Transgender identity in the news

Updated 11:36 AM ET, Wed December 16, 2015
Tracey Africa NormanTracey Africa Norman
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It was rare for black models like Tracey "Africa" Norman to break into the cutthroat lily-white world of modeling in the 1970s. Norman, who had exclusive contracts for Avon skin care and Clairol's Born Beautiful hair color, didn't tell anyone she was also transgender and had been born male. Once her secret was out, the work dried up. Here are some other notable moments in the recent history of transgender identity. courtesy Peter Hapak/New York Magazine
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan is the first openly transgender White House staff member. She will serve as an outreach and recruitment director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. National Center for Transgender Equality/AP
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America now welcomes transgender girls, a stance that was made public several years ago but attracted controversy from conservative groups when it became widely known in May. Getty Images
Olympic gold medalist and reality TV star Bruce Jenner told ABC's Diane Sawyer, "Yes, for all intents and purposes, I'm a woman," during an interview that aired April 24. She has now made a highly publicized transition from male to female as Caitlyn Jenner. ABC News
Renee Richards, here in 2011, made headlines for undergoing a sex change while a professional tennis player in the 1970s. She was barred from playing as a woman in the 1976 U.S. Open but played in the tournament the next year after the New York state Supreme Court ruled in her favor and overturned the ban. Getty Images/Larry Busacca
Born female, Brandon Teena was living as a man in Nebraska when he was raped and killed by two men in 1993. Teena was 21. His case inspired the 1999 drama "Boys Don't Cry" starring Hilary Swank, who won an Oscar for her performance. AP Photo
The 2006 indie film "Transamerica" starred Felicity Huffman as a transgender woman taking a road trip with her long-lost teenage son. Huffman was nominated for an Academy Award for the role. From Belladonna Productions
Chaz Bono, the only child of entertainers Cher and Sonny Bono, arrives at a "Dancing With the Stars" special in May 2013. Bono was named Chastity at birth but came out as a lesbian in 1995 and later transitioned to living as a man. His transformation was chronicled in a book and a documentary feature, "Becoming Chaz." Angela Weiss/Getty Images
Filmmaker Lana Wachowski attends a tribute to the late film critic Roger Ebert in October 2013 in Chicago. Born Larry Wachowski, he made the "Matrix" trilogy with brother Andy Wachowski before transitioning to living as a woman. Wachowski is the first major Hollywood director to come out as transgender. Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images
"Orange Is the New Black" actress Laverne Cox attends an August 2014 event for Emmy nominees. Cox became the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine. Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Transgender model and reality TV personality Carmen Carrera attends a fashion show in September 2013 in New York. That year, thousands of fans signed a petition requesting that she be a model during the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, but the campaign was unsuccessful. Ben Gabbe/Getty Images
Actor Jeffrey Tambor portrays a divorced father who begins transitioning to a woman in the Amazon series "Transparent," which debuted in February 2014. For his performance, Tambor won a Golden Globe for best actor in a TV musical or comedy series. Amazon
Transgender activist and author Janet Mock attends the eighth annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards in New York in September 2014. Her 2014 memoir, "Redefining Realness," was a best-seller. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
On January 20, 2015, President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to mention the word "transgender" in a State of the Union address. Transgender activists hailed his speech. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
After years as an androgynous male model, Australian Andrej Pejic underwent sex-reassignment surgery in 2014 and is now Andreja Pejic. PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images
Joshua Alcorn voiced a desire to live as a girl, but the Ohio teenager's parents said they wouldn't stand for that. In December 2014, Alcorn, 17, was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer on an interstate after leaving a suicide note that said in part, "To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy's body." It was signed "Leelah." The case drew national attention to the plight of misunderstood transgender youth. from Facebook
Jazz Jennings became famous at age 6 when Barbara Walters interviewed her for a "20/20" segment about transgender children. Now 14, she hosts a popular series of videos on YouTube and is starring this summer in a TLC reality show about her life. Jason Merritt/Getty Images/FILE