Meet 5 black transgender figures from history

March 9, 2018

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Frances Thompson

Thompson was a trans woman and former slave who lived in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1830s. Seven white men broke into Thompson’s home and raped her.

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She became the first trans woman to testify before a U.S. congressional committee in pursuit of justice.

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Willmer “Little Axe” Broadnax

Broadnax was a trans man who moved to California with his brother to join the Southern Gospel Singers. They later formed their own group.

Little Axe’s “So Many Years”

No one knew Broadnax was assigned female at birth until he died in either 1992 or 1994.

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Marsha P. Johnson

Johnson was a prominent figure within the gay liberation movement and was part of the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

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She co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with Sylvia Rivera, engaging in sex work to secure hotel rooms where they housed queer youth.

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The Lady Chablis

The Lady Chablis was an actress and author who was originally born in Florida.

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Chablis became a hit in the club scene and was the first drag performer to be accepted by a larger audience.

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Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Miss Major is a trans activist who began much of her work during the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

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She became the executive director for the Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project, which advocates for incarcerated trans women.

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