Hollywood is full of people with diverse backgrounds, but we rarely hear about those who are transgender! Transgender stars have been taking center stage, both in front of and behind the camera, making their mark on Hollywood, yet we rarely hear about their stories. It's time to shed light on these talented individuals who have been breaking boundaries in the world of glitz and glamour. Whether it's in film, television, or activism, let's delve into the lives of these remarkable trans icons.
You probably know her from the super popular show "Transparent," but her rise to fame started in the underground ball scene of New York City. She was tearing up the dance floor in bars and clubs before landing a role in the epic film Hustlers, where she showed off her killer moves. It all began with a small gig on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and from there, she skyrocketed to success.
But wait, there's more! Trace Lysette's inspiring journey is just one of many incredible stories in the world of trans celebrities. Keep reading to discover more amazing individuals breaking barriers and making their mark in the entertainment industry.
Buck Angel is a renowned figure in the transgender community and a trailblazer in the field of gender representation and activism. As an American sex educator, former pornographic film actor, and founder of Buck Angel Entertainment, he has left an indelible mark on the adult entertainment industry. He gained recognition as the recipient of the 2007 AVN Award for Transsexual Performer of the Year. However, his journey didn't end there. He transitioned from his successful career in adult films to become a powerful advocate and educator.
Today, he continues to challenge societal norms, foster inclusivity, and champion education through his media production company and advocacy work.
As a TV host, filmmaker, and activist, Janet has made an indelible mark in the entertainment industry and beyond. Janet's influence reaches new heights as the driving force behind the groundbreaking series Pose, where she showcases her exceptional talents as a writer, director, and producer. Notably, she made history as the first transwoman of color to hold the esteemed role of show-runner for a TV series. Her achievements are helping to reshape narratives.
With her relentless determination and creative prowess, Janet Mock continues to redefine success and inspire generations to embrace their authentic selves.
Emerging from her roots as Enrique Muñoz, Sophia's story began in the vibrant underground scene of 1980s Cuba, where she first caught the attention of audiences with her captivating presence. She then graced the stages of New York City's vibrant entertainment and LGBTQ cinema scene. From starring in notable productions like Adam Green's Aladdin and The Zanctuary, her talent is undeniable. She remains a passionate advocate, using her platform to empower the trans community.
Today, Sophia continues to shine brightly as a successful model, representing renowned brands and walking runway shows, making her a sought-after figure in the fashion industry.
Teddy Geiger, the incredibly talented trans pop singer, and producer, made waves when she opened up in a candid interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine in 2018. Reflecting on her lifelong journey, Geiger expressed a deep sense of difference, recalling moments as early as age 5 when she looked in the mirror and yearned to be seen as a girl. With a thriving career, Geiger is signed to Columbia Records and has achieved success as a highly sought-after songwriter for renowned artists.
Her songwriting credits include major hits for artists like One Direction, Shawn Mendes, James Blunt, Tiesto, Empire of the Sun, Birdy, and DJ Snake.
Mimi Marks is an iconic figure whose beauty and grace have garnered international acclaim. During the '80s, Mimi became one of the most stunning transgender models worldwide, captivating audiences as a beloved pageant queen. Recognized for her radiant presence, she received a flood of offers from Hollywood, solidifying her status as a game-changer. A true pioneer, Mimi Marks is believed to be the world's first openly transgender runway model, making history while breaking barriers.
In recent years, Mimi Marks performed at The Baton, a prestigious cabaret club in Chicago, enchanting audiences. However, she has since transitioned into a new chapter, bidding farewell to the limelight and retiring from the stage.
Ian Harvie is a groundbreaking comedian who has used humor to address serious issues. While many on this list have made their mark as fierce political activists, Ian has carved his own unique path through comedy. As one of the most groundbreaking transgender comedians, he fearlessly delves into sensitive subjects surrounding gender and identity, skillfully blending emotions and laughter. He even had the honor of opening for the iconic Margaret Cho in the late 2000s.
As Ian Harvie continues to make audiences roar with laughter while addressing important topics, his story is just one of many captivating journeys within the world of transgender stars.
Jamie Clayton wasn't always an actress. She started off as a talented makeup artist and even hosted VH1's super cool show, TRANSform Me. Talk about a journey! Since then, she's been snagging some seriously juicy roles, like playing Sasha Booker in the epic third season of Designated Survivor and the awesome Netflix series Sense8. Jamie's talent doesn't stop there. She's also lent her awesome voice to narrate an audiobook; the grind doesn't stop.
Recently she took on the role of Pinhead in the epic Hellraiser remake. This rising star is truly unstoppable!
Many discovered Laverne Cox through the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, where she portrayed the iconic character Sophia Burset. This performance garnered a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, making her the first openly transgender person to achieve this honor. In addition to her remarkable achievements in the acting realm, Cox has shattered barriers as the pioneering transgender individual to be showcased on the cover of renowned magazines like Cosmopolitan and Time, paving the way for greater visibility and acceptance.
Moreover, Cox's influence extended beyond publications, as she became the first transgender person to be immortalized with a wax figure at the prestigious Madame Tussauds, solidifying her impact on popular culture.
Meet Bibiana Fernández, a captivating Spanish actress, TV presenter, and model who has graced screens with her undeniable talent and magnetic presence. Also known as Bibi Andersen, or by her full name, Bibiana Manuela Fernández Chica, her journey has left an indelible mark in the entertainment industry. From notable performances in films like Rowing with the Wind and Law of Desire, there's no doubt she was born with endless talents.
Nowadays, she is approaching 70 years old and still living as glamorous as ever, spending her days on the beach and posting bikini pics on her social media.
Formerly known as the Wachowski brothers, their transition into the Wachowski sisters was a momentous occasion that reshaped their lives and creative endeavors. They're the masterminds behind the iconic film The Matrix and the captivating TV series Sense8 and have garnered recognition in the entertainment industry, but in their personal lives, it's a bit different. Despite transitioning being a stressful experience, they were lucky to have each other to lean on!
The sisters have fearlessly championed trans rights and, although they used to direct as a duo, have been taking on solo projects.
Holly Woodlawn strived to make a name for herself, which wasn't easy. Drawn to the allure of the silver screen, Holly chose her name as a tribute to Audrey Hepburn and a beloved I Love Lucy episode. Embarking on a brave journey, she ventured to the bustling streets of New York City at only 16 years old, fueled by a relentless passion for acting. She was even referenced in Lou Reed's iconic song "Walk on the Wild Side."
Her presence graced memorable films like Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers and Women in Revolt. In 2015, at age 69, she passed away from cancer. But her mark on the entertainment industry was felt.
As the first openly transgender person in the history of MMA, Fallon Fox has shattered barriers and inspired countless individuals with her courage and resilience. Throughout her life, she has grappled with her identity, and when she was finally sure of herself, she had reassignment surgery and was happier than ever. Today, she is a retired MMA fighter but has undoubtedly left a mark on the sport, and her contributions to the world of MMA are profound.
Though her journey wasn't all easy, she persevered and is a role model for the LGBTQ+ community and showcases that being transgender and an athlete can go hand in hand.
In a world that continues to evolve, trans individuals are increasingly claiming their rightful place in the spotlight, and leading the charge is the remarkable Dominique Jackson. Her meteoric rise came with a captivating leading role in the widely acclaimed FX television series Pose, a project that showcases her immense talent. Dominique has also graced the screens of other notable shows like Chick Fight and American Gods and garnered the recognition she deserves.
Dominique Jackson's ascent serves as an inspiration, illuminating the path for future generations of trans stars to shine in Hollywood.
Chaz Bono's story involves self-discovery, resilience, and unwavering authenticity. As the child of beloved music icons, Chaz's journey of gender identity and transition unfolded in the public eye. With remarkable courage and strength, he embarked on a path to embrace his true self, sharing his experiences with the world through his books, music, and documentaries. Chaz's works chronicle his personal transformation and serve as a source of inspiration and education for others navigating similar paths.
His openness and vulnerability have sparked important conversations surrounding gender identity and acceptance. The documentary Becoming Chaz provides an intimate glimpse into his life and experience.
Born as George Jamieson, April fearlessly embarked on a transformative journey that would forever shape the transgender community in Britain. From battling health challenges to setting sail in the Merchant Navy, she defied conventions and fearlessly pursued her dreams. Paris became her playground, where she dabbled in modeling and acting. She underwent gender reassignment surgery soon after, and before she could make any announcement herself, her life was plastered in the British tabloids.
April inadvertently sparked a seismic shift toward acceptance and understanding for the trans community. At the age of 86, she passed away at home.
Our Lady J
Our Lady J has been on shows like Transparent and Pose, but did you know she's not just a writer and producer? She's also a talented pianist and singer. Our Lady J followed her musical dreams to the big city, where she became a rockstar musical director. And her album Picture of a Man is what gained her fans worldwide. Our Lady J's accomplishments have opened doors for transgender individuals.
She has made history as the very first openly transgender woman to grace the stage of Carnegie Hall. Not stopping there, she has also shattered barriers as the first transgender writer to be welcomed into a television writers room!
Erika Ervin, also known as Amazon Eve - a true force to be reckoned with! Standing at an incredible height of six feet and eight inches, she's not your average model, actress, and fitness trainer. You might have caught her captivating performances in American Horror Story: Freak Show and American Horror Story: Apocalypse. But Erika's story goes beyond the spotlight. She's faced her own battles with gender identity and weight, and now she's all about spreading body positivity.
While she may not be popping up on every red carpet, Erika Ervin is breaking barriers and proving that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
Elliot Page, a highly acclaimed Canadian actor, has recently made waves with a significant announcement, embracing his true self as a transgender man. He is known for his remarkable performances in films like Juno and the hit series The Umbrella Academy. Page has chosen to live his truth openly, inspiring countless individuals within the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. In his heartfelt statement, Page expressed profound gratitude for being part of a world where he feels accepted and acknowledged.
Keep reading to learn about the incredible journeys of other transgender icons as we celebrate their achievements and share their inspiring stories of resilience.
Angelica Ross is a true force to be reckoned with. Not only is she a talented actress, but she's also a tech entrepreneur and a fierce advocate for transgender rights. As the founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, Ross has used her coding skills to empower transgender individuals in the tech industry, providing them with valuable opportunities. Her breakthrough role in the web series Her Story paved the way for her remarkable performances in hit shows like Pose and American Horror Story.
Ross's dedication to empowering others has not gone unnoticed, and her work has become a shining example of how technology can be a catalyst for positive change.
Thomas Beatie rose to prominence in 2007 when he made headlines as the "World's First Pregnant Man." Since then, this dedicated trans-activist has strongly advocated for transgender fertility and reproductive rights. Beatie courageously came out as a man in 1997 and completed his transition in 2002. In 2007, he made history by undergoing artificial insemination and carrying a child, challenging societal norms and sparking meaningful conversations. His story continues to inspire and educate, breaking down barriers and promoting understanding.
Despite facing personal challenges, such as his marriage ending in 2012, Beatie remains committed to using his platform to raise awareness and be a powerful voice for the transgender community.
Harmony Santana's incredible journey is a testament to the transformative power of talent and resilience. After her breakthrough role in Gun Hill Road, Santana made history as the first transgender woman nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. Beyond her achievements in film, Santana has dedicated herself to advocating for LGBTQ youth and fighting against bullying. Her personal experience in a group home for LGBTQ youth fueled her passion for creating change and providing support to those in need.
With her unwavering determination, Santana is paving the way for a more inclusive and compassionate world by embracing our true selves and standing up for what we believe in.
Amanda Lepore a true icon in the world of performing arts and modeling! She burst onto the scene as a member of New York's infamous Club Kid crew, immersing herself in the city's electrifying nightlife. With her mesmerizing presence and striking looks, Amanda caught the attention of legendary photographers like Ruben Van Schalm, David LaChapelle, and Terry Richardson. They helped shape her unique style that continues to turn heads today.
But Amanda isn't just a pretty face - she's also a savvy businesswoman, making smart investments and collaborating with top brands like Swatch and CAMP cosmetics.
Jackie Curtis was a true artist whose name became synonymous with fearless self-expression. Born as John Curtis Holder Jr., Jackie was more than an artist; she was a transformative force and performer! She was one of Andy Warhol's leading entertainers and graced the stages of huge theatres in New York. She broke stereotypes about who could take on female roles and showed endless talent. But acting wasn't her only forte.
She went on to publish literary works, including several poems. Though she struggled with substance abuse that eventually took her life.
Formerly known as the celebrated Olympic gold-winning athlete, Bruce Jenner, she captivated the world's attention through her appearances on the hit reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians as Kris's former spouse. Caitlyn courageously shared her truth, affirming her identity as a woman, and documented the journey in her own reality show, I am Cait, which intimately chronicled her transition. More recently, Caitlyn has explored acting and even race-car driving.
Stay tuned to delve into the lives of more extraordinary individuals who have fearlessly embraced their true selves, defied societal norms, and paved the way for greater acceptance and understanding.
Hailing from the Philippines, Jake Zyrus burst onto the scene with their awe-inspiring performances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, captivating audiences worldwide. From that moment, Jake's star power only continued to shine, as they made appearances on renowned shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and joined the cast of Glee. But Jake's story goes beyond their captivating voice and singing abilities. With the decision to undergo a transition and embrace their true identity as a trans man, Jake embarked on a journey of self-discovery.
Though his vocal range is no longer the same after taking testostorone, Jake is living authentically and embracing his true self.
Calpernia Addams is not just a force to be reckoned with in the realm of transgender advocacy but also an accomplished individual with a diverse background. Before dedicating herself to the cause, Addams served in both the Navy and the US Marine Corps. Her courageous decision to come out as transgender during her last year of service exemplifies her unwavering authenticity. She's been outspoken and fighting for trans rights for years.
Drawing inspiration from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Addams has also ventured into the world of theater, with her own play receiving recognition as a finalist for the esteemed Feminist Fest Award.
Candis Cayne, a trailblazer in the New York City nightclub and drag scene of the '90s! After officially coming out as transgender, she caught the attention of Hollywood and landed a recurring role on the popular show Dirty Sexy Money. While Candis never set out to be a role model, her positive and authentic approach to life has made her an inspiration to many. Candis Cayne proves that being true to yourself can lead to incredible success and happiness.
Transitioning seamlessly into the world of television, she has graced screens in popular shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Magicians.
Kate Bornstein is a true force to be reckoned with in the world of entertainment and gender studies. This multi-talented performer, author, and gender theorist has tackled important issues such as eating disorders and personality struggles through her thought-provoking works. Despite facing personal challenges like PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, and a battle with lung cancer, Bornstein has never let anything hold her back. She's even performed on Broadway in Straight White Men.
Now Kate continues to educate people on gender theory and the experiences of the transgender community, giving a voice to an often marginalized community.
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was a heroic figure who left an indelible mark in the fight for transgender acceptance and HIV awareness. As a fierce activist, Marsha fearlessly challenged societal norms, becoming a beacon of hope for countless individuals. When diagnosed with HIV, she used her voice to promote a powerful message to break down stigma and encourage understanding. Beyond her advocacy, she mesmerized audiences as a beloved drag performer, enchanting the underground ball scene and even catching the eye of Andy Warhol.
Though Marsha P. Johnson's passing in 1992 remains shrouded in mystery, her spirit and impact continue to ignite change and foster acceptance in future generations.
Coming from the famous Arquette family, she had serious acting skills. You may have seen her in movies like Pulp Fiction, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Of Mice and Men. But her talents didn't stop there. Alexis was also a poet, activist, and even a therapist. When she started performing as the fierce Eva Destruction, her true identity as a transgender woman took the spotlight. She underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2014, and her journey was documented.
Although she left us too soon due to HIV-related complications in 2016, Alexis Arquette's legacy as a trailblazer and multifaceted artist lives on.
Laura Jane Grace
Laura Jane Grace is a prominent American musician renowned for her influential role in the punk rock scene. As the founder, lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the band Against Me!, Grace has made a significant impact with her raw and authentic sound. What sets Grace apart is her courage to publicly come out as transgender in 2012, becoming one of the first highly visible transgender figures in the punk rock genre.
Her candidness about her gender dysphoria has resonated with many, and she even released a memoir to share her personal journey.
Marie Pierre Pruvot
Marie Pierre Pruvot is a French performer known by her various enchanting names: Marie-Pier Yasser or Bambi. Born in Algeria on November 11, 1935, Marie Pierre was destined for the limelight. For nearly two decades, she dazzled audiences as a showgirl, bringing her unique charm and talent to the stage. She even starred in the film Bambi, which documented her life in relation to performance and gender, showcasing a different side of being transgender.
Today she is almost 90 years old and has dedicated her life to being a literature teacher. Though she never forgot her days performing on stage.
A beloved British star who took a unique path to fame, Lauren Harries has been entertaining for decades. From a young age, known as James Charles Harries, Lauren captivated audiences with her exceptional knowledge of art and antique furniture, showcasing wisdom beyond her years. As time passed, Lauren embarked on a courageous journey of self-discovery and transition, embracing her true identity as a woman and truly coming into herself for once.
Her presence graced popular reality shows such as Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother's Bit on the Side, and she has emerged as a resilient trans icon ever since.
Witness the remarkable journey of Christine Jorgensen, a trailblazer in the realm of gender identity. After completing her military service in 1945, Jorgensen embarked on a quest for self-discovery, pursuing a degree and encountering the concept of gender transitioning. She ventured to Denmark, where groundbreaking gender reassignment surgeries were taking place. Alongside hormone treatment, Jorgensen underwent the historic surgery, becoming the first person known to do this from the United States.
People were fascinated by her and she was in the spotlight from that moment on. She even had a successful career as an actress and singer.
Alexandra Billings is an accomplished actress whose skills are undoubtable with her role as Davina on the groundbreaking series Transparent. With her authentic portrayal as the second openly transgender woman to portray a trans character on television, Billings has made a lasting impact on the industry. Beyond her acting career, she has been a tireless advocate for LGBTQ rights and HIV awareness, using her platform to bring about positive change.
Billings' talent and activism have garnered recognition and accolades, including the prestigious Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award.
Zackary Drucker is a true creative powerhouse; as a multi-media artist, her captivating works have graced prestigious galleries, museums, and film festivals. Not only is she an accomplished artist, but Drucker has also made significant contributions to the entertainment industry. Her expertise as a script consultant on the acclaimed series Transparent showcased her immense talent and creative vision. She was even a part of the Caitlyn Jenner docu-series on E! that made waves.
With her immense talent and dedication, Zackary Drucker continues to inspire others. Yet there are countless stars whose stories as transgender individuals have yet to be fully revealed, so keep reading.
Peppermint, also known as Miss Peppermint, has made a name for herself as a talented actress, singer, and TV personality. Starting off as a drag performer in New York City, she quickly gained recognition for her captivating stage presence. Many will remember her from the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, where she showcased her unique talents. Peppermint's journey reached new heights when she landed the role of Pythio in the groundbreaking Broadway musical Head Over Heels.
This achievement made her the first transgender woman to star in a Broadway production, solidifying her status as a trailblazer in the entertainment industry.
Angel Qinan, a rising star in the trans and LGBTQ community, has made a name for herself through her appearances on popular shows like Starlet Diner and Strut. With her unique perspective and talent, Angel has become an influential figure, inspiring others with her story. Interestingly, Angel's sibling is also transgender, and together they have formed a powerful duo, collaborating on various projects. Angel proudly claims the title of the first trans model to walk the runway at Sacramento Fashion Week.
Though she transitioned later in life and had some difficulties with her family accepting her, she's been a proud advocate for the trans community.
Candy Darling was a true Hollywood gem. Born as James Lawrence Slattery on November 24, 1944, Candy's journey began in the landscapes of Long Island, New York. In an era when openly embracing one's transgender identity was met with challenges, Candy fearlessly pursued her dreams in the world of cinema. From unforgettable performances in films like Women Revolt and Flesh, Candy's talent shone brightly. Even Andy Warhol, the renowned pop art icon, discovered his muse in Candy.
Though her time on this earth was cut short at the young age of 29 when she passed away due to lymphoma.