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Influential Trans Women of 2022

Highlighting positive representation and LGBTQ+ role models

By Bethan Boyden

With the announcement of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill being pushed forward in Florida this spring (that prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity), LGBTQ+ youth are in desperate need of a dose of positive representation to counteract the wave of negativity .

Without looking far, many brilliant role-models can be found amongst the queer community. For International Women’s Day this year, we’ve put the spotlight on some influential trans women doing amazing things just three months into 2022.

MJ Rodriguez

MJ made history earlier this year by being the first trans actress to be nominated for a Golden Globe in a mainstream category. Her stunning performance as Blanca Rodriguez in FX’s Pose, saw her put forward for the lead drama actress category at this year’s Globes. This category has previously only seen cisgender actresses nominated. MJ went on to win the award, and stated on Instagram: “To my young LGBTQAI babies we are here the door is now open to reach the stars!” MJ also received an Emmy nomination for her performance last year and has just made the list of TIME’s 2022 Women of the Year.

Hunter Schafer

Returning as Jules, Hunter gave a stunning performance in the second series of Euphoria that aired in January. While her role was substantially smaller than the first series, as the focus is shifted to other characters, Hunter’s work is still being noted for its authentic representation of trans teens on screen. Hunter also co-wrote the ‘Fuck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob’ special episode that aired last year. Her influence on the writing and production of this episode saw Jules exploring her trans-ness from an “emotional and philosophical standpoint” instead of using the factual and detached tones of discussion around gender binary, Hunter told Collider. By co-producing the episode Hunter successfully helped add another personal and genuine layer to Jules’ character. Outside of her work on the screen Hunter has modelled for Dior and was also an integral force in getting the 2016 North Carolina ‘bathroom bill’ (that forced individuals to use public bathrooms for the sex they were assigned at birth) repealed.

Jamie Clayton

Jamie rose to fame on the Netflix series Sense 8, portraying trans character Nomi Marks. This year she’s returning to our screens for season three of the L Word: Generation Q. What’s most interesting about Jamie’s role as Tess is the fact she’s assumed to be cisgender. While Jamie has played multiple transgender characters in the past, the assumption that Tess is cisgender is a huge step forward for the trans acting community. By showing a transgender actress in a cisgender role in a mainstream show, Jamie is helping to prove that trans actresses don’t have to be pigeonholed by trans-specific roles.

Angelica Ross

First known for her visionary work building her own tech start up TransTech Social Services, an incubator that supports LGBTQIA talent in the tech industry, Angelica has since gone on to launch her own successful acting career. Starring in the likes of Pose and American Horror Story, Angelica portrays powerful women on screen. However, her latest appearance was as herself, as on the 1st of March she delivered Logo’s 2022 LGBTQ State of the Union address, discussing the events of 2021 for the LGBTQ+ community. Angelica’s work as an actress, entrepreneur and spokesperson makes her nothing short of an inspiration for LGBTQ+ youth.

Lia Thomas

A collegiate swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania with aspirations for the Paris 2024 Olympics, Lia Thomas is making huge waves this year. She is well on her way to becoming one of the most successful female collegiate swimmers in America, inspiring young trans athletes everywhere. Lia has recently come under fire from the likes of Michael Phelps regarding her eligibility for the women’s team. In response to this Lia told Sports Illustrated: “I'm a woman, so I belong on the women's team… trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets”. Lia is due to compete at the NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships next week and is predicted to take three potential titles.


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