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The Trendsetting Transgender Icons

While the queer community in India is struggling against the 1860  law of  IP Section 377, the struggle of  the  transgender community in its specificity has gotten lost somewhere in the  entirety of the movement. Here are five transgender stereotype breakers who’ve set an example worldwide and providing strength to those who are unable to come out of the closet.

Angela Ponce from Spain


In 2018, for the first time, a transgender woman won the title of Miss Universe Spain and will be going on to compete for the title of Miss Universe. Angela Ponce, all of 26 years old, wants to make history as a role model for trans children around the globe; winning the title is less relevant than that for her.

Ponce is planning on using the stage for the Miss Universe pageant to draw attention to the rising suicide rates among trans teenagers, as well as the legal codes that discriminate against them. Ponce has suffered discrimination as a model, being rejected for fashion events or shoots once designers or organizers discover she had undergone a sex reassignment procedure. But in those moments, her life motto has only been “to be the best is not an option, is a must”. Ponce believes her experience growing up in a “loving and supporting family” but without any role models in a small town in southern Spain, near Sevilla, can be a useful story for others.




Georgina Beyer from New Zealand

Formerly George Bertrand is a former actor, cabaret singer, and sex worker, who made the political scene in New Zealand as the Mayor of Carterton for more than a decade. In 1995, she became the first openly transgender person to hold office in New Zealand, and pretty much all of the world. When she was elected to parliament for the Labour Party four years later, she became the world’s first trans MP. Beyer resigned from parliament in 2007 but came back in 2014 to politics as a candidate for the Mana Party in New Zealand’s general election. Even though she didn’t win, she remains a prominent commentator, especially for LGBT rights. Beyer was a keynote speaker at the First International Conference on LGBT Human Rights in Montreal in 2006 and the Second in Copenhagen in 2009, as well as for the Egale

Canada Human Rights Trust’s annual Gala, held in Toronto on 24 September 2010.




Grace Dolan-Sandrino from U.S.A

Grace Dolan-Sandrino is a 17-year-old Afro-Latina transgender LGBTQ activist and advocate for marginalized youth. Sandrino has been an Ambassador to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans under the Obama Administration. She serves on the Kennedy Center Youth Council, the Aspen Institute’s National Youth Commission on SEAD, and has received the Young Futurist title from The Root for 2017. Sandrino is trained as a Peer Educator at Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL). She is also the co-founder for the Gender and Orientation Alliance.





Laverne Cox from U.S.A

Laverne Cox is an American actress and an LGBT advocate. Her claim to fame was her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. With the show she became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category, and the first to be nominated for an Emmy Award. In 2015, Cox won a Daytime Emmy Award in Outstanding Special Class. She was also the first openly transgender woman to win a Daytime Emmy as an executive producer. In 2015, she became the first openly transgender person to have a wax figure of herself at Madame Tussauds. Laverne Cox has been noted for being a trailblazer for the transgender community and has won numerous awards for her activist approach in spreading awareness.





Marvia Malik from Pakistan

Marvia Malik, at just 21 years old, made headlines in Pakistan for being their first openly transgender news anchor at Kohenoor News. She made her first appearance in March this year and social media went abuzz. Many lauded the move to employ her as the anchor as a progressive step for transgender rights in Pakistan.

While Malik is happy about the attention that has been given to her career choice, she insists that more needs to be done when it comes to improving the lives of Pakistan’s transgender community.

Malik realized her identity at a very early age, and estranged from her family, has been providing for herself since she was 15 years old.  “I want the next generation of young transgender kids to look up to me as an inspiration that they can be accepted and that there can be opportunities for them,” Malik says.




Manabi Banerjee from India

Born as Somnath Banerjee, Manabi became the first openly transgender principal of a college in West Bengal. She took the position at Krishnagar Women’s College in Nadia District in 2015. Banerjee believes that neither did her gender identity come as a roadblock in her career, nor was it a plus point. She also hopes that others from her community will gradually excel in all sorts of professional fields. Banerjee had taught Bengali at the Vivekananda Satavarshiki Mahavidyalaya in West Midnapore district before taking up this position. Manabi started a magazine, Ob-Manab, especially made for transgenders, in the year 1995. She has an adopted son named Debasish.