Everyone takes time as they are growing up to discover who they are. But some people have a bigger transformation to endure once they realize they are transgender or non-binary. Studies have found that transgender people are overall much happier after transitioning.
Accepting your identity can have its ups and downs, but doing so with pride can also lead to success — as proven by the celebrities on the following list.
MJ Rodriguez was already an actor when she realized she was transgender. Actually, it was a character that helped her discover it. She finally transitioned and has found tremendous success, especially in her role as Blanca on FX’s Pose.
But MJ also got the chance to make history, as she was the first trans actor nominated for a leading actor Emmy with a nomination for lead drama actress and the first trans actor to win a Golden Globe.
Elliot Page started in movies when he was young but struggled with his identity for quite some time. In 2020, he came out as transgender, sharing his “joy” to have gotten to this moment and “gratitude” for people who have supported him in a statement on Instagram. It was a very touching moment.
Elliot currently acts on The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, and in season 3, their character would transition too. This is potentially the first time an actor’s actual transition will be reflected in their on-screen work. Elliot had said that coming out has made him a better person in many ways.
Laverne Cox began her career back in 2013 with her role in “Orange Is the New Black.” She has starred in many TV shows since and has continued to gain more experience. She became the first trans person to be nominated for an Emmy in any acting category when she was nominated for her work on Orange Is the New Black.
She said, “None of this has ever been about me. From the beginning, I’ve been clear that my journey has been bigger than me.” She really paved the way for many other amazing people to follow.
Hunter Schafer is still very young but has already found massive success, first as a model and then as the lead character Jules on HBO’s Euphoria. As a trans woman, she said it was nice to play a complex character who isn’t just dealing with their gender.
Hunter said it’s “really exciting to me because that story will be accessible.” When she was a teen, she struggled with finding representation when it came to people with her experiences, and now she gets to be that for the younger generation. That’s pretty amazing.
The singer Sam Smith shared in 2019 that they have always felt like they had a battle going on in their body and mind. Listening to conversations about being non-binary made them realize that that was who they were.
Smith has sold over 33 million albums worldwide and won 4 Grammys, 3 Brit Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar — showing that whatever your identity, you can achieve your wildest dreams.
Yasmin Finney raised to fame recently with her role as Elle in the popular Netflix show Heartstopper. Finney began documenting her experiences as a young trans woman in Manchester, UK, on TikTok and gained thousands of followers and millions of views. She realized that there was a place in the entertainment industry for her.
After being bullied in high school and coming out as transgender, all before becoming famous, Yasmin has evolved a lot recently. She says, “I’ve started to embrace who I am. I don’t want to be perfect. I just want to be me, authentically.”
Jamie Clayton is just awesome. She had a star-making turn in the sci-fi series Sense8, where she played the character Nomi, who is one of the eight people who suddenly become linked mentally.
She has since acted in many other shows, including The L Word: Generation Q, in which she plays a woman who is not trans — a significant step for the actress.
Kim Petras has wanted to be a pop star since she was a child in Germany. Then she moved to Los Angeles with just a dream and $550. She shot to fame in 2017 when her debut single topped Spotify’s Global Viral Top 50. It was a fantastic feat for any artist of her age.
Kim Petras is now breaking records everywhere, as she was the first openly transgender performer to sing at the VMAs and at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Janet Mock was the first-ever transgender woman of color hired as a writer on a TV series when she was brought on Pose. Then, she was a trailblazer again when she signed a 3-year deal with Netflix, making her the first black transgender woman to achieve an overall deal with such a major studio.
When she was young, there weren’t really affirming images in the media that showed her experience, so she decided to create them herself.
Indya Moore is a trans and non-binary actor and model. Some of their stories of growing up with this identity influenced the stories of their character, Angel, on FX’s Pose. They are indeed an inspiration for many people out there, especially young ones.
Indya made history as the first transgender model in history to pose for the cover of Elle magazine.
Asia Kate Dillon made history playing the first major non-binary character on television in the hit TV show Billions. That is quite the achievement.
They said that the role has changed their life, but it has also changed other people’s lives. Young people come up to Asia to tell them, “I saw Taylor on TV, and I understood something about myself, and I felt less alone.” That’s an incredible gift.
Demi Lovato is the complete pop superstar. But in 2021, Demi announced that they are non-binary and use they/them pronouns, a decision that came after a lot of self-reflective work.
They said they are still learning, but they came out to help those who are afraid to share who they are with their loved ones and encourage them to be true to themselves. “Please keep living in your truths and know I am sending so much love your way,” the singer said.
Jonathan Van Ness, or JVN as they are sometimes called, won the hearts of many people as the grooming expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye.
Jonathan, who is non-binary, has since published a book, hosted a podcast, and wowed on red carpets. But they also smashed a record as the first non-female solo cover star for Cosmopolitan UK in 35 years.
Josie Totah had already acted in many popular TV shows before her transition, which she announced in 2018. She explained that this wasn’t a choice she made but something she had always known about herself since she was a kid, which is quite incredible.
She then played a transgender girl in the Saved By The Bell reboot for Peacock. She said she was humbled to play a trans character and aimed for the story to normalize being trans in high school.