Geena Rocero Launches Global Organization for Gender Rights
To coincide with the celebration of International Transgender Day of Visibility, activist and model Geena Rocero today launched her new a global awareness campaign, Gender Proud, which calls attention to the fact that there are only a handful countries where transgender individuals are able to change their gender marker without having to first undergo surgery.
In addition, her recent TED talk, which garnered an immediate standing ovation and praise, goes live on the TED site at 11 a.m. EST.
"I want people to realize that while gender identity is core to our being, sometimes our gender assignment doesn't match. There should be space to self-identify," said Geena.
In the months ahead, Gender Proud will work alongside the ground-breaking LGBT justice organization All Out to target countries where gender marker legislation is at a 'tipping point'. They will look to support local trans-justice organizations at the frontlines of the battle for more progressive gender marker policy.
The campaign is also proudly partnering with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF), GLAAD, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Transgender Law Center.
As it launches, Gender Proud has initiated a petition on Change.org that seeks to bring awareness to the issue at a broader level; simultaneously, an IndieGogo campaign will raise money for the grassroots
Geena's talk marked the first time that TED has tackled transgender rights issues on the main stage.
"Every year we work to bring inspiring ideas and speakers from a wide range of backgrounds to the TED stage," said Kelly Stoetzel, Director of TED Content. "This year, we were thrilled to have Geena join us. Her courageous story stands to help people everywhere think about gender in a new and nuanced way."
Born to humble beginnings in Manila, Philippines, Geena always had big dreams. Growing up, she knew that she was different from her childhood friends. At a young age, she told her mom that her gender assignment at birth was different.
At fifteen, a pageant manager approached her to join a beauty contest. This opportunity led her to the world of TransWomen Beauty Pageant in the Philippines. As a young teenager, she then became one of the most prominent figures in the Trans Beauty Pageant world.
Geena emigrated to San Francisco in 2001, and in 2005, she moved to New York City in order to pursue a modeling career. She was quickly represented by Next Models, one of the most prominent agencies in the world.
Through her own experience into womanhood and working as a professional model, she realized her bigger purpose in life was to share her journey and work towards justice and beauty in the transgender community.
Geena is now working full-time on Gender Proud, a global transgender rights campaign. Her purpose is to raise awareness of the transgender community and to change the global policy that will allow to change their names and gender markers without having to go through surgery. As a firm believer in the freedom, dignity and enrichment of the transgender community, Geena is dreaming big.
Launching in March 2014, Gender Proud is an awareness campaign that brings attention to the need for all transgender individuals to self-identify with the fewest possible barriers.
Globally, there is not a universal right to change one’s gender without having forsake individual rights; Gender Proud wants every sovereign nation to recognize the right to legally change one’s name and gender marker, without being forced to undergo physical alteration.
The movement is inspired by Geena Rocero’s journey from successful fashion model to activist. In late 2013, Geena had an epiphany that she wanted to ’reveal’ her identity. She felt she’d been extraordinarily lucky: the unconditional support of friends, family and lovers had ensured her protection against the violence and ridicule that most transgender individuals face on a regular basis. Gender Proud is Geena’s contribution to a community she’s proud to represent.
Gender Proud’s goals are to build upon the global movement to celebrate trans individuals; shift public opinion to support name and gender marker change legislation; and help ensure transgender individuals feel fully accepted and integrated. Other organizations have already joined Gender Proud’s mission in solidarity.
"All Out has joined Gender Proud to advocate for everyone’s right to be who they are -- and for governments to respect that choice," says Andre Banks, Co-Founder and Executive Director of All Out. "There are no countries in the world where transgender people have complete equality. That isn’t acceptable in the 21st century, and by coming together with Geena Rocero and Gender Proud we hope to change that."
For more information, visit www.genderproud.com or get information on the TED talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/1961 or facebook.com/genderproud