Transgender Awareness Week: Five Transgender role models you should look up to

Transgender Awareness Week: 13-19 November 2021/Transgender Day of Remembrance: Saturday, 20 November 2021

With Transgender Awareness week coming to an end, we decided to do a round-up of five transgender role models you should watch out for as they make waves in their careers and bring a spotlight to the transgender community.

Leyna Bloom

Born to a Filipina mother and an African American father, Leyna Bloom, 27, has paved the way for transgender models of colour throughout her career. One of the few transgender models to walk the runway for New York Fashion Week (2017), recently she became the first transgender cover star for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and the first trans person of colour to ever appear in the magazine. Currently working with Loreal Paris and @ilollagram, Bloom has spoken candidly on her Instagram about suffering from street harassment-- calling for people to take action to fight against it. Using her influence to bring awareness to the sufferings of the trans community, Bloom is an amazing role model for both transgender people and people of colour alike.

@leynabloom collaborating with @lorealparis and @ilollagram to bring awareness to the street harassment suffered by transgender people.

Zion Moreno

Best known for her roles as Luna La on HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot and Isabela on Control Z, Zion Moreno, 26, is rising in the world of fashion and film. Gracing the covers of magazines such as L’Officiel México, Numéro Netherlands and Vogue México. She is most recently starring as one of the new faces of Glossier’s holiday campaign, alongside her Gossip Girl co-stars Evan Mock and Savannah Lee Smith. Often speaking about her Mexican American heritage and gender identity, Moreno’s Instagram is a mix of playful and powerful content that you don’t want to miss out on.

Part 2 of Gossip Girl Season 1 premieres 25 November 2021.

Zion Moreno starring on the August 2021 cover of Vogue México.

Zaya Wade

At just 14 years old, Zaya Wade, the daughter of retired NBA star Dwayne Wade, is just beginning to make waves in the entertainment and fashion industries. Supported by her parents, Wade is often seen donning stunning looks on her Instagram alongside stepmother Gabrielle Union. Since telling her family she was transgender at 12 years old, Wade has become a prominent member of the LGBTQIA+ community even being named as one of The Advocate’s Women of the Year for 2020 alongside fellow trans icons including: Hunter Schafer and MJ Rodriguez. Wade stars in the Winter 2021 issue of i-D magazine, photographed by Tyler Mitchell. Making her magazine debut donning high fashion looks, the powerful images highlight her comfort and acceptance in her own body, demonstrating her position as an amazing role model for transgender youth.

Zaya Wade starring in The Darker Issue, no. 356, Winter 2021 of i-D Magazine.

Chella Man

22-year-old Chella Man is a transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, Chinese and Jewish deaf artist. Man has spoken up about the lack of representation for those who identify with him and his choice to become that representation through his work as an author, actor, model and artist. Starring in Warner Brother’s DC Universe Titans, working as a columnist for Condé Nast’s first queer publication Them and publishing his memoir Continuum in June 2021, Man is a force to be reckoned within the trans community. Winning the Digital Creator Award at The Renaissance Awards 2021, he has recently become the first trans masculine face of YSL Beauty. Speaking about his top surgery in the campaign, which aims to celebrate people’s scars, Chella Man is a trans role model who is continuing to grow and bring representation to the different aspects of his identity.

Chella Man advertising the TOMMYXTIMBERLAND collaboration on Instagram.

Kai Wes

A queer trans non-binary actor and producer from Rhode Island, Kai Wes talks openly about their decision to transition while non-binary. Boasting 78.4k on Instagram they use their following to challenge transphobia, promote acceptance and celebrate trans joy. They also address topics surrounding trans sexual pleasure, mental health awareness and the trans visibility gap. Celebrating Pride 2021 atop Kehlani and Larray’s Pride On! party bus, travelling around Los Angeles and appearing on the Facebook Live Event to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, Kai Wes is a trans role model who we cannot wait to see break into a more global arena of trans activism.

Kai Wes photographed for a @refinery29 photo essay, ‘These Intimate Photos Offer a Window Into Lives Of 8 Trans People During The Pandemic’ by @chloeaftel

These are just five of many amazing trans activists, actors, models and artists who are taking the world by storm. These trans role models, whether they are fighting for the rights of the trans community or paving the way for the future through their careers, are five people whom everybody both transgender and cisgender alike, should be looking up to.

Who is your your favourite trans model right now? Let us know in the comments below!