Five amazing trans women who aren’t Caitlyn bloody Jenner

By James Branson

The media attention Caitlyn Jenner has managed to attract has been enormous. And when you’re part of the most famous, tabloid-worthy family of all time, it’s not all that surprising that your transition has been poured over and examined from every angle by absolutely everyone.

But you know what? Caitlyn Jenner isn’t the only transgender person in the world. Others have come before her, others will come after her. Here are five of our favourites.

Lana Wachowski

Lana Wachowski, half of the Wachowski sibling duo that brought us “The Matrix”and “Cloud Atlas,” made history in 2012 when she became the first major Hollywood director to come out as transgender.

“When I told my mom what was going on, she jumped on a plane immediately,” the director said. “It was this big, tear-soaked baptism, and she confessed that she had been afraid to arrive and grieve the loss of her son. But when she arrived she found it wasn’t so much a death as it was a discovery. That there was this other part of me, an unseen part, and she felt it was like a gift because now she could get to know that part of me.”

Lana’s sibling, Lilli, also recently came out as transgender. Yay!

Anohni (formerly Antony Hegarty)

I can clearly remember where I was when I first saw and heard Antony and the Johnsons perform live. It was 2005, and the band’s album I Am A Bird Now had been on endless repeat in my crappy Holden Commodore. But I’d never given thought to the person behind that voice. 

Seeing her for the first time was absolutely mind-blowing. And extraordinarily beautiful. One of the most unique and beautiful artists of the last decade – of any gender.

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning is a U.S. Army private who was sentenced to 35 years in prison after leaking hundreds of classified documents (including videos that showed soldiers intentionally killing unarmed civilians) to Wikileaks.

Her sentencing has been condemned by civil liberties advocates, and her bravery in coming out as transgender during such a difficult and highly publicized time in her life has been praised for bringing attention to the tens of thousands of transgender veterans and soldiers serving in the U.S. Army–despite the fact that they’re forbidden from serving openly.

“When you’re a kid dreaming, anything seems possible,” Chelsea told Cosmopolitan in a recent interview. “I think a lot of opportunities would have come easier to me if I had felt more comfortable and confident in my own skin, and not terrified of the world around me.”

Lavern Cox

Best known for her portrayal of Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black, Cox is the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award, and is one of the world’s most prominent advocates for LGBTQI progress in media. She’s been chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people and been recognised as a trailblazer for the transgender community.

Christine Jorgensen

Haven’t heard of this one, have you? Jorgensen was the first person to become widely known in the United States for having sex reassignment surgery. After having served in the US Army in the Second World War, Jorgensen traveled to Denmark to undergo a series of operations – IN 1951 MIND YOU – to transition.

She returned to the United States in the early 1950s and her transformation was the subject of a New York Daily News front page story. She became an instant celebrity, using the platform to advocate for transgender people and became known for her directness and polished wit. She also worked as an actress and nightclub entertainer and recorded several songs.

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