Transgender celebs you need to know – CBS News

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Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox are two of the most famous members of the transgender community, but they are far from alone.
Here’s an introduction to the trans athletes, activists, models, actors, directors and political figures making enormous impacts. Many of the people in this gallery have appeared on Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people.
In December 2020, Elliot Page, star of the Netflix series “Umbrella Academy,” announced that he is transgender. 
In May 2021, in an interview with Oprah, the actor spoke about the benefits of gender-affirming healthcare. “It’s getting out of the shower and the towel is around your waist and you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re just like, ‘There I am,'” Page said.
Zaya Wade is the eldest daughter of retired NBA superstar Dwyane Wade. Zaya publicly came out as trans in 2019. She celebrated her 14th birthday with a rollerskating-themed party in May 2021.
Dwyane Wade said, in an interview on NBC’s “TODAY,” “She’s the strong one in this family. She’s a hero.”
Leyna Bloom made history in July 2021 as the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
In a celebratory Instagram post, Bloom wrote, “We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.”
Kataluna Enriquez made history in June 2021 when she was crowned Miss Nevada USA. With this victory, Enriquez became the first openly transgender Miss USA contestant.
In a celebratory post, she wrote on Instagram, “My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride.”
Laverne Cox is best known for her role as Sophia Burset on the hit Netflix show “Orange Is the New Black.” In 2014, she became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award; one year later, she became the first to win a Daytime Emmy.
Cox also made history as the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine, and she has been featured on the Time 100 list. Cox uses her platform to educate people on her experience as a trans woman and to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality.
Indya Moore is an actor and model known for playing Angel Evangelista in the FX series “Pose.”
The star was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2019. Moore is transgender and non-binary and uses they/them and she/her pronouns.
Hunter Schafer is a model, actress and activist. She got her start in the entertainment industry as a model for international brands such Prada, Dior, Rick Owens, Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang.
In 2018, she was cast to play Jules in the HBO series “Euphoria.”
Laura Jane Grace is a punk rock musician best known for founding the band Against Me!.
Grace is among the first high-profile punk rock stars to live openly as a transgender person. She publicly came out in an interview with Rolling Stone in May 2012.
Brazilian model and actress Valentina Sampaio has logged a lot of “firsts” in her career. In 2019, she became Victoria’s Secret’s first openly transgender model. 
And in 2020, she broke yet another glass ceiling when she became the first openly transgender model to appear in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.
Peppermint is the stage name of New York drag performer Agnes Moore.
Fans of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will recall Peppermint’s skillful lip-sync performances that earned her the nickname the “Lip Sync Assassin.”
Janet Mock is a writer, director and producer on the FX series “Pose.” Her memoir, “Redefining Realness,” reached the New York Times bestseller list in 2014.
She is a contributing editor for Marie Claire.
On June 1, 2015, the world got its first glimpse of Caitlyn Jenner, when Vanity Fair released an Annie Leibovitz photo on its July cover.
In 2021, the former Olympic champion and reality TV personality announced a run as a Republican candidate for California governor.
Chaz Bono is the only child of American pop performers Sonny and Cher.
Bono documented his transition in the 2011 film, “Becoming Chaz.” That same year, he competed on the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars.”
American activist and TV personality Jazz Jennings was just seven years old when she stepped into the spotlight by discussing her experience as a transgender kid in a “20/20” interview with Barbara Walters.
During that 2007 interview, Jennings’ parents noted that Jazz, despite being assigned male at birth, knew she was female from the moment she could talk. These days, you can find Jennings on her YouTube channel and on the TLC reality series “I Am Jazz.”
Gigi Gorgeous is a Canadian YouTuber and socialite. Gigi came out as transgender in 2013 and documented her transition, including her experience with cosmetic procedures, on social media.
She is married to Nats Getty, great-grandchild of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. Getty came out as transgender and non-binary in January 2021.
Rachel Levine is the assistant secretary for health in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Joe Biden appointed Levine in February 2021. The U.S. Senate voted to confirm her nomination in March. 
Levine is the first openly transgender person to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation.
Lana Wachowski is one half of the sibling duo famous for directing the “Matrix” trilogy and “Cloud Atlas.” Wachowski came out as transgender in 2010.
In addition to directing many notable films with her younger sister (who is also a trans woman), Lana is also a screenwriter, producer and comic book publisher.
In 2016, Lily Wachowski, younger sister and filmmaking partner to Lana, came out as transgender. Lilly Wachowski made her announcement in a personal statement to the Windy City Times and GLAAD.
“So yeah, I’m transgender,” Lily wrote, “And yeah, I’ve transitioned. I’m out to my friends and family… Everyone is cool with it. Yes, thanks to my fabulous sister they’ve done it before, but also because they’re fantastic people. Without the love and support of my wife and friends and family I would not be where I am today.”
Actress Trace Lysette publicly came out as transgender through her role as Shea, a trans yoga teacher, in the Amazon series “Transparent.”
Lysette made her blockbuster feature debut in the 2019 crime comedy-drama “Hustlers,” starring alongside Lizzo, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu and more.
Sophie Xeon, known by many as Sophie, was a Scottish electronic musician and record producer. The enigmatic star earned a Grammy nomination in 2018 for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Sophie died in January 2021, following an accidental fall from an apartment balcony in Athens, Greece.
American model Hari Nef made her runway debut during 2015’s New York Fashion Week, walking for the labels Hood By Air and Eckhaus Latta.
Shortly afterward, she became one of the first openly transgender people to be signed by powerhouse modeling agency IMG.
Dutch model Valentijn De Hingh is another transgender woman signed to IMG.
Born in Amersterdam, De Hingh spent nearly a decade (ages 8 to 17) as the subject of a documentary on transgender children. Today, you can find De Hingh performing DJ sets in her hometown and walking runways in Paris.
Lili Elbe is notable for being the first transgender woman to openly undergo gender-confirming surgery in 1930.
Her storied life has been the subject of two books, including David Ebershoff’s international bestseller “The Danish Girl,” which was later adapted into a film starring Eddie Redmayne.
Australian model Andreja Pejić has walked the runway for a number of high-fashion giants, including Marc Jacobs and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
In May 2015, Pejić became the first openly transgender model profiled by Vogue.
German athlete Balian Buschbaum competed as a pole vaulter in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. Buschbaum retired from the sport in 2007 and publicly came out as transgender that same year.
Here, he attends the KARE Design New Faces of Fashion award show in Duesseldorf, Germany, in 2013.
Before coming out as transgender, New York native Christine Jorgensen fought in the U.S. Army during World War II.
After her service, she travelled to Denmark and underwent a series of gender-affirming surgeries. Upon her return in the early 1950s, she was the subject of a New York Daily News cover story, becaming a household name.
Alexis Arquette is a member of the famous Arquette acting family. Much like her siblings, Rosanna, Patricia, Richmond and David, she’s appeared in a slew of films and television shows over the years.
Movie buffs may recognize her from supporting roles in the blockbusters “Pulp Fiction,” “Bride of Chucky” and “The Wedding Singer.”
Alexis’ transition was captured in the documentary film “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007.
Candis Cayne has the distinction of being the first transgender actress to play a recurring transgender role on primetime TV.
Cayne got her start as a drag performer in New York in the ’90s. In 2007, she gained national attention when she played Carmelita Rainer — a trans woman — in the ABC drama “Dirty Sexy Money.”
Dr. Renée Richards gained fame as an activist for transgender rights when she challenged a United States Tennis Association decision banning her from competition in the women’s category at the 1976 U.S. Open.
The New York Supreme Court ultimately ruled in Richards’ favor, a landmark victory for trans women athletes. Richards, now 86, is a practicing ophthalmologist. 
British model Caroline Cossey was assigned male at birth and was born intersex — with an extra X chromosome — a condition called Klinefelter syndrome.
Cossey underwent gender-affirming surgery at age 20. In the ’80s and ’90s, she worked under the stage name “Tula” and appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, The Sun, Playboy and the 1981 James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only.”
After the Bond film’s release, the British tabloid News of the World outed Cossey as transgender with a front page headline that read, “James Bond Girl Was a Boy.” Cossey responded by publishing her first autobiography, “I Am a Woman.”
Fallon Fox is a retired mixed martial artist and the first openly transgender MMA fighter. She came out in 2013, during an interview with Sports Illustrated.
After that interview, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan and UFC president Dana White questioned her right to compete as a woman. At the same time, the UFC referred to itself as “a friend and ally of the LGBT community.”
Fox competed in another four MMA fights after coming out, notching three victories.
Brazilian model Lea T is the daughter of retired soccer star Toninho Cerezo. She is a longtime friend and muse of Riccardo Tisci, creative head at Burberry and former creative director of Givenchy. 
In 2014, she became the first openly transgender model to front a global cosmetics brand when she landed a contract at haircare company Redken. In 2015, Forbes named her one of 12 women who changed Italian fashion.
In 2010, Jenna Talackova became the first openly transgender woman to compete in an international beauty pageant, when she represented Canada in the 2010 International Queen beauty competition.
But Talackova would have to fight to continue her quest for a crown. In 2012, she threatened legal action against the Miss Universe Organization and its then-owner, former President Donald Trump, over their longstanding ban on transgender contestants. 
The Miss Universe organization announced an end to the ban, following a heated public exchange between Mr. Trump and women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred. The organization said the change was made in spite of, not because of, the threats of legal action.
In 2008, model Isis King became the first openly transgender contestant on “America’s Next Top Model” during the show’s 11th cycle. She then returned and competed in the show’s 17th cycle, “All-Stars.”
A runway and print model, King was also the first openly transgender model to work with clothing brand American Apparel.
Gia Keitaro Ichikawa, also known by her stage name, Gia Gunn, is best known for her two turns on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Gunn was the third contestant to come out as trans before competing on the show.
Alex Blue Davis is an actor and indie rock singer best known for his work on the ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.” 
Davis played Dr. Casey Parker, a transgender veteran and Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital intern.
Singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger has released three albums in her 16-year music career.
Geiger publicly came out as transgender in October 2017. In an Instagram post, she wrote, “Love it or hate this is who I have been for a looooong time.”
Patti Harrison is an actress and comedian who gained prominence following a 2017 appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
Since then, Harrison has appeared as Ruthie on the Hulu series “Shrill,” in several episodes of the Netflix sketch comedy series “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” and as a prospective surrogate and college hopeful in the feature film “Together Together.” 
Chella Man is a YouTuber, model, activist and artist. He created his YouTube channel in 2017 to chronicle his unique experience. 
In an interview with Teen Vogue, he said, “There is an extreme lack of representation for young, deaf, queer, Jewish, Asian, transgender artists…So, I decided to be my own representation.”
Charlie Jane Anders is an American writer and science-fiction commentator. 
She has received numerous awards for her work as a novelist, including the 2017 Nebula Award for her science fantasy novel “All the Birds in the Sky.”
Brian Michael Smith is an actor whose big break came when he played Toine Wilkins, a transgender police officer, in Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar.” 
These days, you can catch Michael Smith playing firefighter Paul Strickland on Fox’s “9-1-1: Lonestar.”
Dominique Jackson is an actress and model best known for her portrayal of former house mother Elektra Abundance Evangelista on the FX series “Pose.”
Since her turn on “Pose,” Jackson has appeared on the HBO Max reality show “Legendary” and the Starz fantasy series “American Gods.”
Elliot Fletcher is an actor who has made a career of portraying young transgender characters. 
Fletcher has appeared as Noah in the MTV comedy series “Faking It,” as Aaron in the Freeform drama “The Fosters,” and as Trevor in Showtime’s “Shameless.”
Alexandra Billings is a multi-talented performer. She has acted in movies and TV series, performed on stage — on Broadway and off — and has taught college courses for the better part of two decades.
Fans of the Amazon series “Transparent” might recognize Billings from her performance as Davina, a friend and mentor to Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura.
Josie Totah is an actress who recently starred as Lexi on the 2020 Peacock revival series “Saved by the Bell.” She came out as transgender in 2018.
More recently, Totah appeared in an episode of the Paramount+ “iCarly” revival series.
AJ Clementine is an Australian model, social media influencer and activist.
In 2020, the young star collaborated with beauty brand Australis on an eyeshadow palette with colors that celebrate her trans experience. 
Jamie Raines is a British YouTuber who documents his life, transition experience and relationship with partner and fellow YouTuber Shaaba Lotun on his channel, Jammidodger.
Raines and Lotun were featured in a Channel 4 docuseries exploring tensions in Lotun’s family relating to the couple’s engagement.
Nikkie de Jager is another YouTube personality, better known by her screen name, NikkieTutorials. The Dutch makeup artist completed her transition as a teen but didn’t publicly come out as transgender until 2020.
Through the years, de Jager has collaborated with beauty brands OFRA, Maybelline and Lady Gaga’s makeup brand, Haus Laboratories.
Mj Rodriguez is an actress and singer best known for her portrayal of Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista on the FX series “Pose.” 
In 2011, Rodriguez earned critical acclaim for her turn as Angel in the off-Broadway revival of “Rent.”
Assigned male at birth, German dance-pop artist Kim Petras knew she was a girl at two years old. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Petras explained, “The truth is I have always felt like a woman – I just ended up in the wrong body.”
Her debut single, “I Don’t Want It at All,” went viral on Spotify in 2017. She released her debut album, “Clarity,” in 2019. 
Kylie Sonique Love is best known for competing on the second season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.”
Love was the first contestant from the series to come out as transgender, doing so on the show’s season 2 reunion episode.
Stand-up comedian and actor Ian Harvie often uses his experience as a transgender man as fodder for his comedy.
As an actor, Harvie’s credits include a turn on the Amazon series “Transparent” and a four-episode arc on the ABC mystery drama “Mistresses.”
Christina Capatides is CBS News’ Vice President of Social Media and Trending Content. She is also a senior producer and reporter, focusing on culture and gender equity.
First published on June 3, 2015 / 7:00 PM EDT
Copyright ©2024 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.



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