9/6 Update: As I Am Cait has continued its run on Sunday nights on E! we’ve been introduced to even more incredible transwomen every episode. This post has been updated to include them.
In the show’s first couple weeks, E!’s I Am Cait has already provided plenty of groundbreaking television. From Caitlyn Jenner meeting her mother Esther (who adorably stole the show in the first episode of the series), Kylie, Kim + Kanye for the first time to discussing her concerns about the way her voice sounds and being uncomfortable putting on a bathing suit, the docu-series is helping viewers fully understand many avenues of her transition process. Aside from the Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient’s journey, the show has also opened up the spotlight past Caitlyn to others in the trans community to showcase to the public that Caitlyn’s story isn’t the only one needing to be told. In order to share the attention and highlight the issues of the transgender community, Caitlyn went down to San Diego in the premiere episode to meet the family of the late Kyler Prescott, while last week’s show involved a girls’ night and a road trip to San Francisco with a group of trans women (that continues tonight) to better understand not only their stories, but the community’s as well through a chat with reps from the Human Rights Campaign.
Throughout the entirety of episode two, we met a diverse group of intelligent, beautiful and all-around dynamic trans women that educated Caitlyn on the serious issues trans people face while respectfully checking her for her privilege throughout. Not only was it powerful television to see the varied stories and journeys these women have been on and continue to go through, but it also brought up numerous ways the community could be helped through Caitlyn’s spotlight with better emphasis and initiatives on programs to help find entry-level jobs, welfare and education for the trans community. Get to know nine women that have been introduced on the series and keep up with them on social media to follow their stories just as closely as you’re likely following Cait’s.
1. Candis Cayne (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): The actress may already look familiar to you since she’s appeared in popular series like Dirty Sexy Money + Nip/Tuck and, of course, because of her new status as Caitlyn’s gal pal. The showgirl + performer, who has also appeared on Rupaul’s Drag Race, revealed in episode two that she started her transition 20 years ago, back in ’95, but even today she sometimes faces difficulty getting hormone treatments, highlighting how far the trans community still has to go in getting full equality and respect. (Photo via @candiscayne)
2. Jenny Boylan (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): Author of the Falcon Quinn series and a professor at Barnard College, Jenny shared that she first met Caitlyn during her Diane Sawyer special. Married to her wife for 27 years, 15 as a trans woman, she also is a political activist who just so happens to be the first openly transgender co-chair of GLAAD’s National Board of Directors. (Photo via @jenniferfinneyboylan)
3. Jen Richards (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): Writer + creator of We Happy Trans, a site focusing on celebrating positive transgender experiences, Jen spends her time fighting for gender and racial justice. She also is the co-writer/producer of Her Story, a show focusing on the dating lives of trans women, and has brought attention to the trans community through articles, lectures and workshops throughout the country. (Photo via @smartassjen)
4. Chandi Moore (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): A community activist and health educator, Chandi shared on the show her story of how she began in the world of drag before fully transitioning. On the show, she also urged Caitlyn to educate herself about the trans community so she can use her platform to its fullest and better shine a light on the entire community and the issues it faces. (Photo via @chandibtha1)
5. Geena Rocero (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): This gal — who appears on tonight’s episode — is a multi-hyphenate, though really all these women are. She’s an activist, a model and the founder of Gender Proud, an organization aiming to advance transgender rights. As if that’s not enough, the Manilla-born lady gave an unforgettable TED Talk on International Transgender Day of Visibility in 2014 in between all those other gigs. (Photo via @geenarocero)
6. Angelica Ross (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): A creative consultant and the CEO of Transtech Social Enterprises, a creative design firm and training academy focused on creating employment for trans and gender nonconforming people, Angelica is making an impact in the tech world while also staying busy giving speeches about trans issues throughout the country. Hey Angelica, interested in coming to Re:Make next month?! (Photo via @angelicaross)
7. Drian Juarez (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): As a transgender economic empowerment project program manager at the LA LGBT Center, Drian is working hard for equality for all of her trans brothers + sisters and shared her early struggles being a sex worker and how she transitioned into an activist on the show. (Photo via @drianica)
8. Blossom Brown (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): A Public Health student, advocate, HRC volunteer and motivational speaker, she didn’t have much screentime in the second episode, but she made her short appearance meaningful by calling out the system and pleading with Caitlyn to further share the spotlight and help change the stories about the trans community. (Photo via @missvictorious9210)
9. Zackary Drucker (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): An artist and producer, most recently on Amazon’s Transparent, she joined Caitlyn’s girls’ night to help add another dimension to the varied trans women’s stories being told that evening, and we were glad to hear it. (Photo via @zackarydrucker)
10. Laya Monarez (Follow her artwork): If you missed her heart wrenching story in episode three you’re gonna want to read about it on the HRC’s blog. In addition to sharing her experiences, this hardworking gal stays busy as the HRC’s Membership Events and Operations Coordinator, being a gifted artist and much more. Her work, which ranges from murals to paintings to drawings, can be found on her site, at the National Zoo and even as the logo for the LGBTQ Task Force’s Stop Trans Murders campaign. Better yet Laya was a rollergirl (so BA!) and has helped train police about transgender issues. Laya, the mega inspiring rockstar! (Photo via @lenoregore)
11. Trace Lysette (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): This gal is a very busy working actress. She can be see on Amazon’s Transparent and is appearing alongside Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek fame) in the Starz comedy Blunt Talk. Dive deeper into her story with this interview from The Advocate. (Photo via @tracelysette)
12. Alexandra Billings (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): Though this lady only popped up for a brief appearance during a scene at Trans Pride LA, she is a pretty big name in the trans community. As a multi-talented actress Alexandra has an impressive resume. Currently appearing on Amazon’s Transparent, the actress is also notable for being the first openly transwoman to play a transgender character on TV in ABC Family’s TV movie Romy + Michele: In the Beginning and has appeared on stage in a one-woman autobiographical show. Endless snaps to Alexandra. (Photo via @alexandrasbillings)
13. Van Barnes: Introduced on the show as Zackary Drucker’s friend, she shared background on what it’s like dating as a transwoman. Aside from that she is busy making a name for herself in Hollywood. She’s appeared on Amazon’s Transparent as well as directed and produced the short You Will Never Ever Be a Woman. You Must Live the Rest of Your Days Entirely as a Man, and You Will Only Grow More Masculine with Each Passing Year. There Is No Way Out. Fingers crossed this lady will be popping up all over screens big and small in the near future. (Photo via @zackarydrucker)
BONUS: Kate Bornstein (Follow on Instagram + Twitter): Though this recognized and trailblazing author does not identify as a transwoman — she identifies as gender non-conforming — she has been a big name in gender identity and gender theory for decades, turning her into an LGBT icon. Nicknamed Aunt Kate, she’s most known for her part autobiography-part theory tome Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. Aside from the knowledge shared in that book she has also written nearly a dozen others on gender identity and similar topics, presented performance pieces throughout her life pertaining to those theories and is a busy activist and speaker in the LGBT community. She’s cool Aunt Kate, indeed. (Photo via @katebornstein)
What part of I Am Cait have you connected with the most so far? Let us know in the comments.
(Photo via Caitlyn Jenner)