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Our society has long ignored the merits and achievements of some of the most prominent transgender people. Nevertheless, they continue to go forward, proving that not even our misconception of their gender can stop the impact of their intellect.
This International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, The Advocate is recognizing the transgender activists making waves in politics, environmental causes, and the arts. These members of our community have come to the spotlight thanks to their leadership, breaking deep preconceptions and stigmas. These women prove that being transgender is not about prostitution, drugs, or perversion -- it is about tenacity, passion, and how they enrich our societies.
All over the world, our planet is becoming a better place thanks to those who are strong enough to fight for their true selves. They are facing the world head-on, trans-forming it from the ground up, while so many others are content to settle for the status quo.
IDAHOT invites us to rethink the our perception of "transgender" in these times of rapid change. We need to learn from the transgender community, which has understood Darwin's observations: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, but the most adaptable."
These heroines know change and adaptation all too well.
Across the Americas, from the north -- with the USA's Laverne Cox -- to the south -- with Argentina's Florencia de la Vega -- transgender people are shattering stereotypes with their contributions to their communities, and opening up dialogues of change, respect, and acceptance.
So today, as the world focuses on combatting homophobia and transphobia, we want to take time to recognize the leaders who are changing their communities and our planet with their intellect, tenacity, and courage.
Laverne Cox -- United States
Actress, TV star, outspoken LGBT advocate
In April, Cox became the first openly transgender person to win a Daytime Emmy Award, for the documentary she executive-produced, The T-Word. Last year, Cox made history as the first out transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
"Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about herself might be inspiring to some other folks," Cox told Allure when she posed for a nude photo shoot earlier this year. "There's beauty in the things we think are imperfect. That sounds very cliche, but it's true."
Florence de la Vega -- Argentina
Actress, comedian, and TV hostess
"People talk about my strength, of how I managed to turn me into what I am, that my sexuality does not weigh on me," she told Infobase. "I fell and got up many times. What I did was never give up; always fight until the last moment. There is no life if it is not lived intensely."
Ophelia Pastrana -- Mexico; @ophcourse
Physicist, economist. and professor
Radio presenter for Coca-Cola FM, entrepreneur at CNET and LatinWE television networks
"It is obvious that every day should be against homophobia-transphobia," Pastrana tells The Advocate. "However, today is the day when we open up the topic like in no other. Days like today are not to celebrate, but to shine a light and speak about it."
Brigitte Baptiste -- Colombia
Biologist, expert on environmental issues and biodiversity
Director, Institute for the Investigation of the Biological Resources Alexander Von Humboldt
"To be honest, I transit through the gender," Baptiste told Semana. "I am a moving being and I feel free that way."
Tatiana Pineros -- Colombia
Certified public A\accountant
General director, District Institute of Tourism of Bogota
"I don't think I will ever give up my high heels," Pineros told JetSet magazine. "I am happy and content assuming my role as a woman. It doesn't hurt to be transgender, what hurts is that our societies do not accept or embrace differences."
Tamara Adrian -- Venezuela
Lawyer, Ph.D., prominent activist for women's, minorities, sexual, and LGBTI rights
Director, IDAHOT Venezuela
"The trans community is, without a doubt, the most vulnerable and the most susceptible to stigma and discrimination within the groups that make up the sexual diversity [community]," Adrian said. "Poverty, violence, exclusion, and marginalization derived from the stigma and discrimination, are inadmissible consequences under international law and human rights."
Luisa Revilla Urcia -- Peru
Regional auditor, District La Esperanza
"I am convinced that when there is no discrimination, [but rather] tolerance and equity for all of us, there is not violence," she told Peru21 TV station.