This post is part of Me, online, Mashable’s ongoing series digging into online identities.
If you were a queer kid growing up in the early ’10s, Tumblr, not school, was where you found community.
Tumblr was home to some of the internet’s gayest Disney Princess memes. It was where you went for the best transmasc fashion, queer Harry Potter fan fiction, lesbian spells, and sometimes even a little bit of love. Queer teens disproportionately used the platform, studies found.
But Tumblr’s financials are bleak, and its role in queer culture has quietly diminished. Instead, it’s Instagram — an equally visual medium somewhat sheltered from Reddit’s trolls, Twitter’s bots, and Facebook’s morons — to which queer culture has moved.
And it’s a beautiful thing. There’s just so much greatness to witness, experience, and fave.
Here are a few of the best queer accounts on Instagram, from queer Appalachian meme culture to LGBTQIA+ astrology— and some non-tearful reminiscing about queer platforms past.
1. For “All things dyke and beautiful,” aka, vintage photos of K.D. Lang, Godimsuchadyke
Unlike many queer accounts on Instagram, the account’s founder chooses to keep Godimsuchadyke anonymous. The result is less a glimpse of one person’s life than it is a bird’s-eye view of queer women’s culture, history, and art.
It’s hands down the best place on the web to find hot vintage photos of Ellen and contemporary paeans to Lena Waithe. Think of it as a collage board of 21st- and late 20th-century queer women’s life.
“When I started Godimsuchadyke, it transformed Instagram from a platform that I didn’t find very useful beyond content consumption to a platform where I felt that I could share freely,” the account founder told Mashable. “I think a lot of that sense of freedom has to do with my decision to keep the account anonymous and also to keep the posts curatorial, as opposed to sharing images of myself or my personal life.”
It’s a phenomenal account for anybody, but particularly those in the Xennial queer community desperate to see images of ’90s dykes other accounts lack.
While @Godimsuchadyke is proud of their work on Instagram, they’re also making a call for increased representation on the platform, namely: “more archival and cultural accounts that are run by QPOC, trans people, and people with a wide array of experiences with diverse bodies, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender expressions, and sexual identities.”
2. For nerds who love to read about LGBTQIA+ history: queerbible
Account founder Jack Guinness solicits people to write about their favorite LGBTQ heroes for queerbible, then posts snippets of their always poignant essays on Instagram. There’s also really charming original art, for those of us who hate to read more than 100 words on Instagram.
As a queer person, I’m not afraid to admit I always like to read about other people like me throughout history. Queerbible provides the super-gay history my high school textbooks just didn’t.
PETER HUJAR: CHRISTOPHER ST PIER, 1976 Today on The Queer Bible: ‘Harald Smart here, taking over to introduce a selection of photographs by Peter Hujar, accompanying my essay on his life and work, now live on The Queer Bible. // Our penultimate photo is Christopher Street Pier #2 (Crossed Legs) taken in 1976 // During the 1970s the shipyards of Manhattan’s Lower West Side, which had fallen into postindustrial dilapidation, became a virtually lawless annexe for communities living on the margins of society. Hundreds of gay men explored and occupied the spaces that were made available there during this time, turning the haunting, broken buildings into makeshift canvases for radical art, and into a sprawling sexual cruising ground shot through with danger. Hujar’s photographs of this precarious pre-AIDS utopia illustrate crumbling, deserted interiors – walls covered in poetic verse or lewd, witty cartoons – contrasting them with the scantily-clad bodies sunbathing and making merry out on the riverside during the summer months.’ . Peter Hujar: Speed of Life runs until May 20th 2018, at The Morgan Library & Museum . @h__smart #queerhistory #queerhistorymatters #queerbible #lgbt #lgbtq #lgbtqia #gayinstagram #gayinsta #lesbianhistory #sarahkane #gay #gayworld #gaypride #gaylife #gaylove #gayrights #gaygram #queer #queerart #lgbt #lgbtq #lgbtmemes #lgbtproud #queerhistory #andywarhol #candydarling #peterhujar #queerhistorymatters #lgbtqhistorymonth . © Peter Hujar Archive, LLC, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco @themorganlibrary
3. and 4. For the coolest contemporary queer superheroes: Hayley Kiyoko + Janelle Monae
We all need celebrities to fantasize and gossip about with our equally mildly shallow friends. Kiyoko has been called the “lesbian Jesus.” Janelle Monae made pansexual a household term.
For that, they deserve all our likes and love. The best place for that? Instagram.
5. For the best queer rural Appalachian memes (and social services), Queerappalachia
Queerappalachia is Instagram’s best account for rural queer Appalachianism, even though competition is, uh, limited. It provides breaking Appalachian news, Dolly Parton memes, BDSM gingerbread iconography, and addiction recovery services for queer and trans Appalachians through a telehealth program.
“These queer [Appalachian] kids need to know about people who got out and did things,” Gina Mamone, one of the founders of the account, told Mashable in May. “And that it’s okay for them to stay! Stay home and build things. Or not. Whatever they want to do, it’s okay. They’re okay.”
6. For LGBT history, high and low: LGBT_History
If you’re the type of person who complains that LGBT history was so much cooler back in the day, this account is for you. LGBT_History goes back — all the way back — and provides an eclectic collection of cultural images at all points along the queer timelines. The account, which has more than 283,000 followers, reflects on key moments in history as well as minor cultural shifts.
It’s delightful to look at the protest aesthetic of generations past. Teachers and gay fashionistas, take note.
7. For the history they never taught you in school: BlackLesbianArchives
Queer history often bends to the cis, white, and gay. Even if you don’t care about history, BlackLesbianArchives is an awesome corrective to the trend. At fewer than 1,000 followers, the account doesn’t currently have the following of some of the others on this list, which is exactly why you should follow it. The account zigzags back and forth through crucial moments black lesbian history.
“The BLA was created in June 25, 2017, due to the lack of resources and representation of Black Lesbian history on the web,” the account’s founder, Krü Maekdo, told Mashable. “As I started coming into myself, I started to research history on my people of the past. I’m a huge history archivist, so having this information available is crucial to me. I figured if I’m searching for this, then I know there’s other people in the world probably wondering where we at.”
Black Lesbian Archives has since expanded into an exhibit at Affinity Community Services in Chicago.
8. For overall excellence in funny memes: Xenaworrierprincess
Let’s not lie, 2018 is a low point for planet Earth. But Xenaworrierprincess offers some of the funniest damn queer memes on the internet, and for that, we should be grateful.
“@xenaworrierprincess is a niche lesbian meme page and queer advice zine. I started making memes after moving to a winter-y, strip mall city in the midwest for a Women’s Studies grad school program,” Madeline Court, the account’s founder, told Mashable. “I was researching and writing about lesbian culture all day, but I didn’t know any lesbians. It was a really surreal, lonely relationship to my sexuality,” she says. “I started making memes and sharing them on my personal Insta because I wanted to feel some kind of connection.”
XenaWorrierPrincess doesn’t think that Instagram always supports their queer artists — it’s not uncommon for the platform to take down posts that include the word “dyke” — but Court is glad the platform doesn’t seem to have the same negative energy Tumblr once did: “Instagram prizes curation and deliberateness, I think. It’s also a photo app; captions and comments are secondary. Tumblr was really, really text-heavy. A lot of the queer discourse was bad. We were all babies, trying to make sense of the world without any lived experience.”
9. For representation that matters: BlairImani
Blair Imani is a black queer Muslim activist and, with more than 28,000 followers, an Instagram star. Imani’s account defies constricting stereotypes that people can’t be queer and Muslim or a person of color.
“A lot of people assume that I’m homophobic, or that queer Muslims could not and did not exist. I do exist,” Imani told Teen Vogue recently.
Her Instagram is testament.
10. For all the best queer women’s history, high and low: Herstory
With more than 133,000 followers, Herstory is the leading queer women-specific history account on Instagram.
“I started the lesbian culture Instagram h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y, which I have been running for about three and a half years now. I post mostly herstoric photos and images from the 1800s to the late 1990s,” founder Kelly Rakowski told Mashable. “It all happened organically. I didn’t plan for it to have been so popular. People seem to really respond the images and stories I post. About one and a half years ago I started @herstorypersonals, now renamed @_Personals_, on Instagram. It’s a dating and community account where followers write personals based on old-school newspaper personals ads. I’m currently fundraising on Kickstarter to turn this account into a text-based dating and community app for queers.”
11. For queer astrology that’ll make you feel all the feelings: Chani Nicholas
Astrology is having a moment, and queer astrologers like Chani Nicholas are leading the way.
You can head to her Instagram for the best queer-friendly, loving, affirming horoscopes on the internet.
“Queer, trans, and gender nonconforming folx, and many marginalized communities, in my experience, have always been attuned to wisdom traditions, art practices, mythologies, and story-telling that explore the value of life beyond the normative conditions we’ve been given, but cannot exist within joyfully,” Nicholas told Mashable earlier this year.
Mercury enters Cancer today, reminding us that when we don’t have people and places where we can articulate our feelings, they are so much more of a burden to work through. Emotions need to be expressed. Unpacked. Investigated. Left alone they fester. Twist themselves into strange monsters that lurk in the shadows of our lives. Threaten to wreck what is working. . The world is a dumpster fire of injustice. It is constructed to keep us separate from our power. From our wisdom. From our wildness. We need to both construct, and get ourselves to, the spaces that reflect our beauty and our becoming. The spaces that help us sort through the situations that bewilder, betray, and become too difficult to carry alone. . Each interaction that is done in kindness can become one of those spaces. . This month’s new moon workshop goes into great detail in regards to Mercury’s journey as it will trigger the July 12th eclipse point as it opposes Pluto. If you want to know more, please join me for A Workshop for The New Moon in Gemini and The Full Moon in Capricorn, which is now available for immediate download. . In it you’ll receive meditations, altar suggestions, and rituals specific to your sign for both the new and full moon. I’ve geared the whole course to help cleanse and clear in preparation for this summer’s eclipses as well. Hope you enjoy! #Tuesday #Mercury #NewMoon #Gemini #Astrology #ResetYourSystems
12. For excellence in Samira Wiley: Whodatlikedat
Samira Wiley doesn’t provide queer history or astrological wisdom on her account, and that’s okay. Sometimes all you need is a simple, relentlessly positive, thirsty queer account in your feed. Bonus: she’s apparently in a healthy, happy marriage that should make all of us who’ve experienced queer drama feel really good.
13. Because we all need our Queer Eye fix: Jonathan Van Ness
Jonathan Van Ness is a ray of queer sunshine, and we’re all desperate for a little light in these sad times. His account features some of the best selfies on the whole damn site. Bless him.
14. If you feel like you want to understand queer culture but don’t get half the terms: gayglossary
Listen. I’m queer and 34 years old, and I still feel like my queer vocabulary is out of date. Gayglossary provides helpful explainers and super-pretty illustrations to make learning all the less irritating. At fewer than 1,000 followers, gayglossary is still a young account, but it’s growing, as well it should.
“I wanted to create a really visual glossary that helps to make sense of all LGBTQIAA+ identifying language. Honestly, even a lot of the people I started talking to about the idea didn’t even know what LGBTQIAA+ stood for,” Kate Carter, the account’s founder, told Mashable. “Which made it even more obvious there was a need for a modern resource.”
If you’ve retired from Tumblr or can’t find queer community in your hometown or even your big city, you’re not alone. The platforms, not the verticals, are where you’ll find the best in queer culture.
There’s so much queer excellence out there. You just need to know who to follow.