Sunday, December 7, 2014

TransMusePlanet's annual Top 20 Most Influential Trans-People of 2014

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

It's that time again TMP readers. On November 18th 2012 Transmuseplanet was started, and one of the first blogs was TMP's Top 20 most Influential Trans People. That blog remained the most popular post for six months. The following year's 2013 list was the most re-tweeted and shared post on TMP. It got TMP noticed as TMP caught the attention of other Trans online bloggers and social media pages that lead to interviews with Trans radio shows and Trans blogs worldwide.

 This year, TMP's two year anniversary, TMP would like to show respect and acknowledge those within the Transgender  Community for their commitment to excellence in their chosen fields, and to the overall visibility and empowerment of the Transgender society. Some of the criteria for making the list:
1) Being leaders in their field
2) The ability to inspire our community and our allies
3) Being positive role models
4) Exemplifying the purpose and beliefs TMP stands for: "The celebration of the Duality and Unity of being Trans."
They stand forever as a future reference for someone who happens years later to tumble and find Transmuseplanet online and see Transpeople fighting the odds, inspiring a new 'genderation', with connections to those that help continue paving the way.
Over the past year those that are mentioned were discussed here on TMP in my blogs; or their contributions to the Trans Community, and their stories shared on Transmuseplanet online links: ; TMP facebookTMP Daily Dispatch, TMP on Twitter TMP on Tumblr or TMP Google plus.

I hope you enjoy the listing and if you're not familiar with these social justice pavers within our community, then do take the time to educate yourself on the great contributions that they have made to our community. Their names are linked to their websites, charities, and businesses. Additional links have also been provided for any work of theirs you'd like to check out.

Through your deaths we are strengthened to carry the torch of Trans Unity, Visibility, Pride, and the continued celebration of the Duality of being Trans.

2. Laverne Cox

There is no question that the most talked about Trans person of 2014 has been Lavern Cox, due in part to her recent success as Sophia on Netflix's 'Orange is the New Black'. With the success of the show Lavern Cox has finished breaking down a door that many Trans People have knocked upon for years, the doors of Hollywood. She made history with a nomination for an Emmy, the first for the Transgender community. It was as if we were watching history, just as Dorothy Dandridge had done in the 50's for the African American community.

Being first is becoming Laverne Cox's legacy. She was also the first Transgender character in a hip hop reality show, 'I want to work for diddy.' She also starred in her own reality show, 'Transform Me.'  In keeping with being first, on June 9, she became the first Transgender person to be on the cover of Time Magazine. She without a doubt made the most huge impact on the Trans Community this year and she continues to fight alongside with her brothers and sisters as an advocate for Trans rights.

3. Fallon Fox

No where more have we heard the words uttered 'should a trans' than in the case of Fallon Fox. Constantly the questions, should she or does she have an advantage as a trans woman in fighting. The MMA audience and leaders ignored the impact of estrogen in this equation.

Regardless Fallon persevered, gaining the right to fight along with gaining national attention and becoming a warrior personality for the Trans Community. Since her fame she has become a leading advocate and opponent to the TERF  , a anti transgender feminist lesbian community.

4. Rhys Ernst & Zackary Drucker

Ushering in a new genderation of artists, filmmakers, advocates and examples of Trans love relationships, this duo heated up the discussions and questions of how we view sexuality and gender. Rhys Ernst is a filmmaker and artist who works with narrative and experimental film, photography, animation, and mixed-media. Ernst utilizes various modalities to investigate transgender identity, masculinity, and intersections of gender and narrative construction.

Through their most discussed work, a collaboration of photographic art displaying trans love and transition , they gained national attention. The photo series is an intimate diary of the couple's love affair and their gender identity transitions -- Drucker from male to female and Ernst from female to male. The photos span five years of their relationship from 2008 to 2013. The photographs include tender embraces, bodies bandaged from hormone injections, and also shots of Drucker's growing breasts. 

As we near the end of 2014, the buzz is of the team Ernst and Drucker as associate producers of the newest Transgender series Trans Parent.  It seems we have only began seeing the work of these two talented people who are clearly opening a new door with in the community.

5. Carmen Carrera
With the entertainment door being knocked down by many like Laverne Cox, it's Carmen Carrera that is now gracing thru that  shattered door with beauty and glamor.

Known as a Burlesque dancer, actress and reality television personality. She made the greatest impact this year by bringing up the question, "is Victoria Secret ready for their first transgender model. This year  she ran a highly known and celeb supported campaign to answer that question.

She is now teaming up with Tyra Banks by launching a new docuseries 'TransAmerica'. The eight-episode docuseries will chronicle a group of Chicago women united by the shared experience of being transgender. The series is described as an earnest look at a group of millennial women -- who happen to be transgender -- living, loving and building their careers. The series will explore how their sexuality impacts their lives.

6. Jazz:
While doors once closed to transgender people are being knocked down, the new face of Trans Youth are preparing themselves to be the new leaders of the golden age of the Transgender movement. No one other than Jazz Jennings demonstrates that quality.

 Again, I will say here, we are looking at the first Transgender President, :). If my psychic powers aren't too rusty, that's my prediction, fingers crossed.

She has co-illustrated a memoir for children. A book Jazz says, 'is for any child that has felt different.' She has also become the new face of Trans by being one of the most outspoken advocates for Trans Youth, thru her site At 14 she has recently been named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential teens of 2014.

7. Dr. Kortney Ziegler:
is a writer, film maker, producer artist, but is most known for being one of the most prominent voices in the Trans community. A leader in the advocacy of Trans people of Color, he is outspoken with his drive to empower the Trans community of color. An advocate of education and a more inclusive role with in greater white privileged trans society, which at times seems to just happen to ignore the issues facing Trans people of Color. Those like Dr. Kortney Ziegler is one of those leaders making sure we are not ignored.

 In 2013 he was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog; he was the first African-American Trans man to be nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. He is the founder of Who We Know, a paid fellowship focused on creating products and developing initiatives that economically empower the transgender community of color.

Dr. Ziegler was most recently honored with the Authentic Life Award by the Transgender Law Center, the largest transgender advocacy organization in the U.S., at their 2013 Spark! event .

8.Lucas Silveira:

With the charm of Leonard Cohen, the soulful voice of Otis Redding and rhythmic sounds of Amy Winehouse; Lucas Silveira fronts the ever growing popular Canadian band Clicks.  With  critical comparisons of David Bowie and the White Strips, he is the lead singer, guitarist and part of the most accomplished musical act lead by a Trans man.

The band is a huge showcase at many summer festivals and in  2015 he will be toning down the sound and getting a little more intimate with a solo acoustic tour scheduled.

Lucas Silveira started the band in 2004. They  have toured with the likes of Cyndi Lauper and the Cult. Their first major label release was in 2006 with the cd Snake House.
Lucas Silveira , by making the music he does, mixed with style and fashion, is showing the dynamic range of the Trans Community. Knocking down doors once closed and portraying that we are capable of many great things.

9. Janet Mock :
In as many TMP annual Most Influential Trans persons posting, their was always Janet Mock. She topped our list the first two years and remains a major influence and favorite of TMP.

The Hawaii born and raised writer first made headlines as the editor of People Magazine online, when she came out as transgender. She quickly became a favorite on the Trans advocate circuit.

Janet broke new ground and a first of her own as she became the first transgender author to top the New York best sellers list, with her memoir 'Redefining Realness' She made headlines when as a quest on CNN's Pierce Morgan show, the host went on to say the author's work was "contentious" and 'controversial'. The adjectives used simply due to the Transgender content.

This year Mock accepted a job as editor of Marie Claire magazine.

10. Stephen Whittle:
Is a United Kingdom activist with the Trans activist organization Press for Change. Since 2007 he has been professor of equalities of Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 1974 Whittle came out as an ftm transman after returning from a women's liberation conference in Edinburgh.

11. Aydian Dowling: is the creator and owner of the extremely successful Point5cc T-shirt company.  A company he started innocently as a way to subsidize his surgery funds. The company has grown well beyond surgery funding into an iconic wear for Trans men worldwide. Now a family business, the Point5cc T-shirt company is ran by Aydian and his wife Jenilee, where the couple designs, make and distribute their work.  Seems a family that works together...stays together.

12.  Lea T

The Brazilian born Transgender Model is cutting thru stereotypes run way after run way world wide. Born in 1981 to well known former football player Toninho cerezo.  She grew up in Italy, the capital of fashion. It maybe there where she got bitten by the glamour bug.

It was during her rise in the modeling business that she revealed she was transgender and undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 2012. She currently is the muse of Givenchy, the new face of Redken and an outspoken leader in the LGBT movement.

13. Isis King:

Before the explosion this year of  Transgender models, there was Isis. Isis first gain fame as Tyra Banks Next Top Model, where she was a contestant on the eleventh and seventeenth seasons. Through her presence on the popular reality show, Isis maybe one of the Transgender people, that took the biggest punch at  mainstream entertainment business that other Trans people now find a little more flourishing in their favor.

She is now finding success on the other side of the catwalk as a fashion designer.

14.Andreja Pejic:
This year as we've noted was the year of the Transgender model, none this year grabbed more attention than Andreja Pejic.  Out of war torn Bosnia and of Serb and Croat blood she was born. Until this year, the modeling industry labeled her as androgynous before, politely, she corrected that she was transgender. She has walked the catwalk for the likes of Jean Paul Gautier and Marc Jacobs.

Earlier this year she underwent sex reassignment surgery.

15. Paula Overby  

Paula Overby is a horseback riding, American loving, country music type of gal from Minnesota that's not afraid to run for Congress. Overby announced her candidacy for 2nd District Minnesota last summer running for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement saying, that her campaign would work to end campaign financing.

After some old boy school politics at play and switching political Parties, she did run. Throughout her campaign Trans bloggers from coast to coast were dictating the outcome to us. In the end, Paula Overby had 5% of the vote, but that 5% may as well been a 5 ton stick of dynamite because a political spark that was ignited by Paula and others has the Trans Community now saying,  political office.

16.Ian Harvie

Harvie began his comedic career  in Portland Maine in 2002. He is currently a permanent cast member of Margaret Cho's Burlesque show. He began producing his comedy/talk show; The Ian Harvie show in 2007.He's also appeared in several films and incorporates his brand of advocacy thru his comedy.

17. Nick and Bianca Bowser
If there were a poster couple for Trans Love; relationships between two trans persons, there would be no doubt...that its spokes couple would be the Bowsers. Their story has been one of several high profile Trans Love couple headliners. After the break up of Katie and Arin, TMP Influential couple of 2013, Nick and Bianca were thrust into the role and image of the 'new modern trans family'.
Bianca, who is MTF was a well known entertainer through out Georgia and the Carolinas when she met Nick Bowser, who is FTM and the fairytale romance has been a topic of every tabloid from here to China. The two married and have naturally given birth to, two adorable young children. Nick is currently a pre-med student.
18. Monica Roberts
If I've said it once I will say it for the third annual listing; that one of the most influential Trans people of our time continues to be Monica Roberts of Transgriot Blog. The very muse and inspiration behind my creation of this blog, makes the list for the third straight time.
Monica is an avid advocate of Transgender equality along with EQUALLY and with out exception, African American and Women rights. 
This ambassador of equal justice has inspired, birthed, and groomed many a Trans-female blogger and advocate, including this one. As she  has said to me and many others, 'when you connect to your sisters and brothers in the community, you have connected to a sister and brotherhood that is endless'.

19.  Riley Knoxx:

    Is it Beyoncé? It maybe one of the most sought after Beyoncé impersonators, Riley Knox. Beyoncé maybe the hardest working woman in show business but her look a like is the hardest working Trans woman in entertainment. With the release of her calendar; to raise money for disadvantaged Transgender youth in and around D.C., she is proving she's more than a performer, but an advocate for youth growing up in a dysphoric world. She was also named Transmuseplanet's role model for the month of December 2014. She is one woman we will without a doubt be hearing more from in 2015.

20. Jody Rose Helfand:
A man of many talents. Jody Rose is most noted for being outspoken in the world of Trans Male fitness, sexuality and overall well being. A poet, he has an MA in English an MFA in Creative writing. His poetry has appeared in over 50 journals. His  first book of poetry, 'Places Male and Female' was released in 2010 and is currently working on his second. His work also spans into natural and holistic healing.

  Most important mention, YOU; every Transgender Man and Woman that dare to live there life with their heads held high. Thank each and everyone of my brothers and sisters, that through your lives we are making the world just that much better for those that follow with a celebration of the Duality and Unity that is being Trans.


TransMusePlanet's annual top 20 most Influential Trans-people of 2013

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Defining who we are pt. Vll: Transgender...Dead...but Never Forgotten
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