15 Trans People who Have Made History
I feel it is extremely important to know about the people in our community who came before us. Throughout history trans people have made history by acting as activists, advocates, and just by being themselves in a world at that against them. This list is by no means complete but the point is to highlight some of the trans people who have made history for our community.
1) Frances Thompson: Frances was most likely the first trans person to testify before a congressional committee in the US. In 1866 she was a victim of the Memphis Riot. The riot occurred when a group of white men went into a neighbourhood where former slaves, such as Frances, lived. They burned buildings and attacked the former slaves. It was on this matter that she testified before the committee. Ten years later she was arrested for “transvestism.”
2) Lucy Hicks Anderson: Lucy was born in 1886 and began living as a woman a young age. She was first married in 1929 and then attempted to get married again in 1944.However, in 1944 her marriage was denied and she was accused of perjury for saying that she was a woman. After then she became one of the first fighters for marriage equality in America.
3) Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson: Marsha is most known for being one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riot in 1969 however her involvement in the LGBT community stretches beyond that. She was the co-founder of S.T.A.R. which provided support and resources for homeless trans youth. She was also heavily involved in the Gay Liberation Front. She fought for LGBT rights and for people living with HIV and AIDS. She supported the community until her life was cut short in 1992 under suspicious circumstances.
4) Sylvia Rivera: Sylvia was also one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riots. At only seventeen years old she co-founded S.T.A.R. She was also a founder of the Gay Liberation Front. She spent a lot of time advocating for trans people, drag queens, and other people who were not included in the mainstream gay rights movement including fighting against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York. She was an advocate for the community until her death in 2002.
5) Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Miss Major was another leader at the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and the community in New York at the time. In the late 1970s she moved to San Diego and started grassroots movements such as working with a food bank to serve trans women who were incarcerated, struggling with addiction, or were homeless. During the AIDS epidemic she provided people with healthcare and organized funerals often one or more a week. In 1990 she moved to the San Francisco area where she worked with many HIV/AIDs organizations. In 2003 she began working at the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project where she works to help transgender women who have been imprisoned. She continues to work as an activist to this day.
6) Hiromasa Ando: Hiromasa was a professional speedboat racer in Japan and publically transitioned when he was given permission to start competing as a male in 2002 becoming the first openly trans person in the sport. He also is one of the first openly trans athletes in the world.
7) Aya Kamikawa: In 2003 Aya made history when she became the first openly transgender person to be elected into office in Japan. She has also worked for the LGBT community both as a politician and before as a committee member for Trans-Net Japan.
8) Trudie Jackson: Trudie Jackson is a long-time activist for the LGBT and Native American Communities. She has worked with the ASU Rainbow Coalition, the Native American Student Organization, The National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gathering. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Equality Arizona Skip Schrader Spirit of Activism Award, one of the 2013 Trans 100, and Echo Magazine’s 2013 Woman of the Year. She is a huge advocate for the Native American trans community.
9) Kim Coco Iwamoto: When elected to the Hawaiian Board of Education in 2006 she held the highest office of any openly trans person in America. She served two terms on the Board of Education and is now a commissioner on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.
10) Diego Sanchez: Sanchez was the first openly trans person to hold a senior congressional staff position on Capitol Hill in America when he was appointed by Barney Frank in 2008.
11) Kylar Broadas: Broadas is an attorney, professor, and the first openly trans person to testify in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when he spoke in support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2012. In 2010 he founded the Trans People of Color Coalition.
12) Isis King: She became the first openly trans person to be on America’s Next Top Model in 2008. Her openess and involvement in the show and involvement in the show attracted a lot of both negative and positive attention. She has continued to work as a model, role-model, and advocate for transgender people.
13) Blake Brockington: Blake first made headlines when he became the first openly transgender high school homecoming king in North Carolina. He was also an activist for the LGBT community, transgender youth and fought against police brutality. Sadly, Brockington lost his life at the age of 18 in 2015 after committing suicide.
14) Diane Marie Rodriguez Zambrano: She has been a human rights and LGBT rights activist in Ecuador for many years. In 2009 she sued the Civil Registry to change her name and set precedent for other trans people to be able to change their names. In 2013 she became the first openly trans person, or LGBT person, in Ecuador to run for office.
15) Ruby Corado: She is an activist born in El Salvador but living in America. She was involved in the Coalition to Clarify the D.C. Human Rights Act which was changed the act to include gender identity and expression. In 2012 she opened Casa Ruby which is the only bilingual and multicultural LGBT organization in Washington, D.C. She has been working for human rights for over 20 years.