Throughout the 21st century, there has been a lot more awareness regarding gender identity. Although now it has become a hot button issue, it is by no means a new issue. A major part of why gender identity has become a major discussion is due to the fact that many prominent voices have spoken up about not just their struggles, but also their triumphs. In fact, it was once unthinkable that a celebrity would open up about any gender identity issues, so the fact that today it is celebrated shows just how much progress has been made. When well-known people open up about these struggles, it becomes much more normalized and helps others who are having the same type of struggles. Here are some of the most famous trans activists and celebrities that helped pave the way.
Candy Darling starred in many films including Women Revolt, Silent Night, Flesh, and Bloody Night. Darling was born James Lawrence Slattery in 1944, she bravely spoke out and announced that she was transgender. At that time, it was completely unheard of, so she was truly a trailblazer. She would frequently collaborate with Andy Warhol, appearing in two of his films. Darling sadly passed away when she was only 29.
April Ashley was a British actress and model that was the face of the trans community throughout the 1960’s. She modeled and appeared in acting roles until she was able to pay for gender reassignment surgery. Sadly, her story was printed in the British Sunday People magazine without her approval, but the silver lining was that her story helped pave the way to a more accepting society.