Try to recall some of the most influential people you were taught about in school. We are sure there were plenty of cishet white men but never any trans women who actually helped shape history.
Now that it’s women’s history month, it’s essential that we discuss different trans and non-binary women and celebrate their resilience and struggle, even if history books don’t mention them.
Here is a list of some of the most iconic trans women who stood their ground and have inspired others to achieve their aspirations.
1. Marsha P. Johnson (1945 – 1992)
Marsha P. Johnson was one of the many trans women who started the gay liberation movement. She used to stand fiercely at the front lines of every protest against oppressive policies and helped to build safe spaces for homeless and transgender youth.
She even worked to protect people with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, and prisoners. Credited for initiating the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, Marsha even co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries House (STAR) – a prominent LGBTQ+ youth shelter.
Being a drag performer and a dancer, she struggled with mental illness and was often homeless. However, she is one of the most memorable transgender activists who paved the way for a brighter and safer future for trans individuals.
2. Christine Jorgensen (1926 – 1989)
Christine Jorgensen was the first person to publicly transition in the US. Born and raised in the Bronx, Christine used to work as an army clerk before her transition.
When she learned about a Danish doctor who was working on hormone therapy, she decided to consult him and was diagnosed as “transsexual.” The physician Dr. Hamburger then performed gender confirmation surgery. On her return to the US, she made the headlines and was greeted with fascination and curiosity by the public and the media, paving the way for gender confirmation surgeries.
3. Angie Xtravaganza (1964 – 1993)
Angie Xtravagamza was a popular icon in New York City’s drag ball culture and was a motherly figure and role model to many younger trans women and gay men in her house.
Even though she passed away when she was 28, she was very popular in her community and was a prominent maternal force who looked after each of her friends and ensured they were safe. She was also featured in the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, where they discuss the dangers of the life of a “transsexual.”
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