When it comes to NFTs, it’s oversaturated. The NFT space is such a sales-focused marketplace that it can be difficult to sort through the junk and find the most authentic stories being told today, true, meaningful stories.
The LGBTQ+ community finally has a home at Pride Icons, which claims to be at the heart of what they call “the largest LGBTQ+ NFT collection in the world.”
Co-founded by Israeli actor and activist Eliad Cohen and founder of influencer marketing agency Regev Gur of Narrative Group, the project aims to highlight the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community who have been fighting for their rights to equality and visibility not be accepted despite their differences.
With more work to be done, this is a way to pause and pay tribute to the strides made by legendary LGBTQ+ icons who shaped pop culture.
For this project, each NFT is a digital design created by artist Max Bahman, a 24-year-old Tel Aviv artist who created pastel pop art NFTs to represent 100 groundbreaking Pride symbols available on Discord .
The first auction and coinage will open in early May, and they plan to issue batches of 10,000 NFTs at a time (team assisted by Amir Lazarovich, Google engineer).
“Each icon is built from every star, from Elton John to Cher and Harvey Milk, each NFT is connected to the icon and what they represent,” said Cohen.
Rather than a simple portrait, each NFT is a metaphor for each person it represents. There are NFTs representing Welsh actor Luke Evans and Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band Queen.
“We went in turn to look at each icon’s history and find out how it contributed to progress,” said Cohen.
Milk was a pioneering gay politician who was the first to be elected in California and didn’t hide his sexuality in the 1970s, while Cher is a gay icon who has donated millions to gay organizations.
Even Elton John, who came out as bisexual in 1976 (he later identified as gay in the 1990s), shared Rolling Stone at the time: “There’s nothing wrong with going to bed with someone of the same sex,” a bold move for the time.
“This is completely new,” said Cohen.
They plan to return $1 million to nonprofits that serve the LGBTQ+ community. “This is the only condition that I would do it, my partners were on the same page that we wanted to get involved in the fight for equality and donate to charitable organizations including those in Russia and Ukraine. “We want to support wherever we can,” adds Cohen.
According to Gur, each team member has a story connected to the LGBTQ+ community. “For example, my dad came out of the closet when I was 13, and two years later my sister did, too,” Gur said.
“No one should live like that – my dad lived for 40 years lying to himself and those around him that he was straight.”
“We thought, how do we shed some light on this vast darkness around the world that isn’t living its life the way it should?” asks Gur, who is a Forbes 30 under 30 in Israel, after the Class of 2021.
“When you buy an NFT, you bring something meaningful into your life,” he adds.
We work with Tammuz surrogacy company that helps bring children into the world. We do things that actually want to help the community. That’s why we did it.”
The Pride Icons team aims to be “the largest LGBTQ+ community in the world for NFTs”.
“The power will come when enough of a community has been built, once we have more people we can do so much good for this world,” Lazarovich said.
It’s a personal story for Cohen, who grew up in a small town in northern Israel and served in the military in his youth. “I was in the closet crying to god every night asking why you made me gay? I felt weak compared to others, alone,” recalls Cohen.
“As I began my journey by coming out of the closet at the age of 22, I want to show people that being gay is not a weakness, it’s a strength. I accepted myself.”
“It’s to help our brothers and sisters and non-binary people,” he adds.