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Celebrating Transgender Representation

It’s that time of year again…time to break out the summer clothes, get out in the sun, be OUT, and celebrate pride—and transgender representation!!

This year’s Pride festivities mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village, and New York City has joined forces with World Pride to host the 1st ever World Pride on US soil. Many fearless LGBTQIA+ leaders emerged after Stonewall, notably Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) founders Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to honor the two women by creating the world’s first ever permanent, public art monument to transgender women.

“This memorial honoring their legacies could not have come at a more prescient time—as the federal government rolls back protections for transgender people and violence toward transgender people grows nationwide—our city is celebrating our trans communities and doubling down on our commitment to protect them,” Carmelyn P. Malalis, commissioner and chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, said in a statement.

And just in time for Pride Month, the World Health Organization (WHO) has removed gender nonconformity from their running list of mental health disorders. As a gender media watchdog, The Representation Project pays keen attention to how transgender people are portrayed in the media. Representation is improving—coming a long way from the harmful transgender media tropes of characters in The Silence of the Lambs and The Crying Game. Transgender actors have made strides with acclaimed, fan-favorite roles in Orange is the New Black (Laverne Cox), The Fosters, and Shameless (Elliot Fletcher).

And corporations are increasingly taking note of their transgender consumers. Taking a cue from United Airlines, ride-sharing service Lyft is adding gender-neutral pronouns to its app, allowing riders to personalize their profiles in an effort to promote inclusivity. As major marketers to men, Gillette and Harry’s have both produced commercials featuring trans men shaving. Picking up the mantle from Nike, the first major corporation to sponsor a trans athlete in 2016, these companies are starting to move in the right direction. As the events of Stonewall taught us, people have the power to start big movements.

Take Action! Support the media and brands which celebrate transgender people living their authentic lives. And find a Pride event in your community this month.