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Meet the Queer Icons-in-the-Making Shaping Pop Culture

From the Latin rap star to the model-turned-memoirist, these artists are setting the stage for what’s next.

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Is there any realm of pop culture that hasn't been influenced by the queer community? You'd be hard-pressed to find a buzzy novel that doesn't draw inspiration from James Baldwin or Dorothy Parker, and countless music and fashion trends—not to mention modern slang—can be tied directly back to 1980s-era ballroom culture.

So when Them announces their annual Now Awards celebrating the people on the cutting edge of queer culture today, it doesn't just serve as recognition of a new class of legends, it's a peek into the future, one where artists like Yasmin Finney and Dylan Mulvaney are leading the way.

“LGBTQ+ people have always been at the forefront of pop culture, shaping art, fashion, and counter-culture," says Them Editor-in-Chief, Sarah Burke. "That’s still so true today, and exemplified through icons like our Now honorees, who are making art and telling stories that we’ve never seen represented before—and that shift our collective understanding of what’s possible.”

Read on to get to know the pop culture leaders, and head to Them to browse the rest of their honorees across politics, sports, and food.

Clockwise from top left, photography by Danika Magdelena, Kate Biel, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., German Vazquez, Camila Falquez, and Kadar R. Small, all courtesy of Them.

Meet All 12 of the Now Award Nominees


Them’s annual Now Awards honor 12 LGBTQ+ people across 12 categories who represent the cutting edge of queer culture today. This year, amid an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ hate, these honorees are fighting for the right to do drag, creating space for trans athletes in sports, ushering in a new wave of queer food culture, and telling LGBTQ+ stories that that America needs to hear right now. Collectively, they represent our community's endless, drive, ingenuity, and unstoppable power.


Them is the award-winning authority on what LGBTQ+ means today—and tomorrow. From in-depth storytelling on the fight for LGBTQ+ rights to intimate profiles of queer cultural vanguards, it’s a platform for all of the bold, stylish, and rebellious ways that LGBTQ+ people are reshaping our world every day.