Glamour Magazine's September issue features transgender model and activist Geena Rocero sharing her personal story of finding herself and taking action for her community. Rocero, 30, came out publicly as a transgender woman while giving a talk at TED earlier this year. She received a standing ovation and the video of her talk has been viewed more than 2 million times, but that was just the beginning.
Growing up in the Philippines, Rocero occasionally attended transgender beauty pageants with friends in her neighborhood where she saw a glimpse of her own future. At age 15, she was encouraged to compete in a prestigious transgender pageant herself, and after winning in the long-gown category, she quickly became a pageant celebrity.
Rocero was 17 when she moved to San Francisco, joining her mother who had teaching there to support their family. In California, Rocero could obtain legal identification, such as her driver's license, that reflected her gender identity, which wasn't possible in the Philippines. "Getting that license, to me," she told Glamour, "was a license to live."
That experience would help inspire Gender Proud, the organization Rocero cofounded to advocate for people around the world who wish to change the name and gender marker listed on their identification. Gender Proud also seeks to address the discrimination and violence transgender people face.