List celebrating 100 transgender community advocates revealed

Graphic of Trans 100 honorees, courtesy We Happy Trans.

Graphic of Trans 100 honorees, courtesy We Happy Trans.

Transgender advocacy groups celebrating the work of local and national transgender community figures revealed the honorees of the first-ever Trans 100 list Tuesday — a project which recognizes positive contributions to the community and accomplishments by transgender people across the country.

The list is the first of its kind — created by Antonia D’orsay, executive director of Phoenix-based transgender advocacy non-profit This is H.O.W., in partnership with Jen Richards of Chicago-based transgender community empowerment website — and pushes to “shift the coverage of trans issues by focusing on the positive work being accomplished, and providing visibility to those typically underrepresented.”

The two organizations, sponsored by groups such as GLAAD, Chicago House, the Pierce Family Foundation,, and KOKUMOMEDIA, received over 500 nominations and considered over 360 nominees at the end of last year.

The resulting Trans 100 list acts as an “overview of the breadth and diversity of work being done in, by, and for the transgender community” throughout the U.S. — with several honorees from Chicago such as Owen Daniel-McCarter, founding member of Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois, Trisha Lee Holloway of Howard Brown Health Center, Kate Sosin of Windy City Times, and several more.

“The only sustainable self-interest is that which extends the sense of self to include the whole,” said Richards at the Trans 100 launch event at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park March 31. “Look around: women, men, people of color, genderqueer people, crossdressers, showgirls, sex workers, academics, activists, artists, and allies. We are all one community.”

The kickoff event included remarks from renowned and widely-revered transgender advocate and writer, Janet Mock [read about Mock’s recent visit to Chicago]; GLAAD Award-nominated blogger and filmmaker, Kortney Ryan Ziegler; performer and activist, KOKUMO; event produce, Richards; musicians Namoli Brennet and Joe Stevens; and 10 co-presenters from the local transgender community.

“The value of the work that is represented by the 100 people on this list is immeasurable,” said D’orsay. “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.”

However, Richards acknowledges the inaugural list may feel “incomplete.” In the official release, Richards said the Trans 100 is a “flawed beginning” but that creating such recognition for the transgender community and its allies is “worth it anyway” because it features people doing inspiring and important work, she wrote.

“We made a promise to ourselves to acknowledge and personally address every critique we heard about, and we found the community to be a tremendous source of insight and suggestion,” Richards wrote. “We will remain in dialogue with you. Our concern has only ever been, and will always only be, how to make this project an act of service.”

Richards and D’orsay are already looking ahead to what’s next for the project — even expanding to international proportions.

“We’re hoping to use publicity around the launch to build awareness and have much wider and deeper representation next year,” Richards said in a statement to Chicago Phoenix. “Toni and I are developing a strategy for next year, which will include a much longer and better promoted call for nominations, a more extensive curatorial process, much more time and attention for editing, and possible collaborations with other countries.”

In addition, Richards and other producers plan to create programming around the existing list, including in-depth features of honorees and lists breaking down particular types of advocacy work and achievements which would also showcase people who were not part of the original list.

“One of our goals has been to shift the discourse around trans people and experiences,” Richards said. “That will take much more than a list that gets ‘liked’ for a few days. It will require an ongoing focus on the issues facing trans people, the laborious task of building coalitions across our community, and an unrelenting commitment to keep the attention on the work that remains to be done.”

The full Trans 100 list:

  • 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

Editor’s Note: The original headline of this story, which included the word “top,” suggested the Trans 100 list ranked its honorees. This is not the case. We apologize for the confusion and regret the error. 

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