Update: Watch Google’s International Women’s Day Video featuring Janet Mock and Transgender Law Center’s Senior Strategist Cecilia Chung!

By Tracy Garza, Racial Justice Intern

March is Women’s History Month and we would like to celebrate the contributions made by trans women over the last few decades.

It is already fairly well-known within the transgender community that the LGBT movement owes a lot to early pioneers who were there at such seminal moments as the Compton’s Cafeteria riot of 1966 and in Stonewall in 1969. There are many trans women who were incredibly courageous at a time when otherwise law-abiding people could be arrested in many U.S. cities just for wearing clothing that didn’t match their birth-assigned gender.

Did you know: Municipal laws prohibiting “ wearing dress of opposite sex” dated back to at least 1848 in some cases and were still being enacted as late as 1974?! (source) 

The names of many of these pioneers – amazing women like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major, and many others – deserve to be remembered and honored along those of all other activists who championed women’s rights and LGBT rights.

Other transgender women like Christine Jorgensen and Renée Richards were also vitally important in terms of their visibility, at a time when the very concept of gender reassignment was still considered by many to be somewhat shocking; their efforts helped to advance the very simple idea that trans women should be treated equally.

More recently, we have been blessed with many tireless advocates who have taken on the responsibility of advocating for other trans women; or simply demonstrating that trans women can be as good in their fields as anybody else. It’s hard to overlook the amazing contributions of amazing women like Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Fallon Fox, Theresa Sparks, Paris Lees, Carmen Carrera, Lana Wachowski, Kartini Slemeh, Vicky Kolakowski, Bamby Salcedo, Maria Sundin, Leigh Ann Van Merwe and many other talented ladies and tireless advocates in the United States and throughout the world.

Women’s History Month simply wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the historical role and ongoing advocacy of all women in our diversity, including trans women. If there are trans women in your life – as friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors or significant others – try to do something to acknowledge the great contributions they have made in your live and the lives of others.

 

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