This article was published on November 15th, 2021
Trans awareness week is a time where we can recognize and publicly accept members of our community who completely transition their state. We can recognize them and accept them as who they are while recognizing their life journey is distinct from most people in our community. We celebrate this for one week in November every year, from the 13 to the 19. It is an awareness even that leads up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
TDOR is an annual event on November 20, and on that day, we raise awareness of the transgender community with advocacy activities designed to help people understand trans people. We honor those who have been victims of violent deaths. Usually, these are due to prejudice and ignorance. It is also a time to remember those who have taken their own lives due to transphobia.
During this week, we have the time to reflect on important people advancing the rights of transgender people worldwide. Outside of English-speaking countries, our community members face hardships that interfere with their daily lives. In the middle east, being transgender is punishable by death.
With that said, we want to honor those who are making the world better for the trans community. We have chosen three impactful individuals making waves for trans rights in their respective countries for unique reasons. Without further ado, let’s jump in and see who they are.
Çağla Akalın was born on June 17, 1990, and is a Turkish actress, singer model, and human rights activist with an agenda that pushes for inclusivity. She is the first trans beauty pageant titleholder in Turkey and won this at the Miss Queen competition for trans people in Turkey. She also holds the title of the first transgender model in Turkey and, in 2015, became the first transgender actress to receive a leading role in a movie in Turkey.
The actress is a leader in her home country because it is dangerous to be who you are if you’re trans and even more so in the Middle East. She appeared on national television, and later the channel who brought her on was fined a hefty fee and removed from the air.
Since 1990 Keila Simpson has led the National Association of Transsexuals (ANTRA) in Brazil. In Brazil, she has also served as the vice president for the Brazilian Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex groups.
The National Council to combat the LGBT discrimination in Brazil also opened her with open arms to serve with them, and she later received a National Human Rights Award. The award is given for outstanding service within the LGBTQIA+ community in Brazil. She continues to fight daily for the rights of trans people in Brazil by serving as the coordinator for the Center for the Promotion and Defence of LGBT rights (CPDD).
Andrea is an LGBT icon for individuals worldwide for many reasons. She walked the runway for Marc Jacobs in 2011 as their first androgynous supermodel. After walking for them multiple times, she came out as transgender. The result of this was an interview by Vogue magazine. She went on to sign a contract with Vogue, an internationally renowned fashion brand. This contract meant she became the first openly trans model to get a contract with Vogue. Then, in 2016, she was the first transgender woman ever to cover a GQ magazine.
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha is perhaps the most well-known trans activist in America. She was a self-identified drag queen and a prominent face in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Unfortunately, some did not like her outspokenness. She died suspiciously after a violet riot against the gay community took place. She made great strides for the American LGBT community.
During this trans awareness week, we are proud to mention these women who are increasing visibility for the trans community and promoting acceptance for everyone. We deserve to live as we are without people treating us badly.
Who are your favorite trans activists, and do you know any we haven’t listed? We would love to hear about them in the comments.