Bruce Jenner is a familiar face in nearly every household thanks to her appearance on the front of the Wheaties Box throughout the years, and her transition announcement did something very important for the world. Whether you like her or loathe her, she made it possible for us to have a discussion about transgender individuals from all walks of life, not just celebrities. It brought us into the spotlight and began to normalize what had before been considered a societal taboo. We still have a long way to go, but finally, at long last, society is beginning to understand. Jenner’s transition is the most public to date, and it’s one that we’ve actually been able to witness, which puts her in a different category from Laverne Cox, whose transition was already complete when we ‘met’ her. With that being said, while Jenner is certainly the most well-known, there are other well-known individuals that have made their transition, rocking both the LGBT world, and society itself. We’re going to take a look at a few of these individuals now and their roles in our society.
Those of you who watched America’s Next Top Model in 2011 still remember Isis King, who also appeared on the ‘All Star Edition’. She quickly rose to fame in both television and the LGBT community, making her an icon that we can look up to. She has also launched her very own fashion line, which you can see at isisking.com.
While the transgender community might hold disdain for RuPauls’ Drag Race following his comments on transgender people, it didn’t stop Cameron Carrera from appearing on the third season, and she has even been photographed by David La Chapelle. The burlesque performer has also been included on the Advocate’s annual “40 under 40” list.
We all know and love Laverne Cox. For many of us, our first exposure to her was on the hit Netflix show: Orange is the New Black, but she recently played Doctor Frank N Furter on the Rocky Horror remake, and is starring in a new show: Doubt. She is also the very first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy award.
Lana & Lily Wachowski
If you haven’t seen ‘The Matrix’, then you’ve been living under a rock, but if you haven’t kept up with the celebrity world, then you might not know that the directors, the Wachowski brothers are now the Wachowski sisters. Lana was the first major Hollywood director to come out as transgender, which occurred in July 2012. As a result of their coming out, they have invited people to take a second look at their movies and interpret them in a new light. Most notably, many fans have used this affirmation to confirm the Matrix as a ‘coming out’ film, which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering all of the references that it contains to dead naming and becoming your true self.
If you’ve ever watched movies, then you’ve probably seen Alexis Arquette. Though she passed away at the age of 47 in 2016, she made her appearance in several movies and TV shows including:
-The Wedding Singer
She has left an unmistakable mark on the world and the film industry, which we will never forget.
Mock has been an advocate and spokesperson for transgender rights since coming out publicly as a woman in a Marie Clair Article published in 2011. She is the former staff editor of People magazine, and a true voice in the community.
Formerly known as Andrej, her transition announcement might have been expected, as she rose to fame modeling both male and female clothing. She arranged for her sex reassignment surgery in 2014, announcing that she wished to be recognized as a woman.
Caroline was not outed as transgender until 1981 when she appeared in a Bond movie. Yes, you read that correctly, one of the bond girls was a transgender woman. She appeared in ‘For Your Eyes Only’, and she also modeled for Playboy. Her ability to keep it under wraps is a good indicator to many, that transgender people are more than just ‘men in dresses’.
The transgender community has many heroes to look up to, apart from Caitlyn Jenner. There are also several lesser known transgender individuals, such as Sarah McBride who have risen to high positions in non-profit organizations and have served as an inspiration to many. The bottom line here, is that transgender individuals are just like anyone else. They are ordinary people forced into extraordinary circumstances, and some have risen above the rest to become the ultimate inspiration.