8 Gorgeous Celebrities Who Underwent Gender Transformations
When Caitlyn Jenner, a reality show star and a former Olympic champion, gave her last interview as Bruce Jenner and announced her transition, her courage made thousands of people think “Wow!” Celebrities who openly speak about their feelings and emotions they experience before, during, and after a transition inspire other people to feel confident with a similar self-identity. Their breathtaking confessions teach others to love and accept themselves the way they are and feel safe to come forward and share their feelings with the world.
Here at Bright Side we’ve tried to figure out what lies behind the most famous gender transition stories and here’s what we’ve found.
1. Laverne Cox
The star of the Netflix prison drama Orange Is the New Black is one of the most prominent transgender celebrities in the US. In her interview with The Guardian Laverne said that as a child growing up in Alabama she went through cruel homophobic bullying which ended in her attempting suicide at the age of 11. Her love for dancing and acting saved Laverne’s life, and gave her the strength to go on. She made headlines when she appeared on the cover of Time magazine, encouraging other people to speak about their feelings. “We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say ’This is who I am,’” said Laverne.
Many fans of Orange Is the New Black still think that it was Laverne Cox who played her character, Sophia Burset, prior to the transition, but in fact, it was her twin brother M Lamar. In her interview Laverne said that Jodie Foster, the television director of the show, was probably not sure that she looked masculine enough to play a guy.
2. Caitlyn Jenner
Another celebrity whose gender transition has been widely discussed in mass media is Caitlyn Jenner, born Bruce Jenner, a reality TV star, a former Olympic gold medal-winning athlete, and the father of Kylie and Kendall Jenner. As a child, Jenner struggled with gender dysphoria, a stressful condition that is caused by the conflict between a person’s assigned gender and the gender they themselves identify with. Trying to find a way out and become stronger, she turned to sports: “I was the fastest kid in school and the reason I trained so hard for so many years had a lot to do with who I was,” said Caitlyn.
Despite all the rumors surrounding Caitlyn’s changing appearance, it took her a while to reveal her secret and tell people what she’s been going through all her life. In a sensational and emotional interview with ABC News that she still gave as Bruce Jenner, she said: “I’m me. I’m a person, and this is who I am. (...) My brain is much more female than it is male. It’s hard for people to understand, but that’s what my soul is.” Caitlyn tells the whole story of her journey to transgender womanhood in her book The Secrets of My Life which was published in April 2017.
3. Wachowski sisters
Lana and Lilly Wachowski are known as talented Hollywood film directors and... as transgender siblings. Lana Wachowski, born Laurence Wachowski, was the first to open up about her gender identity in 2012. “For years I couldn’t even say the words ’transgender’ or ’transsexual’. When I began to admit it to myself, I knew I would eventually have to tell my parents and my brother and my sisters. This fact would inject such terror into me that I would not sleep for days,” Lana said in one of her interviews.
In the picture: Larry and Andy Wachowski before the transition.
Lana’s brother Andy, now known as Lilly Wachowski, came out as a transgender woman in 2016. Lilly’s way to womanhood and personal harmony was not easy either, but her sister’s support was so much help. “In a lot of ways I was following in her footsteps,” said Lilly in one of her post-transition interviews.
4. Fallon Fox
Fallon Fox is a groundbreaking figure in the history of MMA. Being the first openly transgender fighter in the industry, she has to struggle with prejudice and rumors on a daily basis. Fallon did not come out publicly when she started her career, because she was too concerned with all the biases that come with being a transgender athlete. She had to come forward in 2013, however, when she understood there were people in the mass media who knew she was trans and could out her.
Coming out was not easy, Fallon confessed. “The scope of anger and vitriol that I received initially... That was disheartening, tragic. It was mind-blowing.” Many journalists and opponents argued that Fallon had an unfair advantage of being born a man. Nevertheless, Fallon finds the power to go on, thanks to her courage, determination, and support from the transgender community.
5. Chaz Bono
Chaz Bono, born Chastity Bono, the son of Sonny Bono and Cher, is probably one of the world’s most famous transgender men. His transition journey was far from being easy and it took Chaz 4 decades to start his gender transition. In his interview with ABC News Chaz confessed that he was confused by the feelings he had and at some point he even had to come out as a lesbian. “I mistook sexual orientation for gender identity. I went for an obvious answer,” said Chaz.
Chaz soon realized, however, that it was all about his self-identity as a man rather than a woman, and that it had nothing to do with sexual identity. It was in 2010 that Chaz finally decided to go through gender reassignment and legally changed his gender and name. “I’m the same person. I’m just a male version of me,” Chaz concluded.
6. Isis King
Isis King is mostly known as the first transgender to ever take part in the America’s Next Top Model competition. Just like the other celebrities we discuss in our article, she went through hard times on her way to becoming the woman she now is. Isis confessed that she had very little support from her family with her gender identity issue, and she finally had to leave her home. “I told them that I was going to New York to pursue my career as a fashion designer, but really it was to transition.”
After moving to New York Isis realized there was not much she could afford in the city, but she tried her best to use every single opportunity and seek help wherever she could. Taking part in America’s Next Top Model made Isis a star and she got the chance to address a vast audience and help other people who struggle with the same challenges. “It is really hard right now for Trans issues. We keep going backward and we really just need to work together,” said Isis.
7. Jake Zyrus (Charice)
Jake Zyrus is known to many people as Charice, a female pop singer from the Philippines whose music career developed in the 2000s. In May 2008, Charice took part in The Oprah Show where he performed Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing. Charice’s debut album landed at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and the singer won international recognition. While his musical career was getting more and more successful, Jake was going through hard times in his personal life.
Soon after the murder of his father, Jake started to explore the masculine side of himself and in 2013 he came out as a lesbian. As Jake explained, gender and sexual identity are often mixed in the Philippines, so this was something he did to be understood and accepted, but it didn’t happen. Despite all the hard times he went through, in 2017 Jake found the strength to come out as a trans man. “I’m so glad that I experienced all the struggles, the challenges, and the pain that I felt. When I came out as a trans man, I was so proud. It was the opposite of everything that I felt before,” said the singer.
8. Janet Mock
A popular American writer, magazine editor, and activist confessed that she had to go through hard times while growing up as a transgender person. “I constantly wished that my body matched the vision I had of myself. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t like other girls and those differences became the daunting obstacle of my first 18 years.”
Janet fights for the rights of the transgender community, women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and other marginalized communities. One of the ways in which she does this is by supporting people through her writing. “I know that stories have the power to heal, to inspire, and to make us realize that we are not alone,” says Janet.
Whose story impressed you the most? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!