Trans pioneers are everywhere—from Oxygen's upcoming Strut (premiering Sept. 20 at 9/8c) to the Olympics. Here are six amazing individuals who are breaking the mold of what it means to be trans. Watch the Strut trailer and check out our list below.
Laverne Cox went from being bullied to becoming a trans icon. The Orange Is the New Black star has shown mainstream culture what a beautiful trans woman is. She's outspoken on politics, race and issues facing her community. "They should not be bullied. They don’t deserve to be victims of violence," she says of trans people. "There’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience."
Few people can be heroes twice in their lives. When Olympian-turned-Kardashian patriarch Bruce Jenner transitioned into Caitlyn, the entire world watched. The recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, she has used her reality television fame to create one of the biggest trans platforms. "Trans people deserve something vital; they deserve your respect," she said during the 2015 ESPYS. "From that respect comes a more compassionate community."
Bestselling author, TV host and transgender rights activist, Janet Mock's Redefining Realness has helped millions better understand the transgender journey. Her outspokeness has helped spotlight how the media often treats—and stereotypes—trans people.
Chris Mosier made history during the Summer Olympics as the first trans member of Team USA. He hopes to inspire other athletes. "I'm not a unicorn. Trans athletes are out there," the triathlete says. "The more the policies change and we create safer and more inclusive spaces, the more we'll start to see trans folks coming into and staying in sports."
It's not easy being a celebrity kid growing up in Hollywood. As the child of singers Cher and Sonny Bono, Chaz
was raised under intense media spotlight. He's become one of the most well-known trans figures, starring on Dancing With The Stars and holding positions with GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign.
Caroline Cossey is one of the first trans supermodels. Born in England in the 1950s, she booked appearances in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only and modeled for Playboy. She was outed for her gender by a tabloid and lost countless career opportunities. Today, she hopes her experiences can help other trans people. “As painful as it was to endure what I did in my life, it’s all worth it when you hear you’ve saved lives or helped people find direction in theirs.”
[Photo: Getty Images, Facebook]