5 People Who Used Their Instagram To Foster Communities Of Support In 2017

"I want to start a new conversation when speaking about masculinity, especially black masculinity.”

In the past year, the Instagram community has shown how the platform can be used to bring people together and raise awareness. Instagram is taking the end of this year, which was difficult for many, as an opportunity to shine a light on users who used their platforms to make a positive impact on important issues in 2017. 

"In 2017, the Instagram community rallied behind many issues within the LGBTQ community, discussions around mental health and recovery, sex and body positivity, as well as women collectives and artists promoting female issues," a spokesperson from Instagram wrote in a statement. These communities of support were one of the key trends that defined the platform this year. 

To ensure their efforts did not go unnoticed, Instagram commissioned artist Hilde Atalanta to illustrate images of five people who positively influenced others on the platform this year. 

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From helping people find self-love, to teaching them the importance of diversity, to shattering stereotypes surrounding mental health, these five people used their voice and art to pave the way toward positive change in different communities. 

Scroll through to see the illustrations and read why Instagram chose to highlight these five users.

For Mental Health: Montana Kitching

Courtesy of Instagram. Created by Hilde Atalanta

"Montana Kitching is a Melbourne based Illustrator who focuses on the thoughts, feelings and insecurities that many women experience daily," Instagram wrote in a statement. "Through her illustrations, Montana opens conversation about topics which are often romanticized instead of taken seriously, and those that are for some reason considered 'taboo.'"

You can follow her @okaymontana

For Gender Identity: Alok Vaid-Menon

Courtesy of Instagram. Created by Hilde Atalanta

"Alok Vaid-Menon is a gender non-conforming writer and performance artist," Instagram wrote in a statement. "Their eclectic style and poetic challenge to the gender binary have been internationally renowned."

You can follow them @alokvmenon

For Body Positivity: Shalice P. Ader

Courtesy of Instagram. Created by Hilde Atalanta

"Nineteen-year-old Shalice P. Ader is a social media influencer, who focuses on inspiring and helping her supporters feel confident in their own skin, and body," Instagram wrote in a statement. "Her hair loss empowers her to be stronger and confident as a person. She uses that confident and shares to her audience advices for body positive and motivation."

You can follow her @heyshalice

For Inclusivity and Diversity: Quil Lemons

Courtesy of Instagram. Created by Hilde Atalanta

"With my art, I'm just expressing myself while sometimes using my art as a means of activism," 20-year-old Quil Lemons told Instagram. "There's something visceral about art in that it touches the soul and allows the viewer to understand my feelings and viewpoint. With my art, I feel that I am disrupting society's perception of what it means to be a Black boy in America! I want to start a new conversation when speaking about masculinity, especially black masculinity."

You can follow him @quillemons

For Women’s Issues: Areeba Siddique

Courtesy of Instagram. Created by Hilde Atalanta

Areeba Siddique is a 19-year-old Pakistani artist, blogger, and feminist. She often writes and creates art about tolerance, female empowerment, and her own personal experiences. She uses her platform to celebrate women of color as well as share poetry and creative pages from her journal. 

You can follow her @ohareeba

Cover image via Unsplash

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