8 People Who Led Social Acceptance Of The Trans Community In 2015
So far, 2015 has become the most influential and important year for the transgender community, showing a slow, but improved, slew of acceptance toward its members.
Who are the important people, and what are the key events that have happened so far this year, that have made successful strides toward social acceptance for the transgender community?
1. Caitlyn Jenner
Like or love her, Caitlyn has become the face of the transgender community in 2015. She’s shown undeniable courage and beat all the obstacles to come out with ultimate strength.
Her Vanity Fair cover, constant press coverage and E! reality TV show have shown the beauty, glamour and cover-star side to the transgender community.
2. Laverne Cox
Making headlines since the launch of "Orange is the New Black" in 2013, Laverne Cox has gone from strength to strength.
She was nominated for a 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Guest in a Comedy Series, made the 2015 Out Power 50 list, was featured in People magazine’s World's Most Beautiful Women list, named in Time’s 100 Most Influential People list and even got an ice cream named after her during San Francisco Pride.
She has used her Twitter account to highlight key stories in the trans community, which may, otherwise, have been ignored alongside #TransLivesMatter.
3. Madhu Kinnar
At the very beginning of the year, the trans community was already making landmark movements.
India, a country not necessarily known for their glowing LGBT rights, made history in being the first country to elect a trans mayor.
Madhu Kinnar won the political election by over 4,500 votes in the city of Raigarh. At the time, Kinnar said she considered her win “as love and blessings of people for me.”
4. Maura Pfefferman
Whilst Jeffrey Tambor is not transgender himself, he plays the role of Maura Pfefferman in Amazon’s "Transparent."
Maura is a retired college professor who opens up to her family about identifying as a woman.
The role was a critical and commercial success, and it led Jeffrey Tambor to win Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy at the 2015 Golden Globes. He dedicated his win to the entire transgender community, saying:
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your courage, for your inspiration, thank you for your patience, and thank you for letting us be part of the change."
5. Andreja Pejić
May became an important month, not only for the trans community, but also for the fashion industry.
Andreja Pejić, an Australian model whose heritage is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, became the first openly transgender model to be profiled within the pages of Vogue magazine.
She showed that the fashion industry is slowly but surely catching up with gender identity and members of the trans community.
6. President Obama
The president of the United States has been pretty supportive in improving acceptance for members of the LGBT community, and in January, Obama became the first president to say the word "transgender" during a State of Union speech.
He addressed an important and crucial call-to-action to protect the rights for religious, sexual and gender minorities.
7. Raffi Freedman-Gurspan
Obama and his administration hired Raffi Freedman-Gurspan as the outreach and recruitment director in the office of personnel.
The ground-breaking fact being that the move resulted in Raffi becoming the first openly transgender staff member to join the White House.
The senior advisor for the White House stated that Freedman-Gurspan’s absolute commitment to helping to improve the lives of the members of the transgender community completely “demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions,” and reflected the values of Obama’s administration.
8. Leelah Alcorn
Leelah’s death on December 28, 2014 caused a public outcry and a desperate need for people to understand the fight for acceptance of the transgender community was far from over.
Her death showed an upsetting truth that people were still struggling to come to terms with their identity and also to find acceptance amongst the people around them.
In April 2015, President Obama acknowledged an online petition named after Leelah, which would seek to ban conversion therapy and make it illegal.
The creator of "Transparent," Jill Soloway, even dedicated her Best Comedy Series win at the Golden Globes to Alcorn.
While 2015 is shaping up to be a pinnacle and landmark year for the community, members are still struggling to fit in and find their place.
Acceptance is definitely moving toward a better place, but there is still quite a long way to go for complete acceptance, understanding and equality.