Celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility with this vibrant icon.
Geena Rocero is a model, transgender advocate, and founder of the innovative production company Gender Proud, to name just a few of the hats she wears. She’s also an upcoming guest on Next Question with Katie Couric!
Rocero is gearing up to share her story like never before with the heartfelt memoir Horse Barbie, which hits bookstores everywhere on May 30. To celebrate, she’ll join Katie for a must-hear conversation that’s slated to drop June 1. And while we can’t give you all of their fascinating conversation now, we wanted to pass along a few notable kernels in celebration of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is observed each year on March 31.
Unfortunately, now is a dangerous time for this vibrant but vulnerable community. Hundreds of anti-trans bills are sweeping state legislatures across the nation. These bills would significantly hinder trans Americans in almost every facet of their lives, but even the simple suggestion that being trans is problematic weighs heavily on young people, Rocero says.
Though many anti-trans talking points center around the idea that children shouldn’t be exposed to the nuances of gender identity, Rocero’s recollection of the first time she recognized her femininity proves just how early kids begin to think about these issues. For Rocero, she was only 5 or 6 years old, looking at herself in a mirror with a T-shirt hanging from her head.
“Looking at myself, feeling like this is the fullness of my fantasy…I really felt like it was my hair. It was not a T-shirt at that point,” she says. “And to see that reflection at such a young age, the knowledge that this is who I am was very powerful.”
So while you wait for Rocero’s revealing book to hit shelves, here’s a sample of what you can expect when she opens up in a riveting interview like only Katie can bring us.
On her early memories of how trans people were depicted in American media
“The first representation that I saw of a trans woman on TV was on Jerry Springer. And you can imagine what that felt like. It’s all shame. It’s all a horrible circus…I feel like it represented how a lot of America sees trans people. That is the amalgamation of all those forces — the understanding of transness and gender fluidity and the shame component…What I saw in media put a lot of shame in me.”
On her fear of being outed while pursuing her modeling career
“I had a dream. I wanted to pursue it, but the fear was always there that anyone could doubt me and it would destroy [my] career…It happened to so many trans women, particularly trans women of color — the moment they got outed, they were done, discarded. So you have this ambition to be so visible, whether on a Times Square billboard or doing a commercial. But the bigger the job, the bigger the paranoia that I was going through. And honestly, right now, speaking to you in this voice, in this tone…I used to always calculate the little tones of how I speak, how I talk to someone. Am I drinking enough water so that my voice is more fluid? These are the kind of things that were going through my head.”
On the power of representation
“We need to tell more varied stories because that’s when we really fully show the humanity of it…As an artist, as a storyteller, and in this book that I wrote, I dared myself to really unapologetically express who I am, my stories, my hopes, my dreams, my vulnerability, my playfulness, just like any other human being — the sameness of what a trans person is experiencing to what a cis person is experiencing. As it should be. Because we deserve that. We deserve the fullness in our existence.”