Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017

“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Every 20th of November, we remember transgender individuals who lost their lives over the year as a result of violence, fear, and hatred all over the world. It is an opportunity for us to educate others about the transgender experience and raise awareness to the struggles and hardships we face as a community. This year the deaths have reached a new high in many nations, with more murders occurring throughout the globe than any one of the last five years. Many of these deaths go unmentioned by media and only a handful of their murders are thoroughly investigated by police. For those that are investigated, their killers rarely are caught or convicted. In 48 of the 5o states in the U.S. "trans-panic", the feeling of being so shocked at the discovery that someone is transgender that you were unable to control your actions leading to the individual's death, is considered a reasonable and valid legal defense.

The first TDoR took place in 1999 when Rita Hester, a transgender woman, was killed in Allston Massachusetts. Since then, TDoR has grown into a massive day of education and awareness within the community. Events take place all over the world, including vigils, art shows, movie screenings, food and blood drives, marches, and many of these events have stations where you can get checked for sexually transmitted diseases. GLAAD has extensively covered TDoR year after year and has called for more prevalent media attention.

Transgender people of color and more specifically transgender women of color have a higher rate of experiencing discrimination, hate speech, violence and even being murdered. This fact speaks to how transgender activism requires an intersectional approach as many of these deaths are not just a result of transphobia, but also endemic racism, male privilege, and other cultural and social bias. We should be interacting and supportive of other oppressed groups and peoples to raise awareness of all these issues as they are inevitably tied together and stem from the same root problem: fear and hatred as a result of a lack of education.

Click the "In Memorium" link above to go to the TDoR website which has a list of names of the people who have been killed since November 20th, 2016. Many of these people were unable to be identified for a variety of reasons. Causes of death include being shot, stabbed, asphyxiated, burned to death, decapitated, intentionally struck by a vehicle, dismemberment, castration, torture, as well as unknown causes. Keep in mind, these are only the deaths that were reported and a result of violence. Accidental deaths and suicides are not included, and there are a number of missing person cases that have gone unresolved. Considering that in some areas of the world, reports of the death of a transperson can and may be tainted as police or family sometimes refuse to identify the deceased by their desired names and pronouns because they have a personal bias toward transgender people and experiences.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Tracey Africa Norman

 Tracey "Africa" Norman is an African-American transgender woman best known for her modeling career. She was born in 1951 and is originally from Newark, New Jersey. Norman described her feelings of being different for a cover story for New York Magazine saying that it went back as far as she could remember and that she just felt as though she was living in the wrong body. She had a difficult life at home, as she had a father who was battling cancer and was afraid to come out to her family. She kept her feelings a secret for quite some time, finally working up enough courage to come out after she graduated. She has described that her mother was the hardest person to tell, but was relieved when her mother reached out and gave her a big hug, admitting that she had always known.

Once she came out to her family she wanted to begin the transition process but was unsure of how to start. One day she reconnected with a former classmate who had been through the process and discovered that many other transgender women at the time resorted to taking birth control pills, without the placebo,(not recommended or advised as a method of self-treatment by any physician) to feminize their bodies. Eventually, she found a doctor who gave hormone shots "under-the-table". After a year of these hormones, she felt comfortable enough walking out the door presenting as female in public.

 Her modeling career began in 1975. She was attending a fashion show and luckily landed a spot in the Italian version of Vogue after following some models into an interview. Afterward, she signed a contract with Avon and Clairol and was the model for Clairol's Born Beautiful hair color No. 512, Dark Auburn. She picked up many modeling gigs throughout her career, and never let the secret of being transgender out. She quickly made an impact in the modeling community, picking up various high profile jobs through 1979. In 1980, she was on the set of a photo-shoot for Essence Magazine, her hairdressers assistant discovered her birth gender and outed her to the producer. At the time, being transgender in the industry was highly taboo, the producer was outraged and pulled her photos from the issue. Word spread through the modeling community and she was blacklisted, unable to pick up any work in the US. She moved to Paris and was able to sign a six-month contract with a modeling agency there. After the contract was done, she was unable to find work in any of the major cities known for modeling and fashion. She eventually moved back to New York accepting that her career as a model was over.

In December 2015, New York Magazine's digital fashion site "The Cut" wrote a biographical piece about her. Afterward, she was contacted by Clairol who announced in 2016 that Tracey would be the face of their new Nice 'n Easy Real As You Are Campaign. A representative of the company stated that they "were honored to bring back Tracey as a woman who no longer had to hide her truth". They were proud to include her as she represented the very idea that the campaign was intending to exemplify, "confidence that comes from embracing what makes you unique and using natural color to express yourself freely." That same year, Norman and Geena Rocero became the first openly transgender women to appear on the cover of Harper's Bazaar. 

Norman is also a renowned member of the ballroom dancing community, cementing her place in the Ballroom Hall of Fame in 2001. Laverne Cox stated in the cut cover story "I was just enthralled that there was this black model in the 70's who got a hair contract, who had cosmetic deals. That's a really big deal, for a black model to have contracts, and then for her to be trans is just beyond amazing".

Tracey's experiences are an example of the obstacles many transgender people face when it comes to employment. Many of us are afraid to lose our jobs and decide to hide our transitions from our employers, many who do come out have lost their jobs in the past and even still today. For those of us who are in mid-transition and looking to change jobs or unemployed and transitioning it is difficult to find work. Her bravery is in her perseverance to be successful in every endeavor she enthralled herself in, regardless of the setbacks she has faced.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera was a gay liberation and transgender activist. She was born in 1951 and raised in New York City, spending the majority of her life in or near the city. Early in her life, her father walked out on the family, later she became an orphan when her mother committed suicide. Afterwards, she was raised by her grandmother who did not approve of Sylvia's effeminate behavior, especially when she began wearing makeup. She started living on the streets at the age of 11, working as a prostitute and taken in by a group of drag queens who named her Sylvia. She has been described as the Rosa Parks of the modern transgender movement. She considered her gender very fluid, referring to herself in a variety of pronouns at different times in her life.

Rivera was present during the civil rights movement and later in anti-war protests during the Vietnam War. She also participated in the feminist movement of the mid-1960's. In 1969 she was among the rioters in the Stonewall Inn Riot which started as a routine raid by police and resulted in the LGBT community and allies rising up in protest. She also became involved with the Black Panthers and Young Lords movements. She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, and also co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, a group that helped homeless transgender people and drag queens, with her close friend Marsha P. Johnson.

At different times in her life, Sylvia battled substance abuse and homelessness often staying in a gay homeless camp at Christopher Street docks. She also Made a suicide attempt in 1995. That same year she gave an interview discussing her suicide attempts, the death of Marsha P. Johnson in 1992, and her advocacy for homeless LGBT people. In 2001, she fought for the New York City Transgender Rights bill and the trans-inclusive New York State Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act. She also called out various organizations who claimed to help and support LGBT people for standing in the way of transgender rights.

Sylvia was an activist in a variety of ways, her work intersected the LGBT community, homelessness, drug abuse, poverty and racial issues. This makes her one of the most important figures in transgender history, as she was a shining example of why transgender people need to ally themselves with other oppressed people. Sylvia died in 2002, after complications from liver cancer. After her death, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project which is an organization that offers legal aid to people who are low-income or people who are of color, transgender, intersex, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming, was named in her honor.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox is an American transwoman best known for her role in Netflix series Orange is the New Black. She is an actress and LGBT advocate and activist. She was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1984. She was raised by her single mother and grandmother along with her twin brother. When she was 11 years old, she made a suicide attempt because she was often bullied for not "behaving someone who was assigned male at birth was meant to behave." and for noticing that she was developing feelings for her male classmates. She graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts where she studied creative writing and dance. She also attended Indiana University Bloomington and transferred to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City from there where she studied acting. She has appeared in a variety of television shows and films and is one of the most successful transgender actresses in the industry.  She has also received a large array of awards both related and unrelated to her activism for LGBTQ+ issues.

Cox first appeared as a contestant on VH1's I Want to Work for Diddy and was approached by that network afterward for show ideas. From that, she produced and starred in TRANSform Me, a makeover television series. The show made her the first African-American transwoman to produce and star in their own television show.  Both shows were nominated for GLAAD Media Awards in 2009 and she accepted the award and gave a moving speech that was described as "poignant" by the San Francisco Sentinel. She has also appeared in a number of guest roles for shows like Law and Order: SVU, Bored to Death, The Mindy Project, Lip Sync Battle and also was a regular cast member of Doubt. In 2013 she began playing her recurring character, Sophia Burset, on Orange is the New Black. The character is a transwoman who is in prison. The role was an important milestone for trans people, as it was a transgender character being played by a transgender person. The character was well crafted and her story within the series is one that is easy to empathize with.

Katie Couric interviewed Cox and transgender model Carmen Carrera on her show Katie in 2014. In the interview, Couric asked both of them what surgeries they had gone through. Carrera ignored the question and when Couric turned the same question to Cox, she answered by stating that people are too occupied with the transition itself and not the issues that trans people face such as homelessness, unemployment rates within the community, and homicide and violence experienced by transgender people all over the world. Later that year she was the first openly transgender person to be on the cover of Time, was the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy, appeared in the music video for "You and I (Nobody in the World)" by John Legend, joined a campaign against a law in Arizona that allowed police to arrest anyone suspected of "manifesting prostitution", produced and narrated the documentary "The T Word" for MTV and LogoTV, and was featured in a variety of magazines including VC☆NDY, and Essence.

In 2015, Laverne won a Daytime Emmy as a producer for "The T Word", making her the first transgender person to win as an Executive Producer and also making the documentary the first transgender documentary to win one. Recently she has partnered with the ACLU for a video about transgender history entitled "Time Marches on and So Do We" and is one of four people to be a face for clothing line Ivy Park.

Cox is known as a trailblazer in the LGBT community receiving many awards and honors as a result of her work. She is an outspoken activist who looks to spread awareness by speaking about the issues that greatly affect the transgender community that often gets overlooked and has helped grow the conversation about transgender issues in public spaces. She was also given an Honorary Doctorates Degree from The New School of New York for her continuous work for gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings is an American transgender girl. She is a YouTube personality, spokesmodel, and LGBTQ+ rights activist. She was born in South Florida in 2000 and was diagnosed in 2004 with gender identity disorder. This makes her one of the youngest people to be identified as transgender. She made it very clear at a young age that she was female, asking for feminine clothing instead of gender-neutral clothing. By the age of six, she was appearing on various news programs and talk shows with her parents discussing the difficulties of living as a young transgender person. Her parents founded the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, an organization that assists transgender youth, in 2007. She has also had a few books published that discuss her life and transgender rights in general.

A documentary about her life entitled I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition, aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011. It discusses the entire experience she and her family have had during her transition. That same year she was entrenched in a legal battle with the United States Soccer Federation. The USSF is the governing body of the sport and refused to allow her to play for a girls team.  The National Center for Lesbian Rights came to her aide and they succeeded in changing the USSF's policies, allowing transgender students to play in the sport on teams that matched their gender identities.Two years later Jazz founded a company called Purple Rainbow Tails where she makes rubber mermaid tails in order to raise money for transgender kids. She also co-wrote her first book I Am Jazz, a childrens book, that same year.

In 2014 was a huge year of recognition for Jennings. She was a guest at the GLAAD Media Awards and was also recognized by Time Magazine as one of "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014". She also became the youngest person ever featured on OUT's "Out 100" and  the Advocate's "40 Under 40" lists. She was also named in OUT''s 2014 Trans 100 list, named a Human Rights Campaign Youth Ambassador, and received LogoTV's 2014 Youth Trailblazer Award.

Jennings has modeled for Johnson & Johnson in a campaign for their Clean and Clear commercials entitled "See the real me". She has also modeled for the NOH8 campaign. She also wrote a piece about Laverne Cox for Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list. In 2015, TLC aired the program I Am Jazz a reality series featuring her and her family. It has been part of TLC's programming for two seasons so far. She published her memoir Being Jazz; My Life as a (Transgender) Teen in 2016.  Recently, she was kind of the subject of some controversy when dollmaker Robert Tonner designed a doll modeled and named after her. Many collecters and parents were not fond of the idea. Additionally, some parents also became upset when her childrens book was included in some schools summer reading lists.

Jazz Jennings has done a great deal of work for transgender people, especially transgender kids and youth. At such a young age she has accomplished so much and placed herself on the forefront of transgender issues at a time where there is a lot of discussion and varying opinions about our community. It takes such great courage just to be transgender and to be so active in the community, but, in my opinion, to do so at such a young age makes her one of the most courageous members of our community.

Trans Timelines (1500-1900): Anne Bonny & Mary Read

When most people think of pirates, they usually think of buried treasure, swashbuckling, "argh matey blow the man down", sloops, a blunderbuss, talking parrots, jolly rogers, the black spot, Davy Jones, being marooned, sea shanties and probably Johnny Depp. They also tend to think of men traversing across the seven seas for months even years in a scurvy-ridden sausage party. Depending on what age of piracy is examined, the fact that the practice was dominated by mostly men is pretty accurate. This is particularly true for the time period that comes to most people's minds, the Golden Age of Piracy.

Yes the Golden Age of Piracy was dominated by men. What did you expect? That time period was pretty oppressive to women. But that doesn't mean there weren't any female pirates. Matter of fact there was about a handful of them. Most of them didn't last long or only have a few sentences of recorded history to reference. But there were two particular female pirates that achieved relative success, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Okay, so what's the significance of these two scalawags to transgender history? Well these two also happen to be particularly unique from their lesser known counterparts in the fact that they dressed as men throughout their careers While neither actually perceived themselves as male that we know of, they did identify as male to others for purposes of safety and anonymity. In those days, women were not usually allowed aboard a pirate vessel. Pirates tended to be rather superstitious and believed that women and children on board their ships brought bad luck. Crews were usually required to sign a contract agreeing to follow the superstitious prohibition of women, with a breach of said contract leading to a harsh form of punishment. Usually death.

Anne Bonny is the better known of the two, but not as significant to the trans experience as Read.
Bonny was a member of Calico Jack Rackham's crew. She dressed as a man to keep her identity a secret from the rest of the crew, but was Calico Jack's lover. The two endured much success in their pillaging and plundering, wreaking havoc along much of the coast of the South-eastern U.S and the Caribbean. Later the two met Mary Read, whom some scholars also suggest Bonny had a relationship with.

Mary Read was born the illegitimate child of a sea captain. Her birth date is of some dispute as there are a couple different accounts as to it's specificity. Because she was illegitimate, her mother hid her from everyone until the death of her older brother Mark Read. She assumed this identity for the majority of her life, fighting in wars proving herself in battle during the Nine Years War. She broke her identity as Mark when she fell in love with a Flemish soldier and married him, living her life as a woman until his death. After her husbands death, she re-assumed the identity of Mark Read and joined the military yet again. However, it was a time of peace and she joined a ship headed for the West Indies.

Read was forced into piracy when the ship was taken by pirates. She took a King's Pardon and was commissioned to privateer. In 1720, she joined Calico Jack's crew where she met Anne Bonny. Her gender was revealed when Bonny approached her and told her that she was actually a woman and was in love with Read. In response to Bonny's affections Read revealed that she was also a woman in turn. Calico Jack suspected romantic involvement between the two and became jealous. But his feelings were calmed when Bonny revealed that Read was also a woman.

In November of 1720, the three were captured, arrested, and put on trial in Spanish Town, Jamaica.  All three were convicted of piracy and sentenced to hang by the neck until dead. Bonny and Read "pleaded their bellies" or claimed they were pregnant and were granted a temporary stay of execution. Bonny is said to have escaped at some point and disappeared from history near Point Royal, Jamaica. Read died in prison of a violent fever. Some believe she died in childbirth, though there are no records of the death of her child at St. Catherine's Church in Jamaica so she may have still been pregnant when she died.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Janet Mock

Janet Mock is an American transgender woman from Hawaii. She was born March 10, 1983 (hey, we share a birthday!). She is a bestselling writer, TV host, and transgender rights activist. She spent most of her youth in Hawaii, but also lived in Oakland, California and Dallas, Texas. She began her transition as a freshman in high school, funding it as a sex worker in her teens. She had gender confirmation surgery at the age of 18 in the middle of her first year of college.

Mock attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising in 2004, later she attended New York University earning a Master of Arts in Journalism in 2006. She was the first member of her family to attend college.She has also received a variety of awards including the Sylvia Rivera Activist Award in 2012, was included in the Trans 100 a list of influential Transgender activists in 2013... it's first year. She received the GLSEN Respect Award and the Feminist Press honored her at the Women & Power Gala in 2014. As well as a plethora of honors for her work in transgender and racial equality.

After graduating she became a staff editor for People magazine and remained in that position for five years. In 2011, she came out publicly as a trans woman in an article for Marie Claire entitled, I Was Born A Boy. Mock took issue with the title, stating she had no choice with the sex she was assigned at birth. Her confirmation surgery didn't change her into a girl because she had always been a girl. The editor later came out with an apology through Twitter, recalling how Mock had taken issue with the piece before being published and how she went with it anyway and ended it with the hashtag #regrets. Regardless of the misgendering, she became an editor at Marie Claire and has written about trans women's presence in the beauty industry as well as pieces on racial representation in television and film for the publication. She has also written for Elle, The Advocate, XoJane, and Huffington Post. She also submitted a video to the It Gets's Better Project discussing her experiences as a transgender woman. She has also appeared on a variety of news programs to promote her book and discuss transgender rights. One such appearance on Piers Morgan Live on CNN became controversial, as the pundit sensationalized her life and and failed to show interest in discussing trans issues. This resulted into a second appearance on the show, where she explained the problems of the way transgender bodies are represented in the media.

In 2012, Janet was signed to her first book deal by a division of Simon & Schuster and in 2014 her first book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. It is the first book to be written by a transgender person that transitioned in their teenage years. The book made the New York Times bestseller list and contains her memories living as a transgender teen, statistics, and social theory. She wrote in the authors note that she understands her privilege and that her story does not represent all trans women or trans women of color. It is simply her own experience which is one of many around the world. She also states that their is no one way to experience this journey. Feminist critic bell hooks referred to Janet's memoir as, "Courageous! This book is a life map for transformation" while Melissa Harris-Perry said, "Janet does what only great writers of autobiography accomplish—she tells a story of the self, which turns out to be a reflection of all humanity."

In 2012 she started the hashtag #GirlsLikeUs to empower trans women. She gave the Lavender Commencement keynote speech honoring LGBT students at the University of Southern California and served as co-chair, nominee and presenter at the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards. In 2013 she joined the board of directors of the Arcus Foundation and charity that partially focuses on LGBT rights. In 2014 Mock joined a campaign against a law that targeted trans women of color in Phoenix, Arizona which allowed police to arrest anyone suspected of "manifesting prostitution." In 2014 she was featured on the cover of C☆NDY magazine along with thirteen other transgender women. In 2016, HBO aired "The Trans List" which was produced by Mock where she interviews eleven other prominent transgender figures. Her new book Surpassing Certainty was published this past June and has been hailed as a must read by many publications and critics.

Janet's work is extensive and critical, spanning many mediums and covering a large scope of topics. Because of her success, advocacy and activism, our community has a strong voice speak on our behalf and help guide us into the next era of trans rights.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Holly Woodlawn

Holly Woodlawn was a Puerto Rican transgender woman known for her work as an Andy Warhol Superstar. She was born in 1946 in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico and grew up in Miami, Florida. She came out at a young age and adopted the name Holly after the heroine from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's and added the surname later after it appeared in an episode of I Love Lucy. She would tell people that she was the heiress of Woodlawn Cemetary, even though it wasn't true. In 1962, at the age of fifteen, she left Florida and made her way to New York. She recalled this experience in her memoirs, A Low Life in High Heels."I hocked some jewelry and ... made it all the way to Georgia, where the money ran out and ... had to hitchhike the rest of the way" to New York City. At the age of 16, when most kids were cramming for trigonometry exams, I was turning tricks, living off the streets and wondering when my next meal was coming." In 1969 she considered gender confirmation surgery but decided against it.

In 1968, Woodlawn met Andy Warhol at a screening of Flesh at his studio, The Factory. Warhol introduced her to Jackie Curtis, who cast Holly in her 1969 play Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit. That same October, she was cast in a small role in Warhol's film Trash. She impressed the director/screenwriter so much that he re-wrote the whole thing to give her a larger role. One year later, she received word that a petition was gathering support to nominate her for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work in Trash, though nothing ever came of this effort. In her next film Women in Revolt, another Warhol project, she joined other Warhol Superstars such as Candy Darling. In the film, she became one of the first people to use the word "cunt" in cinema.

Holly replaced Candy Darling in Vain Victory, another Jackie Curtis production in 1971. She spent some time in jail this same year in Puerto Rico and New York for shoplifting and impersonating the wife of the French Ambassador to the United Nations respectively. Initially, she was housed in a women's detention facility, but when her assigned sex at birth was discovered she was moved to a men's facility. In 1972, she appeared in a film called Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers. It was a low budget film and unsuccessful musical feature. The film was conceived by Robert Kaplan and Paul Glickman, the premise was to use a transgender woman in the lead role without revealing the sex of the actress. In 1977, she moved to San Francisco but returned to New York later that year. In 1978 she was arrested and jailed for violating terms of probation and was released when politician Ethan Geto organized a benefit in her benefit appealing for her release. By 1979, her career was in a major slump and she returned to her parent's home in Miami.

Woodlawn moved back to New York in the mid-80's. She became a featured singer in Gabriel Rotello's Downtown Dukes and Divas Revue. She also starred in a variety of musicals. In 1991, she published her autobiography A Low Life in High Heels with writer Jeff Copeland. Throughout the 90's she experienced a mild theatrical comeback, making cameo appearances in films such as Night Owl in 1993 and Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss in 1998. In 1999 she appeared in Controversial film Twin Falls Idaho, a film about conjoined twins living out of a hotel room in a small town. Woodlawn began performing in cabaret shows in sold-out New York and Los Angeles performances in the early 2000s. Most recently she appeared in Transparent, a show about a father who comes out as trans starring Jeffery Tambor.

After the death of Andy Warhol, she was frequently interviewed about her experiences with him. In the years before her own death, she made her home in West Hollywood, California where she participated in riot grrrl shows with Revolution Rising and recorded spoken-word for an experimental project by the band Lucid Nation. She became seriously ill in June of 2015 and was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Tests showed that she had lesions on her brain and liver which were later determined to be cancer. She eventually moved into an assisted living facility where she eventually passed from brain and liver cancer on December 6, 2015. She was included in the In Memoriam segment of the 88th Academy Awards.

Trans Timelines 1500-1900: Chevalier d'Eon

Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d'Éon de Beaumont...(another long name) usually known as Chevalier d'Eon, was a French spy, diplomat, freemason, and soldier who fought in the Seven Years War. d'Eon was born in 1728 in Tonnerre, Burgandy, France. The Chevalier d'Éon claimed to have been assigned female at birth and demanded recognition by the government as such. D'Éon claimed to have been raised as a boy because Louis d'Éon de Beaumont could only inherit from his in-laws if he had a son. Though exhumation and examination of his body by scientist later confirmed that d'Eon was born male, but also had some distinct female characteristics. Many have speculated the d'Eon was intersex. A few of the characteristics described in d'Eon's death certificate were "unusual roundness in the limbs" and "remarkably full breasts". Havelock Ellis coined the term eonism to describe similar cases of transgender behavior though it is rarely used now. The Beaumont Society, a long-standing organization for transgender people, is named after d'Éon.

D'Eon moved to Paris in 1743 and attended the Collège Mazarin in 1749 studying civil and canon law. D'Eon served as the secretary to the intendant of Paris, the administrator of the fiscal department, and appointed a royal censor for history and literature in 1758. In 1756, d'Eon joined the Secret du Roi (King's Secret), a network of spies employed by King Louis XV without knowledge of the government. According to d'Eon's memoirs, LouisXV sent a team of the Secret du Roi to Russia. In that time, England and France were opposing forces and the English made great efforts to prohibit access to Empress Elizabeth, the leader of Russia. The English were only allowing women and children to cross the border into Russia, so D'Eon had to pass convincingly as a woman or risk execution upon being discovered. D'Eon crossed the border into Russia as Lea de Beaumont and served as a maid of honor to the Empress.

D'Eon returned to France in 1760 and was highly rewarded for serving in Russia. In 1761, d'Eon was appointed as a captain of dragoons and fought in the later part of the Seven Years War. D'Eon was also sent to draft a treaty that brought that war to a close. In 1763, d'Eon was honored with Order of  Saint-Louis and was given the title Chevalier d'Eon...a title similar to knighthood. The Chevalier spent many years exiled in London, the consequence of being trapped between opposing French factions regarding the suspicion and discovery of the Secret du Roi. King Louis XV died in 1774, and afterward, d'Eon attempted to negotiate a return to France. Agreements were made that required d'Eon to turn over all correspondence of the Secret du Roi. When the Chevalier d'Éon claimed to have been assigned female at birth and demanded the government recognize d'Eon as female. King Louis XVI and his court obliged, but required that d'Éon dress appropriately in women's clothing, although d'Éon was allowed to continue to wear the insignia of the Order of Saint-Louis. When the king's offer included funds for a new wardrobe of women's clothes, d'Eon agreed. After fourteen months of negotiation, d'Éon returned to France and as punishment was banished to Tonnerre in 1777.

When the French Revolution arose, d'Eon fell slowly into poverty as the government that had established d'Eon's pension was now defunct. D'Eon competed in fencing tournaments to survive until suffering a serious injury in 1796. In 1804, d'Eon became paralyzed and remained bedridden for the rest of their life. D'Eon died in poverty at the age of 81 in 1810.D'Éon's body was buried in the graveyard of St Pancras Old Church, and d'Éon's remaining possessions were sold by Christie's in 1813. D'Éon's grave is listed as one of the important graves lost at the Burdett-Coutts Memorial.

The Chevalier has been portrayed in a variety of media, including dramatic and comedic plays, a comic opera, film, an audio play and even manga and anime. D'Eon's life is a view into how transgender people are treated today and also can give us hope that we can accomplish great things and possibly even be honored for our efforts despite the situations we live through.

Kristelle's Story: Lost in the Woods

After leaving the suicide watch facility, I stayed with my aunt again for a short while. I returned to cosmetology school and went to therapy once a month. The doctor responsible for prescribing my depression and anxiety meds was an absolute robot. He never made eye contact... Not even once. He just asked his questions in a tone that would make Ben Stein die of boredom, stirring his coffee occasionally while I explained how the meds were making me feel.

Numb. Depression meds kind work. No one wanted to help me in the way that I really needed it.I  say that because they do help you from feeling sad and depressed...well they did me anyhow. But don't be disillusioned. Sure,  I wasn't feeling sad. Matter of fact was that I wasn't feeling much of anything at all. Just... numb. It's a strange feeling not feeling at all. Forgetting the very emotions that once made me human.  I found myself having to emulate others emotions to fit into my everyday life. Sometimes over exaggerating them because I had truly forgotten how powerful they were.  

My therapist was nice. She listened, well she nodded her head a lot and occasionally offered feedback. But that was the extent of our sessions. While it served as an opportunity to talk with someone, it didn't leave me better off than I was going in.  It felt as though no one was actually trying to help me. Just give me advice. Don't get me wrong, the advice is great when you know how to apply it.  I didn't.

Everything seemed impossible. Trying to keep up with my education, making sure I  was getting my clinics finished up,  simultaneously trying to make some money without it working out very well. While I knew had to work toward my goals of becoming the woman I was supposed to be, I had no idea how to achieve that...  and my only lead into that process(which was my therapy) wasn't helping me progress through these goals and really refused to address the issue.

Eventually, I had to leave my aunts due to some extenuating circumstances and ended up living in a tent in a patch of woods near the school I attended. Every morning I woke up in a sweltering heat, found a way to take a shower, and went about my daily activities distracted by the situation I found myself in. I made money daily by receiving tips from services performed in clinics and got a small check once a month that barely helped feed me. At night I crept my way back through the woods with a flashlight, sitting in the tent listening to the sounds around me hoping I'd make it through the evening.

Then I met a close friend of mine, whose name I'll omit for the sake of their privacy. I met them when they requested a waxing service through the clinic, they were a fellow student at the school. We chatted a bit through the service. We realized that we had attended the same high school and connected really quickly. One evening I was invited to spend the night at their house, which turned into many nights. I got to know her and her family fairly well and quickly discovered an issue in their life that was haunting the family as a whole.

Before I get into that, I should clarify that I was not spending every night at my friend's place. I would go back and forth from their place to the tent and was working as often as I could at the school. One morning, I woke up in the tent with a severe headache. It was about six o'clock and I didn't have to be anywhere until after noon that day. I figured I just needed more sleep and laid back down assuming the headache would be gone when I woke up. Long story short, I was found by my aunt and another employee of the school at around two o'clock in the afternoon and the rest of this situation I only know based off what I was told later.

I was pale, sweating bullets and seizing horribly. EMT's arrived at the scene and took me to a nearby hospital. Meanwhile, my aunt was calling my mother and told her "This might be the one." Seizures greatly affected a large part of my late teens through much of my twenties, and the subject of what might be my fate because of them was often discussed between my aunt and my mother. The fear was that one day a seizure would render me severely disabled and that I would become completely reliant on someone to care for me. So when my aunt said, "This might be the one" she was informing my mother that the worst may have come. My mom made it to the hospital before I did, and when the ambulance pulled up the lights were on but the sirens were off. To my knowledge, this means: dead on arrival. I made it through somehow though. I was very dehydrated and disoriented and didn't leave the hospital until very late that evening. My mom decided that I would stay in her house and she would go live with her boyfriend at the time. This didn't last very long, due to a misstep of me deciding to help my friend in a way that would've required my mother's permission. Which I neglected to pursue.

My friend was involved in a very abusive relationship. They kept going back and forth with their significant other who would physically and emotionally abuse them. The abuse led to a serious drug addiction that greatly affected their life. One evening they finally called the police after their significant other assaulted them. Charges were pressed and the offender went to jail. As a result, the offender's parents filed for custody of the two's young child, claiming they were concerned for the safety and well being of him because of my friend's addiction. Eventually, custody was granted and my friend was destroyed. Their parents decided to push for custody themselves but in order to facilitate that, my friend would not be legally allowed to stay with them. They asked if my friend could stay with me, and without thinking I allowed it. All I wanted was to help my friend and they lived with me for two weeks before my mom discovered what was going on and kicked us both out.

I spent the next two years living in that tent, occasionally moving it to avoid being bothered or discovered. I ate poorly, had a very erratic sleeping schedule, and removed myself completely from society. I fell into a severe depression and only spoke to a handful of people who were dealing with similar situations. But this experience gave me plenty of time to think, meditate and determine where my life was going. My circle was filled with people who had access to marijuana and I was able to smoke quite a bit and mostly for free. The marijuana, combined with all the free time led to a great period of personal enlightenment, and unbeknownst to me was setting the stage for my future in a very "the fates shall decide" kind of way.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Gigi Gorgeous

Giselle Lazzarato (better known as Gigi Gorgeous.) is a Canadian transwoman best known for being an internet personality through the medium of YouTube, but also is an actress and model. She has appeared in music videos, internet television series, a variety of traditional television shows (mostly news programs, reality series, awards shows or interviews.), three short films, and a documentary about her transition entitled This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous. Lately, she has inspired controversy among her following for a variety of reasons. Some follow her loyally despite her missteps, while others feel she has lost touch with her own community and has subsequently abandoned their support of her. Regardless of how you feel about her recent actions, comments or public presence...Lazzarato does a great deal of work for the transgender community. Most of which fly under the radar of even her followers. While her internet personality may be a tad outrageous at times, her work behind the scenes makes her more than worthy of acknowledgment in these Profiles of Transgender Courage.

Gigi was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1992. She is one of three children of David and Judith Lazzarato (née Belding). Her family is of Italian, Lebanese and French heritage and she was raised Roman Catholic, a religion she still practices. In her younger life, she experienced success achieving national rank as a diving champion. She attended Catholic primary and secondary schools and later attended George Brown College, eventually leaving that school to focus on her YouTube Career.

Gigi started her career on YouTube identifying as a gay male and uploaded videos of her make-up tutorials. While many makeup tutorial channels existed at the time, Gigi's gained a following partly because she identified as a gay male doing makeup videos(which was relatively unheard of at the time and she had quite the knack for it), but mostly (in my opinion) because she had such a magnetic and fun personality that inspired love and confidence to all her viewers. In 2011, she announced she would be starring in a YouTube-based reality series called The Avenue. The show lasted until the early spring of 2013. Between the start and end of that series (February 2012), Gigi's mother passed away of Leukemia. In 2016, she identified as a lesbian and began dating her current partner Nats Getty. The two can be seen together in the photo to the right. (They're so cute together!)

At the end of 2013, Lazzarato came out to her following as a transgender woman. She has undergone a variety of surgeries to feel more comfortable with her body. In 2014 she legally changed her name to Giselle. She was interviewed by People Magazine in September 2015. In the interview, she credited transgender model Amanda Lepore and her mother's death for sparking her transition, the latter of which is echoed in the documentary This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous. In 2014 she received LogoTV's  Trailblazing Social Creator Award for her work advocating for LGBT youth. In 2015 she won a Streamy Award for "Best Beauty Series".

Gigi has used her internet celebrity to bring awareness to transgender issues, often commenting on various subjects involving the trans experience and current events that have surrounded and affected the community. In 2016, she was detained in the United Arab Emirates and had her passport taken by immigration officers and airport officials at Dubai International Airport. She was denied entry into the country because the government does not recognize her gender as legitimate and there is disagreement between Lazzarato and Dubai officials as to what gender her passport states she is. ( Believe her. She comes from a country that is far more progressive in such issues.) She was detained for five hours and released. After her release, she embarked for Sweden. Fans and supporters called for her release and a reform in anti-LGBT laws with the hashtag #JusticeForGigi. And Gigi responded calling for protections and equality for LGBTQ people. It is not the first time a transgender woman has been detained in Dubai. In 2014 two Brazilian transwomen also had their passports taken and were detained.

Recently, Gigi has been campaigning to raise funds for Children’s Hospital Center For Transyouth Health And Development, a Los Angeles-based organization that provides hormonal intervention, mental health and HIV prevention services, family and peer support, and other advocacy resources for gender non-conforming kids. On October 29, 2017, she hosted a Halloween event at Bootsy Bellows called "CarnEvil For Good". All proceeds from the event are set to benefit the center. She also has organized a GoFundMe Campaign for those who can’t attend but still wish to contribute to the cause. Stating “Now is the time to invest in lifesaving care and clinical research so that every child has the opportunity to embrace and express his or her authentic self,” she wrote on the campaign page. In just two days, Lazzarato has raised roughly $19,400 of her $30,000 goal from a total of nine donors.Funds will also be allocated to educating school administrators and teachers about transgender issues, helping patients who want to change their names or genders on their driver’s licenses, and to field denials from insurance companies who refuse to cover hormone-blockers or other treatments. The GoFundMe can be found here. She has also been announced as a social media correspondent for MTV's TRL reboot.

Gigi is one of the most influential (not to mention beautiful) transwomen of the modern era. Her work is crucial to more vulnerable sections of the transgender community and her very open and honest transition in a public way was enormously brave. So I'm going to end this by saying one of her most popular catchphrases... with a slight alteration. Stay Courageous Gigi.

History Transcending: Transgender Candidates of 2017

Danica Roem
In 2017, a number of transgender candidates won races in their respective states and districts for various positions of public office.  Many trans candidates have run for public office this year. While most have lost their races, never made it through the primaries or dropped out before the election; four candidates have won their respective races, two are to be determined and the stage has been set for many other candidates in 2018.

Danica Roem, is the first openly transgender candidate to win a seat in a state legislature in American history. She ran in the state of Virginia against incumbent Bob Marshall, who held the seat for 25 years. Roem ran on local issues, campaigning for infrastructure, teacher pay, equality, and jobs. Marshall mostly ran against his opponent, placing ads on TV misgendering Roem. He also considered himself the state's "homophobe-in-chief", lauding his own version of the anti-LGBT legislation which would have prevented transgender people from using the restroom that coincides with their gender identity. Danica beat Marshall by a double-digit percentage and broke a barrier for the community.

Andrea Jenkins is one of two transgender candidates that ran for city council in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The other, a transman named Phillipe Cunningham came in a close second in his race for a city council seat. Jenkins, however, won her race with 70% of the vote. She has worked as an aide to the city council for twelve years, as well as a curator for the Transgender Oral History Project. She also participates in the Trans Lives Matter movement. She also was the Grand Marshal for the Twin Cities parade in 2015. She is also a writer, poet, activist and performance artist.

 Jackie Ryan won her race for the school board of Southbridge, Massachusetts earlier in the year. She is the first openly transgender individual to be elected to public office in Massachusetts. She worked with elected leaders and activists in the state to enact a bill that protects transgender people in public accommodations and is pushing to have similar bills enacted across the nation. She also serves in a variety of roles related and unrelated to the LGBT community, including as a member of the Electoral College.
Tyler Titus won his bid for the school board in Erie, Pennsylvania on November 7th. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, youth advocate, trauma specialist, public speaker and community leader. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and the Crime Victim Center. Tyler strives to develop ways to reach populations in communities that are commonly over-looked and under-served. He has made presentations where he speaks on the suicide risks in the LGBTQ+ community.

Lisa Middleton ran for City Council in Palm Springs, California. As of writing this article she is in the lead in her race and will likely be elected. Anything could happen though. Lisa has a long history of working in her community and is known for building relationships and has run a campaign based on ensuring that public services are efficient and effective. She has served in so many positions that it's impossible to list them in one paragraph. Some of which include, Member of the Board of Directors of the LGBT Community Center of the Desert and at the Equality California Institute. She has also received honors from a variety of organizations for her work.

Stephe Koontz is a transgender business owner who ran for the office of the City Council in Doraville, Georgia. I just looked at her race results and with 100% of precincts reporting, she leads her opponent by four votes. FOUR VOTES! She ran on the subjects of green living, revamping public school facilities, affordable housing, and developing more shopping options in her city. Based on the outcome of this vote, I wouldn't be surprised if a recount happens. But the fact that she has accomplished this in a predominately red state in the deep south is noteworthy.

In 2018, there are a plethora of transgender candidates running for public office all over the country, including one for Governor in Connecticut. As a community, we should do our utmost to support these candidates by spreading the word in their/our communities and pushing to get them as many votes as possible. I look forward to how the candidates elected yesterday will perform in their roles and how we as a community will start having a say in public policy at all levels of government.

Profiles of Transgender Courage: Gavin Grimm

 Gavin Grimm is an American transgender man from Gloucester County, Virginia. (That's not far away from my hometown!) He is a teenager who received a doctor's note in order to use the male restroom at his high school. After a member of the community complained, the school prohibited him from using the bathroom that associated with his gender identity. The event coincides with bills that had been proposed in other southern states that prohibited transgender people from using a public restroom that best represents their gender identity, An issue that became highly controversial in 2015.

The issue starts with the issuance of Title IX in the United States Education Amendments of 1972 which "prohibits discrimination "on the basis of sex" in educational programs that receive financial assistance from the federal government." This description was intentionally written very brief, and left the interpretation of the amendment up to the executive in power. In 2010, the Obama Administration determined the definition of "sex" was ambiguous, and led to the interpretation that include gender identity. A "Dear Colleague" letter was released, stating that schools that received federal funding (which are most public schools) were obligated to prevent situations that had potential to cause anti-LGBT sentiments and that the Office for  Civil Rights (OCR) would accept complaints that violated the interpretation on this policy would be accepted for investigation.

As the regulatory guidance became more specific, cases started popping up all over the country, such as one in Arcadia, California (a city I don't live far from now) where a transgender boy was prohibited to use the restroom and locker room of his choice and was required to sleep in a separate cabin alone during an overnight school trip. Many of theses cases fell in favor of the students. In 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was the first to rule on the scope of Title IX as applied to transgender students. This was Gavin's case, known as G.G. vs. Gloucester County School Board.

After Grimm came out as a transgender boy while attending Gloucester High School and started using male restrooms, the school board introduced policy that "shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders, and students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative appropriate private facility." At a school board meeting, Grimm was referred to as a freak and compared to a dog by many a number of speakers. When he refused to use the girls restroom, he was offered a broom closet that had been converted into a makeshift unisex bathroom. He opted instead to use the bathroom in the nurses office.

Gavin contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the school board on the grounds of Title IX. The case went to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and was heard by Judge Robert G. Doumar. Doumar ruled against Grimm, stating that being transgender is a "mental disorder" and that Gavin was a "female who wants to be male" while also going on an off-topic rant about marijuana enforcement and sanctuary cities. Grimm appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned the ruling citing the interpretation of federal policy regarding Title IX and condemning Doumar's remarks and suppositions.  It sent the case back down to Doumar for further proceedings under the broader reading of Title IX. The school board moved for a rehearing en banc but Appeals declined to rehear the case. Doumar issued a preliminary injunction in Grimm's favor. The Supreme Court stayed the Circuit Court's decision in August 2016, and in October 2016, it agreed to take up the case. The Court reversed its decision to hear the case on March 6, 2017, and vacated the judgment in Grimm's favor citing the Trump administration's withdrawal of the reading of Title IX relied on by the Fourth Circuit.

The result of Grimm's case is disappointing and yet another example of the Trump Administration's persecution of the transgender community and the LGBT community as a whole. However, Gavin is still fighting and doing his part to bring progress to society in favor of the transgender community. He has since graduated from high school and the school board has called for the court to stay the case as his graduation leaves the case "no longer relevant.

Ancient Transgender History: King/Queen Hatshepsut

Ancient Egypt has a long and glorious history, rivaled only by the Roman and Holy Roman Empires. It was traditionally ruled by men, whom were given the title of King or Pharaoh. However there were a handful of female rulers, with Nefertiti and Cleopatra being more prominently known in today's day and age. However, there is one ruler in Egypt's history that is commonly considered by history scholars and archaeologists as the most successful of it's ancient rulers, the King-Queen Hatshepsut. As with many other transgender figures in ancient history, surgery and hormone replacement therapy were not viable options in terms of treatment. Therefore many of these figures are connected to transgender history based on their behaviors and social status. Hatshepsut is the earliest known occurrence of transgender behavior in recorded history, and can be more accurately described as a gender non-binary person based on artifacts, written history, and hieroglyphics depicting the ruler's image. Other than her title, Hapshetsut is referred to as a female in both the ancient records and by historians.

Hatshepsut is the daughter and only child of Thutmose I and his primary wife Ahmose. She is the fifth ruler in the in the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She came to power in 1478 BC. As far as official record is concerned, she ruled as co-regent with Thutmose II; though her personality and accomplishments dominate the historical record, pushing the rule of her husband into obscurity. She claimed divine right to rule based on the authority of the god Amun. She is viewed as the most successful ruler in the ancient nation's history and furthermore is highly regarded as the "first great woman of history of whom we are informed." She reigned longer than any other woman in the extensive history of Egyptian dynasties. She managed to rule for nearly twenty years.

Compared to other female Pharaohs that preceded and succeeded her she had the longest, most successful and most prosperous reign. While she was extremely successful in warfare during the early period of her reign, she better known for bringing about the longest stint of peace in the countries history. She reestablished trade relations that had been lost during times of foreign occupation and brought great wealth to the empire.This in turn, enabled her to commission a number of great building projects that set a significant standard for future projects that would not be rivaled by any civilization for nearly a thousand years. The most notable of which is the building of a temple in her name (Hatshepsut's Temple). The second most notable is the building of the first tomb, dedicated to her father, in the Valley of the Kings, which was extended to prepare for her own death. She was also known for promoting her accomplishments in lavish ways, that brought her great recognition during her reign and even to this day, as her image is one of the most common to grace a plethora of historical sites.

Hatshepsut's gender identity is mostly exemplified with her insistence of being the primary rule. But the greatest clues to how she viewed herself are displayed blatantly in the images of her that are left behind. As stated before, she was not the first or last female ruler of Egypt, however, she is the only one of the group that insisted on donning the traditional Pharaoh regalia consisting of  the Khat head cloth, topped with the uraeus, the traditional false beard, and shendyt kilt. Statues, monuments and hieroglyphics dedicated to her in official manner show her in these items and lacking or hiding her feminine features, while less official depictions of her clearly define her feminine form.

Hatshepsut died into the twenty-second year of her reign. No cause of death has survived history, however upon examination of her mummy, it is theorized she suffered from diabetes and died from bone cancer that spread while she was in her fifties. After her death, efforts were made to erase her from history by her husband and son. The reason for this is unknown, but some scholars speculate it was partly because of her assertion that she was a male ruler and additionally because of the nature of Thutmose III's indirect lineage to the throne. Her legacy is largely represented by her accomplishments in trade and architecture, but she is also lauded as an "honorary man" despite the fact that gender inequality was mostly absent during the Eighteenth Dynasty and more heavily favored women. She has been represented in a great deal of media,though few of these have notable status and recognition and have only happened since the turn of the century. Regardless, she holds the the title of first know case of transgenderism , and achieving massive success and notoriety while holding one of the highest and most recognized positions of power in human history.

Profiles Of Transgender Courage: Carmen Carrera

Carmen Roman (better know as Carmen Carrera) is an American transgender woman best known for her appearance in the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race and it's spin-off series RuPaul's Drag U. She is an actress, model, burlesque performer and reality television personality. While she presented as a male during her initial appearance in the drag competition, ABC News reported that she was trans in 2012. She began her transition after she completed filming the third season of Drag Race.

Carmen was born in New Jersey in 1985 and is of Puerto Rican-Peruvian descent. She was the second contestant on Drag Race to return to the show after being eliminated and was featured as a professor on Drag U.

In 2011, Carrera was featured in the magazine, W, as a part of series of realistic advertisements for fictional products. Her set featured her as the face of the fictional fragrance La Femme. She also appeared in a commercial for Orbitz, a site related to travel. She has appeared in a music video for recording artist Lovari for the song Take My Pain Away. She has modeled for photographer David LaChapelle and in a poster for Life Ball, she is depicted with both male and female genitalia to show how gender identity is blurred and fluid. In 2014 she was featured as part of Advocate's "40 under 40" and also appeared in the premiere episode of Jane the Virgin. Also in 2014, Carrera was featured on the fifth anniversary cover of C☆NDY magazine along with thirteen other transgender women.

Carmen is also an activist for HIV and AIDS awareness, as the disease has a significant impact on the transgender community. A dress she wore for an ad meant to raise awareness for the disease was auctioned off in commemoration of World AIDS Day. All funds raised from the auction were donated to the National Association of People with AIDS. 

On an episode of ABC's Primetime: What Would You Do?, Carrera played a transgender waitress working in a diner. The program features actors performing scenes in public, with bystanders unaware that they are being filmed. Many of the scenes involve uncomfortable situations and attempt to get bystanders to interact with the scene in a candid camera style social experiment. Carrera's scene involves her being confronted by a customer who recalls her serving him when she lived as a man. The customer berates her, and interacts with other customers and creates a scene. Other customers come to Carmen's defense. Here's a link to the clip. What Would You Do?

Carrera also appeared in an episode of Cake Boss. In the episode, she unknowingly participated in a prank between the star of the show, Buddy Valastro, and his cousin. Valastro sets his cousin up on a date with Carrera, culminating with him informing his cousin "...that's a man baby!". Carmen had agreed to do the show with the intent to raise awareness for the trans community and was unaware she would be the subject of a joke. So the "punchline" was a giant punch in the face to her and the transgender community. She later complained about the situation on Facebook "By calling me a 'MAN' promotes ignorance and makes it ok to call transgender women, men. PEOPLE GET BULLIED, BEAT UP, AND KILLED FOR BEING TRANS BECAUSE OF THIS IGNORANCE! ... I made it VERY clear to the producers on how to use the correct wording before agreeing to film this but instead they chose to poke fun and be disrespectful. That's not what I'm  about! ... I may not have been born a woman, but I'm  NOT a man. I told them I wouldn't mind if they said 'born male' or 'was a male'. After taking this journey it's not fair at all to be lied to by the producers."

Carrera has also criticized RuPaul on his use of the words tranny, shemale and other variations used on his shows in 2014 and again in 2015. RuPaul defended his use of the slurs, provoking the opinion amongst many that many cis and gay drag performers are inherently transphobic. (I'll keep my opinion on that subject to myself for now.) Many people who disagreed with her accused her of "biting the hand that fed her". But she credited her agent, friends, fans and family and that she was not going to support transphobic language.

Carrera's work in AIDS awareness and her unyielding fight against transphobia makes her a champion of transgender issues. Oh, and by the way...She should have won Drag Race.

Profiles Of Transgender Courage: Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono is an American transgender man that was born in 1969 to American entertainers Sonny Bono and Cher. He is an advocate, musician, writer, and actor. He began a short music career in 1988 and was a member of the band Ceremony, which released one album in 1993 entitled Hang Out Your Poetry. The album was received with mixed reviews, being labeled by some as a "mildly psychedelic take on early 90's pop." I personally enjoy it. His parents even provided vocals on a few tracks. Before transitioning, Bono was outed as a lesbian in 1995. This event led to an interview for a cover story with leading monthly gay magazine, The Advocate. In the interview, Bono self-identified as a lesbian and discussed the repercussions of being outed and brought awareness to the struggles of LGBT people in society.

Chaz has authored four books, the first of which is Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians and Their Families which was published in 1998. The book details his process to coming out to his family and being publicly outed. In 2003, he released the memoir The End of Innocence, which discusses more details of his outing, his music career and the death of his partner Joan who passed from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He also has books detailing his transition.

In his first book, he explains how his mother Cher was initially very uncomfortable with Chaz's sexuality and identity, stating she "went ballistic". In 1996, Cher had come to terms with everything and is now a proud ally and activist of the LGBT community.  He did not experience the same outcome with his father Sonny Bono. After Sonny became a Republican Congressmen the relationship deteriorated. Chaz's coming out as a lesbian had "catapulted me into a political role that has transformed my life, providing me with affirmation as a lesbian, as a woman, and as an individual." , and that differed greatly from his father's opinions and approach to public policy. The two hadn't spoken for over a year until Sonny's death in 1998 after a tragic skiing accident.

Bono has worked as a writer for The Advocate,  spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, and Entertainment Media Director for GLAAD. He has campaigned for the re-election of Bill Clinton, against the Defense of Marriage Act, and promoted National Coming Out Day. He began his transition in 2008, which was confirmed by his publicist in 2009. Many advocates for transgender people praised the announcement and offered a wave of support. In 2010, he completed the legal part of his transition, changing his name to Chaz as well as his gender in court. In 2011 his documentary Becoming Chaz premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Chaz has also appeared in a variety of television shows starting with reality tv. In his first show, he was a team captain in Celebrity Fit Club 3. He was supported by his girlfriend who organized training sessions and exercises. After his transition, he was featured on the thirteenth season of Dancing with the Stars, being paired with professional ballroom dancer Lacey Schwimmer. Although he was eliminated later in the season, he opened the door for transgender people on tv., as he was the first openly transgender man who starred in a major television network show for something unrelated to being transgender. In 2016 he made his acting debut on the tv series American Horror Story and returned in 2017 to recur his role. He has since, discussed the difficulty of finding acting jobs as a transgender man attempting to play cisgender roles, and has criticized Hollywood for casting cisgender people in transgender roles.

Chaz was the first transgender person to bring the community massive media attention after the turn of the century, most of which was positive. His bravery will be cemented in our communities legacy forever.

Profiles Of Transgender Courage: Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning is a former United States Army soldier who was convicted of violations of the Espionage Act by court-martial in 2013 after disclosing 700,000 classified and/or sensitive documents to WikiLeaks. She is a transwoman who made her first public appearance as a female in 2010 while on leave from military duties.

There is quite a lot of controversy surrounding her decision to leak the information she had acquired during military service to WikiLeaks. There is far too much information to discuss it here. The basics of which involve information on various airstrikes, Afghan and Iraq war logs, diplomatic cables and Guantanamo Bay prison files. Some people view the leak as a catalyst for the Arab Spring, a series of violent and non-violent protests, riots, coups, and civil wars in North Africa and the Middle East. Some people view her as a traitor while others view her as a hero that stood up against suppression and wrong-doing by the U.S. Government. Regardless of what you think of her, her actions changed the course of history.

On August 22, 2013, the day after her sentencing, Manning's lawyer issued a statement that his client was a female and was to referred to as Chelsea with female pronouns. Some news outlets respected her decision while others continued to deadname and misgender her. In April 2014 she was granted her petition for a name change by the Kansas District Court during her stay in Fort Leavenworth. Manning sought hormone replacement therapy, though such treatment is usually not available in most prisons. In August 2014, her attorney and the ACLU notified the USDB and Department of Defense officials that a lawsuit would be filed if they did not confirm treatment would be provided by September 4, 2014, as previously approved by the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. In September, Manning filed the lawsuit in federal district court, claiming she had "been denied access to medically necessary treatment" for gender disorder. She sued to be allowed to grow her hair longer and use cosmetics, and to receive hormone treatments "to express her female gender"

In 2015, she was granted hormone replacement therapy as part of her treatment in prison. This included her being referred to as female by prison authorities, being given female garments and permission to use cosmetics. On September 13, 2016, the ACLU announced that the army will be granting Manning's request for gender transition surgery, a first for a transgender inmate. In December 2016, Manning's attorneys reported that her military doctor, Dr. Ellen Galloway, refused Manning's request to change the gender on her military records to female. Manning made two suicide attempts in prison that same year and began a 5-day hunger strike to protest being bullied by prison authorities and the U.S. Government. The hunger strike ended after the Army agreed to provide gender confirmation surgery.

On January 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence to nearly seven years of confinement dating from her arrest on May 27, 2010, by military authorities. She was released May 17, 2017, and began her new life as Chelsea Manning, free civilian woman. Since then she has spoken at various events, been featured in Vogue magazine, and given several interviews discussing her experiences and transition. She also regularly posts on Twitter. Regardless of your opinion of her, Chelsea's transition has been difficult. But her journey helped break down barriers for transgender people in the military and in prison and lead to fair and more adequate treatment for such individuals her in the United States.

Kristelle's Story: Table of Contents