100 Women We Love: Class Of 2018

Each one of these women, in her own unique way, is a role model who exemplifies the best of the LGBTQ community.

Poppy Liu

Photo by Paul Kamau

Born in Xi’An, China, the now-Queens-based actor, poet, and doula Poppy Liu (who uses the pronouns “she” and “they”) is actively “decolonizing queer and femme stories about sex, body, love, and healing.” As the lead actor in the drama series Mercy Mistress, Liu tells the story of a queer Chinese-American professional dominatrix living in New York City. Recently, she went on two Bible Belt abortion storytelling tours with Names of Women, a short film based on Liu’s personal abortion story. Liu crowdfunded $20,000 to make the film and accompanying educational toolkits on reproductive justice, which she hopes will launch open conversations about the complexity of abortion — dialogues that include gender non-conforming and transgender voices. Names of Women premiered in New York City the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, and it’s been screening around the country ever since. Liu also founded Collective Sex, a storytelling initiative. “The future is queer, it’s immigrant, it’s hyphenated, and diasporic,” Liu says about the pulse that drives her career. “It is our stories that are going to be the blueprints for our collective liberated future.” —SEJ