By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com March 31 2014 2:39 PM ET
On Sunday, The Trans 100 highlighted the accomplishments of 100 transgender people across a variety of fields at its second annual conference in Chicago.
Sponsored by nonprofit organizations GLAAD, This Is How, and Chicago House, the event featured the unveiling of a list that includes activist CeCe McDonald, Advocate.com writer Parker Marie Molloy, Trans March cochair Tracy Garza, ESPN.com editor Christina Kahrl, and athlete Fallon Fox.
“I think the important message to take is, whether it’s inside the ring, on the field, in the press box, [or] in the locker room, I belong, you belong, we belong,” Karhl said. “We all belong. And we are all capable of achieving at the highest levels in sports.”
“I’m not the first pro athlete that had ever been trans,” added Fox, a professional mixed martial arts fighter. “And I’m certainly not going to be the last. And I’m happy and honored that I was able to contribute to our community and inspire … youth of tomorrow.”
Keynoted by actress Laverne Cox and athlete Kye Allums, the event honored Gloria Allen, a 67-year-old Chicago native and mentor of LGBT youth, with the Living Legend award. Allen was introduced by fellow Trans 100 honorees activist Janet Mock (featured on last year's list), and Precious Davis, youth outreach coordinator of Center on Halsted and fellow 2014 Trans 100 nominee.
The event also shone a light on the accomplishments of trans activists in the tech world such as RAD, an organization that created a website that connects trans people with doctors and medical resources. Kortney Ziegler, the founder of Trans*H4ck, spoke at the conference about the power of social media to educate and empower.
“Trans Hack Chicago was an incredible success,” Ziegler said in a statement recorded by GLAAD. “We had eight apps focused on empowering the trans community. It was really inspiring to see so many trans people come together to use computer technology as a means to create accessible resources.”
The Trans 100 is compiled through a year-long process, which begins with a call for nominations that may be submitted by anyone. This list of nominations is then narrowed by a team of curators, who research the accomplishments of the proposed names and hold them to a list of standards. This criteria entails that a candidate must identify as transgender and work to positively affect the trans community.
The final selectees will be formally announced later today to mark the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which celebrates the worldwide transgender population and raises awareness of issues related to discrimination. Watch the weekend's ceremony here.