These fearless transgender women are fighting for the right to be themselves

From a famous beauty influencer to a 13-year-old girl dubbed the 'new Greta', the transgender community is full of inspiring stories

LGBTQ History Month – an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history – kicks off on February 1, and while it’s super important to reflect on the past, we are excited by the current wave of transgender women who are being unapologetically themselves in a bid to shape a more inclusive future.

Nikkie de Jager

Known as NikkieTutorials, Nikkie de Jager is one of the most influential names in the beauty community (she’s created make-up looks on A-List stars from Reese Witherspoon to Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga.) The star came out as transgender in an emotional video posted to her YouTube channel on January 13. Titled ‘I’m coming out’, Nikkie said, ‘I want to finally reveal a part of my life that has made me who I am…I can’t believe I’m saying this today, but damn, it feels good to finally do it. When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body, which means, I am transgender.’

The 25-year-old, who is from the Netherlands, went on to say, ‘Filming this video is scary, but it feels so liberating and freeing… I want to inspire little Nikkie’s around the world who feel insecure, who feel out of place, who feel misunderstood. I hope by me standing up, that it inspires others to do the same. We need to accept each other, we need to respect each other.’

Following the revelation, Nikkie has thanked fans for their support and positive words, saying, ‘Thank you for accepting me and teaching me that on the other side of fear lies freedom’. Nikkie will continue to use her incredibly powerful platform to talk make-up, but also universal kindness to all people. We’re very here for this.

View this post on Instagram

I’m coming out. 💖 link in bio!

A post shared by NikkieTutorials (@nikkietutorials) on

Angelica Ross

She’s having a breakout career moment — Angelica made history as the first female transgender actress to secure two series regular roles, coming off two pivotal back-to-back performances in Ryan Murphy’s groundbreaking hit drama, Pose, and his horror anthology series, American Horror Story: 1984.

When she isn’t making history on-screen, the star continues to lead the movement for transgender and racial equality off-screen. She is the President of Miss Ross, Inc. and the founder and CEO of TransTech, a social enterprise providing education and support for transgender people seeking to enter the tech field. TransTech places special emphasis on helping trans people find remote work during their transition process to allow them to maintain steady jobs free from harassment. She has toured nationally, speaking her powerful mission into action with business leaders, educators, and the President of the United States. Her work with TransTech also earned her the Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign. Pretty impressive, right?

Angelica has emerged as one of 2019’s most notable figures – Vanity Fair included her on their ‘Future Innovators list’ and most recently, Louis Vuitton tapped her as one of the faces of their ads. Keeping up?

View this post on Instagram

I neither hide nor deny, or run away from my past. Every single step I've taken has brought me here, closer than I've ever felt to fully expressing the gift that is my life. And despite the attempts on my life, my own hands included, I'm #ALIVE. I'm blessed and forever grateful to discover my value and strength. I'm stronger than I thought and survived it all. Despite my physical condition on any given day, my soul smiles, because I "Know" myself in a biblical sense. I have learned to love myself from Beginning to End. I now know my life is valuable and worthy of protection, of love, and respect. I don't regret enlisting in the #Navy, to me it's part proof that I and many other #Trans and #LGBTQ people now and then, are willing to fight for our #Freedom(s) just as much as the next person, if given the opportunity to "Be All We Can Be" #transformationtuesday #veteran #Military #GirlsLikeUs #MissRoss #BeautifulAsIWantToBe #repost

A post shared by Miss Ross (@angelicaross) on

Rebekah Bruesehoff

This little LGBTQ activist is one to watch this year. At just 13-years-old, Rebekah is a transgender girl who is using her platform to make change in public policy, raise awareness for LGBTQ youth and adults-alike, and spread hope throughout the world.  

We would equate her passion and acute articulate nature to Greta Thunberg – except Rebekah is arguing for something much simpler than climate change. She is raising awareness to simply be herself.

Recently, Rebekah was chosen to be a part of Marvel’s Hero Project for Disney +, which highlights everyday kids who are changing the world. And perhaps even more impressively, in 2018 the American testified before New Jersey state legislature in support of a bill that would require schools in New Jersey to include the accomplishments and contributions of LGBTQ people in the curriculum. The governor signed it into law in 2019 and it will go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. What an inspiration.

Nikita Dragun

Nikita started her rise to fame in 2014, when she started sharing make-up tips with her followers on YouTube. As she transitioned from male to female (changing her name from Nicholas to Nikita Dragun) she took her fans along for the ride, being completely open and honest during the whole process.

Since then, Nikita has become a big name in the beauty industry with her make-up tutorials, and even released her own cosmetics line – Dragun Beauty – last year. To put it in perspective, she has more than 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 5.8 million followers on Instagram.

The star told Good Morning America, ‘A lot of people probably don’t want to see me succeed, but I just want to create things that, as a beauty lover, I feel are lacking in the industry.’

Dragun Beauty is one of the first make-up brands to be owned by a trans woman. Nikita says the collection is designed for transgender people and ‘for people of all kinds’. ‘It is a truly inclusive brand,’ she adds. Last year, the star told Forbes,  ‘I want to do something major. I want to continue to push the limits into new things, like media. Could you imagine the first trans pop star?’ Yes please, Nikita.

Charlie Craggs

The trans activist is one of Marie Claire‘s Future Shapers, and for good reason. For years she has been on a mission to improve the rights and visibility of the transgender community, and this year is no different.

Back in 2018, Charlie – author of ‘To My Trans Sisters’ – started a campaign called, #ClawsOutForTrans, criticising Unicode (the group which decides what emoji make it onto our phones) for ignoring the transgender flag emoji. Just days ago, the Unicode Consortium revealed 117 new emoji designs that’ll be rolled out later this year, and among them is a transgender flag. Result.

Best known for her national campaign Nail Transphobia, Charlie travels around the UK with her pop up nail salon and her squad of trans nail techs, offering the public free manicures for the chance to sit down and have a chat with a trans person in a bid to break misconceptions and make allies (P.S, Nail Transphobia is taking bookings for February in celebration of LGBTQ history month).

All Charlie wants is to improve the lives of trans people, and we can’t wait to see how she is going to rule this year.

f you are a trans person in need of information and support, visit transunite.co.uk to find a transgender support group near you 

Reading now

Popular