BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING
With the strength of that love, she stood in front of the world and said, “Knowing Andy left me profoundly changed, but more than anything else his passing taught me that everyday matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest.” She spoke of her late husband, the accomplishments she witnessed first hand in her home state of Delaware, and the strong LGBT caucus she stood before, as she became the first transgender person to deliver a speech at a national party convention. She brought attention to America the hate, and violence lgbTQ people face, but gave hope that the future can be different. “Tomorrow, we can be respected and protected. Especially if Hillary Clinton is our President,” she said.
With that speech McBride gave hope that it gets better to millions of transgender children in the world. After that speech, every trans person in America held their heads just a little higher than before. We were included, noticed, and validated through the visibility Sarah demonstrated to the world. Her visibility, work for the state of Delaware, and her devotion to her husband inspired a genderation of trans people who marked this moment as one of the most historical of their lifetime.
In her words, “I’m just another politician that happens to be transgender”. Yet, for transgender people, even beyond the borders of the Philippines, she is much, much more. She is the proof to trans people across the world, that they can be more than just their gender. As the first transgender woman to be elected to congress in the heavily Catholic populated Philippines, she made a monumental historical mark for a group around the world that longs to just be seen as a person.
After years of Philippine political figures ridiculing lgbT people, in a country where the vast majority are Catholic, it was a notable achievement to say the least. Especially considering Roman bested her closest opponent for the congressional district with 62% of the vote, a landslide.
Her platform was the socioeconomic unrest that is growing in the Philippines. With just over a population of 100 million, 25% of the country’s population remains below the poverty line. She was aware of these challenges facing her country growing up in a political family. In fact the very seat Roman would take was previously held by her mother.
Though she did not run a campaign specifically on lgbt issues, she is a champion for all, in a country without any openly lgbt politicians. Throughout a country where the religious majority plays a powerful role, lgbT rights remain a huge priority for Roman, who said during the campaign that her family always remained supportive of her. Her father advised her to remain confidant, despite being bullied for her gender identity in school.
“My hope is that one day this is not going to be newsworthy, and that when judges are appointed who happen to be transgender, it’s going to be regular everyday occurrences, the same as any other marginalized group or equity group.” —Kael McKenzie
THE GAME CHANGERS
Coy and her family joined a growing group of families no longer willing to sacrifice the safety, mental stability, or the life of their children by preventing them to live authentically as themselves. Yet, as the parents of transgender children, they joined in the struggle with every trans person against the bigotry that awaits us all. That bigotry would rear its ugly head state after state this year flooding bathroom bills from grade schools, to adult work environments.
Many who felt angered by the loss from the fight of marriage equality, redirected their bigotry to justify that hate towards trans youth. Even now with plans for an upcoming film, ‘Growing up Coy‘, that has led her onto the cover of the National Geographic, her family has experienced a tsunami of hate, and bullying. The film which will chronicle the Mathis family life before, during, and after the lawsuit recently premiered in New York. The director of the film, Eric Juhola says of Coy, “Coy is just a little girl who wants to be like all the other little girls, and do everything else that any other little girl would want to do, including using the girls bathroom.”
“She doesn’t want to have to explain who she is, and talk about how she’s different. She just wants to be.” —Kathryn Mathis, Mother of Coy Mathis
One day at Gloucester High School as school bells were ringing, girls chatting and giggling at handsome boys passing, and with teachers screaming “No running in the halls”, a young man was simply needing to go to the bathroom. When young Gavin Grimm needed to pee, the world stopped, and nearly fell over the edge of the flat planet they still believed in.
During his sophomore year the young teenager began quietly reintroducing himself as a boy. Grimm had previously men’s bathrooms in restaurants, stores, and at the nearby amusement park because, well he was a boy. He looked like a boy, and so he naturally walked into the boy’s bathroom at his high school in 2014. That swinging of a stall, would led to an acrimonious public debate over bathroom usage.
The debate that started in this sleepy town grew, in and out of court, and all the way to the Supreme Court. It created a media storm, and social media frenzy. The ACLU, and the entire trans community rallied behind Gavin, creating a new slogan,’I Stand With Gavin’. That slogan, would be later adapted for all trans people in the struggle to use the restroom, and became ‘I’ll stand With You.’
Initially, the Grimm’s sued the school board, stating the policy violated his civil rights. Next, the case reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which ruled Grimm’s suit could continue. The court deferred to the Obama administration’s position that barring transgender students from bathrooms is a violation of Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in public schools. A lower court ordered the school board to allow Grimm to use the boy’s bathroom while the case proceeded, but the school board appealed to the Supreme Court, which stayed the order; meaning the bathroom policy will remain in effect until the Supreme Court decides the case in 2017, right around the time Grimm will graduate from high school.
“I’m nothing particularly threatening or extraordinary, I’m just another 17-year-old kid. I have 17-year-old fears, and worries, and I have 17-year-old motivations, which is just to get out of high school, and have fun with my friends and family. There’s just nothing about me that is predatory or dangerous,or warrants the kind of response I got from my local community.”—Gavin Grimm
Recently this year she appeared in the t.v. series Royal Pains, and the HBO documentary, ‘The Trans List‘. Maines has also become an advocate of trans youth after her experiences in a Main school district during her 5th grade year.
Her family filed a discrimination lawsuit and in 2014, she made history when Maine’s Supreme Court ruled that officials from the public school violated anti-discrimination law, by not allowing her to use the girl’s restroom. It was the first time that a state court ruled it unlawful to deny transgender students access to the bathroom of the gender they identify. The news catapulted Nicole into the spotlight, and as an outspoken trans activist today.
Mosier has won several awards in competing, and has become an advocate for trans athletes founding, ‘Transathlete.com‘; a resource for students, athletes, coaches, and administrators to find information about trans inclusion in athletics at various levels of play. He is also the executive director of ‘GO! Athletes‘, a non-profit safe place for former lgbTQ athletes.
Already appearing in several major news outlets this year, he also became the first openly transgender athlete to be featured in the ‘Body Issue’ of ESPN Magazine. He also became the first trans athlete to appear in a Nike ad, (a trans inclusive corporation).
You can’t say trans activist without mentioning the name, Kortney Ryan Ziegler. He writes the script for advocacy and awareness of trans masculine visibility. An award-winning visual artist, film maker, writer, blogger, there isn’t a medium he doesn’t or hasn’t influenced. If you are thankful that the awareness of trans men of color has improved over the past few years, you’d do best to start by looking at the work of this man.
“I don’t focus too much on politics. I’m busy with school, and being a kid. But my mom always says she’s a one issue voter. All she cares about is if they’re going to support the lgbTQ community or not.”—Jazz Jennings
As a writer, producer, and actress her work includes the critical acclaimed ‘Her Story‘, recently this year nominated for an Emmy. The web series, in its first season is considered one of the most important pieces of media created by, with and for transgender women. The series centers around a lesser discussed topic in media, trans women and relationships. It is a vital important work to relay through media, the relationship, and desire for love that trans women experience as other women do.
With the commercial success of Netflix’s ‘Transparent‘, and ‘The Danish Girl’, films involving transgender people are in the mainstream media consciousness. Sadly, most of the stories are told, written, and portrayed by cis-gender actors. When ‘Her Story’ premiered, it broke through many of those barriers that several in the community felt needed to be. A trans story, about trans people, portrayed by trans people.
Most recently, Richards has added to her credits, a re-curing role on CMT’s hit show, Nashville.
Cox, remains best known for her role as Sophia, in the hit Netflix series, ‘Orange is the New Black’. A series, a role, and actress that changed the game, but this year we saw Lavern Cox expand her repertoire as spokesperson in the media for the trans community, and as an actress. With several television projects this year, the most notable was as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, in a t.v. remake of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again’. She is also well underway in a new project filming for a release in 2017, ‘The Freak’, playing the role of Felica.
He made headlines also this year in a recreated Calvin Klein ad to promote trans awareness of trans people of color who don’t feel represented by the popular brand. He also has become an advocate, who challenges the status quo of hip hop to acknowledge the contributions of trans people. He currently is playing various venues in the north-east.
“Hip hop in itself is revolutionary, and if anybody belongs in hip hop it’s us: black trans people.”—Lucas Charlie Rose
THE TREND SETTERS
By now if you are trans, and you haven’t heard of Laith Ashley,
then where are you hiding child? While there has been a slew of trans masculine representation this year, it is without a doubt the presence of Laith Ashley on national television that has America realizing, if they hadn’t already, that the trans man has arrived.
A LIVING LEGEND
In 2010, he founded the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), the only national civil rights organization dedicated to the needs of trans people of color. Through this organization, he has gathered advocates from across the nation, and over the years have brought the attention, of the needs, and problems facing trans people of color. It is without question, the efforts of TPOCC, that the visibility of trans people of various colors, is greater now than ever before.
He has published countless articles, and chapters in publications: ‘Bodies Trans Selves; A Resource for the Transgender Community’, ‘Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy’, and the Evolution of Employment Discrimination Protection for Transgender People,” the later being one of the influences of ENDA.
Recipient of the National LGBTQ Task Force’s ‘Sue J. Hyde’ Award, for Longevity in the Movement, and the Pioneer Award, at the TransFaith in Color Conference. One of the first trans people to be recognized in the annual OUT 100 list, in 2013.
TEN FACES TO WATCH IN 2017
Tony Zoherafatain, Director
REMEMBERING OUR LOST ANGELS
We dedicate, and remember our 1,700 Kings & Queens who have lost their lives in the battle to live their authentic life. Each of these outstanding trans role models, along with every trans person that are on a quest to live life as their truest self, salute and honor you.
We say thank you for the light that you shown to the world when you were here, and igniting the flame of determination that will be carried in the hearts of every trans person on earth.
We will forever speak your name, and let it not be in vain.