Diversity is becoming an increasing part of modern life and whilst transgender individuals have been around for centuries, current FTM celebrities are those who are not just good at their jobs, but also raise awareness and advocate for social justice and acceptance for transgender people.
The gender balance among trans people is not well represented in the media, where trans women tend to dominate, so here is our list of trans man celebrities.
Chaz Salvatore Bono is the sole child of famous duo Sonny and Cher. First outed by the tabloid press as a lesbian, Bono publicly self-identified as a transgender man in 1995 through The Advocate, a leading American gay monthly magazine. Chaz went on to write two books for the LGBTQ+ community: Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families which includes his own coming-out story. His memoir, The End of Innocence, discusses his outing and more on his life.
For decades British actor Richard O'Brien, best known for writing The Rocky Horror Show, repressed any feelings about his gender identity, before eventually identifying as transgender or third gender, stating “I believe myself probably to be about 70 per cent male, 30 per cent female”. In 2003 he started taking the female hormone oestrogen - and is happy that it has softened the masculine, testosterone-driven side of his personality, but will not be undergoing any surgery.
"I was the mystery of anatomy, a question asked but not answered," so said South African slam poet, Lee Mokobe, during his 2015 TED Talk in which he shared a poem about what it feels like to be transgender. His talk has been viewed more than 1.3 million times and translated into 32 different languages. Mokobe is also the founder of Vocal Revolutionaries, a volunteer-run literary organisation focused on empowering African youth.
For more than two years, Alex has shared his transition journey on his YouTube channel, though he started posting about four years ago and now has more than 308,000 followers. In November 2017 he published his book, Trans Mission: My Quest to A Beard, that got rave reviews and won him even more fans.
Thomas Trace Beatie had gender reassignment surgery in 2002 and became known as 'The Pregnant Man' after he became pregnant through artificial insemination in 2007 after his wife Nancy was found to be infertile. Beatie was mocked by the media at the time, but Beatie recognised the start of a deeper conversation about gender and social roles in a new way. Now he is a father of four, a public speaker, author, and advocate for transgender and sexuality issues, particularly trans fertility and reproductive rights.
Filipino singer first became popular on YouTube in 2007 under the single name of Charice. After appearances in a few episodes of Glee under his birth name Charice Pempengco. It was later, in 2015, that the singer announced, "my soul is male" and in June 2017, he took to social media to share his new name, Jake Zyrus.
Not all FTM celebrities are from this millennia. Michael Dillon, born in 1915 as Laura Maud was the first transgender man to undergo a phalloplasty. He also published a book entitled Self: A Study in Endocrinology and Ethics, which many people consider the first book about transgender identity and gender transitioning. Dillon advocated medical treatment using hormones and surgery as an alternative to psychotherapy since transgender identification as innate and unaffected by psychotherapy.
Born as Heidi Krieger in East Germany in 1965, his athletic talent led him to go to a special school to be trained to bring home medals for the state. Like many prominent East German athletes at the time, he was systematically and unknowingly doped with anabolic steroids to improve his performance. He won gold in women’s shot put at the European Athletics Championships in 1981. The doping badly affected his body, and he retired in 1989. It was in 1995 when he finally understood that his inner turmoil had a name: transgender, and from this point, his journey began to live life as a man.
Transitioning is not a linear, path that sees rapid progress from one binary gender to the other.