Meet 51 Kickass Women From The 2013 Trans 100

Ja’briel Walthour

Hinesville, GA

  • Transgender advocate
  • Works with special needs children
  • Author of children’s book series inspired by her experience growing up trans* in the South.
  • Former partipant in the GLAAD People of Color Media Institute.
  • Writes “Live your Best Life” for ElixHer, also writes for Ebony.com and The Huffington Post.

“As I fulfill my call to duty, I am hopeful that my life will serve as a beacon of hope to other transgender and gender non-conforming people. I am also hopeful that through education, faith, and fortitude, someone else will hear or see the stories of other brave trans-women and men of color, and choose to love and support them, rather than ridicule and reject. There is a role for each of us to play, as we summon hearts and minds, tell our stories, and search for the inherent good in us all. As we seek to find this peace, let us rest assure that one day our change will come. Today that change begins with you.”

(via One Day Our Change Will Come: A Call to Raise Awareness and End Violence Against Transgender Women of Color)

Janet Mock

New York, NY

Website: Janetmock.com

“Telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and ultimately to the world, is a revolutionary act. It’s an act that can be met with dangerous curiosity and hostility, and for many women, like myself, abuse. And yet telling our stories can also be met with love and transcendence and community.”

The Chicago Phoenix

Jenny Boylan

Waterville, ME

Website: Jenniferboylan.net

via the daily Beast (Joel Page / AP Photo)">

via the daily Beast (Joel Page / AP Photo)

“I feel like somebody who just got out of prison after 40 years for something she didn’t do, like I got pardoned by the governor. When dear friends deal with me with mixed emotions, it is a little like being told, ‘Well, Jenny, we’re glad you got sprung, really, but quite honestly we did kind of like you better when you were in jail.”

– She’s Not There: A Life In Two Genders

Jenn Burleton

Portland, Oregon

Website: Transactive

  • Founder and Executive Director of TransActive, which “provides necessary support to improve the quality of life of transgender and gender non-conforming children, youth and their families through services, education, advocacy, support and research.”
®2010 Horace Long Photography LLC via lexiecannes

®2010 Horace Long Photography LLC via lexiecannes

Katherine Cross

New York, NY

Website: The Sylvia Rivera Law Project

  • Writer, editor, scholar and activist
  • Core Collective board member at The Sylvia Rivera Law Project advocating for and educating other trans women of color
  • Writing credits include Bitch Magazine, Feministing, Kotaku, Questioning Transphobia and The Border House
  • Former President of the Hunter College Women’s Rights Coalition
Todd Heisler/The New York Times via New York Times

Todd Heisler/The New York Times via New York Times

“We often find ourselves unable to pay, and at the mercy of a small number of service providers or adversarial doctors. Our bodies are public property, up for every cis person’s debate and scrutiny, owned by everyone but ourselves. If that isn’t a reproductive rights issue — if that isn’t about “my body, my choice” — then I don’t know what is.”

 – via Trans Rights Are Reproductive Rights

Katie Burgess

Minneapolis, MN

  • Executive director of the Trans Youth Support Network in Minneapolis.
  • Volunteer for the Trans Health Coalition’s Shot Clinic.
  • Serves on the Advisory Council for the GLBT Host Home Program Advisory Council.
  • Youth counselor at Avenues Shelter for Homeless Youth.

“…this kind of violence that we have seen is not unusual. A lot of the young people that I work with have experienced this type of transphobic and homophobic and racist violence in their lives, not only at the hands of such attackers, but also within the justice system.” 

– Democracy Now

Katy Stewart

Austin, TX

Website: Trans Texas

Dr. Kelley Winters

Website: GID Reform

  • Community advocate and consultant on issues of gender diversity in medical and public policy.
  • Founder of Gender Identity Disorder Reform Advocates.
  • Member of The International Advisory Committee for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care.
  • Advisory Board Member of TransYouth Family Allies and The Matthew Shepard Foundation.
  • Author of Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays from the Struggle for Dignity. 
  • Winner of 2007 Melissa Chapman Award for Social Change.

“We too have been injured by Robert Spitzer’s role in perpetuating defamatory stereotypes of mental “dysfunction” and deviance. Trans people continue to lose our jobs, homes, children, families, dignity and civil justice because of these stereotypes and continue to face predatory gender conversion psychotherapies. These stereotypes lie behind every extremist political campaign that demeans our most basic civil rights as “bathroom bills.” These stereotypes lie behind military discrimination and government policies that still malign us as “mentally unfit.” These stereotypes convince parents and school officials to dismiss trans youth as “confused” or going through “a phase.” Trans communities have waited more than two decades for a retraction or an apology from Dr. Spitzer. and we are still waiting.”

– These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For: Gender Diversity, Scapegoating and Erasure in Medicine and Meida

KOKUMO

Chicago, IL

Website: Kokumomedia

  • “I am a plus-size, dark-skinned, African-American transgender woman. And according to several states I am actually still considered a youth. And the concept of youth is interesting to me. It’s supposed to be the time in your life where you learn.” (via)
  • KOKUMỌ is the CEO of KOKUMỌMEDIA, a production company that uses film, music and literature to create and generate realistic depictions of transgender, gender-nonconforming, and intersex people of color.
  • KOKUMỌ MUSIC released the EP There Will Come a Day in February 2013.
  • KOKUMỌ PUBLISHING will launch the digital magazine Thrive in Spring 2014.
  • KOKUMỌ PHILANTHROPY is a black trans* foundation and social justice agency.
via original plumbing

photo by Kiam Marcelo Junio

“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.” 

(via Interview with KOKUMO, Chicago Trans* Activist)

Laverne Cox

New York, NY

Website: Laverne Cox

  • Actress, reality TV star and activist.
  • First African-American transgender woman to produce and star in her own TV show, VH1’s TRANSForm Me, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program
  • First African-American transgender woman to appear on a reality television program when she was a contestant on VH1’s I Want to Work For Diddy in 2008
  • Acting credits include Law and Order: SVU, Bored to Death and Musical Chairs.
  • Writes for The Huffington Post
  • On Out Magazine‘s 2010 Out 100, one of Metro Sources’s 2008 55 People We Love
via imbd

via imbd

“The mission is not impossible if we can move past our own insecurities to work together. We need not settle for crumbs. We need no longer hide for fear of the discrimination Jenna experienced. We can say no more. We can say being transgender is beautiful, and we have the right to dream. The revolution doesn’t happen alone.”

– via The Right to Dream

Mara Keisling

Washington DC

Website: Trans Equality

  • Founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
  • Has appeared on news outlets including CNN and C-Span.
  • Regularly quoted in the New York Times, The Washington Post and other national media.
  • Has almost 25 years of professional experience in social marketing and opinion research
  • Served on the board of Directors of Common Roads and on the steerting committee of The Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition

“To steal a phrase from President Barack Obama, transgender people aren’t a special interest group. Fighting for trans rights isn’t really about anything other than ending violence. Whether it’s the physical violence faced by Paige Clay and CeCe McDonald, the violence of poverty, or the spiritual violence of rejection, trans people know violence too well.”

The Advocate

Marsha Botzer

Seattle, WA

Website: Marsha Botzer Consulting

  • “Consummate bridge builder for the trans and queer communities and inspirational leader and speaker.”
  • Founded Ingersoll Gender Center in 1977.
  • Co-chair of The Task Force
  • Served as national co-chair of the Obama Pride Campaign in 2008
  • Founding member of Equal Rights Washington.
  • Awards and honors include The Greater Seattle Business Association Community Leader Award, Jose Julio Sarria Civil Rights Award, The Horace Mann “Victories for Humanity” Award from Antioch University and the Virginia Prince Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Federation for Gender Education.
  • Served on the boards of The Pride Foundation, Lambert House and Seattle Counseling Services.

Dr. Marisa Richmond

Nashville, TN

  • First transgender woman to win an election in Tennessee, garnering 99.7% of the vote!
  • Serves on the board of directors of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Trans Advocacy Network and GLSEN of Middle Tennessee
  • Lobbyist for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
  • Delegate at two Democratic National Conventions.
  • Won The HRC Equality Award in 2007
  • Member of steering committee for Trans United for Obama.
  • Regular panelist on Out & About Today in Nashville.

“I was raised to stand up for what I believe in and never to accept second class status. My parents were politically active and they encouraged me to be so, too, because everyone can make difference.”

Transgriot

Miss Major Griffin-Gacy

  • “A black and formerly incarcerated transgender elder” who has been a community activist and advocate for over forty years.
  • Was present at the Stonewall Uprising in 1969
  • Original member of the first all-transgender gosepl choir.
  • Executive Director of the TGI Justice Project.

Michelle Enfield

Los Angeles, CA

Website: The Red Circle Project

  • Has been working in Los Angeles with underprivileged minority groups since 2008.
  • Program coordinator of The Red Circle Project, an HIV-prevention program which targets native American/Alaska Natives.
  • On the council for the Los Angeles Prevention Planning Committee and the Transgender Law Center’s L.A. HEALTH Council.

“I have been discriminated against; I’ve been sexually and physically abused; I’ve loved and have been loved. Learning to take care of myself emotionally requires me to be happy with all of me. I must accept and learn from all of my experiences because they make me who I am today.”

NPR

Monika MHz

Portland, OR

Website: Monika MHz

  • Professional House DJ, Remix Artist & Producer.
  • Speaker on feminism, music, culture, queerness, racial and gendered “passing.”

“If we can dance together, then we can live together.”

– via Monika.MHz

Monica Roberts

Houston, TX

Website: Transgriot

  • “Writer, award-winning activist, lecturer, speaker, native Houstonian and Texan who transitioned in 1994 and absolutely loves her semi-boring life now.” (via)
  • Founder of the immensely popular and award-winning TransGriot blog.

“But as I’ve discovered ever since I began my own transition in 1993, my life not only began when I did so and got comfortable in my own skin, my family expanded. We have a proud history that is still unfolding every day. I have out and proud trans brothers and sisters all over the world now. I have trans elders who are eager to pass down their hard won knowledge to me so I can do the same for you. I love the fascinating journey of discovery I’ve been on.”

-via Coming Out Is Different For A Trans Person.

Mia Tu Mutch

San Francisco, CA

Website: Facebook Fan Page

  • Queer and trans social justice advocate, organizer and educator with a focus on homeless youth
  • Former Equality Rider, featured speaker on the Vanguard Queer History Tour
  • Has facilitated community workshops and conversations on LGBTQ issues at over 25 universities
  • Founded Feather, a fundraising collective making transition more affordable for low-income trans people.
  • Chair of the Housing LGBTQ and TAY Committee of the San Francisco Youth Commission
  • Facilitator of holistic group for trans youth at LYRIC and 12N: Now Or Never.
  • On the San Francisco LGBTQ Speaker’s Bureau Advisory Board 
  • Honors include Bay Area’s Faces of Feminism and Certificates of Honor from the San Francisco Board Of Supervisors.

“I get really annoyed by the hundreds of millions of dollars that both sides of Prop. 8 have spent. Trying to pass it, trying to repeal it, trying to get it unre-pealed. I think that everyone should be able to show their love in a way that’s equitable, but when we have so many queer homeless youth, I don’t think our highest priority should be a piece of paper from the government.”

– San Francisco Gate: Street Survivor Looks Out for Homeless LGBT Youth

Pages: 1 2 3 See entire article on one page

Riese is a Jewish lesbian and the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2594 articles for us.

53 Comments

  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. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

    • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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”.

  10. 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.
    so…

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