The Women of the 2015 Trans 100 Speak Up About Supporting Trans Women

This past Sunday, the Third annual Trans 100 list was released at a live ceremony in Chicago, Illinois. The Trans 100, created by Jen Richards and Antonia D’Orsay, is a list of trans people who make an impact in the trans community and in the overall world. It highlights trans people from many different areas, including activists, writers, artists, mentors and educators. One of the great things about this list is that it includes trans community leaders from so many different places and so it’s a great tool to find people working in local trans communities, not just those who have a national spotlight.

Just a sampling of the people on this year's list. Via thetrans100.com

Just a sampling of the people on this year’s list. Via thetrans100.com

This being a women’s website, I’m going to be focusing on honorees who ID as women, but there are plenty of others on the list that people should check out. The people on this list are all making a big difference in their communities and are definitely making things better for other trans people. Since they obviously have a good idea of how to help other trans people, just like I did last year, I wanted to ask them how Autostraddle readers can best do just that.

All of this information comes from the 2015 Trans 100 booklet unless otherwise stated. More information about each honoree is available there. I definitely recommend going to the Trans 100 website and checking the booklet out to find out more about these amazing women and the other trans people on this year’s list.


1. Maddie Adams

Adams was the first trans woman to work for the Democratic Party in Michigan where she worked as a Field Organizer and Volunteer Coordinator during the 2014 election cycle. During that year she also worked with Freedom Michigan in Wayne Country trying to pass an LGBT inclusive Civil Rights Act.


via GLAAD

via GLAAD

2. Andrea Bowen

Andrea Bowen has spent years making things better for trans people by changing laws and winning legal victories. She led advocacy efforts in Washington, DC to reform birth certificate and name change legislation and trans peoples’ right to insurance coverage for transition-related care. She also helped to win a legal victory against a women’s shelter that was denying access to trans women. Currently, she’s the Executive Director of Garden State Equality where she keeps on fighting to secure rights for LGBT people.


3. Meghan Buell

Since 2003, Buell has been active in the trans community in Indiana. She’s also currently the Executive Director of the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana and has served on the Transgender Advisory Committee for the Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. Recently she founded a nonprofit called TREES, Inc. (Transgender Resource, Education and Enrichment Services), that works to bring trans education and resources to underserved rural populations in the Midwest. She told me that, “to be included in the Trans 100 for 2015 is a unexpected recognition and I am humbled to join such an awesome group of trans advocates from around the country. The event will be something I will be proud of for years to come. I would like to thank those who sponsored me, especially Kelly and Emily. I do not do what I do for recognition but because it is the right thing to do.”


 4. Lexie Cannes

Apart from being an award-winning filmmaker and actress, Cannes is also an activist and writer who writes at her successful blog, Lexie Cannes State of Trans, Huffington Post and other publications. Her trans-centered and starring feature film Lexie Cannes wond multiple awards on the festival circuit. She suggested a simple way to support trans women, telling me “this is an easy question: Show up to vote on election day and vote for the Democrat!”


via GLAAD

via GLAAD

5. Daniella Carter

You may be familiar with Carter from her appearance in the Emmy nominated MTV and Logo documentary Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word. She also advocates for LGBT youth and speaks and appears on panels on local, national and international levels, working with people like Cyndi Lauper and 50 Cent as well as Miss Universe. She recently started a project to bring visibility to trans youth issues and often talks about LGBTQIA homelessness and the intersection of identities. She said that in order to support trans women we should, “look beyond race, class and gender. Equality is not race specific, it’s universal.”


6. Joanna Cifredo

The founder of firebreathingtgirl.com, Cifredo is a writer, youth health educator and Brand Ambassador to the DC Rape Crisis Center. Since moving to Washington, DC, she has started working with the Latin@ LGBTQ community center Empoderate and serves on the Board of Directors to Whitman Walker Health. She also received the 2015 Visionary Voice Award from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for her work on trans-inclusive healthcare and, with the DCRCC is launching a city-wide converstion between cis and trans women of color called “SIS to Cis.”


7. Thomi Clinton

Clinton’s influence and work can be seen in many areas, including facilitating the opening of her county’s trans medical and mental health clinic, working with the DOJ on preventing rape and assault of incarcerated trans people, improving access to gender neutral bathrooms, education and homeless shelters and raising close to $10,000 dollars for the first known TDoR Vigil Statue.  “Always remember there is no certain way to accomplish change,” she told me, “the point is, we try to put our differences aside and accomplish that change. Remember, 3+2=5 and so does 4+1. Both equal the end and a perfect number.”


8. Lynn Conway

Conway has been responsible for groundbreaking innovations in the world of computer engineering ever since the 1960s when she worked for IBM. While working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center she pioneered new silicon chip design methods that paved the way for the Silicon Valley microelectronics boom during the 80’s and 90’s. She’s received many awards and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is Professor Emerita of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. Besides from being a legend and pioneer in the computer sciences, she also has a trans support website that helps trans women across the world and fights against the psychiatric patholigization of gender variance.


9. Yvonne Cook-Riley

Cook-Riley is an Air Force veteran who serves on the Board of Directors of the Transgender American Veterans Association, but that’s just one small part of her long history helping the trans community. She helped to develop the International Foundation for Gender Education and was awarded the 1991 Outreach Medal from the Outreach Institute for her work in the trans movement. She’s also been awarded the IFGE Trinity award, the IFGE Virginia Prince Lifetime Service Award and the Virginia Price Pioneer Award. Currently she’s working as the Executive Director of the Pride Center of the Blue Ridge and the group Kindred Spirit.


10. Jordan Gwendolyn Davis

Davis has worked tirelessly in Philadelphia to advance trans rights. She worked with the City Council on a resolution that ended a discriminatory gender sticker policy on public transit passes, worked to get the first ever mayoral proclamation for TDoR and helped to get the first ever Philadelphia City Council resolution for Transgender Awareness Week. She also worked with Philadelphia Councilmember Kenney on a landmark TLGB omnibus bill that passed and signed in 2013, state representative Mark Cohen on the first ever trans-specific rights bills in Pennsylvania history and is consulting with trans health access organizations. “I believe that trans women are best supported by allowing them to access women’s spaces no matter what stage of transition they are in,” she told me, “and be mindful of the language of biological essentialism in everyday womanhood and feminism. I proudly identify as a feminist.”


11. Dallas Denny

Denny told me she’s “excited by the diversity and passion of the other 99 people selected for the 2015 Trans 100 List,” and that she’s “proud to be on the list.” She’s a writer, editor, speaker and community builder who also serves as a board member of the nonprofit Transgender Health & Educational Alliance and Real Life Experiences, a member of the planning committee for Fantasia Fair and a contributor to the recent book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. You can check out her work on her website. She says that “one thing people can do to support trans* people of all kinds is to stop evaluating us as if we were ‘really’ members of our birth gender.”


12. Ashley Diamond

Before she became incarcerated and started working as a trans rights activist, Diamond was a singer and entertainer from Rome, Georgia. However, after her hormone therapy was terminated and pleas for safe housing were ignored, she filed a lawsuit challenging Georgia’s practice of denying trans-related care to inmates and ignoring the sexual assault they face. She also made a series of videos called “Memoirs of a Chain Gang Sissy” that amplifies the voices of fellow LGBTQI inmates and shines a light on the abuse and mistreatment they regularly face.


13. Reverend Tammy “Jubi” Dutcher

The Rev. Dutcher is a Priest of the Universal Anglican Church and the Diocesan Administrator for the Midwest. She’s also the co-founder of the Ecumenical Order of Jesus Christ Reconciler and has a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Spirituality from Loyola University of Chicago. She is the former president of the Illinois Gender Advocates and has participated in the Chicago Trans Coalition. Currently, she is the Trans programming coordinator for Chicago Women’s Health Center.


14.  Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi

Lady Dane is an African, Cuban and Native American performance artist, author of the book Yemaya’s Daughters, teacher, blogger, advocate and life coach. She also volunteers at Casa Ruby, is a member of the TWOCC Leadership Team and a founding member of Force/Collision.


15. Lauryn Farris

Farris currently serves as Assistant Director of the The Thrive Center, the first LGBTQ-specific homeless shelter in the South. She has also served two terms as the President of the San Antonio Gender Association and makes dozens of presentations on trans rights every year.


via tumblr

via tumblr

16. Katrina Goodlett

Goodlett is a Black trans woman of color who serves as the Executive Producer and Host of the Kitty Bella Show on Blog Talk Radio. This show features Goodlett talking with fellow trans people as well as allies on a variety of topics. She’s also the creator of the #tgirlsrock campaign, aimed at emopowering trans people through clothing.


 17. Brooke Cerda Guzmán

Guzmán is a women’s rights activist who came to America in 1989. She co-founded the Trans Women of Color Collective, served a volunteer internship with The Gender Identity Project, was honored by the Anti Violence Project and was awarded the “Legacy of Pride Award” by Harlem Pride. She emphasizes the importance of supporting TWOC: “Fund our own organizations like TWOCC , BLACK TRANS MEDIA, TRANSLATINA NETWORK, TRANS GRIOT, CASA RUBY … If you can’t , we can all definitely tell others about the great work they are doing to inspire others in our community to start their own.”


18. Gretchen Rachel Hammond

Hammond is a senior report for the Windy City Times, the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ publication. She says that she thinks one of the most important things the trans community can do right now is to unite: “Looking back on the lessons of history, I note that tyranny has never been defeated by communities that speak in separate voices rather than a a powerful and combined whole. We are so busy fighting with ourselves on terminology or who or who isn’t to be considered transgender that we have not been able to rally together while legislative, media, mental and physical assaults on us continue. We have organizations like the HRC making empty promises. We have no recognition on local, state, federal or worldwide levels meanwhile our people are dying.they are being imprisoned, they have no jobs, no homes, no families. Ironically it was a group of transgender performers who are credited with starting the LGBT movement in 1969. Since then we have been a shadow within it. We have been on our own. Well, we have the talent, the ability, the spokespeople, the strength and the courage within our own ranks to make our own stand and stand we must or else the ‘tipping point’ that has been discussed so much could very well capsize us.”


19. Mary Irons

Irons serves as a board member and facilitator for the Washington Gender Alliance and provides peer support for trans people age 16 and up. She also founded the Shoreline Washington Gender Alliance meeting and Transgender Parents of Washington and received the volunteer of the year award from the North Urban Human Services Alliance for her work. She also is a workshop presenter who presents at workshops all throughout Western Washington.


20. Monica James

James is a Black trans woman from the South Side of Chicago who has fought for years against unfair police targeting that led to her being confined in the maximum security section of Cook County Jail over 100 times. In 2007 she fought trumped up charges that followed a brutal assault by police. She traveled to Geneva, Switzerland in 2014 to testify before the UN about police violence against trans women of color. She’s also a collective member at the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois and a staff member at the Howard Brown Health Center.


21. Jennell Jaquays

Throughout a long career as a game developer and artist, Jaquays has been a pioneer in the fields of table-top role play and video games. She’s used this career to work as an ambassador to gaming communities, partially through the group PressXY.com, and a mentor to fans and peers as they transition. She’s also a trustee on the board of the Transgender Human Rights Institute and a founding partner and Chief Creative Officer for game developer Olde Sküül. Jaquays says that respect is one of the main things trans women need: “The one thing that anyone can do to support transgender women is give respect. Respect for their self-understanding. Respect for their decisions. Respect for not only their accomplishments, but for their potential. Being transgender should be the footnote for our lives, not the definition of them.”


via PGN

via PGN

22. Samantha Jo Dato

Dato is a dedicated and passionate advocate and activist for trans issues. In 2012 she served on the committee for the Philadelphia Trans March, helped to launch the Mazzoni Center’s Trans Wellness Project and presented workshops at conferences like The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change and the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. She’s also seen as a role model, big sister and support system to many people around her. “The most productive way to help support trans women of color is to  let them lead their own narratives and empower them with the support they need to be successful personally and professionally,” she told me.


23. Monica Jones

Last year Monica Jones, who is a sex work activist, made headlines when she was arrested for “manifesting prostitution” and had to fight to not be kept in a men’s prison. She’s currently a student at the Arizona State University school of social work and she also educates people on the issues that affect trans women and sex workers. One recent trip was to Geneva to speak about these issues.


24. Bryn Kelly

Kelly is a writer and performer who has written for Showtime Network’s OurChart.com, Original Plumbing magazine, Prettyqueer.com and the anthology Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love and Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary as well as fiction for the journals Time is Not A Line: Reflections on HIV/AIDS Now and EOAGH. She also co-created and wa a cast of the touring roadshow The Fully Functional Cabaret and co-founded Theater Transgression. She wanted to give some advice on how men can support trans women. “I know this is not exactly your audience, this being Autostraddle and all, but I think it’s of vital importance: the men in our lives need to do a better job of stepping up,” she told me, “this goes for gay (cis and trans) men who feel the need to argue endlessly over the T-word, to our romantic partners who are men (cis and trans) who often have access to all-male spaces where trans women are often denigrated, the butt of a joke. Sex worker activists have been saying this for years: if men gave as much money to trans women-fronted political projects as they spent on trans women’s sexual labor, we could solve most of our problems in about two weeks.”


25. Mira Krishnan

Krishnan, a neuropsychologist, leads the Center for Autism at Hope Network in Michigan. She also serves a board advisory role with the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers and co-chairs the American Psychological Association’s Division 44 Committee for Transgender People and Gender Diversity. She also has a blog where she writes about LGBTQIA+ and feminist issues. She emphasizes the importance of community, telling me, “I hope that people understand that we are building a community where there was none. We don’t have all the answers. As we get where we’re going, trans community has the opportunity to be a beacon that drives all communities towards the very best in them. I hope people support us in finding us, and that you all get to share in the joy, love, and hope, that emanates from us when we are community.”


26. Aryah Lester

Lester is the founder of Miami-Dade’s first ever transgender organization, Trans-Miami, and also serves as the current chair for the Florida Health Department’s Transgender Work Group. She works as a nationally certified suicide crisis hotline counselor and speaks nationally about trans equality. She’s also instituted a monthly support group for trans people in Brickell and sits as a member of the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Director transgender group. Lester says that, “the best way one can support trans women is through education: educating yourself by querying the mind of a local trans advocate, and attending trans educational workshops. Continue said education in public situations during conversations with friends and family, when you witness discrimination against a trans woman, and to our youth. Only through positive visibility could the trans community be fully assisted in living life with less strife, and it would take the voices of all to make it happen.”


27. Dr. Rachel Levine

Dr. Levine is the Acting Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the administration of Governor Tom Wolf. She’s also a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. Before this post, she served on the Board of Equality PA and the board of the Capital Region Stonewall Democrats.


28. Jennifer Louise Lopez

Lopez is a “Transgender, Transsexual, Bisexual, Lesbian, Curvy, Cross-eyed, Latina and Woman here to change the modern day views of society.”


via mccny

via mccny

29. Kristen Parker Lovell

Lovell works at Sylvia’s Place/MCCNY Charities Inc., New York City’s only emergency queer youth shelter in order to carry on Sylvia Rivera, her former mentor’s, legacy. She works there as the Program Coordinator for HIV Testing and Counseling and is helping to relaunch STARR, the radical trans activist group original started by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. She’s also the founder of the empowerment group Trans in Action. Lovell told me that she thinks “embracing each other and understanding one another’s differences is key! I need some time to really think about that because there are so many ways one can be supportive. For me support looks like  people who stand with me in a cause donating to organizations, volunteering and being present to help support and build community.”


30. Tommy Luckett

Luckett advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS and is trying to end the disparities in healthcare coverage that trans people face. She attended the 53rd annual Presidential advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and participated in a panel discussing Medicaid expansion. She was the Arkansas State Coordinator for AIDSWatch 2014 and sits on the board of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition, is a Quality of Healthcare Advisor to the Arkansas Department of Health and is on the board of the US PLHIV Caucus Steering Committee. Luckett emphasized to me the importance of working together. “The best answer I could muster is that we need to stop seeing each other as the enemy,” she said. “We are people who need to learn how to agree to disagree without resulting to violence. If we cannot be respectful of each other, how can we and who are we to demand respect from others?”


31.  Greta Martela

Martela is a software engineer from San Francisco who, with her partner Nina Chaubal, founded Trans Lifeline, a crisis line for transgender people staffed entirely by fellow transgender people. Martela told me that in order for things to get better for trans people, cis people need to change the way they think about us. “I think one of the most important ways that cis allies can support trans women is to be vocal advocates among their cis friends,” she said, “the discomfort that cis people experience when confronted with transness is killing us. This is something the community really can’t do for itself, it’s up to cis people to change the way they think about trans identities and we really need cis allies to step up. As far as what trans women can do to support each other, I think it’s important that we stop ostracizing people we disagree with. This can be really hard because there are some trans women with so much internalized transmisogyny, they can be really toxic and difficult to deal with. My point is this: no matter how much you disagree with that person, she is still one of us.”


32. Joselyn Mendoza

Mendoza is an undocumented trans woman from Queens, New York, who organized and lead the largest immigrant youth-led movement to fight for trans liberation.She organized with Make The Road New York, a Queens organization, to push for GENDA legislation that would include gender identity protections. She’s a National Leader for the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, where she lead the recent #WeCantWait Campaign that led to President Obama acting to protect nearly 5 million undocumented immigrant families.


33. Toni Newman

Newman is the author of the Lambda Literary Award-nominated memoir I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman. Apart from being an accomplished author, Newman is also the Community Editor for Proud to Be Out- The Digital Magazine and a blogger for Huffington Post. She also works as the Development and Administration Coordinator of the largest health-care wellness centers in South Los Angeles.


34. Reyna Ortiz

Ortiz is a proud trans Latina who says “Living my life as a Trans woman growing up in the inner city you come to realize the lack of resources and understand the needs in your community. My passion is to inform all Trans women about the resources that are available. Connecting with ‘The Girls’ on a deeper personal level understanding the struggles that Trans women go through and finding ways to make our lives and Transition easier. Trans people are her, have been here and will always be here.”


35. Alexis Paige

Paige is a bisexual, mixed race Korean trans woman who helped plan Portland’s first ever official Trans Pride March, the Meaningful Care Conference and helped to promote and spread education about Oregon’s Medicaid program ending exclusions of trans related healthcare. She currently works at the Cascade AIDS Project where she’s also a member of the Trans inclusion committee. She asks that trans women be treated like other women: “Please don’t treat us like we’re different or something that has to be handled with care. Don’t act like we’re fragile and one tiny step away from breaking. Please just treat us like you would any other woman. Cause that’s what we are. We’re just women, and all we’re asking for is to be recognized as such. So please just understand that, and let us live our lives the way we need to so that we can actually live.”


36. Dianne Grace Piggott

Piggott is a trans woman who lives in Boise, Idaho, and has been heavily involved in the fight to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the state Human Rights Act. She’s also worked with the ACLU under a Pride Foundation fellowship and helped to organize a statewide network of trans activists.


37. Chelsea Poe

Poe is an activist, porn performer, director and writer (who has written for Autostraddle). She centers her activism around improving sex work conditions for trans women and often challenges mainstream porn’s lack of trans inclusion and use of transphobic slurs. She was the first trans model in the history of alt porn site God’s Girls and has been nominated for two AVNs and 8 Transgender Erotica Awards. “I think the biggest thing that non trans people can do for trans people is listen to our voices and our experiences,” Chelsea told me, “so often trans issues become public debate; whether it’s about trans women at women’s colleges or trans people using the bathroom, our voices get ignored. I think for trans women the best thing we can do to support each other is listen to each and acknowledging there isn’t a right or wrong way to be trans.”


via Slog

via Slog

38. Penelope Poppers

The founder and Executive Director of Lucie’s Place, an organization in Arkansas working with homeless LGBTQ young adults in the area. She hopes that she can one day make the American South a better place for LGBTQ folks.


39. Rebeka Refuse

Nominated for two Transgender Erotica Awards this year for her work as an adult model, Refuse also works as an escort and has been moderating the blog Trans Housing Network since 2013. She’s an advocate for homeless trans people and hopes to help develop better ways to help homeless trans people. She told me that she is a “communist, a gender abolitionist” and that  “trans women will continue to suffer, in my opinion, until capitalist patriarchy is overthrown worldwide. Expanding access to the social safety net is desperately necessary as a form of humanitarian relief in our society, but, ultimately, we need revolution for the liberation of all gender minorities and exploited persons in the world.”


via Zimbio

via Zimbio

40. Geena Rocero

Rocero is a model. originally from the Philippines, who burst onto the trans advocacy scene when she gave a rousing TED Talk in 2014 where she “came out” to the whole world. Since that video went viral, she founded Gender Proud, a non-profit dedicated to raising trans visibility and advocating for more progressive gender marker policies around the world. She also tours the US speaking on trans equality. She spoke at last year’s Trans 100 and told me it was great going back: “2015 Trans 100 is a full circle for me. The event was my birthplace before my TED Talk went live and launching Gender Proud last year. It’s great to hug and reconnect with the Trans Family and I’m beyond honored to have made the list. I’m also happy to see the many Trans people of color represented on the list. The best form of support is by loving us. Amplifying our work in the many intersections of race and class. Let’s take healing into account because it is a collective journey as a community. Mentor young TransYouth of color to become leaders. Truly get to know us.”

41. Ms. Dr. Joseph L Simonis

Ms. Dr. Simonis is an athlete, activist, writer and scientist who not only holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell, but also is a conservation biologist at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and is the founder of the Trans, Gender-Non-Conforming and Intersex Athlete Network, which connects TGI athletes and promotes trans and queer inclusion in the sports. They also speak and write about the importance of self-identity for trans athletes and is a member of the Windy City Rollers and Team Illinois in competitive roller derby. Ms. Dr. Simonis suggests that if people want to support trans women, they can “affirm our beauty, strength, and intelligence, and respect our ability to know ourselves better than anyone else ever will.”


42. Grace Sterling Stowell

Stowell has over 40 years working as an advocate for social justice. In 1980, she joined the newly formed Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth as their first executive director and in the 1990s, helped to pioneer the national movement to expand community organizing for LGBTQ youth and trans communities. She’s a long-time Steering Committee member of the MA Transgender Political Coalition and remains doing work as a “Grandmother” to generations of trans youth. “Given the epidemic of violence and murder of trans women, especially young trans women of color, I call on all of us to come together to challenge and end the systems of social and institutional racial, gender and economic oppression that are devastating our communities,” She told me,  “we can, and must, fight for a world in which living while trans is not a premature death sentence, and that the lives of all black and trans people matter.”


43. De Sube

Aside from years in retail and management positions and founding De Sube Business Consulting, Sube created and became the facilitator of New Life Transgender Outreach, which later grew into the Gender Expression Movement of Hampton Roads. In 2011, she opened the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads where she still works as an advocate. She has also been awarded the Old Dominion University Diversity Award and the Virginia Beach, Virginia Human Rights Commission’s community service award.


44. Emma Todd

Todd is the Deputy Executive Director of the Trans Lifeline and has helped the organization to have the capacity to support thousands of trans people in need of help. She’s also volunteered with GLSEN, Equality Illinois, Oklahomans for Equality and Pride at the University of Tulsa to advocate for support, equality and protections for trans people and the rest of the LGBT community. She told me that, “the most important thing that we can do as women to support trans women is to amplify the diverse voices in our community. That can mean supporting other trans women to take on empowering positions who have not had the chance before, such as speaking at a panel or leading an event. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking trans women how we can support them and make them feel comfortable in a space. It requires acknowledging that true justice and visibility for trans women will only come when we are working to show the diversity of our community and the variety of experiences that we have as trans women, rather than reifying the patriarchal, transphobic culture that we live in.”


45. Jos Truitt

The Executive Director of the website Feministing, Truitt focuses on uplifiting the voices of young feminists and marginalized groups and getting them paid. She’s been published in the Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly and the Columbia Journalism Review and has fought for civil liberties and reproductive justice for  years. She told me that she thinks we need to be more than casual supporters of trans women: “Sharing articles about violence on Facebook isn’t enough. People need to support trans women of color’s organizing, people need to hire trans women of color. People need to take concrete steps to change the disparities that exist.”


46. Victoria Villalba

Hailing from Hermosillo, Mexico and raised in Phoenix, Arizona until 2010, Villalba is a determined fighter for immigrant rights. When she realized that she would not be able to live an authentic life in Mexico, she went to the US border to request asylum, but was detained and held in an all-male ICE detention center for over three months instead. While there she lead a hunger strike among her fellow queer and trans migrants to protest the horrible conditions there. Since being released she has continued to fight for trans and queer migrants and founded the organization Transcend Arizona.


47. LaSaia Wade

Wade is a 27 year old trans woman of color who has worked with the TPOCC and many other advocacy organizations. She’s currently the Executive Director of the TNTJ Tennessee Trans Journey Project where she deals with economic injustice and helps to create jobs and funding for trans folk in Tennessee. Wade says that “allowing us to lead and live in our narratives adds to our survival” a major way to support trans women.


48. Dawn Josephine Wilson

Wilson has been working for trans civil rights for 20 years. She went to the first Transgender Lobby Days event in 1995 where she helped train trans people how to effectively lobby Congress. She joined the Louisville Fairness Campaign in 1998 where she educated the LGB community and public office holders on trans topics and has also served on the board for the Council for Fairness and Individual Rights, the PAC for the Fairness Campaign and currently works at the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission.


49. Kylie Wu

Wu is the creator, illustrator and writer of the wonderful autobiographical webcomic Trans Girl Next Door (which I’ve featured here on Autostraddle before). She also loves naps, watermelons and surfing. “I think one thing that people can do to best support trans women is to listen to our stories. People, no matter who you are, just wanna be heard. And through our stories you’ll develop a connection with us, understand us better, and discover the little (or big) ways to help us,” she said, “Oh, and buy us ice cream. This might be a better way to support us, especially if you met us on a super super hot day.”


50. LaLa Zannell

Zannell is the Community Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence Project where she works on behalf of New Yorks’ LGBTQ population. She’s also a key member of the AVP’s Rapid Incident Response Team, which responds whenever acts of violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers become public. She’s also a mentor for the Trans Mentorship Program at the Ali Forney Center, a coalition member of Communities United for Police Reform and a member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program Movement Building Committee.


Each of these women brings something different to the table, and each gives great advice on how to best support trans women. Even if you take the advice of just a few of them, I’m sure that will go a long way in helping to make lives better for trans women, and all trans people in your community and across the country.


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Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

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11 Comments

  1. 0

    Isn’t Bryn Kelly that transwoman who attended (aka gave them $) Mich Fest and wrote an article trying to justify it? Oh yeah.

    Smh @ that one. Otherwise good list, Autostraddle kudos to you for stepping up your transwoman solidarity <3

  2. 0

    Jordan Gwendolyn Davis has made racist comments. She accused Equality Maryland of voter fraud on Facebook because she didn’t believe that blacks would vote for marriage equality. Davis’ racist comment has been removed from the Equality Maryland Facebook page but here is a copy:

    https://www.facebook.com/EqualityMD/posts/112608518905041

    Equality Maryland
    November 29, 2012 ·
    Have you wondered what EQMD will do now? Don’t worry folks, this is just the beginning!

    Equality Maryland sets post-marriage agenda
    Transgender rights bill, HIV/AIDS, immigration among issues on which organization hopes to work
    WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

    Like · · Share
    


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‪Jordan Gwendolyn Davis‬ How about investigating yourselves for vote fraud. There was absolutely no way in hell Baltimore City (majority black) and Ann Arundel County (military, and votes Republican in prez elections) could have voted yes on 6.
November 29, 2012 at 4:00pm · Like







    

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‪Beth Morgan‬ Oh, geez, Jordan, don’t go there. Don’t speak for black people like that saying they’re all against gay marriage. Just don’t.
November 29, 2012 at 4:04pm · Like · 2







    

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‪Jordan Gwendolyn Davis‬ No, I am just saying that, from other votes on the marriage issue, that black communities almost ALWAYS vote against marriage equality. I’m not saying all blacks oppose same sex marriage, but a majority of them do.
November 29, 2012 at 4:07pm · Like







    

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‪Jordan Gwendolyn Davis‬ See: Prop 8
November 29, 2012 at 4:07pm · Like







    

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‪Beth Morgan‬ Yeah, Dan Savage posted that same crap, and I’m pretty sure everyone debunked that.
    The times, they are a-changin’.
    And even if the majority of black people in Baltimore City had voted against 6, you also have to remember Baltimore City usually has a v…See More
November 29, 2012 at 4:09pm · Like







    

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‪Jordan Gwendolyn Davis‬ It
November 29, 2012 at 4:12pm · Like







    

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‪Jordan Gwendolyn Davis‬ s not just Baltimore City, it’s Anne Arundel County that should not, by any means, have voted yes on 6.
November 29, 2012 at 4:13pm · Like







    

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‪Jordan Gwendolyn Davis‬ And if you throw me under the bus, I will cut the brake cables and we will all go off the cliff together.
November 29, 2012 at 4:13pm · Like







    

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‪Beth Morgan‬ That’s the difference between you and me. I’m not going to throw everyone off the cliff just because some asshole organizations supposedly representing me (LGBT) want to throw my friends (T) under the bus. I’m not a bitter, hateful person. I want trans…See More
November 29, 2012 at 4:16pm · Like · 1







    

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‪Jordan Gwendolyn Davis‬ Even if you are cis-LGB, sexual orientation non-discrimination (already a reality in MD, but not here in PA) is a human right, lack of marriage is just an inconvenience.
November 29, 2012 at 4:22pm · Like







    

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‪Sean McGovern‬ Personally, I would like to see some clarity on the adoption issue in Maryland. Same-sex couples right now are afraid to use any state family court outside of Baltimore County for adoption finalizations. Some are saying that the marriage question’s passage cleared that up, others say no. As a prospective adoptive parent, I would like to have the state clearer on this issue now.
November 29, 2012 at 4:33pm · Like · 1







    

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‪Lourdes Ashley Hunter‬ I love when non blacks talk about what’s important to blacks…
November 29, 2012 at 4:34pm · Like · 3







    

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‪Rianna Patrice Matthews-Brown‬ @Lourdes I couldn’t agree more. My partner and I volunteered at the polls on Election Day…in a predominately black neighborhood in baltimore. We received so much love and support from the community. Ignorant and racists folks will not steal my joy!
November 29, 2012 at 5:01pm · Like · 3







    

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‪Starlene Joyner Burns‬ I’m proud of all our brothers and sisters who supported marriage equality. I voted yes. And I worked super hard when the house was in session to get this bill passed. Many Black clergy came out in support of marriage equality, including our Presiden…See More
November 29, 2012 at 6:04pm · Like · 3







    

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‪David Egan‬ @Jordan: As frustrating as it might be that the job is not completely done, now is the time to stand together in solidarity and celebrate this incredible victory in Maryland! I can understand that from where you sit in Pennsylvania it’s hard to read th…See More
November 29, 2012 at 6:13pm · Like · 1







    

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‪Jj Nolis‬ Merry Christmas to all those that are working for all Americans to finally be equal. God bless you all.

    Merry Christmas. From. Jj Nolis
November 29, 2012 at 10:24pm · Like







    

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‪Jj Nolis‬ I moved from the hamptons after 26 years to be with my future husband. Maryland Rocks. !!!!
November 29, 2012 at 10:28pm · Like







    

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‪Dan Goff‬ National Marriage
November 30, 2012 at 12:46pm · Like







  3. 0

    Jordan Gwendolyn Davis wrote about her activities as a student at Ramapo College on Facebook.

    Jordan Gwendolyn Davis
    June 4 at 2:24pm ·
    My ‪#‎TBT‬ is not a photo, but a funny story from my senior year at Ramapo College of New Jersey, located in the hills of the suburbs of NYC. We had a radio station, WRPR, which went freeform in 2005 (beginning of my junior year), and although it could only be heard less than 10 miles from campus, you could also watch the shenanigans in the studio on Channel 3 on the campus cable system.
    Most of the time I attended Ramapo, I had my own radio show, which really took off my last semester, as I shifted from music to more shock talk. One episode would become legendary among those who were at Ramapo during the Spring 2007 semester.
    I was not out yet, but decided to wear women’s clothes on the air while my cohost (who does “color commentary”) decided to dress and act like Borat. We did some pregaming in his on-campus apartment where I smoked weed with him and drank limoncello I got up in Canada as well as some cheap whiskey. I dumped my limoncello into a Nalgene and we went to the studio. We were gonna get his frat paddle for some in-studio shenanigans, but that never panned out.
    When we came on the air, we spent much of the time talking about Ramapo Security and how they prioritized underage drinking over, I dunno, preventing and catching hate crimes and other serious business. We also read off the sex offender registry and talked about To Catch A Predator and our platonic mancrush on Chris Hansen, as well as trashing a college staff member who coordinated alternative spring breaks for not letting me go on a trip to Mexico because ableism. Occassionally, I would say “This hour of programming on WRPR brought to you by WATER”, and held up my Nalgene filled not with water, but with booze. Here’s the thing, I was really intoxicated, but still managed to be able to run the boards.
    Other visual shenanigans for those watching on Channel 3 included: jerking off to the camera, flipping off the camera, dancing in a risque manner on a chair, and donkeypunching a Han Solo cutout. Then, the last half hour…I BLACKED OUT!! Apparently, I finished my radio show, and it took 5 days for the station to tell me to tone it down, in so many words, and to not read off the sex offender registry because it was illegal.
    I ended up flunking out of Ramapo because of senioritis and drunken/high debauchery, and this was behavior I wouldn’t do again, but damnit, college is a time to sow your wild oats before the real work kicks you in the ass.
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