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Transgender Awareness Week: Trans Activists Making Waves in 2021

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This year, Transgender Awareness Week falls between the 13 and 19 of November, with Transgender Day of Remembrance closing the week on 20 November. To mark the occasion – and open up the discussion surrounding trans stories and narratives – we are using our platform to spread the word about the trans activists who continue to make the world a better place, through art, documentaries, campaigns and heart-to-heart conversations.

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Transgender Awareness Week: Trans Activists Making Waves in 2021

Charlie Craggs

During her transition, British campaigner and public speaker Charlie Craggs noticed that many of the mundane things she had previously taken for granted – such as access to public toilets and healthcare – had become a point of difficulty while navigating everyday life. This led to her founding Nail Transphobia, a pop-up nail salon that invites people to enjoy a manicure and talk freely with Charlie about trans issues. Travelling around the UK (with stops including the V&A, Science Museum and Somerset House), Charlie has worked to open up the conversation surrounding trans identities. Alongside Nail Transphobia, Charlie has also authored To My Trans Sisters and more recently worked on the BBC documentary Transitioning Teens, both of which seek to connect the wider world with trans histories, stories and the ongoing issues faced today.

 

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Chella Man

Identifying as deaf, genderqueer, trans-masculine, Chinese and Jewish, Chella Man is an artist and author who actively uses his platform to raise awareness of the issues faced by trans and disabled people – most poignantly by documenting his own transition through social media. But his work doesn’t stop there. This year alone, Chella published Continuum, an examination of the ways we can reclaim space and feel represented in modern times, participated in multiple gallery shows (including a display for the US Open, pictured below) and won the Digital Creator Award at The Renaissance Awards. By highlighting how art, disability, queerness, race, and healing can intersect, Chella ‘hopes to continue pushing the boundaries of what it means to be accessible, inclusive, and equal in this world.’

 

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Kenny Ethan Jones

Kenny is a model, activist and entrepreneur whose activism centres around menstruation, body politics, mental health and intimacy. As the first trans man to front a period campaign in 2018 with Pink Parcel’s IM ON, Kenny has taken a leading role in addressing period shame and the struggle that periods can present when you’re transitioning. He continues to engage in open and respectful conversations about all things trans in hopes of creating allies and attaining equality, so that trans people can be displayed positively in the media.

Aaron Philip

US-based activist Aaron Philip made it her mission at 17 years old to become a successful model. Now, with features in the likes of Vogue, i-D and Dazed, an appearance in Beyoncé’s This is Black History series of #BEYGOOD, and a blooming art career, Aaron shares her passion for making modelling more inclusive of race, ability and gender expression. While speaking up about her experience as a black trans gender-nonconforming model, Aaron also campaigns for greater awareness about the lives of those living with disabilities. A wheelchair user herself, Aaron made history this year when she took to the Moschino runway in her chair. She was also revealed as the first creative in i-D’s BFT 100.

 

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Ashton Mota

As a teen, Ashton Mota made waves as the public face for Massachusetts’ Yes on 3 campaign, which sought to uphold a state law that provided protections for transgender people. He’s openly discussed his experience as a Black and Latinx trans teen, highlighting the frustrations he felt while attending a private high school where he had to fight for the right to use his preferred name and play on the boys’ basketball team. This year, Ashton continued to raise awareness for the trans community, speaking at the White House alongside President Joe Biden in recognition of Pride Month (pictured below). Ashton also recently co-authored A Kids’ Book About Being Inclusive with Rebekah Bruesehoff, which is part of a series of books made to kickstarts powerful conversations between children and grownups.

 

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Travis Alabanza

Award-winning writer, performer and theatre maker Travis Alabanza is a force to be reckoned with. The trans feminine, gender non-conforming artist, whose work surrounds the themes of gender, trans identity and race, has given talks at Oxford and Harvard University and is the youngest recipient of the artist in residency program at Tate Galleries. Their debut show, Burgerz – inspired by an incident in 2016 when a stranger threw a burger at Travis while they were walking down a bridge in London – toured internationally to multiple sold out shows. Burgerz continues to tour today.

 

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Featured image: Getty Images

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