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5 Revolutionary Trans Women You Should Know About

From their involvement in the Stonewall riots to helping queer homeless youths, this group of women have been pinnacles of the trans community. They founded organizations, fought for their rights, started movements, and stood up for what they believed in. In the current political climate, I believe it is important to learn about the women who set in motion the transgender rights movement. Transgender as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is; of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth. The Trump administration wants to define gender as an unchanging and biological matter determined and assigned at birth. Prior to this gender was defined, for the purpose of some official documents, as the individuals choice. If this process of turning back to gender being defined at birth it would mean that essentially transgender people would be erased. There would be no recognition of transgender people because with this new law there will be no possibility of gender reassignment on legal documents.

 

 

Marsha P. Johnson

 

A model, drag queen, gay rights advocate, and activist, Marsha P. Johnson was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front an organization whose purpose is to fight for sexual liberation, co-founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.) an activist organization fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and also provided housing and help to homeless sex workers and queer youths, with Sylvia Rivera, and a Stonewall instigator. The Stonewall uprising was a six day string of protest in 1969 against police brutality that occurred in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. It gets its name from the inn, Stonewall Inn, which the first meetings for the protest began.

 

 

Sylvia Rivera

A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance and co-founder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), she participated in the civil rights movement, anti-war movement, and the feminist movement. She was also involved with the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican leftist group that was fighting for the empowerment of Latinos and all other oppressed, and Black Panthers, originally formed to fight police brutality in Oakland but became an international organization fighting against oppression and a global sign of Black power, and was active in food pantries focusing on queer homeless youths. Her heavy involvement with homeless youth comes from a childhood of homelessness.

 

 

Lucy Hicks Anderson

Socialite, chef, and hostess Madam Lucy Hicks Anderson was one of the earliest documented Black transgender women. As a child in the late 1800’s, Lucy identified as a woman, and doctors advised her parents to let her live her life as a woman; and from that moment on, she did. In a time where terms like transgender where unheard of, this woman lived her truth unapologetically and voiced that people could be born one sex but be another.

 

 

Sir Lady Java

Drag Queen, activist, actress, exotic dancer, singer, and comedian; she fought against Rule 9, a law that prevented her from performing and making a living, which made it illegal to impersonate by means of costume or dress a member of the opposite sex. She was also the first transgender person to be defended by the American Civil Liberties Union .

 

 

Adela Velázquez

Activist, Drag Queen, and actress Adela Velázquez was an Outreach Coordinator for Proyecto ContraSIDA por Vida, while being heavily involved in the LGBTQ+ community in Cuba. She fought against the discrimination of trans people in the workplace, made drag shows that touched on the importance of safe sex and talked about AIDS awareness in many of her performances.

 

Without these women, the LGBTQ+ community would not be were it is today. As mentioned, they were pioneers as they went out and fought for the rights of a whole community. Thanks to them people have more freedom to express their sexuality. Concepts such as gender identity and fluidity would not even be an open discussion if these women had not stepped up as they did. They made LGBTQ+ spaces a possibility and for that they should never be forgotten.

 

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