The LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) Community has been around since the early 1920s. First beginning in 1924 with The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becoming the country’s earliest known gay rights organization. Then going through the timeline to 1955 the first lesbian-rights organization in the United States the Daughters of the Bilitis, established in San Francisco. In 1966 the world’s first transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit was established in San Francisco.
Now we jump all the way to 2014 and Rainbow Fashion Week (RFW) was founded. Rainbow Fashion Week was created to showcase queer designers, photographers, models, make-up artists, stylists, merchants, and retail buyers. Founded by E. Jaguar Beckford, owner of Jag and Co, its mission is to make sure each event is tasked with a social responsibility ad campaign, which this year show, was the first carbon neutral fashion show of its kind.
When you first walk into The Garage located on Morton Street in New York in the heart of West Village you are greeted by a high rise ceiling and clean white walls. To my left was a backdrop created for RFW to show all the supporters of the LGBTQ community and donators of RFW. It was decorated with a red carpet for those of the rainbow fashion community so they could be photo’d and interviewed. To the right was light refreshments of white wine and pizza. So unusual for a fashion showcase but so fit the ambience of RFW.
The festivities were kicked off with a mini fashion show of local LGBTQ fashion designers, then came honoring those in the media who are openly gay. Some among honorees featured were Virgil Wilson who was honored for launching the “We are all Equal” campaign for those who have suffered in the LBTQ community of suicide or suicide survivors, Andrew Shade who is founder of BroadwayBlack.com which is a go to website on everything in black culture and the theater, Delvon Johnson who created the magazine FITFL and partners with LaBelleLaDiva Enterprises to bring you up and coming trends of fashion and top celebrity interviews He was also honored for his works as an editor and his presence on radio and TV.
The end of the show was concluded with a memorial to those that lost their lives on that tragic day of June 12, 2016 at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL. The displayed the city skyline and rainbow colors as their pictures and names were displayed from the overhead projector with a song dedicated for them. It was a sobering moment that ended the start to gay pride week. It filled with humbleness and love for your brother or sister who was standing next to you.