The transgender community has spread its wings in the entertainment industry and broken the barriers of isolation. To honor this Pride month, here are the 10 most inspiring and bold transgender celebrities in Hollywood as well as the Bollywood entertainment industry.
11 most inspiring transgender celebrities
Alexis Arquette advocated for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in the Hollywood industry. She was born Robert Arquette and was struggling with gender identity issues during her adolescent as well as postadolescent years. She died in 2016 because she was tested HIV positive for years.
She played roles in movies like ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn’, ‘Of Mice And Men’, ‘Pulp Fiction’, and ‘The Wedding Singer’.
2. Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox became popular as one of the most visible trans actresses who was featured on ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ Be that as it may, Laverne admits that her popularity was not enough to stop the harassment due to her identity. In November 2020, she said that she and her friend were attacked by a transphobic person while they were walking in LA’s Griffith Park.
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3. Caroline Cossey
Caroline Cossey had to endure the first blow ever at her sexual identity which was made by the British tabloid, News Of The World in the 1980s. In 2016, Caroline Cossey said, ‘I was destroyed overnight. There was nothing I could do and my life was in tatters so I ran away.’
However, Caroline Cossey did find courage over time and became the first transgender woman to be featured in Playboy 1991. Further, she climbs the ladder of success and becomes an important activist, advocating to change the laws of marriage for the trans community in Europe.
4. Ian Harvie
Ian Harvie is known as the first transgender male actor to show a transitioned trans man on an American television show. He began his standup journey in 2002 and soon became a permanent member of Margaret Cho’s Broadway burlesque revue.
Ian Harvie has been quite open about his identity and his transition throughout his career and has achieved a lot of significance when he landed a role in ‘Transparent.’
5. Jenna Talackova
Jenna Talackova had almost won Miss Universe Canada until the moment when someone recognized her competing in a 2010 Thai beauty pageant for transgender women. Upon realizing that, the Miss Universe pageant disqualified her from the competition.
However, Jenna decided to fight back and contacted the famous feminist lawyer Gloria Allred who decided to choose to hr case. Mounted under a lot of pressure from all sides, the pageant changed its decision and Jenna Tackova became one of the 12 contestants and she also won Miss Congeniality that year.
6. Valentina Sampaio
Valentina Sampaio is one of the famous transgender celebrities who has broken the conventional barriers of society. She was the first transgender model to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. In addition, she was also the first-ever openly transgender model in Victoria’s Secret Model.
Born in Brazil, Sampaio admits the increasing number of crimes and murders against the trans community in her native country.
7. Lea T
Born as Leandra Medeiros Cerezo, Lea T is one of the reputed fashion icons in the Hollywood industry. The ‘T’ in her name is ascribed to Ricardo Tisci who discovered her and helped her profoundly.
In 2014, Lea T was the first trans model to get a Redken contract. Not only that, in 2016, she also was the first transgender person who got the opportunity to participate in an Olympic opening ceremony.
8. Janet Mock
Janet Mock is the first trans woman of color to be hired as a writer. She achieved this position as a result of a TV series for her work on Ryan Murphy’s FX hit ‘Pose’. Speaking to Marie Claire in August 2020, about her career, she said, ‘Instead of just turning the lens only on the murder, the violence, the abuse and the space of lack, you then turn the camera and you say that actually in this space that you see as a space of lack, we’re thriving.’
These are some of the inspirational Hollywood celebrities who made a mark and strongly advocated for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. With that said, the Bollywood industry also does not fall short of some of the incredible transgender celebrities who have also created a change by voicing out their views.
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9. Gauri Arora
Earlier, Gauri Arora was known as the ‘Splitsvilla’ contestant, Gaurav. But after a few years, he came out as a trans woman and decided to undergo surgical transformation to fully become a woman. Since then the road for Gauri has been uphill. She was featured in India’s Next Top Model among several reality shows.
She also used her popularity to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQIA + community. In doing so, she has created a huge impact on the entertainment industry.
10. Anjali Ameer
Anjali Ameer shook the entire Malayalam film industry when she made her sexual identity public. She holds the position of being India’s first transgender actress to play the lead opposite superstar Mammootty in ‘Peranbu’ which is a Tamil film.
She was also a part of the reality television show, ‘Bigg Boss Malayalam’. This gave her the platform to discuss the common challenges that the transgender community faces and their perceptions towards it.
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11. Saisha Shinde
Earlier known as Swapnil Shinde, Saisha Shinde opened up about her sexual identity saying that she was struggling to deal with it for the last 5-6 years. Speaking with ETimes, she said, ‘I decided to go public with my transition because I want to be a role model for young boys and girls out there who are dealing with the same issues. We hardly have role models who are openly transgender.’
These are some of the bold and courageous Indian transgender celebrities who deserve commendation for coming out to the public and becoming the inspirational role models they are for the public.