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, Orbitz.com 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.”

Trans100-1024x379

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 [email protected] 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 ESPN.com
  • 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 [email protected] 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)

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

Namoli Brennet

Website: Namoli Brennet

  • Tucson-based musician, singer/songwriter, recording engineer and producer.
  • Has released ten full-length albums of “her own brand of moody and inspiring folk” since 2002
  • Plays an average of 120 shows across the United States each year.
via newtimeslo, photo by Alyson Krominga

via newtimeslo, photo by Alyson Krominga

“I know [my trans status] is kind of a quirky and interesting part of my story, but as a human being I’m interested in life, spirituality, meaning, social issues, justice, compassion…and these are the things I write about.”

via

Pauline Park

New York, NY

Website: paulinepark.com

  • Co-founder or otherwise involved in the creation of The New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, The Queens Pride House, Iban/Queer Koreans of New York, The Out People of Color Political Action Club, The Guillermo Vasquez Independent Democratic Club of Queens and the Transgender Health Initiative of New York.
  • On the coordinating committee leading the campaign for a transgender rights law in New York state.

“Only when the academy begins to foster public policy and activism in the United States and abroad that is a informed by feminist consciousness and that takes into account the insights of post-structuralist theory without being overly encumbered by institutional imperatives of publication for tenure and promotion can it make a significant contribution to the pursuit of a progressive vision of social justice and social change.”

Transgendering the Academy

Phyllis Frye

Houston, TX

Website: Transgender Legal

Read the world-changing groundbreaking 1970 documents of Phyllis Frye, as scanned and presented for you by Cristan Williams

Read her oral life history: Houston Library

  • The “grandmother of the Trans community.”
  • The first transgender judge appointed in Texas.
  • Winner of the Dan Bradley Award of 2001 from The Lavender Law and Creator of Change Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
  • Former military officer, high school ROTC commander and member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets
  • Changed the Houston law against crossdressing in 1980, founded the Transgender Law Conference in 1991
  • Texas A&M has created a Diversity Award given in her name annually since 2009.

“I almost started crying, because I remembered 31 years ago, in that very same chamber, I was subject to arrest.”

– Phyllis Frye, on being appointed to a municipal bench by the mayor of Houston

Rebecca Kling

Chicago, IL

Website: Rebecca Kling

  • Artist and educator whose “multidisciplinary performances incorporate conversational storytelling, personal narrative, humor, movement, video projection, and more” and “explore gender and identity through solo pieces and educational workshops.”
  • Author of No Gender Left Behind.

“While other explorers are content to ignore cracks in the walls towering over the roads they travel, She peeks longingly through. She notices what most have become unaware of – the enchanting ponds, meandering streams, and mysterious forests. As She studies the boundless wilderness beyond the walls She begins to understand that the either/or roads represent just one way through the Land of Gender – not the only way.” 

– The Land of Gender

Reina Gossett

Brooklyn, NY

Website: the spirit was

  • Trans activist and artist
  • Membership director at Sylvia Rivera Law Project.
  • Former director of the Welfare Organizing Project at Queers For Economic Justice
  • Soros Justice Fellow at Critical Resistance 
  • Writing credits include The Scholar & Feminist Online and Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex

“I am really inspired by historical moments where people came together to hold ancestral & personal grief as a powerfully political act; make plain the connections between grief & state violence, diminishing circles of care, resource and isolation; resist silence & shame by honoring people who passed all the while deepening our own relationships and invested in our own living.”

– via The Politics of Gender Self-Determination: More Interviews with Captive Genders contributors

Rebecca Allison

Website: DrBecky.com

  • American cardiologist
  • Chair of the American Medical Association’s Advisory Committee on LGBT Health.
  • Preisdent of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association from 2009-2011.

“We Who Should Know – who are labeled with this diagnosis – maintain that our identities are fixed from earliest life, and do not change despite the most intense and (sometimes) well intended efforts to modify identity through modifying behavior. Such efforts have consistently produced worsening unhappiness up to, and including, suicidal thoughts and actions. The identity is not what changes, and the identity is not disordered.”

– via Back on the Blog: The APA” June 2009

 

Ryka Aoki

Website: rykaryka.com

  • Writer, performer & educator
  • Honored by the CA Sate Senate and RADAR’s 2010 Eli Coppola Chapbook Contest.
  • Head instructor of LGBT-empowerment-focused Supernova Martial Arts
  • Charter member of Transgender Advisory Committee for Asian Pacific Islanders for Human Rights (APHIR).
  • Appears in anthologies including Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (Seal Press), and Transfeminist Perspectives (Temple University).
  • Inaugural performer for San Francisco’s first ever Transgender Stage at San Francisco Pride 2005
  • Has performed and spoken at festivals and Prides and Conferences and Universities all over the country.
  • Published the book Seasonal Velocities with Trans-Genre Press.

“This is not a time to get even with the world or tear it down. This is a time to lead. For a world to work better for all of of us. The world needs you, in all your queer glory, to help it find its way. Own the system. Redefine the system. Guide the system. Whatever system you find yourself in. What you have worked for can be reapplied in whatever you pursue. Not in spite of being queer, or without thinking of being queer, but because of it.”

Cal Poly Pomona’s Lavender Graduation address

Ruby Corado

Washington DC

Website: Casaruby.org

  • Founder of the Casa Ruby LGBT Center, a non-profit community center for LGBT queer people in Washington DC.
  • Advocate against discrimination and hate crimes for the past fifteen years.
  • Worked to ensure legal protections and policies for transgender people in Washington DC
photo via DC Trans Coalition Facebook © 2013, Shannon E. Wyss, All Rights Reserved

Rally For Trans Health Equality // photo via DC Trans Coalition Facebook © 2013, Shannon E. Wyss, All Rights Reserved

“This beautiful, wonderful, amazing person that I was becoming was not supposed to be out in public. And because I was bringing it out in public, people were very cruel. I would apply for jobs and they’d look at me funny from the moment I walked in the door. Really, when I was living as a gay person I had some benefits, because even when I was super gay, the moment I looked butch, that’s where it all stopped. But once I was becoming this gorgeous person, there was no turning back. I cannot be butch anymore. I am who I am. And that’s how I got involved as an activist.”

– via Metro Weekly 

Sadie Baker

  • “Survivor, (ex) sex worker, prison abolitionist, community organizer and anarchist agitator committed to building collective power, dreaming of a freer world, and challenging racism, ableism, (cis)sexism, and assimilation within and without the LGBTQ movement.” (via)
  • Worked with DC Trans Coalition, HIPS, Occupy Wall Street and The Broadway Youth Center in Chicago.

“This incident really highlights that just because someone might experience relative homophobia, they can still be transphobic, cissexist, racist, sexist, ableist. Just as trans guys can benefit from sexism, and a white trans woman is privileged by racism, LGBQ folks are often complicit in cissexism and transphobia. Trans people have specific needs and experiences that are different, and unless we talk about that, no one will understand us.”

– via The New Gay

Tracie O’Brien

San Francisco, CA

  • Co-founder of Transaction (San Diego’s first political, social & transgender group)
  • Works with the San Francisco Transgender Law Center
  • Former counselor and coordinator of Extend Services at Stepping Stone
  • Active with the The California Transgender Leadership Summit and The Center of Excellence for Transgender HIV Protection
  • Co-ordinator of Family Health Center’s Project S.T.A.R.

“[The African-American transgender community is] such a diverse and very often (forced) stealth community. As a whole I just wish everyone could feel that they are whole humans beings wonderfully and powerfully made. With this perhaps we as community could aspire to greatness.”

– via Transgriot

Susan Stryker

Tuscon, AZ

Website: LGBT Arizona 

“Hearken unto me, fellow creatures. I who have dwelt in a form unmatched with my desire, I whose flesh has become an assemblage of incongruous anatomical parts, I who achieve the similitude of a natural body only through an unnatural process, I offer you this warning: the Nature you bedevil me with is a lie. Do not trust it to protect you from what I represent, for it is a fabrication that cloaks the groundlessness of the privilege you seek to maintain for yourself at my expense. You are as constructed as me; the anarchic Womb has birthed us both. I call upon you to investigate your nature as I have been compelled to confront mine. I challenge you to risk abjection and flourish as well as have I. Heed my words, and you may well discover the seams and sutures in yourself.”

– “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix” (1994)

Trisha Lee Holloway

Chicago, IL

Trudy Jackson

Phoenix, AZ

  • Pageant Director of the Miss Indian Transgender competition
  • Tobacco-program liaison for Native Health, which coordinates programs to prevent smoking-related health problems in urban Native American communities.
  • Member of the Arizona American Indian HIV Task Force, HIV Prevention Planning Group of Arizona, Central Arizona HIV Prevention Advocates and The National Native CPG Network
  • Works with LGBTQ Health Equity, Native American Outreach For AIDS Walk Phoenix and The Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gathering
trudie-jackson-via-downtown-devil

photo via downtown devil (Evie Carpenter/DD)

“There are numerous issues that affect transgender people in their everyday life. One of the most challenging of these issues is gender identity. Some girls don’t know how to come out to their families, who reside on the reservations, about their lifestyles. When girls come to the city they are able to be themselves, instead of living in the closet. Another issue is employment. Since most girls are unable to be themselves in the work place, they have to find an alternate way of surviving in the city. Stigma is another issue affecting transgender women since the majority of the general population is not educated about transgenderism; they automatically assume they are “men in a dress.”

– via Women Who Kick Ass


Check out the entirety of the Trans 100 now posted on Buzzfeed and check out We Happy Trans just because! Also, if you are a magical being who has quotes we could include for the women on this list for whom there are no quotes, please email riese [at] autostraddle dot com.

Pages: 1 2 3 See entire article on one page

Riese is 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 Jewish 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 2671 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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