With June’s annual commemoration of LGBTQ Pride Month quickly approaching, national LGBTQ newsmagazine The Advocate has named “Champions of Pride” from each of the 50 states, the Carolinas included. Here, the magazine has honored a North Carolina state lawmaker and a social worker in South Carolina.

State House Rep. Cecil Brockman, of Greensboro, came out as bisexual in 2016 and was a leading voice against passage of the state’s anti-trans HB2.

“His move occurred on the heels of the governor’s veto of the state Senate Bill 2, which would allow magistrates to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples,” The Advocate wrote. “Brockman, who wasn’t out at that time, stood and apologized to same-sex couples in North Carolina before being gaveled down by House Speaker Tim Moore. ‘I always felt that I tried to stick up for the LGBT community, even when I wasn’t out,’ he told Greensboro.com. ‘I want to do more of my part, to be stronger and admit to the world that I’m actually a member of this community as well.'”

In South Carolina, The Advocate named social worker Nijeeah Richardson among their “Champions.”

Richardson is director of support programs with Charleston’s We are Family, which works with LGBTQ young people. Richardson also has past community experience in Charlotte, where they interned with Time Out Youth Center and the Freedom Center for Social Justice. Richardson also co-founded Charleston’s Transformative Teaching Collective, which works to provide social justice education to schools and community groups.

Being a champion, Richardson told The Advocate,  “isn’t just about winning — when we know the race is rigged. Rather, it’s the spirit that compels us to keep fighting for the liberation of all people.”

See Brockman’s and Richardson’s full profiles, along with those from other states at The Advocate

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.