Up and coming bi+ and transgender/non-binary leaders who are changing the world

There is little information, data, and visibility surrounding the experiences of people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, or queer in addition to identifying as transgender or non-binary. It's a common misconception that individuals cannot be both bisexual and transgender; in reality, however, there is a significant intersection between the bisexual+ and transgender/non-binary communities.

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP)'s 2017 report, A Closer Look: Bisexual Transgender People, analyzed data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey to learn more about the bisexual+ transgender community. They found that the majority of transgender individuals identify as bisexual+: "One-third of respondents to the survey (32%) identified as bisexual or pansexual, compared to 16% who identified as lesbian or gay, 21% who identified as queer, and 15% who identified as heterosexual."

MAP also discovered that younger people were more likely to identify as bisexual or pansexual: "36% of transgender people ages 18-24 identified as bisexual or pansexual, compared to 31% of people ages 25-44, 31% of people ages 45-64, and 26% of people ages 65 and older."

As part of #BiWeek, GLAAD profiled seven up and coming advocates who are proud of their bi+ and transgender/non-binary identities—and already changing the world.

Jazz Jennings (She/Her)

 

A post shared by Jazz Jennings (@jazzjennings_) on

16-year-old Jazz Jennings has gained national attention for her openness about her life as a transgender teenager through her hit TLC reality TV series I Am Jazz, her popular YouTube channel, and her memoir titled Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen. She's also been open about her pansexuality, becoming a face for the pan community: "Being pansexual basically means to me that you are attracted to anyone, no matter their sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, everything. There’s no limits...I love someone for their soul."

Follow Jazz on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

C Mandler (They/Them)

C Mandler
Image Credit: David-Simon Dayan

A GLAAD Campus Ambassador and Rising Stars Grant recipient, C Mandler is a senior at Bard College double majoring in Philosophy and Written Arts. They run a campus DIY music venue called the Root Cellar, sing in their school’s sole a cappella group, and work as an Event Coordinator at the Difference and Media Project. C, who identifies as queer and is attracted to more than one gender, has been featured in a Seventeen video about their experience of coming out. They were also profiled in the Logo article titled "The Next Generation of Trans Activists," where they discuss how their own privilege allows them to be a voice for change. “When trans women of color are facing higher homicide rates every year, it’s my responsibility to advocate on behalf of people whose safety is at risk when they attempt to advocate for themselves.”

Follow C Mandler on Instagram

Asia Kate Dillon (They/Them)

Billions and Orange is the New Black actor Asia Kate Dillon has been in the spotlight for being of the most visible out non-binary celebrities, receiving media attention for openly discussing their non-binary gender identity on Ellen and for being given a choice of "actor" or "actress" category by the Emmy Awards. They've also been open about their pansexuality, discussing it in multiple interviews including on the podcast Nancy. Just last week, Dillon was honored with the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award. In their speech, they discussed their privilege as a white non-binary person assigned female at birth: "Being the first non-binary gender identified actor to play a non-binary identified character on a major television show has widened my platform, and I am grateful. Being out as non-binary, trans, and pansexual as garnered me acceptance and praise, for which I am also deeply grateful...[But] because I was labeled white and assigned female at birth, I am able to wear a suit and it is considered groundbreaking, while my femme friends of color who were assigned male at birth are ostracized, bullied, and beaten because they wear a skirt or a dress."

See more of Asia Kate Dillon on Twitter and Instagram.

Jen Richards (She/Her)


Image Credit: Jen Richards

Jen Richards is a transgender and bisexual writer, actress, and producer. A longtime advocate for social justice, Richard has recently received increased media attention for her latest projects, including producing and starring in the web series Her Story and joining the cast of the television series Nashville. She has been open about her identity as a bisexual transgender woman: "Having been bisexual my whole life, I’ve literally dated straight men, gay men, straight women, lesbians, trans women, trans men. I’ve been seen as lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer. I’ve been every letter in LGBTQ." Jen Richards continues to be an increasingly visible champion for better transgender representation in film and television.

Follow Jen Richards on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and start watching Her Story here.

Jackson Bird (He/Him)

Jackson Bird is a transgender and bisexual YouTuber, creating videos about identity, social justice, Harry Potter, and what happens when you put different things into a waffle maker. His videos have been featured on Upworthy, BuzzFeed, and Mashable, among others, and in 2015, he was a finalist for Forbes 30 Under 30. In a video about perceptions of bisexuality with guest Lauren Fairweather, Jackson explains that he is attracted to "men, women, people of all genders and no genders." Last year, he joined us in GLAAD's New York City office for his Queerstory series to interview GLAAD's Alexandra Bolles about bi+ visibility and Spirit Day.

Watch Jackson's YouTube videos here and follow him on Twitter.

Skylar Freels (He/Him)

Skylar Freels
Image Credit: Skylar Freels

Skylar Freels is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador from the University of Southern California, where he is majoring in philosophy and political science. Identifying as agender and pansexual, Skylar is an incredible advocate for transgender students on his campus, currently working with USC’s IT department, Title IX staff, and LGBTQ Resource Center to create a trans-inclusive server system for student information so that students can update their own names and pronouns without needing legal documentation. Skylar also runs USC’s Transgender Advocacy Group, to provide trans students a safe social environment, and works with the Long Beach LGBT Center’s Speak Your Mind Academy program to provide training and education on mental health issues in the LGBTQ community.

Zeam Porter (They/Them)

Zeam Porter
Image Credit: Geena Rocero

Artist and BiNet USA board member Zeam Porter first came into the public eye when a video of their emotion speech about the experience of being a transgender athlete went viral in 2014. This testimony led to more opportunities for them to share their story, including an appearance on Logo's digital series Beautiful as I Want to Be with Caitlyn Jenner. When asked to give a piece of advice to other transgender teens, Porter said: "You're allowed to make mistakes. You're allowed to explore your gender. You're allowed to have as many phases as the moon does and every single one is valid. Be as fluid as you want to be. We have to see beyond the bounds of gender." Porter identifies as a bi, pan, and trans non-binary person of color.

Watch Zeam's viral speech here and Zeam's episode of Beautiful as I Want to Be here.

Do you know of any more up and coming bisexual+ and trans/non-binary leaders? Let us know @GLAAD.

Up and coming bi+ and transgender/non-binary leaders who are changing the world | GLAAD

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