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25 transgender celebrities who broke barriers

  • Gigi Gorgeous

    Giselle Loren Lazzarato Getty, more recognizable under the name Gigi Gorgeous, was one of the earlier makeup artists building a following on YouTube in the late 2000s. Initially identifying as a gay man, Gigi Gorgeous came out as transgender in 2013 and underwent multiple surgeries since then. Gigi Gorgeous was unfortunately detained in the Dubai International Airport due to her transgender status and social norms in the UAE, leading to calls for equal protection and reform in anti-transgender laws.

  • Hari Nef

    As the first transgender person to appear on the cover of a major British magazine, Hari Nef has used her modeling and acting career to speak out about trans issues. Along with her work in fashion and modeling, Hari Nef is also a writer, with her work appearing in publications like Vice and a sex advice column. Her most familiar work in film and television includes appearances in the TV show “Transparent” and the film “Assassination Nation.”

  • Hunter Schafer

    Model Hunter Schafer has modeled for several prominent labels, including Tommy Hilfiger and Coach. In 2019, Schafer captivated audiences with her role in HBO’s “Euphoria,” which she co-stars in as the love interest of Zendaya’s protagonist; her role was praised by viewers and critics, and Schafer crafted her character’s backstory with showrunner Sam Levinson for a sense of authenticity. With “Euphoria” bringing her to fame, Schafer has been a prominent queer activist.

  • Jamie Clayton

    Actress and model Jamie Clayton found herself drawn to the Netflix show “Sense8,” as it contained a transgender woman character written by transgender writers. Clayton portrayed the character of Nomi Mark on the series, and would go on to appear in shows, films, and video games, including “The Snowman,” “The Neon Demon,” “Designated Survivor,” and “Mass Effect: Andromeda.” In the docuseries “Equal,” Clayton even portrayed transgender icon Christine Jorgensen.

  • Jazz Jennings

    Seeing a significantly young trans person prominent in the media is important for other trans children who may be going through a difficult time, and Jazz Jennings was able to provide that support. Jennings was diagnosed with gender dysphoria at the early age of 5, and since transitioning, she has made multiple media appearances on shows like “20/20” and on the Oprah Winfrey Network to speak about her challenges. Jennings began a number of initiatives and charities supporting transgender children.

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  • Josie Totah

    Born in 2001, Josie Totah is currently one of the youngest out transgender performers in entertainment. First appearing in Disney Channel shows such as “Jesse,” Totah received praise for her role in the film 2016 “Other People.” It wasn’t until 2018 when she came out as a transgender woman. She now appears on Peacock’s “Saved by the Bell” reboot as a cheerleader.

  • Kye Allums

    During his time in George Washington University, Kye Allums was part of the university’s women’s basketball team. During his time with the team, he came out as a trans man and later left the team. After graduating, Allums traveled the country and acted as a public speaker, sharing his own experiences and giving advice on how to handle bullying towards trans youth.

  • Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski

    Best known for writing and directing “The Matrix” trilogy, Lana and Lilly Wachowski both came out as trans women in 2010 and 2016, respectively. “The Matrix” films have been pointed out for containing trans allegories, and the duo has continued to be inclusive in their works, especially with their Netflix series “Sense8.” The Wachowskis also directed “Speed Racer,” “Cloud Atlas,” and “Jupiter Ascending,” and Lana Wachowski is currently filming the fourth “Matrix” film.

  • Laura Jane Grace

    Punk rock star Laura Jane Grace is the founder, lead singer, and guitarist of her band called Against Me! She is one of the few openly transgender punk rock artists in the industry, coming out as a trans woman in the latter half of her band’s career. To reflect on her identity, Against Me! independently released a well-received album entitled “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” in 2014.

  • Laverne Cox

    Quite possibly the most famous trans celebrity, actress, and activist is Laverne Cox, who is primarily known for her role in the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Cox has the distinction of being the first transgender performer nominated for an Emmy in an acting category. She went on to be the first transgender actress with a series regular role on a broadcast network, through “Doubt” on CBS. As an activist, Cox is credited with having a large role in the national discussion about transgender people in the United States.

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