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.

Tomi Afolabi

Photo by Sam Robertson

Growing up, Tomi Afolabi loved music so much it would move her to tears. So it was natural for her to forge a career path in the industry. “It’s important for me to be a part of creating that feeling for others, whether it’s by sharing a mix I just finished making or watching a crowd get lost during a performance I booked.” She got her start in talent relations while in college, booking weekly coffeehouse performances on campus. Now, she works as a music assistant at MTV. Her coming out process hasn’t been as smooth a transition as her career, she says. She calls it “a little uncomfortable,” because people tend to “grasp on to” the ambiguity of terms like “queer” or “bisexual.” “If they don’t hear the word ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ then it doesn’t really count to them,” Afolabi says. “I literally find myself having to remind people of who I am sometimes. I’m like, okay, cool. You either get it or you don’t.” Even within the community, she hopes diversity will soon be better recognized and celebrated. “As much as we are all the same, we are all so different,” Afolabi says. “Understanding and advocating for the marginalized within the already marginalized LGBTQ community will do us so much good.” She has taken comfort in the beauty she has encountered in LGBTQ folks. “Not just in appearance, but in nature,” she says. “Being able to love openly and freely is a gift that we should continue to so effortlessly do.” —SEJ

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