Transgenders are breaking stereotypes, showing the world what they can accomplish. These top 5 icons are raising the profile of transgender people worldwide.
Transgender men and women are working hard to earn their place in the limelight all over the world.
1. Turkey: Bülent Ersoy, singer
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Bülent Ersoy is a transgender performer and has been a household name in native Turkey for decades. Born in 1952, she rose to fame as a classical singer and actor while living as a man. By the late 1970s, she was appearing on stage in sequined dresses that showed off a brand new pair of breasts. In 1981 she traveled abroad for s** reassignment surgery. Ersoy is nicknamed “Big Sister.”
She kept her male name despite the ban on transgender people performing in public issued by Turkey’s repressive military government. She spent a period of voluntary exile in Germany. In 1988, Turkey’s laws changed and Ersoy returned. She was then officially recognized as a woman.
She’s been one of the country’s biggest celebrities ever since. She has been starring in movies, hosting her own TV show, appearing as a judge on Turkey’s Pop Idol. She married and divorced two younger men. Ersoy has had many plastic surgeries. Generally, she has been doing everything a diva would do. She sometimes gets into trouble with the authorities for speaking out, but no government has yet said anything to the performer.
2. Denmark: Mianne Bagger, golfer
Mianne Bagger is Danish-born and raised in Australia. She is a pioneer in one of the world’s most elite sport, golf. Bagger underwent s** reassignment surgery in 1995 and returned to the game. However, the world still saw her as a boy. She quickly rose to the top of the amateur circuit in Australia. Bagger couldn’t take her talent any further because pro golf associations insisted that only women who were born women could compete; the “female at birth” rule.
Bagger spent the next few years strongly advocating for the rights of post-transition athletes. She pointed out that they do not have any physical advantage over their female-at-birth opponents. Her arguments were convincing and association after association amended their rules. In 2004, Bagger became the first openly transgender woman to play in the Women’s Australian Open. A year later she played in the Ladies’ European Tour.
3. New Zealand: Georgina Beyer, politician
Georgina Beyer has many first names. She was initially named, George Bertrand. Formerly, she was an actor, cabaret singer and sex worker. In 1995, she became the elected mayor of the little town of Carterton. Beyer became the first openly transgender person to hold an equivalent office in New Zealand and worldwide. She became the world’s first trans MP when she was elected to parliament for the Labour Party in 1999.
Beyer resigned from parliament in 2007. In 2018, she returned to politics as a candidate for the Mana Party in New Zealand’s general election. She didn’t win, but remains a prominent commentator, especially on LGBT rights. She is the first person New Zealand’s papers asked for a reaction to Caitlyn Jenner’s transition.
4. Japan: Hiromasa Ando, speedboat racer
Ando has mastered the high-adrenaline sport of pro speedboat racing for almost two decades. He did so as a woman. At the age of 39, he announced that he would be known as a man.
Japan has a few high-profile transgender figures and even fewer trans men. The news about Ando was widely and sensationally reported. Ando barely interrupted his career while he made the transition. Japan’s motorboat racing federation allowed him to continue competing both before and after his sex reassignment surgery. Furthermore, Ando said after his first race as Hiromasa, “I feel great. I could participate as my real self.”
5. India: Padmini Prakash, TV news anchor
Prakash is the first openly transgender news anchor in India. The 31-year-old has presents the main bulletin on Tamil-language channel Lotus TV since August 2014.
Prakash was disowned by her family when she was a teenager. She also survived a suicide attempt. She first found work as a dancer and then as an actress. Prakash competed in the trans beauty pageants reserved for the braver members of India’s estimated two-million-strong population of transgender people. In 2018, the Indian Supreme Court recognized “the right of every human being to choose their gender.” It then ordered the government to provide equal protection and opportunity for transgenders. After this Lotus TV hired Prakash.
After two months of training, Prakash presented her first show on Indian Independence Day. A spokesperson for the station said, “Padmini now anchors better than many others. We get very good feedback from viewers.”
Moreover, other prominent trans icons come around from Brazil, Germany, Australia, and Thailand.