6 inspiring transgender icons
As Pride events kick off across Canada this summer, Kids Help Phone is celebrating the “T” in LGBTQ by sharing a list of inspiring people who identify as transgender (trans). Here, we round up some of their accomplishments and tremendous advocacy for the LGBTQ community.
She’s a TV host. She’s a best-selling author. She’s a public speaker. Is there anything Janet Mock can’t do? This media personality uses her platform to raise awareness for trans issues. Her memoirs, Redefining Realness (the first biography from a young trans person) and Surpassing Certainty detail her life and experience as a trans woman. Janet also took the stage at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington to promote the acceptance, inclusion and rights of every woman and girl.
Bow Grip. One in Every Crowd. Tomboy Survival Guide. These are just some of the titles in author Ivan Coyote’s collection of critically acclaimed work. The writer, spoken word artist and public speaker (their TEDx Talk on gender neutral bathrooms was a top talk of 2016) hails from Yukon and their material often sheds light on family, gender, identity and class issues in Canada.
Jackson Bird is a busy guy. He leads the monthly LGBTQIA+ Creators Group at YouTube Space New York. He’s involved with the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) for social action. He has a popular YouTube channel (35,000+ subscribers!) dedicated to breaking down barriers for the LGBTQ community. He’s also a TED Resident, and with his personal experience and signature humour, delivered a 2017 TED Talk to help demystify trans people.
“Your lives matter. Your voices matter. Your stories matter.” These are the uplifting words from superstar Laverne Cox, a pioneer for trans rights and awareness. For example, she was the first trans woman of colour to have a leading role in a mainstream scripted TV show (she plays Sophia Burset in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black). With her performance, she became the first openly trans person to receive an Emmy nomination in the acting category.
Vivek Shraya is an author, artist and musician (talk about a triple threat!). If you visit her website, you’ll see a list of over 20 awards and honours, recognizing her work in all areas (fashion, writing, LGBTQ activism, etc.). ICYMI: she was a Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, leading the charge at the 2016 Pride parade. Vivek is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Calgary. Keep an eye out for her new book, I’m Afraid of Men, in the fall of 2018.
Did you know Chris Mosier was the first known out trans man to join Team USA? (He qualified for the sprint duathlon at the 2016 World Championship.) The triathlete’s story and advocacy work lead the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to establish new guidelines for the inclusion of trans athletes. Off the track, Chris is the founder of transathlete.com, an educational resource for trans athletes in sport.
These trans icons remind us that it’s OK to be who you are. By raising awareness and being champions for the LGBTQ community, these individuals are making a difference around the world.