Meet 51 Kickass Women From The 2013 Trans 100

trans100-flyer-1-682x1024The 2013 Trans 100, the brainchild of Jen Richards of We Happy Trans and Antonia D’orsay, Executive Director of This Is H.O.W, aims to provide “an inaugural overview of the breadth and diversity of work being done in, by, and for the transgender community across the United States.” The cultural conversation around trans* people tends to err on the side of “non-existant” punctuated by brief forays into “tragedy,” but Richards and D’orsay wanted to shift that conversation towards the accomplishments and strength of individuals within the trans* community.

From over 500 nominations, 100 lucky humans were chosen and the list was announced at a March 29th event sponsored by Chicago House, GLAAD, The Pierce Family Foundation, and KOKUMOMEDIA; featuring Janet Mock, Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler, musicians Namoli Brennet and Joe Stevens, performer/activist KOKUMO and producer Jen Richards.

Antonia D’orsay said this about the Trans 100: “The value of the work that is represented by the 100 people on this list is immeasurable. These people demonstrate the diversity, the determination, and the incredible triumph of spirit that informs all trans people, no matter where they are. This is just a glimpse of what trans people can accomplish.”


Buzzfeed offered some brief bios of each honoree, but other news outlets have mostly just published a list of names. We here at Autostraddle wanted to feature a bit more in-depth information and some actual words from the many inspirational humans on this list — more specifically, from the ladies. To that end, we’ve erred carefully to include only those who clearly identify as women, but there are heaps of genderqueer folks, trans men and non-binary-identified people on the list that you should check out, though, so GET ON IT!!!

We included quotes for everybody we were able to find online writing by or an interview with.

As always, let us know if we’ve made any mistakes by emailing riese [at] autostraddle dot com!

Abigail Jensen

Tucson, AZ

Website: Arizona Abby

  • President of QSquaredYouth
  • First transgender attorney to appear before the Arizona Supreme Court

“…mostly [my advocacy] takes the form of simply being who I am, a woman of integrity and grace who lives in peace with herself, allowing others to see and learn about who I am and, in that process, to see that trans people are no threat to them and thus build tolerance and acceptance of who we are.”

via who i am and why i do what i do

Alexis Martinez

Chicago, IL

Read her life story: The Transgender History Project

  • Evangelical Christian, Mexican, Apache, Lesbian
  • Activist for living-wage employment, housing, education and quality healthcare
  • Core organizer of Dyke March Chicago

“Jesus surrounded himself with every kind of person imaginable. He didn’t ask people you can only come in here if you don’t have any flaws. I don’t really look at a person and say we can’t include you in here because you don’t believe what I believe or you smell funny. We all have something that we can contribute. Something that we can put into the pot. It’s hard to understand that idea because you’re dealing with real human beings, their egos and all. There’s a lot of people, I’m talking about really brilliant people who grew up in church families and they were eviscerated psychologically in those churches because people twist what God says. they twist it to fit their definition.”

via Transgender Oral History

Allyson Robinson

Website: Crossing the T

  • Graduated from West Point in 1994 and served as an officer in Europe and The Middle East before leaving the U.S. Army in 1999
  • First Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN and the first transgender person to lead a national LGBT rights organization without an explicit focus on transgender issues.
  • Former deputy Director for Employee Programs for the HRC Foundation.
  • Board of directors for International Foundation of Gender Education and Knights Out.

“A lot of people think that because we’ve repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ we’re done. I don’t think that’s the case. I think we are at the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end of the work we need to do to make the military, which is the largest employer in America, into a truly fair workplace for LGBT people.”

(via metroweekly)

Anna Anthropy

Website: Auntie Pixelante

  • Video game designer and critic, freeware games include Mighty Jill Off, REDDER and Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars
  • Co-founder and Associate Editor of The Gamer’s Quarter
  • Author of Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, released in March 2012 from Seven Stories Press

“We’ve entered this vicious cycle where this small group of mostly straight cisgendered white dudes are making games for other straight cis white dudes who will grow up and be allowed to make the next generation of games. And so what we’ve got is a monoculture. Well, a monoculture’s not going to be the defining cultural form of ANYTHING.”

(via Anna Anthropy: The Autostraddle Interview)

Andy Marra

New York, NY

Website: GLSEN

  • Public Relations Manager for GLSEN
  • Youngest leader to co-direct the New York State Dignity For All Students Coalition
  • Became Board President for The National Center for Transgender Equality at the age of 20
  • Senior Media Strategist for GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), where she established three programs focused on the Asian Pacific Islander community, Chinese language media and young adults.
  • Led national boycott against Details‘ “Gay or Asian?” piece
  • Work and commentary has been featured on programs including Access Hollywood, Ellen, Oprah and The Rachel Maddow Show and outlets like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Korea Times and MTV.

“Why do I care about Korean reunification? Or even about full equality for LGBT people? As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” I am not a conundrum nor am I challenged. I simply dare to be.”

via I Am Korean American

Bamby Salcedo

Los Angeles, CA

  • Head of Health Education and HIV Prevention Services with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • President and founder of the TransLatin@ Coalition
  • Publisher of XQsi Magazine.

“My only advice [to transgender youth] is that we recognize that as a community we are very strong, and as individuals we are also very strong. Do not lose your strength, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t be who you want to be. As long as you follow your heart, as long as you don’t harm yourself or anyone in your process, whatever this may be… understand that as an individual you are unique, and your uniqueness is what ensures your place in this world.”

-via Latina Transgender Advocate Bamby Salcedo on Youth and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education

Bree Sutherland

Missoula, MT

Website: MontanaTDOR

  • Star of the documentary Just Bree, by Kate Lykins
  • Executive Director of the Gender Expansion Project
  • Co-Chair of Western Montana Community Center
  • Vice-president of Montana Pride Network
  • Facilitator of Montana Gender Alliance in Missoula

Cecilia Chung

San Francisco, CA

Websites: Cecilia Chung // Just Detention

  • Internationally-recognized leader in health & human rights and advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness.
  • Among advocates who served on the 1994 Transgender Discrimination Task Force, when the Human Rights Commission constructed its report on transgender discrimination.
  • First transgender woman and first Asian elected to lead the Borad of Directors of The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration
  • First transgender female and first person living openly with HIV to Chair of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission
  • Served on Health Commission of the San Francisco Public Health advocating for inclusion of gender-affirming surgery.
  • Founder of San Francisco Transgender Advocacy and Mentorship, which hosts quarterly events at the SF LGBT Community Center
  • One of the original founders and producer of the annual Trans March.

“We, as trans people, are a very small group. We need to build alliances and coalitions with marginalized and oppressed groups in order to be heard. Doing this kind of work is an important component of that. I think that this is a better way to fight our fight because in return when we look to find supporters for our issues, such as ENDA, we might be able to count on them to support us rather than feeling like we’re all alone on that.”

(via huffington post)

Channyn Lynne Parker

Chicago, IL

Website: Chicago House

  • Care coordinator for the TransLife Project at Chicago House.

Christina Kahrl

Chicago, IL

  • Co-founder and former managing editor of the website for Baseball Prospectus
  • Writer and editor for
  • Appeared in the GLAAD-Award winning HBO Real Sports segment “Transitions,” which told her story of publicly coming out as a transgender sportswriter.
  • Board director for Equality Illinois, helped launch Trans-Friendly Bathroom Initiative.

“Perhaps the most important thing to associate with the word ‘transsexual’ is that we few, we happy few, just one in every 10,000 births, have always been here. Queens were the shock troops, the front rank at Stonewall. You may not know us, but we are just like you in most of our dreams and ambitions, expecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as is our birthright, as Americans, and as human beings. There is not a stigma to the label—I am a transsexual, and will be as long as I live. As labels go, I don’t just wear it, I own it.”

(via facebook)

Cristina Herrera

New York, NY

Website: The Center

  • Identifies as “a translatina immigrant from El Salvador.”
  • Gender Identity Project‘s Community Prevention Coordinator at the LGBT Community Center in New York
  • Served as Chair to the Transgender Work Group of the NYC Department of Health’s Prevention Planning Group
  • “Has been working in the field of HIV prevention, advocacy and community organizing for over twelve years.” (via)
  • Received the prestigious Latinos/as Unidos de New York Award for Outstanding contributions to New York’s Latin@ LGBT community.

Claire Swinford

Tuscon, Arizona

Website: Trans Haven

  • Projects have included rape crisis, anti-violence, HIV prevention, sex worker rights and anti-trafficking initiatives, as well as the present “bathroom bill” in Arizona
  • Director of Trans Haven

Eli Erlick

San Francisco, CA

  • Founder of Transgender Student Equality Resources
  • Trans* activist since the age of 8, assisting educators and school administrators to better suport trans youth.
  • Helped create Coming Together To Make It Better Conference
  • Student ambassador for GLSEN

Earline Budd

Washington DC

Website: The Transgender Health Empowerment

  • Founding member and former Executive Director of Transgender Health Empowerment.
  • Consultant for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Pennsylvania Mid-Atlantic Training Center, the D.C. Department of Health and D.C Department of Corrections.

ellie june navidson

Chicago, IL

Website: Invisibly Queer

  • A “queer, gender-non-conforming creature” whose “activist experience is as varied as her identity.”
  • Writer for In Our Words
  • Organized with Genderqueer Chicago, co-founder of No Boys Allowed.

“For all my femmes, you’re beautiful in your skirts and dresses and high-waisted jeans. Your makeup is fierce and fabulous. Your nails are divine. Sure, you don’t need any of that, nobody “needs” any form of clothing, but you sure are great in all your femme glory.”

– A Feminist on Femmephobia and The Empowerment of Femme

Harmony Santana

Website: IMDB page for Harmony Santana

  • Actress, “Gun Hill Road” and “Eating Out”
  • Winner of Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards.
via zimbio

via zimbio

“I just got a message two days ago where a girl was telling me that I inspired her. She said she was hiding for a long time and didn’t come out for a long time. She said she’s now coming out to her parents after watching the film. She’s very inspired to be herself and so happy. It makes me feel, like, I don’t know… [amazing?] … yeah.”

via Transgender Actress Harmony Santana Stuns in “Gun Hill Road”

Erin Armstrong (“Grishno”)

San Francisco, CA

Website: Grishno // Transgender Living

  • “One of the founding members of the YouTube transgender community.”
  • Hosts a YouTube channel with over four million views and nine thousand subscribers who have followed her transition over the last six years.
  • Subject of the 2008 documentary “My Transgender Life

Harper Jean Tobin

Washington DC

Website: Transequality

  • Director of Policy for The National Center for Transgender Equality, engaging with federal agencies on administrative policies and regulations.
  • Named Top LGBT Lawyer under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.
  • Staff attorney for the Federal Rights Project

Ida Hammer

New York, NY

Website: transfeminism

  • Founder of Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project.
  • Works at the Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training.
  • Organizer of New York City Dyke March.
  • Named Top LGBT Lawyer Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association
  • Battles transphobia in vegetarian and ecofeminist communities.
  • Brave motherfucker.
  • In 2012, won insurance coverage for Gender Affirming surgery.
via the new york post

via the new york post (don’t click the link, the article is chock-full of nypost’s gross transphobia)

“It is easy to ignore an oppressed group of people once they have been systematically shut out of and alienated from a movement they rightfully belong in. Had trans people not been forcibly exiled from the women’s movement throughout the seventies and subsequently blocked from returning—at times with state supported exclusion from human right protections—things would be entirely different right now. The cycle will only be broken when cissexual feminists take responsibility for cissexism and hold themselves and their colleagues accountable.”

(via bitch magazine)

Pages: 1 2 3See entire article on one page

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.


  1. Fuck yes, First Nation members!!
    That, and Just Bree premiered at my school, at our feminist film festival, Citizen Jane (which all of you should attend at least once. All of the directors/writers have to be women). Kate Lykins, the director, is a classmate/friend of mine. It is so good. SO. GOOD.

  2. Um…i just googled and played Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars and I highly recommend doing both of those things.

  3. Love, awe and respect to all of these wonderful warriors.

    You speak for so many who can’t or won’t and I salute you.

  4. This is weird to realize, but I met Monika MHz at Geek Girl Con in Seattle last year, and she was the first openly trans person I’d ever met. Didn’t know she was so prominent in the community either. I’m learning new things every day! ;)

    • I’m not sure who you were, but I had a blast when I was there, and I’m glad I could make an impression… Hopefully a good one! :) Thanks for remembering our visit, and feel free to drop me a line any time!

  5. “Brave motherfucker.” Yep, looks like that is the best way to describe Ida Hammer. Thank you for sharing!

    Also I have a million new crushes. Or 51. Whatever.

  6. These. Women. Are. Amazing. This is inspiring!

    “I believe that Prides are superfluous. Because for me, we already are proud. We woke up this morning proud; we stepped out of our house this morning proud, but we don’t always go around this world powerful, and that’s what I’m here to do. I’m not here to let people know I’m proud. I’m here to remind people that I’m powerful.”

    brb making that my new life motto

  7. My author idol Sassafras Lowrey is on the longer list. I highly recommend her book “Roving Pack” about life as a queer, trans, puppy-loving crust punk living with other homeless kids in Portland.

  8. OMG I actually know both Reina and Katherine! It’s so cool that I got to work alongside such awesome women, and that they’re being recognized here is even better!

  9. I feel famous just KNOWING one of these lovely ladies! WAY TO GO BREE! SO PROUD OF YOU! WAY TO REPRESENT MONTANA!!!!!

  10. All of these women are so inspiring, but I am especially excited to see my friend, Katherine Cross, featured on this list – she is doing fantastic work, and I’m so glad to see it being recognized! Congratulations Katherine!

        • Yeah, that’s why I said “not trans-focused,” since your exact comment was “is this even a site for lesbians anymore? Or just trans individuals?”

      • Correction, since I did not do my “count” carefully. Prior to this article, there are 6 articles related to non-trans-specific queerness, 1 food article, 1 fashion article, and 3 trans-specific articles.

        Surely this is only a site for trans people.

    • Because apparently trans lesbians don’t exist? So who have I been dating the whole time?

    • Usually I don’t even bother with this, but I’m just gonna say one time: this never has been a site specifically for lesbians. This is a site for women who like women: cis women, trans* women, bisexual women, pansexual women, lesbian women, “label free” women, and anything else you can think of. In addition to people who just think the articles are neat.

      But I’m sure there’s some kind of radfem geocities website somewhere for you! So you enjoy those spaces where the real lesbians are. Go. Fly away, little lesbian. Godspeed.

    • did you miss the memo? this is trans*scribe month and it is the theme. so there is more Transgender stuff. personally i have really enjoyed it. to say it’s the majority of content is off, to say the least. historically it has been uncommon.

  11. Reese, Laneia etc:
    Don’t listen to those haters. I love reading about all forms of queerness. Please keep posting trans* stuff – I’ve learnt SO much. You make me and my slightly fucked-up gender identity feel included. Also this list is awesome and I wanna meet all the awesome people on it and have conversations about all the awesome things they do – I aspire to be like them.

    • You’re saying this as though Autostraddle was never queer from the start, or something.

    • Autostraddle has always been a site for queer women – there are plenty of places that are not open to trans or bisexual women, and you are welcome to read those instead. The specific focus on trans* stories is part of a special, but Autostraddle has always featured trans* content and been welcoming of trans* women. If you can’t deal with something not being focused on people just like you, that’s something you really ought to work on.

      And no, the cite is not going to feature an article about giving your boyfriend a blow job. Autostraddle celebrates “girl on girl culture” – that’s what brings us all here, whether we are lesbian, bi, or pan, and whether we are cis or trans*. We are all queer women, and this is a space for all of us.

      I’d also just like to leave a message for anyone who might comment on this subject in the future: if you would like to make a suggestion regarding the relative number of trans* specific vs. non-trans* specific articles, bring it up with the site’s administrators in a private message. Anything else it just rude.

      Before you disrespect someone’s identity, make fun of their genitals, or tell them they are not wanted here, think about how you would feel if someone said the same thing about lesbian content on a feminist website, or female content on a gaming or sports website. You would be hurt, just like the people you are attacking are being hurt. Please take a moment to think about the consequences of your actions.

      • Yeah, I was debating whether to say anything about carebear’s comment, especially now that it has been deleted, but here goes:

        I’m glad you brought up making fun of trans women’s genitals. From my perspective, it really hurts to have people make a joke out of my genitals. I hate that they’re attached to me and everything effect they have on my life, but even if I wanted to keep them, making fun of them would still be hurtful and inappropriate. In this context, the insult was especially hurtful since trans women’s genitals were being used as a contrast to “lesbian” content.

        Obviously, not everyone is okay with having a partner with a penis, and that’s totally fine. Nobody should have to interact with body parts they don’t want to interact with. Still, having your own distaste or disinterest in trans women’s genitals doesn’t make it okay for you to make a joke out of them. They’re not attached to you and they didn’t even feature in the article above, so leave them be.

  12. yea, this is a wonderful way to flesh out the Trans 100! Really well curated, thanks Autostraddle!

  13. I am consistently blown away by – and grateful for – how much great, relevant activism is happening in Arizona these days. <3

  14. Thanks for featuring this list, Autostraddle! You are my favorite website! :)

    Also, since apparently, creeps have decided to swoop into this thread as well: seriously, do you have anything to say about this list of strong, brave, activist women beyond “Omg, there are trans people on this list! There are trans people on Autostraddle! Somewhere out there, trans people are existing and leading meaningful lives! Eww!”? I mean honestly– perhaps we could actually, you know, comment on the content of the article, rather than its mere presence? Or is the thought of disenfranchised people getting access to homeless shelters, HIV prevention, health care, and protection from violence simply too horrible to bear? Shame on you.

  15. I usually just ghost read and don’t say much, but I have to call Bullshit real quick. At the top of the site it does say “news, entertainment, OPINION and girl on girl culture” people should be able to state their opinion without having to email the ‘site administrator to state it..

    Talk about censoring our opinions, which is already done in the hetero world. Now, we (cis lesbians) can’t state our opinions on a “girl on girl culture” because it doesn’t show support for the articles topic. meh over it.

    • Cis lesbians have plenty of places to voice their negative opinions on trans women. If Autostraddle appears overly trans-focused, it might be because they’re trying to compensate for a culture that scapegoats us for everything. Please quit trying to dismantle one of the ONLY spaces where we are not only allowed, but welcomed and valued with actual thought given to our feelings.

  16. When someone paints “faggot” on a school wall, it is removed or painted over because it creates a hateful environment and can hurt those in the community that falls under the attack of “opinion.” It is ridiculous to say that the suggestion of discouraging derogatory remarks toward a violently and emotionally targeted community of innocent people is some sort of facism. But that should be common sense.

    just as important, If you are going to say that Autostraddle is a “lesbian” website, then you admit that the articles are about lesbians. which is often true. They are about lesbians who make music, lesbians of color, lesbians who are politicians. What the hell is the difference when it is an article about a lesbian who is transgender??? It is commentary on the life of a queer woman, whether that commentary is on her home decor, her activism,OR her gender indentity/expression. Please move into the 21st century of compassion and solidarity,or don’t ever bother calling yourself any sort of humanist, activist or “open minded”.

  17. thank you to all the brilliant commenters on this post with your messages of inclusion and respect for all queer-lady-kind. we’re short-staffed in the modding department lately (we’re bringing on new mods soon though!) and i personally get so many anti-trans messages like this every day now — on tumblr and twitter mostly (a recent highlight was a girl on twitter suggesting we change our name to “autotrandle” … since our present name is so reflective of our content??!) — and y’all are just some brilliant fucking beams of light holding down the fort here against the commenters who are promoting discrimination and don’t understand the spirit of this ever-evolving community.

    anyhow, if anybody still needs to hear it: this is a feminist space and it’s a space for all women who love women. trans* and cis. all of ’em. that’s never gonna change.

  18. I had heard of the Trans 100, but never read the list (it seemed overwhelming at the time.) This new list, complete with photos, makes me feel as if I have been introduced to them (even if in passing.)

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