Saluting Trans Trailblazers On Transgender Remembrance Day

Saluting Trans Trailblazers On Transgender Remembrance Day

By Manasi Rawalgaonkar20 November, 2020 4 min read
Saluting Trans Trailblazers On Transgender Remembrance Day

Today, November 20, is observed Transgender Day of Remembrance. It serves to honour the memory of transgender people whose lives have been lost in acts of violence. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998.

And yes, we’re soon approaching 2021 and things are getting better for the LGBTQIA community. After all, Taylor Swift even sang a song about it. However, that evolution is progressing at a snail’s pace for the transgender community who not only have to battle bigotry from the heterosexual populace but also from the LGBT community at times. Television is one medium where the most intelligent conversations about queer issues is taking place and it’s thanks to some trailblazing transgender folks who’re pushing for the kind of representation they want. This Transgender Remembrance Day, we doff our hat off to them.


RuPaul’s Drag Race, in which RuPaul searches for America’s next drag star, is creative, fun, fierce and a fabulous celebration of queer and drag culture. What makes the show so watchable and iconic are the phenomenal queens that grace it every season.  From Adore Delano to Ben De La Creme, Detox to Shangela, Katya to (the amazing) Bianca Del Rio, these ladies have sashayed their way into our hearts as they’ve slayed on the show with their talent and style. And we cannot wait for season 13 to bless us with its perfection.
Director: Nick Murray
Cast: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, Ross Matthews
Seasons: 12 (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Streaming on: Netflix

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox (pictured above) burst onto the scene with her breakout role of transgender inmate Sophia Burset on Orange Is the New Black. A popular activist for transgender rights, in 2014, Cox made history for being the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy in the acting category for this role. In 2020, she produced Netflix documentary Disclosure that celebrated the long and complicated history of trans people in Hollywood. It featured leading trans thinkers and actors such as Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, MJ Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, Chaz Bono and Cox herself.
Creator: Sam Feder
Cast: Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, MJ Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, Chaz Bono
Streaming on: Netflix

Ian Alexander

Ian Alexander is touted to be the first Asian-American transgender person to act on television. The actor played Buck Vu on The OA, an inter-dimensional sci-fi series. He credits acting on the show for helping his family accept his identity. He told Ellen DeGeneres, “I think being on The OA actually helped them realise that I can be happy and successful as a trans person and queer person.”
Creator: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling
Cast: Brit Marling, Emory Cohen, Patrick Gibson, Ian Alexander, Phyllis Smith
Seasons: 2 (2016, 2019)
Streaming on: Netflix

Indya Moore

Pose is something of a phenomenon because most of the characters of the show are trans women playing trans women during the height of the AIDS epidemic in New York City. The show boasts five transgender actors namely MJ Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista), Indya Moore (Angel Evangelista) Dominique Jackson (Elektra Wintour), Hailie Sahar (Lulu Ferocity) and Angelica Ross (Candy Johnson-Ferocity). Pose is produced by transgender activist Janet Mock, as well as transgender writer, Lady J. The show not only gets it right but harks back to a time when being trans was more dangerous than it is today. Indya Moore started as a model but really tasted success when they were cast as Angel on Pose. Eventually, they became the first-ever trans model on the cover of Elle magazine. Pose has been renewed for a third season.
Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals
Cast: Evan Peters, Kate Mara, Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Billy Porter, Indya Moore
Seasons: 2 (2018, 2020)
Streaming on: Netflix

Asia Kate Dillon

Asia Kate Dillon portrays Taylor Mason a young, brilliant non-binary intern at Axe Capital known for their out of the box way of thinking in Billions. By playing Mason, Dillon has also become the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on television. Dillon has credited this role for helping them better understand their own identity. In October 2020, Billions has been renewed for a sixth season.
Creators: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Andrew Ross Sorkin
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Condola Rashad, Asia Kate Dillon, David Costabile
Seasons: 5 (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

Hunter Schafer

In Euphoria, Hunter Shchafer’s Jules Vaugh is in a complicated friendship bordering on courtship with her BFF Rue (Zendaya). Jules is trans, and while she does have her own share of struggles, her identity is not one of them.  Schafer told Variety “There need to be more roles where trans people aren’t just dealing with being trans; they’re being trans while dealing with other issues. We’re so much more complex than just one identity.” We get to reunite with Jules Vaughn when Euphoria returns for its second season.
Creator: Sam Levinson
Cast: Zendaya, Maude Apatow, Eric Dane, Hunter Schafer, Jacob Elrodi, Alexa Demie
Seasons: 1 (2019)
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar


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Tags: #Billions #Euphoria #Laverne Cox #LGBT #LGBTQ #LGBTQIA #Pose #RuPaul #RuPaul's Drag Race #Transgender #Zendaya
Manasi Rawalgaonkar
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Manasi Rawalgaonkar

I work hard to give my cats a better life.

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