• (L - R) Laverne Cox, Chris Mosier and Lea T are making history, while increasing trans visibility for the community. (Getty Images, Allen Berezovsky, MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL, Stringer, JB Lacroix, WireImage)Source: Getty Images, Allen Berezovsky, MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL, Stringer, JB Lacroix, WireImage
Whether it be as actors, athletes or models, trans visibility is increasing by the minute, writes Emily McAvan.
By
Emily McAvan

16 Aug 2016 - 11:06 AM  UPDATED 16 Aug 2016 - 11:06 AM

Positive stories about transgender people making history seem to be everywhere lately. Here are just a couple of the trans people making news.

Orange Is The New Black actress Laverne Cox is set to make history as the first transgender cast member of a US network TV show, scoring a role in the new CBS legal drama Doubt. Cox will play Cameron Wirth, an Ivy-League educated trans lawyer in the show, which promises to break new ground in the representation of trans people on American television.

Cox told Variety:

“What’s so exciting about Cameron for me and for being on CBS is that I’m an avid TV watcher…and growing up, I didn’t see people like me on TV. That piece is really wonderful that folks can have someone like Cameron who is Ivy League educated. It’s wonderful to get to play a character and to be a black transgender woman in that position on CBS is really special.”

Cox will star alongside former Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl in the show, which will air as a midseason replacement in the American 2016-2017 season.

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In other news, athlete Chris Mosier has made a splash with a powerful Nike ad addressing the transphobia he has faced as a trans man.

A voice-over asks: “How’d you know you’d be fast enough, or strong enough to compete against  men? How’d you know the team would accept you? Or that you’d even be allowed to compete? Did you ever just want to give up?”

“Yeah. But I didn’t,” Mosier responds.

Mosier has made history as the first transgender member of a US national team in the duathlon, a sport which is not in the Olympics unfortunately. This year, Mosier represented the US at the Sprint Duathlon World Championship in Spain, finishing 26th in the 35-39 age group.

In a statement to Nike, he said that “being the first trans man on a US men’s national team was a dream come true for me. To represent our country at the highest level, in my sport, is just outstanding. It’s just such an amazing opportunity—and an amazing opportunity for other people to see themselves reflected in someone succeeding in sports as a trans man.”

Though trans athletes remain controversial in the heavily binary world of elite sports, it is gratifying to see a major sports brand pushing back on the transphobia trans athletes face.

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Also sports-related, Brazilian trans model Lea T became the first transgender person to host an Olympic opening ceremony.

"At this time, in which Rio de Janeiro and Brazil will be presented to the world, it’s essential that diversity is present. Brazil is a vast country and all its diversity should be somehow represented in this event,” Lea T told Brazilian TV. "Like any other transsexual, I raise a flag. I'm talking about transsexuality because it is part of my history, but I'm just another member of this community. I know I have the privilege that the media listens to me, but the daily struggle of transsexual is equally important for LGBT people."

Whether it be as actors, athletes or models, trans visibility is increasing by the minute. These trans people might be the first in their fields, but they will not be the last. As a community, we have a long way to go before reaching full equality, but every trans person making history makes the path just that much easier for the rest of us who follow in their footsteps.