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We found many famous transgender people as part of our research on successful diverse people. This list of 150 famous transgender celebrities include models, athletes, entrepreneurs, activists, musicians, authors, and more.

Famous Transgender Models

We found quite a few famous transgender models. Many of them have been very successful despite some adversity. Here are all the most famous trans models I found in my research.

  • April Ashley (British model)
  • Laith Ashley (model and actor)
  • Leyna Bloom (model and actress)
  • Caroline Cossey (model and Bond Girl)
  • Kenny Ethan Jones (model and activist)
  • Isis King (model and fashion designer)
  • Loiza Lamers (Holland’s top model)
  • Chella Man (model and YouTube star)
  • Shay Neary (plus-size model)
  • Hari Nef Transgender Model
Hari nef transgender

Hari Nef transgender model at the Emmys Awards. (image source: Everett Collection / Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection – stock.adobe.com)

Is Hari Nef transgender? Yes, and she was the first transgender model to sign with IMG Models in 2015. When in school at Columbia University, she started transitioning. Heyalma.com reported that Nef was:

“discovered by a photographer on Instagram in March 2014 and that jump-started her modeling career.”

  • Tracey “Africa” Norman (1st prominent African American Trans model)
  • Andreja Pejic (supermodel)
  • Teddy Quinlivan (fashion model)
  • Valentina Sampaio (Victoria’s Secret model)
  • Hunter Schafer (model and actress)
  • MiMi Tao (America’s top model)
  • Lea T (fashion model)
  • Nathan Westling (fashion model)

 

Famous Transgender Actors (and other TV/Media Personalities)

We also found a long list of famous transgender people who are actors, actresses, or other media personalities. These famous transgender celebrities are listed below.

laverne cox transgender

Orange is the New Black actress, transgender Laverne Cox. (image source: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Is Laverne Cox really transgender? Yes, the actress and activist best known for her role on Orange Is the New Black is open about being transgender. Oprah Magazine reported:

“After she became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an acting category at the Emmys in 2019, Cox has stayed busy, between nabbing her first solo cover of Out Magazine, co-hosting iHeartRadio’s Can’t Cancel Pride virtual benefit concert, and executive producing her new Netflix documentary Disclosure.”

  • Nadia Almada (reality TV star)
  • Carmen Carerra (reality TV star)
  • Jamie Clayton (actress and model)
  • Laverne Cox (actress and activist)
  • Jackie Curtis (actress and Warhol superstar)
  • Candy Darling (actress and Warhol superstar)
  • Erika Ervin “Amazon Eve” (actress and fitness trainer)
  • Gigi Gorgeous (YouTube personality)
  • Gia Gunn (reality TV star)
  • Lauren Harries (media personality)
  • Ian Harvie (comedian and actor)
  • Evan Ifekoya (performer)
  • Eddie Izzard (comedian)
  • Sir Lady Java (comedian and singer)
  • Jazz Jennings (YouTube personality)
  • Hetty King (actor and male impersonator)
  • Nicole Maines (actress and activist)
  • Kellie Maloney (sports promoter and TV personality)
  • Indya Moore (actor and model)
  • Fay Presto (magician)
  • Terri Rogers (magician and ventriloquist)
  • Jeanette Schmid (professional whistler)
  • Patrick Staff (performer)
  • Josie Totah (actress)
  • Daniela Vega (actress and opera singer)

 

Famous Transgender Athletes

Our list of famous transgender athletes includes both famous transgender men and famous transgender women. Many of these famous trans people faced struggles during their athletic careers but still became successful.

transgender boxer patricio

Transgender Boxer Patricio Manuel was the first transgender boxer in the history of the United States to have a professional fight. (image source: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

The Guardian did a feature on Transgender boxer Patricio that mentioned:

“Manuel was assigned female at birth, but long struggled with his gender identity, rejecting the many ways society and his family forced him to live as a girl. His mother thought of him as a “tomboy”, but he knew he was different.”

Because Manuel was different, boxing became an outlet. Manuel told the Guardian:

“It was structure. It was discipline. It was control. I had spent so much of my puberty years feeling out of control…I was feeling intense gender dysphoria, feeling like I had no control over my body and what it was doing …. It was my subconscious being like you need to do something because you’re mentally falling apart. It was really self-preservation.”

  • Chloe Anderson (volleyball player)
  • Harrison Browne (hockey player)
  • Balian Buschbaum (pole vaulter)
  • Fallon Fox (MMA fighter)
  • Caitlyn Jenner (Olympic decathlete)
  • Kyle Allums (basketball player)
  • Mianne Bagger (professional golfer)
  • Michelle Dumaresq (mountain biker)
  • Keelin Godsey (track and field champion)
  • Joanna Harper (runner)
  • Laurel Hubbard (weightlifter)
  • Veronica Ivy (cyclist)
  • Andreas Krieger (shot putter)
  • Dr. Bobbi Lancaster (golfer)
  • Lana Lawless (professional golfer)
  • Patricio Manuel (professional boxer)
  • Hannah Mouncey (handball player)
  • Chris Mosier (triathlete)
  • Dr. Renée Richards (tennis player)
  • Erik Schinegger (world champion skier)
  • Jiraiya Saelua (soccer player)
  • Rebecca Quinn (soccer payer)
  • Anne Veriato (MMA fighter)

 

Famous Transgender Singers (and other Musicians)

We also found some famous transgender singers and musicians. This list includes famous trans men and famous trans women who have paved the way for future transgender musicians.

teddy geiger trans

Teddy Geiger Trans singer in 2018. (image source: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Teddy Geiger Trans pop singer and producer was featured in Rolling Stone in 2018. The feature said:

“Geiger was assigned male at birth, and publicly identified that way until she began transitioning last fall. She recalls always having some understanding that the gender she identified with didn’t match the one the world saw. But a lack of trans figures to look up to, she says, left her with little language or experience to identify with as a teen or even young adult.”

  • Ah-Mer-Ah-Su (singer)
  • Cidny Bullins (singer and songwriter)
  • Ryan Cassata (musician)
  • Shea Diamond (pop and soul musician)
  • Teddy Geiger (musician and songwriter)
  • Grey Gritt (singer and songwriter)
  • Skylar Kergil (folk musician and YouTube star)
  • Lady – Sinae, Sahara, Binu, and Yuna (K-pop Transgender band)
  • Kylie “Sonique” Love (singer and dancer)
  • Dee Palmer (composer and keyboardist)
  • Kim Petras (pop star)
  • Lucas Silveira (singer)
  • SOPHIE (mechanical musician)

 

Famous Transgender Artists

Here is a list of famous transgender artists. This list includes famous transgender people who are painters, photographers, sculptors, and video artists.

Vaginal Davis transgender artist

Vaginal Davis as “Bricktop” at the Parlour Club on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. (image source: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Vaginal Davis is a famous transgender painter, performance artist, composer, filmmaker, and writer. According to Wikipedia Davis was:

“Born intersex and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, Davis gained notoriety in New York during the 1980s, where she inspired the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn’s prevalent drag scene as a genderqueer artist.”

  • Justin Vivian Bond (painter)
  • Loren Cameron (photographer)
  • Micha Cárdenas (digital artist)
  • Heather Cassils (body sculpture artist)
  • Vaginal Davis (performance artist)
  • Zackary Drucker (visual artist)
  • Rhys Ernst (photographer)
  • Yishay Garbasz (photographer and installations)
  • Juliana Huxtable (visual artist)
  • Jeffrey Catherine Jones (fine artist)
  • Greer Lankton (doll crafter)
  • Amos Mac (photographer)
  • Tuesday Smillie (mixed media artist)
  • Wu Tsang (video artist and performer)

 

Famous Transgender Authors (and other Writers)

There are some really creative famous transgender authors who write everything from novels to short stories, to poetry, and personal memoirs. Here is a list of some famous trans people who write.

Chaz_Bono_by_Gage_Skidmore

Chaz Bono Transgender author and actor speaking at an event in Phoenix, Arizona. (image source: Wikipedia Creative Commons, Gage Skidmore)

Is Chaz Bono Transgender? Yes, Bono underwent a female-to-male gender transition between 2008 and 2011. CBS News reported Bono documented hi transition in a 2011 film called “Becoming Chaz”. Chaz is the child of famous parents Sonny and Cher Bono.

  • Charlie Jane Anders (novel and short story writer)
  • Valerie Arkell-Smith (Writer and entertainer)
  • S. Bear Bergman (poet and playwright)
  • Imogen Binnie (author and podcast host)
  • Chaz Bono (writer and actor)
  • Kate Bornstein (author and gender theorist)
  • Patrick Califia (gender studies writer)
  • Jennifer Finney Boylan (memoir author)
  • Stephanie Burt (poet)
  • Jay Dodd (poet and essayist)
  • Eli Erlick (writer)
  • Juliet Jacques (freelance writer)
  • Andrea James (blogger)
  • Christina Kahrl (sportswriter)
  • Thomas Page McBee (author and journalist)
  • Janet Mock (memoir author)
  • Daniel Ortberg (author and editor)
  • Casey Plett (short story writer)
  • Jordan Rosenberg (writer and professor)
  • Julia Serano (non-fiction author)
  • Vivek Shraya (non-fiction author)
  • Abby Stein (author and blogger)
  • Susan Stryker (history writer)

 

Most Famous Trans Leaders, Politicians, Activists, and Entrepreneurs

This list of famous trans people include activists, business owners, and politicians. Many of these famous trans men and famous transgender women fight for civil rights for the transgender community.

Elle Hearns black lives matter

Elle Hearns (image source: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Elle Hearns is a transgender rights activist and the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter network. Hearns talked about queerness and trans issues with the Daily Dot. When asked what her experience was growing up as a young black trans woman, she said:

“My experience was very multifaceted. I think for every trans child there’s a slow process to developing an understanding of yourself. For me, I grew up in a single-parent home with two sisters, and my mom had my first sister when she was 15, had me when she was 19. I learned a lot about what struggling was, and I learned a whole lot about being a little black boy and having struggles, also being a little black boy who was existentially trapped in a boy’s body, but was definitely very much so female.”

  • Dr. Rebecca Allison (cardiologist and Transgender activist)
  • Lucy Hicks Anderson (entrepreneur, socialite, and chef)
  • Nisha Ayub (Transgender activist)
  • Jenny Bailey (politician)
  • Thomas Baty (lawyer for the Imperial Japanese government)
  • Thomas Beatie (public speaker, author, and Transgender activist)
  • Danielle Bunten Berry (game design entrepreneur)
  • Lynda Cash (Royal Navy officer)
  • Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark (creator of AIDS Education and GIS database)
  • Angela Clayton (Transgender activist)
  • Joanne Conte (American politician)
  • Elagabalus (Roman Emporer)
  • Alexander John Goodrum (African-American Transgender civil rights activist)
  • Julia Grant (Transgender activist)
  • Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (Transgender activist)
  • Alan L Hart (Physician and researcher)
  • Elle Hearns (Transgender activist and Black Lives Matter Co-founder)
  • Jennel Jaquays (game design entrepreneur)
  • Victoria Kolakowski (judge)
  • Charley Parkhurst (farming entrepreneur)
  • Jennifer Pritzker (investor and philanthropist)
  • Stu Rasmussen (politician)
  • Sylvia Rivera (Latina American Transgender rights activist)
  • Angelica Ross (entrepreneur and Transgender activist)
  • Gwendolyn Ann Smith (Transgender Day of Remembrance founder)
  • Theresa Sparks (politician)
  • Karen Frances Ulane (pilot and civil rights legislation activist)
  • Dr. Penny Whetton (Climatology expert)
  • Sophie Wilson (IT entrepreneur)
  • Sgt. Major Joanne Wingate (British Army)
  • Kate Craig Wood (IT entrepreneur)

More Famous Trans People?

My list is by no means complete. Please let me know if you find other successful trans people and I will be glad to add them to this growing list! Just ping me at Heather@Ongig.com.

If you find a famous trans person and send it to me, please include a source link for it so I can give that source a shout-out in the “Sources” section below!

Sources for my Research on Famous Trans Women and Famous Trans Men

These pros helped me source the article — thank you!

  1. 12 transgender models who are changing the industry (by Frank Olito)
  2. 15 Revolutionary and Influential Transgender Artists Who Refuse to Be Invisible (by Lauren Palmer)
  3. 13 Incredible Transgender Authors You Should Start Following (by Caroline Burke)
  4. 7 transgender musicians changing the music industry (by Frank Olito)
  5. Top 15 Famous Transgender Athletes (by Mollie Brown)
  6. Olympic Soccer Player Rebecca Quinn Has Come Out Publicly as Trans (by Donald Padgett)
  7. Laverne Cox Highlights Trans Representation With New Netflix Doc Disclosure (by Irina Gonzalez)
  8. Patricio Manuel, the first trans boxer to compete professionally: ‘It was self preservation’ (by Sam Levin)
  9. Allow Teddy Geiger to Reintroduce Herself (by Brittany Spanos)
  10. Wikipedia’s page on Vaginal Davis
  11. Transgender celebs you need to know (by CBS News)
  12. Wikipedia’s List of Famous Transgender People
  13. Famous Trans People (by the Proud Trust)
  14. How 4 Black Lives Matter activists handle queerness and trans issues (by Deron Dalton)

Why I wrote this?

Ongig is on a mission to eliminate boring and biased job descriptions. As part of this, we try to share best practices on all aspects of diversity. For example, Ongig’s Text Analyzer helps you avoid words that are exclusionary to famous (or non-famous) people based on sexual orientation. Please visit Ongig if you’d like to learn more.

by in Diversity and Inclusion