16 Trans Creators to Follow

Transgender Awareness Week is an annual commemoration from November 13 through November 17 to increase visibility for trans people that’s not predicated upon pain, loss, or death. For far too long trans stories have been limited to those told from a cisgender perspective. From slam poets to academics, these 16 trans creators are changing the way their stories are told. Let them lead the way.

1. Angelica Ross


Founder of TransTech and Miss Ross, Inc., actress

Key quote: “I feel like the last few weeks/month(s) have been pushing me to my limits, only to find out I’m limitless.”

2. Lourdes Ashley Hunter


Executive Director of Trans Women of Color Collective, academic

Key quote: “Liberation work is not an asking or negotiating my freedom… BITCH IM TAKING IT!”

3. Kai Cheng Thom


Author of Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, performer, cultural worker

Key quote: “The key to revolution is you. And you, and you. It’s community. It’s us.”

4. Janet Mock


Author of Redefining Realness, recipient of Sylvia Rivera Activist Award

Key quote: “I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act.” -Redefining Realness

5. Juliana Huxtable


Artist, performer, DJ, model

Key quote: “I was really fascinated by the idea of club culture, the idea of a liminal, almost surreal space where people can cross paths in a way that can have a direct impact on music, on art, on writing, on fashion.”

6. Laverne Cox


Actress on Orange is the New Black, LGBTQ activist

Key quote: “For me, the transgender thing is the reality of my life. It’s the reality of my existence and it’s something that I’ve come to believe is beautiful about me.”

7. Ashlee Marie Preston


Activist, writer

Key quote: “Change doesn’t always readily greet you at the door. Sometimes you have to access through the backdoor, basement, side windows, or the chimney.”

8. Raquel Willis


National organizer for the Transgender Law Center, host of BDG Podcast

Key quote: “I think we’re in a moment where everyone is having to grapple with what their privileges look like, even the most marginalized people.”

9. Amos Mac


Writer, editor-in-chief of Original Plumbing

Key quote: “There is something to say about collaborating with other trans people on an artistic level that I’ve experienced throughout my career - an instant connection and understanding - yet with more conversation, less explanation and a whole bunch of feelings.”

10. J Mase III


Slam poet, educator, founder of AwQward Talent Agency

Key quote: “Whether I’m making people laugh, or I’m doing something serious, we as Black and Brown people, as trans people, have a right not just to our pain but to our joyous liberation.”

11. Silas Howard


Writer, director

Key quote: “For too long the white cis male gaze has dominated. But we are in this necessary and exciting moment, where we are giving diverse voices access—to a camera, the director’s chair, the script—and helping to pass that privilege on.”

12. Reina Gossett


Activist, writer, artist

Key quote: “Historical erasure of black trans life means so many of us are disconnected from the legacies of trans women before us, denied access to stories about ourselves, in our own voices. So it became increasingly important for me to not just find out more about Marsha but to share every bit of what I learned through my blog, writing and community organizing work so that we could reclaim and be nourished by our history.”

13. Jennifer Boylan


Author, GLAAD board member, professor of English

Key quote: “There are enough transgender writers out there certainly that we don’t always have to be talking about the experience of being trans and the cliche of transition in particular. It does seem like that’s a lot of where our stories go to. On the other hand, they’re interesting stories, and they all deserve to be told. I think people need to learn that our community is really diverse and that there’s no unanimity of opinion about anything, actually, other than that things are too hard right now and they need to be made easier.”

14. Kortney Ryan Ziegler


Filmmaker, visual artist, writer

Key quote: “The work that trans people of color are doing needs to be recognized by organizations. Not necessarily inclusion, but recognition. We use the word inclusion a lot, but why do we need to include? Include is not the right word. We need to recognize people for doing work. Trans people of color are doing work without the money and resources, with the drive or promoting visibility and showing our humanity.”

15. Kay Ulanday Barrett


Poet, performer, educator, activist

Key quote: “I grew up with a parched existence, and I am trying to fill that hunger with others with whom I share the same kinds of breath.”

16. Jen Richards


Activist, writer, actress, producer

Key quote: “That’s the most definitive aspect of my life, my relationships with trans people. It’s what allows me to continue working, and what keeps me engaged, and affirmed, and loved. They’re the ones who hold me through really dark times, and who have kept me alive through hard times, and who are my biggest cheerleaders.”

by Mia Burcham
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Mia Burcham is a senior at Reed College, graduating with a degree in English literature. She was born in Arizona and grew up in Texas, but has called Portland home for 12 years. Mia writes really long analytical essays on politics and really short prose poems on anything, ruins all her shoes on long walks, and cooks more than she can eat. She is writing her undergraduate thesis on American political theology in the works of Walt Whitman, and is generally interested in the foundation of American politics and literature, creative nonfiction writing, food writing, and speechwriting. 


by Sabrina Nelson
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Sabrina Nelson is a senior at Reed College, studying for a degree in Sociology. She is interested in the disparity in access to healthcare, food security, and education, and is writing her senior thesis on menstrual inequality and the emerging menstrual movement. When not immersed in those worlds, she spends her time laughing really loudly, writing poetry and reading books about witches. Sabrina loves the ocean, really long walks and baking without a recipe. 

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