The Trans 100

Apr 7

The 2014 Trans 100 (U.S.) Digital Booklet

Jan 4

Monika MHz's Keynote Essay: Forging the Future - The Trans 100

When we were putting together the inaugural The Trans 100 publication, we wanted a keynote essay, one that would set the tone for the entire effort. There was one clear choice, a woman whose voice I trust wholly and deeply, not because she says what I want or expect to hear, but because she always both meets me where I’m at and then takes me further. Monika MHz surprises me by laying bare both my own assumptions and a capacity for love, forgiveness, and hope that I can forget are there.

The link has both the essay and video of a talk based on a modified version of it. Please read, and then read again slowly, and then let it take root in your heart, and then share.

Jan 3

Writer & activist Janet Mock closes the Trans 100 launch event.

For more from Janet, visit

Nominate a trans person for the 2014 Trans 100 (U.S.) at


This moving, informative, and inspirational video by Chicago House and Social Service Agency features Inaugural Trans 100 member Trisha Lee Holloway, as well as Angelique Munro (who acted as Stage Manager for the launch event).

Trans 100 - Published Introduction

Since the press release and BuzzFeed article did not include the introductions contained in the PDF, many may not have seen the opening statement below, which addresses some of the questions that have come up since. Though there is much I would now add, this is what was published:

What you are looking at is a flawed beginning.

All of us involved recognize. All of us involved believe that this is still worth doing.

Those two statements are a touchstone we return to again and again, and only those who agree with those two points will find much of value here.

If you recognize that this project is incomplete—and yet still has much to offer—then we trust you will find our endeavor an awe-inspiring collection of one hundred amazing people doing meaningful work.

Not the only hundred. Not the hundred you agree with. But one hundred that reveal a cross section of trans people active in the United States that reflect the breadth and depth of the work being done by and for the community.

Because the list itself is a form of activism, an effort to change the narrative around trans people, an opportunity for people in the community to learn more about others within it, a way of expanding the pool of people that the media can go to for input, because this is our first attempt at what will be an annual initiative, because this emerged from the community and is ultimately accountable to it, because of all these reasons and many more, we want to be transparent about flaws we’ve come across and address them directly.

We would like to share the following shortcoming and critiques, and our responses.

This is nothing but a popularity contest.

The list is not ranked. Our intention is not to value some trans people over others, but rather to give a sampling of 100 hundred trans people whose peers believe their work merits attention.

We received over 500 nominations representing over 360 individuals. The number of times someone was nominated had no bearing on their selection. A curatorial team of seventeen people, representing a wide range of age, race, and gender identity, researched, debated, and voted on each and every person.

Most of the people on the list humbly accepted their selection, but asked that the focus remain on the work they’re doing. Conversely, many of our personal friends did not make the list, but nonetheless expressed their support and enthusiasm for the chance to learn about so many others in the community.

One of our founding and guiding principles was that we wanted to use the list to highlight people who aren’t normally recognized and populations that are often underrepresented.

Some of the more well-known trans people aren’t on the list. That’s not to diminish the power of visibility, but only an indication of the ethos of this particular list.

You don’t have to be an activist to be valuable to the community.

Though we originally sought to recognize activism specifically, not every person on this list would identify as such. Direct engagement with the community will always be the foundation of the Trans 100, but we acknowledge that engagement can manifest in a variety of ways. This year’s list includes an actor, a musician, and a video game designer. Future lists may include comedians and porn stars. I for one hope so.

It should be about the work, not about the person.

Our deliberations always focused on the work being done, and the bios and links are meant to offer an overview of the diversity of efforts, centers, groups, and websites available to our community. Nonetheless, it is people doing the work, and we believe that these individuals deserve to be seen. Further, we’d like the media to focus more on transgender adults who are living visibly and working to improve the lives of those in the community. We hope this list will bring precisely such people to the media’s attention, particularly people of color.

So-and-so isn’t on the list!

Many, many worthwhile people aren’t on this list, and for a variety of reasons.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the attention this project has garnered in the few weeks leading up to publication, but the call for nominations was less widely known. As the word spread, we learned about many more people we would have loved to honor, and intend to do so in future iterations.

We couldn’t reach everyone who was selected. There are some amazing people whom we wanted among the 100, but simply couldn’t contact in time. We did not want to publish anyone’s name without their consent—CeCe McDonald is a good example of such a case. Again, we hope to do better next year.

Some people didn’t want to be on the list. One person didn’t feel that being trans was central to their identity or work, while another person replied with their thanks, and told us that they had made a vow that their work would never be about them. And we respect that.

We had only 100 spots! There’s simply not enough room to recognize everyone, but each year will further expand our community. When we first announced our intentions, we had several people tell us that we wouldn’t be able to find 100 visible trans activists. I’m thrilled that our challenge instead turned out to be an embarrassment of riches.

So-and-so shouldn’t be on the list!

While Toni and I stand by every person selected, very few people selected had the unanimous consent of the entire curatorial committee. Among the list are people whose inclusion raised strong objections by some of the curators. Some of the persons on the list would not have been chosen by Toni or I—we think that’s important. Speaking out entails risk, and virtually no position can be publicly articulated without angering or alienating someone. In a community as diverse as ours, healthy discourse must accommodate a range of often conflicting and incompatible perspectives, as well as personal differences.

Since this person isn’t on the list—or because that person is on the list—it’s useless.

We understand such a reaction. As two emotionally volatile individuals, we too have often found ourselves wanting to dismiss some movie, book, television show, website, or news story because of one or two problematic characters, actors, scenes, or lines. But our hope is that even if you might find a few objectionable choices, you may consider the other ninety-some people worth learning about.

I’ve never even heard of so-and-so!

Well, now you have.

It’s too America-centric.

We thought long and hard about whether to include some of the many wonderful activists from around the world. In the end, we felt that it would be presumptuous of us to do so. Rather, we’re hoping that we can develop a model and share our resources to collaborate or support similar efforts in other countries in future years, and that we can all exist under this Trans 100 umbrella. We tried to err on the side of starting small and focused, while allowing for future growth. Toni also wrote on this issue here.

You’ve emphasized race too much.

I stand with Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler in saying that “centering race in transgender advocacy is key to equality for all.” It’s particularly important for white people to initiate these conversations, and to ask themselves how they’re helping to ensure that everyone has access to the spaces and resources they have access to. Toni herself is a woman of multiple racial identities, and because of such, cannot separate them from her transness in the way her work is done.

There are too many people from major cities/Chicago/Arizona.

Major cities are going to be disproportionately recognized. There are more trans people in large urban areas, more services for trans people there, and therefore more trans workers to be recognized. This is not to devalue the work being done in smaller communities and rural areas, which is often even more challenging. We hope that the publicity the list garners in its inaugural year will help further penetrate the call for nominations in subsequent years and yield a still-greater variety of geographic representation. One of the many lessons we learned is that we need to increase the amount of time for the nominations, which we will do next year.

Chicago had by and far more nominations than any other area, even New York City. This is partly because Chicago has a large and well- organized trans community. It is also partly because I’m based in Chicago, so the call for nominations had more attention there than anywhere else. While there are more selections from Chicago than any other area, there are also more worthy nominees who did not make the list from Chicago than anywhere else.

What about allies?

I’ve only recently accepted that we are simply too small a community to effectively bring about all the changes required for our survival and advancement. We do need the help of allies, but we must first build up our community and achieve the unity to understand and prioritize what we need help with. It is our responsibility to set our agenda. No matter how well intentioned, no one can tell our stories better than we can.

What aren’t the curators public?

This was the source of extensive internal debate, but our consensus was that anonymity would allow the attention to remain on the 100 honored.

Who the heck are you to do this?

We’ve often asked that ourselves! We’ve included short bios for Toni and me at the end of the list.

As an inaugural project, Toni and I made the process up as we went along, learning from feedback and our mistakes. We made a promise to ourselves to acknowledge and personally address every critique came across, and we’ve found the community to be a tremendous source of insights and suggestions. We will remain in touch with you, and we will keep you updated. Our concern has only ever been—and will always only be—how to make this project an act of service.

Thank you.

Jen Richards
Co-Director, The Trans 100

Apr 9

The Trans 100 – 2013 Inaugural Edition (U.S.)


Inaugural Trans 100 List Focuses on Positive Work Being Accomplished by Trans People Nationwide

Chicago, Tuesday, April 9, 2013 – We Happy Trans, a website that celebrates the positive experiences of transgender people, and This is H.O.W., a Phoenix based non profit organization dedicated to the betterment of the lives of trans people, today announced the full published Trans 100 list, an inaugural overview of the breadth and diversity of work being done in, by, and for the transgender community across the United States. The 2013 Trans 100 list was presented at an event sponsored by Chicago House, GLAAD, the Pierce Family Foundation,, and KOKUMOMEDIA.

The list began as an idea by This Is H.O.W. Executive Director Antonia D’orsay, then developed in partnership with Jen Richards of We Happy Trans. The project received over 500 nominations in December 2012, with over 360 individuals recommended for inclusion.

The first effort of its kind, the list intends to shift the coverage of trans issues by focusing on the positive work being accomplished, and providing visibility to those typically underrepresented. A launch event for the Trans 100 list took place at Mayne Stage in Chicago on International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day which aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of transgender people around the world.

The event featured guest speakers Janet Mock, a trans activist and writer, Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler, a GLAAD Award-nominated blogger and filmmaker, musicians Namoli Brennet and Joe Stevens, performer and activist KOKUMO, producer Jen Richards, and 10 co-presenters representing the Chicago trans community.

“The only sustainable self-interest is that which extends the sense of self to include the whole,” said Jen Richards at the Trans 100 launch event. “Look around: women, men, people of color, genderqueer people, crossdressers, showgirls, sex workers, academics, activists, artists, and allies. We are all one community.”

“I am here tonight because of the 99 other names on the inaugural Trans 100 list and the unrecognized thousands who are not on this list whose quiet acts are changing lives,” said Janet Mock. “They are the dream realized.”

“It is my hope that everyone in this room will use the names on this list as inspiration to continue doing the necessary work,” said Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler at the event. “Let them propel you to be the advocates and activists our community needs. If you do not identify as either, then I urge you to use the names on the list as a simple gesture to keep living.”

“The value of the work that is represented by the 100 people on this list is immeasurable,” said Executive Director of This Is H.O.W., Antonia D’orsay, about the Trans 100. “These people demonstrate the diversity, the determination, and the incredible triumph of spirit that informs all trans people, no matter where they are. This is just a glimpse of what trans people can accomplish.”

“The Trans 100 will bring much-needed visibility to the critical, grassroots work that trans people have been doing in communities across the country for years,” said GLAAD’s Wilson Cruz. “While media coverage so often misses the mark on accurate portrayals of trans people, the Trans 100 is changing the game by sharing the inspiring and diverse stories behind trans advocacy.”

KOKUMO, an artist, activist, and African American transgender woman, hosted the event. Two accomplished transgender musicians – folk-rock songwriter Namoli Brennet, and singer Joe Stevens of the West Coast-based Folk/Roots group Coyote Grace – gave live performances.

Jen Richards partnered with Chicago House and KOKUMOMEDIA to produce Chicago’s Trans 100 launch event. GLAAD served as Inaugural Sponsor, with additional support from the Pierce Family Foundation,, Progress Printing, and Dr. Graphx. Both Chicago House’s TransLife Project and This is H.O.W. provide direct services to transgender people experiencing homelessness, unemployment, violence, health disparities, and HIV infection. KOKUMOMEDIA uses film, music, and literature to provide to create and generate realistic depictions of transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) people of color.

The Trans 100:

  • Abigail Jensen
  • Aidan Key
  • Alexis Martinez
  • Allyson Robinson
  • Andre Perez
  • Andy Karol
  • Andy Marra
  • Anna Anthropy
  • Asher Kolieboi
  • Avory Faucette
  • Bamby Salcedo
  • Baylie Roth
  • Ben Hudson
  • Blake Alford
  • Bree Sutherland
  • Carter Brown
  • Cecilia Chung
  • Channyn Lynne Parker
  • Charlie Solidum
  • Che Gossett
  • Christina Kahrl
  • Cristina Herrera
  • Claire Swinford
  • Diego Sanchez
  • Drago Renteria
  • Dru Levasseur
  • Earline Budd
  • Eli Erlick
  • ellie june navidson
  • Elliot Fukui
  • Erin Armstrong
  • Harmony Santana
  • Harper Jean Tobin
  • Ida Hammer
  • Ignacio Rivera
  • Ja-briel Walthour
  • Jaan Williams
  • Janet Mock
  • Jenn Burleton
  • Jenny Boylan
  • Justus Eisfeld
  • Kate Bornstein
  • Kate Sosin
  • Katherine Cross
  • Katie Burgess
  • Katy Stewart
  • Kay Barrett
  • Kelley Winters
  • Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler
  • Kylar Broadus
  • Laverne Cox
  • Lincoln Rose
  • Loan Tran
  • Mara Keisling
  • Marisa Richmond
  • Marsha Botzer
  • Masen Davis
  • Matt Kailey
  • Mel Goodwin
  • Mia Tu Mutch
  • Michelle Enfield
  • Miss Major Griffin-Gacy
  • Monica Roberts
  • Monika MHz
  • Namoli Brennet
  • Nicholas Love
  • Nick Teich
  • Niko Kowell
  • Nino Dorenzo
  • Ola Osaze
  • Owen Daniel-McCarter
  • Paisley Currah
  • Pauline Park
  • Phyllis Frye
  • Qwo-Li Driskill
  • Rebecca Allison
  • Rebecca Kling
  • Reina Gossett
  • Ruby Corado
  • Ryan Blackhawke
  • Ryka Aoki
  • S. Bear Bergman
  • Sadie Baker
  • Sasha Alexander Goldberg
  • Sassafras Lowrey
  • Sean-Michael Gettys
  • Shane Morgan
  • Shawn Demmons
  • Spencer Bergstedt
  • Stephen Ira
  • Susan Stryker
  • Tei Okamato
  • Tracie O’Brien
  • Trisha Lee Holloway
  • Trudie Jackson
  • Van Binfa
  • Van Nguyen
  • Yoseñio V. Lewis
  • Zander Keig


About We Happy Trans: was launched in early in 2012 in response to the lack of positive depictions of trans people in the media, and the absence of an online space that focused on the positive aspects of the trans experience. For more information, please visit or connect with We Happy Trans on Facebook and Twitter.

About This is H.O.W.: This Is H.O.W. Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of the lives of Trans (transsexual, transgender, and gender variant) persons experiencing crisis situations such as homelessness, substance abuse, familial abuse, and transition related difficulties. For more information, please visit or connect with This is H.O.W. on Facebook and Twitter.

Apr 8

THIS IS EVERYTHING: Trans 100, A Celebration of Visibility and Resilience

‏“I’m kinda floored by the whole thing. i’m gonna start calling it The League of Extrordinary Transpeople.”

Apr 8


“If striving for the equal recognition of all transgender people is our goal, then the steps that ensure the longevity of trans people of color, cannot remain secondary to our mission,” said Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler, a GLAAD Award-nominated blogger and filmmaker.”

Apr 8

On Being Seen & Heard

"…this thing called the Trans 100, which was a very personally important event to me, because there really is nothing more important than highlighting the work we are doing as a community within the community when it comes to reducing the stigma and challenge of showing the diversity of Trans lives."

Apr 8

No Joke- I've Been Named To The Inaugural Trans 100 List!

"Do I accept the honor of being on this inaugural Trans 100 List?   You damned skippy I do.  After all the times in this space I’ve griped about trans people being ignored when trans-free LGBT lists are put together and especially trans people of color, it was wonderful to see the community come together to create this event and the curators take time out of their busy schedules to make Antonia D’orsay’s dream come to life that Jen Richards co-signed on."