In a world where diversity is celebrated and individuality is respected, many individuals are openly expressing their identity in ways that may not have been as recognized or accepted in the past. One such group that is courageously stepping forward is the transgender community. While it’s important to remember that one’s gender identity doesn’t define them, it’s equally significant to acknowledge the bravery and the journey of these individuals who’ve transitioned. Here are 15 transgender celebrities you absolutely need to know, making waves in their respective fields while advocating for transgender rights and visibility.
1. Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox, a versatile actress best known for her groundbreaking role as Sophia Burset on Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black,” is an outspoken transgender woman. As the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, she broke barriers and continues to advocate for the transgender community. Laverne uses her platform to educate others about transgender issues, making significant contributions to transgender visibility and acceptance.
2. Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner is a former Olympic gold medalist who came out as a transgender woman in 2015. Previously known as Bruce Jenner, she has been one of the most high-profile figures to transition. Her journey, though filled with controversy, has played a role in bringing transgender issues into the mainstream conversation, particularly among sports communities and reality television audiences.
3. Elliot Page
Elliot Page, known for roles in “Juno” and “The Umbrella Academy,” came out as transgender and non-binary in December 2020. Elliot uses his platform to speak out about issues affecting the transgender community, such as healthcare rights and violence. His journey is inspiring to many, as he navigates his acting career while advocating for transgender rights.
4. Chaz Bono
Chaz Bono, son of famous entertainers Sonny and Cher, came out as transgender in 2009. Since then, he’s been an active advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and transgender visibility. Chaz has been open about his transition, helping to increase public understanding of transgender experiences, particularly in the realm of entertainment and media.
5. Andreja Pejic
Andreja Pejic is a renowned Australian model who has walked runways for major designers like Marc Jacobs and Jean-Paul Gaultier. She publicly came out as a transgender woman in 2014, becoming one of the first openly transgender models in the fashion industry. Andreja continues to break down barriers in the fashion world, promoting diversity and inclusivity.
6. Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings, star of the TLC reality show “I Am Jazz,” is a transgender woman known for being one of the youngest publicly documented people to be identified as transgender. She’s an author, YouTuber, and activist for transgender rights. Her openness about her journey has helped educate people, particularly youth, about the transgender experience.
7. Janet Mock
Janet Mock is a writer, director, and producer who has been an outspoken advocate for transgender rights. After coming out publicly as a transgender woman in 2011, she went on to write her memoir “Redefining Realness,” which has helped many understand the realities of being a transgender person. Janet’s work in media, especially on the show “Pose,” has significantly contributed to transgender representation in film and television.
8. Indya Moore
Indya Moore is a fashion model and actor best known for playing Angel Evangelista in the TV show “Pose.” They identify as transgender and non-binary. Indya uses their platform to speak out about transgender issues and to push for greater representation in the media, making a significant impact in the entertainment industry.
9. Jamie Clayton
Jamie Clayton, an actress known for her role in “Sense8,” is a transgender woman who has been a prominent figure in Hollywood. Her candidness about her transition and the representation she brings to the screen have contributed greatly to the visibility of transgender individuals in the film industry.
10. Lana Wachowski
Lana Wachowski, co-director of “The Matrix” series, is one of the first major Hollywood directors to come out as transgender. She’s been open about her journey, breaking barriers and stereotypes about transgender individuals in the film industry. Lana’s influence continues to pave the way for more diverse representation in Hollywood.
11. Nicole Maines
Nicole Maines, known for playing Nia Nal/Dreamer in the CW’s “Supergirl,” is the first transgender superhero on television. As an activist, she won a landmark case in the Supreme Court of Maine concerning transgender bathroom rights. Nicole uses her platform to advocate for transgender rights and visibility.
12. Hunter Schafer
Hunter Schafer is a model and actress, known for her role as Jules in HBO’s “Euphoria.” She’s a transgender woman who has been vocal about her experiences and the need for more inclusive representation in the media. As an artist and an activist, Hunter’s work is helping to redefine how transgender individuals are perceived.
13. Isis King
Isis King is a model and actress who gained recognition as the first transgender woman to compete on America’s Next Top Model. Isis has used her visibility to advocate for transgender rights and acceptance in the fashion industry. Her journey and her work have helped to change perceptions and increase the representation of transgender models.
14. Balian Buschbaum
Balian Buschbaum, formerly known as Yvonne Buschbaum, is a former German pole vaulter who came out as transgender in 2008. Since his transition, he’s been a motivational speaker, advocating for transgender rights and visibility in the sports industry. Balian’s courage has opened doors for increased dialogue and understanding about transgender athletes.
15. Munroe Bergdorf
Munroe Bergdorf is a British model and activist who was the first transgender model in the UK for L’Oréal. She’s been an advocate for transgender rights, speaking openly about her experiences as a transgender woman of color. Munroe continues to use her platform to challenge societal norms and advocate for change in the fashion industry.
Each of these transgender celebrities has made a significant impact not just in their respective fields, but also in raising awareness and acceptance for the transgender community. They serve as inspirations, reminding us of the importance of celebrating our individuality and diversity. It’s essential that we continue to support and stand up for the transgender community, as we all strive for a world where everyone can express their authentic selves freely.