of her work in politics, Andrew is the co-founder of Body Confidence Canada which advocates for inclusive images, messages and practices in Canada.

(Related: Meet 7 Canadian Body-Acceptance Influencers to Follow Now)

Vivek Shraya

As a musician, model, actress, author and publisher Vivek Shraya’s work spans every art form —from novels like The Subtweet to plays like How to Fail as a Popstar. Shraya is also the founder of the award-winning publishing imprint VS. Books, which supports emerging BIPOC writers. Shraya’s feed is full of stunning looks and, on occasion, she highlights new and upcoming writers.

(Related: 9 New Books to Read to Ease Stress and Reset Your Mind)

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What’s her name? PRIYANKA! As the inaugural winner of Canada’s Drag Race, Priyanka has since gone on to release music, star in ad campaigns for brands like Neutrogena, and make headlines for celebrating her Indo-Caribbean roots. Fun fact: before she was Priyanka, she was long-time YTV host Mark Suki.

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As Kitchener, Ontario’s premiere math nerd-turned-drag queen, Kyne’s feeds are filled with both sparkly makeup looks and number puzzles. Since appearing on season one of Canada’s Drag Race in 2020, Kyne has taken to TikTok (@onlinekyne) to share riddles, tell stories about famous mathematicians and offer lessons on how to spot misleading statistics in media — all while wearing high-glamour drag.

(Related: How This BIPOC Mental Health Podcast Got Me Through Covid-19)

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Kiley May

Kiley May, a two-spirit transgender actor and multidisciplinary artist, is best known for her role as River Baitz on the hit CBC show Coroner. She is currently working on a short film called Disclosure — the first in a trilogy that depicts the different stages of a trans woman’s dating experiences.

Allie and Sam

Halifax-based Allie and Sam share videos on their YouTube channel about their life together as a femme lesbian couple, their fertility journey and their experiences with IVF.

(Related: How Everyday Products Can Affect Your Fertility)

Kama La Mackerel

Kama La Mackerel is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and writer who lives in Montreal. La Mackerel was the creator and host of GENDER B(L)ENDER, a queer open stage series where, from 2013 to 2018, they presented over 650 performances from over 300 local artists. Their feed is full of stunning images that recall their award-winning poetry collection Zom-Fam, which mythologizes a queer/trans narrative of Mauritius, their home island.

Lauren Beatty

Aside from starring in films like Bloodthirsty and Jigsaw, actor Lauren Beatty is also a writer, musician and sketch comedian. She is one of the co-founders of Humblecore.ca, which produce women-led comedic skits. Beatty (and Humblecore’s) feeds are filled with short, hilarious clips of skits that satirize post-pandemic life and offer up catchy jingles about CERB.

(Related: 15 Shows With Strong Female Leads We Love on Netflix Canada)

Kristen McKenzie and Steph LeClair

This Toronto-based couple is best known for winning the fourth season of The Amazing Race Canada. They’re the first all-female team to win the Canadian version of the long-running reality TV show, and the first lesbians to win any edition of the show. Since their history-smashing appearance on The Amazing Race, McKenzie and LeClair have started an online clothing store called This Common Love that donates a portion of its proceeds to a LGBTQ+ non-profit.

Jen Sungshine

Jen Sungshine is a Vancouver-based queer Taiwanese-Canadian interdisciplinary artist, community facilitator, and cultural producer. Her feed showcases and promotes some of the work that she does with Love Intersections, a media arts collective of queer artists of colour who produce stories from underrepresented communities of colour.

Next, we spoke to an inclusion consultant for the wellness industry

Originally Published in Best Health Canada