Most of us who have read about LGBTQIA+ history, have heard the names Marsha P. Johnson, Silvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie and Miss Major. These trailblazers have deservingly become icons within our community and beyond. While their names have become synonymous with trans history, there are MANY other BIPOC trans and two-spirit elders who are living, thriving, and making amazing contributions to our community. So we decided to share a few with you here.
Gloria "Mama Gloria" Allen
"Chicago’s Black transgender icon Gloria Allen, now in her 70s, blazed a trail for trans people like few others before her. Emerging from Chicago’s South Side drag ball culture in the 1960s, Gloria overcame traumatic violence to become a proud leader in her community. Most famously, she pioneered a charm school for young transgender people that served as inspiration for the hit play Charm."
You can watch the documentary made about Gloria for free and even request an appearance or screening: https://www.mamagloriafilm.com
"Mia was born in Arizona, 1943. She graduated CSU with a B.S. in 1966. Before transitioning, she struggled with her gender identity and decided to join the Army, and served from 1966-68 and was awarded many medals. After the army she went back and attended UCLA’s school of law, where she co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Law student association. In 1984 she opened her own practice, and has been working as a lawyer ever since. As a lawyer Mia was finally able to afford therapy, and then began her journey of self discovery and affirmation as a trans woman."
"Originally from Argentina, Cecilia came to the US for a safer life as a transgender woman and lived, in the country undocumented for 10 years. During this time Cecilia gained her living through sex work, which came with drug use - for which she was continually targeted for policing. After multiple arrests and an immigration detention, she accessed recovery services and with more control over her life fought and won asylum. Cecilia started working independently with Trans Equity Consulting in 2019, and has already collaborated extensively with organizations including the AIDS Institute, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Borealis Foundation and Cicatelli Associates Inc."
"Ceyenne is a powerhouse performer, activist, organizer, community-based researcher and public figure. As the Founder and ED of G.L.I.T.S., she works to provide holistic care to LGBTQ sex workers while serving on the boards of SWOP Behind Bars, Caribbean Equality Project, and SOAR Institute. As a public speaker her presentations include The Desiree Alliance, Creating Change, SisterSong, Harm Reduction Coalition and the International AIDS Conferences and PRIDE on FX."
"Ma-Nee is an Ojibwe–Cree writer, artist & activist from Canada. You may have met her at a rally in Thunder Bay or Toronto, seen her on the evening news, or maybe she taught you how to make a drum.
She's well known for her memoir, A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder, an important account of her life. Ma-Nee is also a mentor, support, and advocate for Two Spirit communities across the country. She's dedicated to mentoring young people, sharing Anishinaabe teachings & stories, and supporting access to ceremony for 2SLGBTQ+ Indigenous peoples."
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