(Photo Credits: Screengrab from TED’s Official YouTube Account)

Today—March 31, 2021—is the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV).

Since 2009, countries from around the world celebrate TDoV on this day each year to raise awareness about the transgender people and their plight: the poverty, discrimination, and the violence that the community faces, according to GLAAD.

Of course, it is also during this day that we get to celebrate their lives, legacies, and contributions. 

Last year, we talked about how to celebrate TDoV amidst the COVID-19 crisis while the year before that, we’ve listed a number of ways with which we can support or participate in the TDoV celebration.

Today, we are going to feature a number of inspirational transgender icons who have excelled in their fields and at the same time, are doing their best to spread awareness regarding the transgender community. Take a look at some of them below:

  • Kevin Balot – She is a Filipina beauty queen, model, and advocate of transgender rights in the Philippines. She rose to fame in 2012 when she won Miss International Queen, the world’s biggest beauty pageant for transgender women.

  • Laverne Cox – She is an actress, an LGBTQ+ advocate, and an Emmy Award-winner—the first transgender woman at that, to win a Daytime Emmy as an Executive Producer. She is best-known for her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. 

In 2014, Ms. Cox was honored by GLAAD with their Stephen F. Kolzak Award for being a “transformational leader in the LGBT equality movement” and for increasing visibility and drawing attention to the critical issues that the transgender community faces. During the same year, she made history by becoming the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine.

Today, Ms. Cox is one of the most influential LGBT people in the world.

  • Geena Rocero – She is a Filipino American supermodel, TED speaker, transgender advocate, and founder of Gender Proud, a media production company that aims to “elevate justice and equality for the transgender community” by telling their stories. 

Geena has come a long way since her beauty pageant days in the Philippines during her teens. Today, we see her onstage mostly to speak about transgender rights be it at the United Nations Headquarters, the World Economic Forum, or at the White House. Read more about her here.

  • Elliot Page – He is a Canadian actor and producer who rose to fame as the lead character of the Academy Award-winning film Juno (2007, Jason Reitman). He currently stars in Netflix’s famous superhero show The Umbrella Academy which is now in its third season. Elliot came out last December as transgender and has since then, “forced a shift in media representation,” says CBC News

He recently appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, read the interview here.

  • Leyna Bloom – She is a Black and Filipina American model who’s been breaking down boundaries in the fashion industry. Leyna is also an actress, a dancer, and an activist. She is the first openly transgender woman of color to appear in Vogue India and recently, she made history for being the first transgender woman of color to ever grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Happy Transgender Day of Visibility, guys!

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