20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women

1 Angelica Ross

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@angelicaross | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Undisclosed, born on November 28, 1980
  • Transitioned: At the age of 19
  • Known for:
    • Staring in the web series Her Story as Paige
    • Staring in FX series Pose as Candy Johnson-Ferocity
    • Staring in FX series American Horror Story: 1984 as Nurse Rita

In addition to being an actress since 2016, Angelica is a businesswoman and transgender rights advocate. After teaching herself computer programming, she founded TransTech Social Enterprises, a firm employing transgender people in the tech industry.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@angelicaross | Instagram

She once said, “What I’ve learned about being trans in transition is just that sometimes good things don’t happen when you try to rush things. Just as a young girl grows into a young woman, you know, we transition; we grow into our bodies the same way.”

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2 Isis King

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@msisisking | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Darris Wells, born on October 1, 1985
  • Transitioned: Started her transitioning process in 2007
  • Known for:
    • Her modeling career
    • Participating in The CW Network’s America’s Next Top Model in 2008
    • Staring in the Netflix miniseries When They See Us as Marci Denise Wise

Isis became the first openly transgender model to represent the American Apparel brand. She is one of the most well-known transgender women in the fashion industry. She uses her platform to try to build awareness.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@msisisking | Instagram

On the subject of transidentity, she said, “The more young trans people we get off the streets and give proper education and housing to, the more leaders and creative spirits we’re going to have.”

She also has a clear opinion about fashion, stating that, “Women have always worn men’s clothes. Now, men are circling back around. It impacts the culture because rules and regulations of what is ‘appropriate’ to wear are slowly fading, and that eliminates shock value. Wear what you want!”.

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3 Andreja Pejić

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@andrejapejic | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Undisclosed, born on August 28, 1991
  • Transitioned: In 2013
  • Known for:
    • Modeling both masculine and feminine clothing in her career
    • Appearing on the covers of several international editions of Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, Fashion and GQ
    • Staring in the movie The Girl in the Spider’s Web as Sophia, Lisbeth’s lover/partner

At the beginning of her career, Andreja was recognized as the very first fully androgynous supermodel in the world. In 2017, she made history by becoming the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of GQ.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@andrejapejic | Instagram

On the subject of transgender women’s relationship with beauty, she said, “All women have a complicated relationship to beauty, but as a transgender woman it’s a bit more complicated. There’s a lot of pressure to appear feminine. When I was younger, I was most insecure about my size, my angular features, my feet, my hands. At the end of the day, it’s about being comfortable in your own skin, and being able to walk down the street and not have people question your genderand, for me, being perceived as a woman.”

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4 Alexandra Billings

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@therealalexandrabillings | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Scott William Billings, born on March 28, 1962
  • Transitioned: In 1980, at the age of 19
  • Known for:
    • Staring in the television movie Romy and Michele: In the Beginning as Donna
    • Staring in Amazon Studios series Transparent as Davina Rejennae
    • Staring in some episodes of series like ER, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Eli Stone, and The Conners

With her role as Donna in Romy and Michele: In the Beginning, Alexandra became the second openly transgender woman to play a trans character on television. In addition to acting, she is also a teacher, singer and activist.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@therealalexandrabillings | Instagram

About information, education and guidance towards transgender people, Alexandra said during her interview with Alexandra Tempus from Jezebel, “We have got to break out of the container of ignorance. And I don’t mean that in a gender-specific way, I mean that in a generalized way. We have got to realize that we are all students of the human experience. And if we do not start learning from each other and really listening and receiving the gift from the person across from us, we are lost.”

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5 Hunter Schafer

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@hunterschafer | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Hunter Schafer, born on December 31, 1999
  • Transitioned: Started to transition at the age of 14
  • Known for:
    • Modeling, among others, for Prada, Dior, Miu Miu, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Thierry Mugler, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, et Versus Versace
    • Staring in HBO series Euphoria as Jules Vaughn

In addition to being a renowned model and actress, Hunter is also an activist for LGBTQ rights. In June 2020, as part of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, the online magazine Queerty included her in its list of 50 heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people”. In 2021, it was the Times‘ turn to honor her by including her in its Next list of “100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future”.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@hunterschafer | Instagram

About hertransition, she said, “Part of surviving [that] experience was just, like, getting through shit. Letting it rest, and not addressing it. I think that’s what I had been [doing] up to that point: just going and going, fighting to be on the other side of my transition. There was so much that I was working towards, and I was so excited to [be out of] North Carolina that I don’t think I’d ever looked back on [that experience].”

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6 Nicole Maines

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@nicoleamaines | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Wyatt Maines, born on October 7, 1997
  • Transitioned: Started identifying as a girl at age 3 and officially transitioned while in Elementary School
  • Known for:
    • Being the anonymous plaintiff in the landmark case Doe v. Regional School Unit 26 in 2013
    • Being, with her family, the subject of the book Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, written by Washington Post writer Amy Ellis Nutt
    • Staring in the CW series Supergirl as Nia Nal

In addition to acting, Nicole is an activist for transgender rights. As a teenager, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court case Doe v. Regional School Unit 26 was actually her and her family suing her school district, claming that they could not deny her access to the girl’s restroom just because she is transgender.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@nicoleamaines | Instagram

About having trans people play trans roles, she said, “When we have a trans woman playing a trans woman, then you see, ‘Oh wait, this is what trans really is. This is what it looks like: a person.’ That sends a message to trans kids that they are valid in their identities that they are allowed to exist.”

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7 Josie Totah

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@josietotah | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: J. J. Totah, born on August 5, 2001
  • Transitioned: In 2018, at the age of 17
  • Known for:
    • Staring in Disney Channel series Jessie as Stuart Wooten
    • Staring in ABC series Back in the Game as Michael Lovette
    • Staring in the movie Other People as Justin

Having started her acting career at a young age, Josie first played male roles. In 2016, her role as Michael Lovette in Back in the Game actually earned her the title of Sundance Breakout Stars of the year in Variety. She came out as a transgender woman in August 2018 through an article she published in Time.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@josietotah | Instagram

About coming out as a transgender woman, Josie wrote in her article in Time, “In the past, I’ve halfway corrected people by telling them I identify as LGBTQ. I wasn’t ready to be more specific. I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted, that I would be embarrassed, that the fans who knew me from the time when I acted in a Disney show would be confused. But I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy. I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free.”

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8 Janet Mock

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@janetmock | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Charles Mock, born on March 10, 1983
  • Transitioned: Began her transition as a freshman in high school, and underwent gender confirming surgery at the age of 18
  • Known for:
    • Writing the New York Times bestseller memoir Redefining Realness
    • Contributing as an editor for Marie Claire
    • Being a staff editor of People magazine’s website for more than 5 years

Janet is best known behind the camera as a director, producer and author. She is the first trans woman of color to be hired as a writer on a TV series for the FX series Pose. In 2013, she was named in Out magazine’s “most compelling people of the year” list. In 2014, she was included in The Advocate‘s annual “40 Under 40” list, and then in their “50 Most Influential LGBT People in Media” list.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@janetmock | Instagram

In her memoir Redefining Realness, she wrote, “Frankly, I’m not responsible for other people’s perceptions and what they consider real or fake. We must abolish the entitlement that deludes us into believing that we have the right to make assumptions about people’s identities and project those assumptions onto their genders and bodies.”

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9 Caroline Cossey

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  • Birth Name: Barry Kenneth Cossey, born on August 31, 1954
  • Transitioned: Began his transition as a teenager. She received her final surgery on December 31, 1974, at the age of 20.
  • Known for:
    • Modeling as a glomour model for top magazines such as Australian Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar
    • Writing two memoirs under the pen name “Tula”, I Am a Woman and My Story
    • Participating in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only as an extra

Caroline was born with a variant of Klinefelter’s syndrome, so that instead of having the XY chromosome, she had the XXXY genotype. Due to that, at puberty, she naturally had a female appearance. However, she hid her transidentity for a long time, finally addressing it in 1982 with her first memoir, I Am a Woman. She was the very first transgender woman to pose for Playboy in 1991.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@carolinecossey | Instagram

About her youth, she said, “Growing up, I was a little bit of an embarrassment to my family. I was more inclined to do girly things and so I was often bullied and ridiculed at school. Boys games were alien to me. I knew something was definitely wrong when we had sex lessons at school. I realised I was attracted to boys so alarm bells started going off. Not fitting in was frightening. School is an important timeand I spent most of it hiding and feeling isolated.”

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10 Valentijn de Hingh

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@valentijndehingh | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: d, born on May 5, 1990
  • Transitioned: Started hormone replacement therapy at the age of 16, and underwent gender reassignment surgery at 19.
  • Known for:
    • Modeling for fashion houses such as Comme des Garçons and Maison Martin Margiela
    • Staring in the Dutch television program Valentijn from the age of 8 until the age of 17

Valentijn is the very first transgender person to be represented by the international modeling agency IMG Models. In 2012, she won the Elle Personal Style Award. In addition to being a model, she is a columnist and a DJ. The Valentijn series was in fact a documentary series in which she was followed throughout her transition process.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@valentijndehingh | Instagram

About her transition, she told i-D, “When I was five-years-old, teachers started commenting more and more on how my behavior was not like other boys, and when [my parents] read an article about transgender children in a magazine, and everything sort of fell into place for them. They took me to a child psychologist when I was five and that’s where it all began.  […] It still took me a long time to fully transition — I took everything step-by-step. For instance: at first I wasn’t allowed to wear dresses to school or grow out my hair. But then, when we would go on vacation, I would go as a girl, to try out how that felt. Later, I grew out my hair and started wearing more girly clothes. The last step for me was changing my pronouns from male to female. I did that when I was about 14. After that, I started hormone replacement therapy at 16, and underwent gender reassignment surgery at 19.

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11 Hari Nef

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@harinef | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Hari Nef, born on October 21, 1992
  • Transitioned: Began his transition during his studies at Columbia University, between 2011 and 2015
  • Known for:
    • Staring in Amazon original series Transparent as Gittel
    • Staring in the movie Assassination Nation as Bex Warren
    • Modeling for Hood By Air and Eckhaus Latta

Hari is the first openly transgender woman to be signed by the international modeling agency IMG Models. She was also the first openly transgender woman to appear on the cover of a major commercial British magazine, in this case Elle magazine.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@harinef | Instagram

About her transition during her degree in theater, she said, “That was one of the most powerful experiences. Finding my new voice and my new body and a new set of roles to play, which felt so much more authentic. I always joke that I’m a better actress than I am a male actor.”

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12 Candis Cayne

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@candiscayne | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Brendan McDaniel, born on August 29, 1971
  • Transitioned: Began her transition around 1996
  • Known for:
    • Wining the 2001 Miss Continental pageant
    • Staring in ABC series Dirty Sexy Money as Carmelita Rainer
    • Starred in the E! reality series I Am Cait

Candis became the first transgender actress to play a recurring transgender character in a prime time series with her role in Dirty Sexy Money. In addition to being an actress, she is a performance artist. In 2015, she also became the new global creative director of the global LGBT social network MOOVZ.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@candiscayne | Instagram

About transitioning, she said, “In the first couple of years when you’re transitioning you don’t really fit into any gender, because you’re changing over. You have to start getting electrolysis before you even start your therapy. But I think all the weird looks help to give you conviction in who you really are.”

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13 Jazz Jennings

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@jazzjennings_ | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Jaren Jennings, born on october 6, 2000
  • Transitioned: Diagnosed with gender dysphoria at the age of 5, underwent gender confirmation surgery in 2018, at the age of 17
  • Known for:
    • Having her story of growing up transgender covered by national television shows 20/20 and The Rosie Show
    • Staring in the Oprah Winfrey Network documentary I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition
    • Staring in TLC reality TV series I Am Jazz

Jazz is not only a television personality, but also a YouTube personality, spokesmodel and LGBT rights activist. She is one of the youngest transgender-identifying people to be publicly documented. She co-founded the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation in 2007, which aims to assist transgender youth. In 2013, she then founded Purple Rainbow Tails, a company that fashions rubber mermaid tails to raise money for transgender children.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@jazzjennings_ | Instagram

About her transidentity, she said, “If I wasn’t confident in who I am or didn’t like the fact that I was transgender, then I would not have gotten as far as I have today. Also, if you accept yourself, then you’ll find that others will accept you as well, and having that support is really reassuring.”

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14 Leyna Bloom

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@leynabloom | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Undisclosed, born on April 25, 1994
  • Transitioned: Undisclosed, but we know that she began to identify as a woman at a rather young age
  • Known for:
    • Staring in the movie Port Authority as Wye
    • Appearing as a model in various magazines such as Vogue and Sports Illustrated
    • Being a well respected artist in ball culture

Leyna is an actress, model, dancer and activist. She is the first openly transgender woman of color to be featured in Vogue India. Her role in the film Port Authority earned her the title of the first trans woman of color to play a leading role in a film screened at a major film festival, the Cannes Film Festival. In 2021, she also became the first ever trans woman to be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@leynabloom | Instagram

When she announced her Sport Illustrated cover on Instagram, she wrote in the caption, “I have dreamt a million beautiful dreams, but for girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history and even existence. […] I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future. This historical moment is important to #girlslikeus because it allows us to live and be seen. Many girls like us don’t have the chance to live our dreams, or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued. Let me be a messenger guiding us to a future of respect and appreciation for all women in all forms and from all walks of life.

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15 Kataluna Enriquez

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@mskataluna | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Durte Dom, born on April 26, 1993
  • Transitioned: At the age of 14
  • Known for:
    • Modeling for fashion brands such as H&M
    • Being crowned the 2021 Miss Nevada USA

Kataluna is a healthcare admin specializing in LGBTQ+ care, a fashion designer and creator of the clothing line KatalunaKouture. She is the first openly transgender woman to compete in a Miss USA pageant. If she wins Miss USA in November 2021, she will become the second openly transgender woman to compete in a Miss Universe pageant.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@mskataluna | Instagram

About being different, she says, “Don’t let your differences determine what you’re capable of. Your differences is anything what makes you unique, and you are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself. […] Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than. And my differences is what makes me unique, and I know that my uniqueness will take me to all my destinations, and whatever I need to go through in life.”

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16 Indya Moore

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@indyamoore | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Undisclosed, born on January 17, 1995
  • Transitioned: Unclear, but it seems to be around the age of 14
  • Known for:
    • Staring in the FX series Pose as Angel Evangelista
    • Modeling for luxury fashion houses such as Dior and Gucci
    • Staring in the movie Escape Room: Tournament of Champions as Brianna Collier

Indya is the first trans actress to sign a contract with the William Morris Endeavor agency. In 2019, she became the first transgender person to appear on the cover of the US version of Elle magazine. In 2020, as part of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, the online magazine Queerty named her to its list of 50 heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.”

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@indyamoore | Instagram

About being a trans women, during an interview with them., she said, “So much of my life, I felt left out of different events that were happening around and with my family. […] I think people want to pick and choose the parts that they think make my identity—the parts of me that they want to visibilize or interpret in their own ways—and that’s not safe for me. […] wanting to go to the BBQ, wanting to go to the family night, and dealing with not having the invitation but not really wanting to ask for it because I didn’t want to be in a space where people weren’t going to want to respect me or affirm me anyways.”

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17 Valentina Sampaio

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@valentts | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Undisclosed, December 10, 1996
  • Transitioned: Was identified as transgender by a psychologist at age 8, but did not start calling herself Valentina until age 12
  • Known for:
    • Modeling for brands such as Dior, H&M, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, L’Oréal and Philipp Plein
    • Appearing on various magazine covers such as Vogue, Vanity Fair Italia, Elle Mexico and L’Officiel Turkiye
    • Being a L’Oréal Paris spokeswoman

In 2019, Valentina became the first transgender Victoria’s Secret model. In 2020, she became the first openly transgender model in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She is the first transgender model to appear on the cover of Vogue Paris, but also of Vogue Brazil and Vogue Germany.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@valentts | Instagram

About growing up as a trans women, she said, “Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing. Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging.”

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18 Jamie Clayton

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@msjamieclayton | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Sebastián Elvira, born on January 15, 1978
  • Transitioned: At the age of 19
  • Known for:
    • Staring in the Netflix original series Sense8 as Nomi Marks
    • Staring in the third season of the Netflix series Designated Survivor as Sasha Booker
    • Staring in Showtime series The L Word: Generation Q as Tess Van De Berg

In addition to being an established actress, Jamie is also a makeup artist. She worked on the first season of the makeover show TRANSform Me on VH1. She was honored by Out magazine in 2011 as part of their annual “Out 100” awards.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@msjamieclayton | Instagram

About transidentity, she said, “I think what people need to realize is that, with trans people, we’re like everybody else. No group of people are all the same. All women are not the same, all men are not the same, all children are not the same. It’s the same thing with trans people – we’re all so different, we have different goals, different dreams, and different aspirations.”

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19 Laverne Cox

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@lavernecox | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: Roderick Leverne Cox, born on May 29, 1972
  • Transitioned: Started the transition process in her 20s
  • Known for:
    • Co-hosting and co-producing VH1 series TRANSform Me
    • Staring in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black as Sophia Burset
    • Staring in the CBS series Doubt as Cameron Wirth

Laverne is the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in an acting category. In 2014, she was the first transgender person to be featured on the cover of Time, and in 2018, the first transgender person to be featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan, South African edition. She is also the first transgender person to have a wax statue of herself at Madame Tussauds Museum.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@lavernecox | Instagram

About her experience as a trans woman, Laverne explain, “I felt the opposite of cute. People misgendering me, calling me a man, and saying I looked like a man got to me and made me feel so insecure. It kept me from seeing myself clearly and loving what I saw. I look back on this young woman and want to give her the love I didn’t know how to back then. It’s not too late. #TransIsBeautiful.”

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20 Caitlyn Jenner

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@caitlynjenner | Instagram
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  • Birth Name: William Bruce Jenner
  • Transitioned: In 2015, at the age of 65
  • Known for:
    • Won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal
    • Starred in the E! reality series Keeping Up With The Kardashians
    • Starred in the E! reality series I Am Cait

Caitlyn is generally considered the most famous transgender woman in the world. Having once graced the cover of Playgirl, Caitlyn is now recognized as the first transgender woman to grace the cover of Vanity Fair.

20 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Transgender Women
@caitlynjenner | Instagram

After transitioning, Caitlyn said, “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world, Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.”

Jasmine Gilmore

Jasmine is passionate about yoga and wellness. She likes to take care of herself, but also to help others to do the same. With a bachelor's degree in professional writing, she shares her tips and tricks to feel good about herself between two yoga retreats.

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