By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com April 01 2014 9:44 AM ET
Last week, model Geena Rocero came out as transgender during a TED talk. She was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation. Rocero then announced the launch of Gender Proud, a campaign designed to bring awareness to the fact that only a fraction of the world's countries allow transgender individuals to update their gender markers without first having to undergo forced sterilization or other forms of genital surgery.
Having legal identification documents that do not match one's appearance is a major source of anxiety for transgender individuals, and often acts as a gateway to discrimination. Rocero notes in her speech that there are only a handful countries that allow transgender individuals to update these documents without first having to undergo expensive, invasive surgeries that not all trans people are interested in pursuing, and which are usually not covered by insurance.
Rocero plans to take her story on the road, bankrolling a speaking tour through crowdfunding website IndieGogo, and launching a Change.org petition in the name of transgender recognition.
Watch Rocero's TED talk below:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported how many nations allow trans people to update their identification documents without undergoing surgery.