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Inspirational trans women speakerbox
Ella Snyder, Charlie Craggs, Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, Dominique Silver, and Mridul WadhwaIllustration Callum Abbott

Ella Snyder, Charlie Craggs, and more on the trans women who inspire them

Big Brother’s first trans contestant, an 80s Bond girl, and a French spy: five women and non-binary people spotlight trans figures through history who’ve impacted their lives

TextBrit DawsonIllustrationCallum Abbott

Trans women are women. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘choose to challenge’, and today on Dazed, we’re challenging the TERFs. In 2020, the UK government scrapped urgent reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, and a global pandemic continues to cut many trans people off from vital healthcare, all while trans-exclusionary radical feminists spout anti-trans rhetoric. On IWD, we celebrate trans strength and resilience.

Seeing ourselves reflected on screen, in newspapers, in friends, or even historical figures is a central part of feeling like we exist and belong – like there’s others like us. Essentially, it helps us feel less alone, and can have a huge impact on our self-esteem.

For cis, white, straight people, this feeling has often been taken for granted. For marginalised groups, however, it may come later in life, or it may rely on one particular figurehead. Trans people in particular have long been hidden by the media, shamed into hiding their identities, or, when they were in the spotlight, have faced a torrent of cruel abuse.

Today on Dazed, we highlight some of the trans women who deserve more airtime, via the trans women and non-binary people they inspired. Among them are model, photographer, and former Dazed100er Ella Snyder, who spotlights British model and Bond girl Caroline Cossey; activist and author Charlie Craggs, who selects Big Brother 2004 winner Nadia Almada; Mridul Wadhwa of the Forth Valley Rape Crisis Centre, who chooses her local Mumbai hero, Farah Rustom; Pose actor Dominique Silver, who reflects on the resilience of Black trans women like Hope Giselle; and author and activist Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, who chooses four inspirational figures.

Find out more about these influential figures below.