I feel like I’ve been talking about all the exciting changes and opportunities for Transsexuals and not spending much time introducing you to the trendsetters and icons that are making the tide turn. We all have heroes and these fabulous transgender females who are making heads turn and laws change with each passing day are mine.
Calpernia Sarah Addams
Calpernia made headlines when she came out as a transgendered person. Now, this would not have been controversial had she not been a Marine. In 1999, she began dating an Army PFC, Barry Winchell, who was constantly harassed for their relationship by fellow officers. The bullying and ridicule escalated and eventually resulted in Barry’s murder. It was his murder that led to the solidification of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that was in effect until it was overturned by President Obama. Hundreds if not thousands of LGBT soldier’s currently enlisted owe thanks to this courageous woman. Calpernia now runs a production company that shines a spotlight on LGBT issues, particularly those of the Transgender community. She used her tragic situation to raise awareness and turn an awful negative for her into a positive ending for all gives, that her props in my book.
Lana is responsible for advancing film, media and the overall perception of culture in America, if not the world. Just look at the millions of people obsessed with ‘The Matrix’. Lana and her brother Andy are also responsible for ‘V for Vendetta’ and the epic ‘Cloud Atlas’. And to think…a transgender woman helped create some of the most beloved films in the mainstream motion picture industry. Lana is a hero to me because she never compromised her vision and broke through without letting herself be pigeon holed by the media or her industry. She is a great example that transgender people can be successful and aren’t handicapped by discrimination.
Isis was the first transgender female on “America’s Next Top Model”. She broke the mold and hasn’t looked back since, becoming American Apparel’s first openly transgender model. Isis disproves the transsexual stereotypes by simply walking the runway and she is every bit as stunning a female presence as her biological female counterparts. I love her style, grace and fearless nature. She is a trendsetter breaking down all the boundaries of transgender image and our world will never look the same.
Ahhh, what can I say, Laverne entertains me….and apparently the rest of the universe because this fiercely talented actress has made history as the only transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy. Laverne has been making history for quite some time though. I first spied her on Vh1’s ‘I Wanna Work For Diddy’, which made her the first African-American transgender woman to appear on a reality TV series. I admire her for making waves and giving transgenders a presence on television. These are footsteps I definitely want to follow in.
Janet is an amazingly intelligent, thought provoking writer who has shared her experiences as a transgender woman on the page, bringing hope and inspiration to the entire spectrum of the trans community. Janet is one of my special heroes because in addition to having a huge, positive transgender presence in mainstream media, she creates transgender-specific programs and education for the LGBTQ youth at Harvey Milk High School. HMHS is a high school expressly for LGBT teens in my second hometown, New York City. The most important thing we can do is empower our transgender youth with the tools and knowledge to succeed in this world.