Coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is rarely easy, but according to fashion model and transgender activist, Geena Rocero, coming out means living your truth, which is essential.
“The world makes you something that you’re not — but you know inside what you are,” said Rocero, who was one of the presenters at TED2014 in Vancouver.
Her speech was called, "Why I Must Come Out." Rocero is from Manila, Philippines and was born with the gender assignment "boy" and gave her speech to tell the world that is she transgender.
She was scouted at age 15 by a beauty pageant manager and eventually became one of the most prominent names in the Trans Beauty Pageant world and then decided to move to the United States.
"In 2001 I moved to San Francisco and I remember looking at my California drivers license with the name 'Geena' and gender marker 'F,' she said. "That was a powerful moment. For some people, their ID is there license to drive or even to get a drink. But for me, that was my license to live."
In her speech, Rocero talked about her commitment to making a difference in the lives of transgender people, particularly transgender women.
"I think of…Islan Nettles," Rocero said. "She's from New York. She's a young woman who was courageously living her truth, but hatred ended her life. For most of my community, this is the reality in which we live."
Rocero went on to share a staggering statistic. The suicide rate for transgender people is "nine times higher than that of the general population."
"Today is my real coming out," Rocero said. "I could no longer live my truth for and by myself. I am here exposed, so that one day there will never be a need for a November 20th vigil."
Rocero launched an "advocacy and awareness campaign" called Gender Proud. Her goal with the project is to "advance the rights of all transgender individuals."
You can watch her talk below.
The video was released on March 31, which is appropriate considering it's International Transgender Day of Visibility. (Not to be confused with Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is a day to remember transgender people who have been murdered because of hate.)
ITDoV was created to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the world and combat transphobia by sharing information about the trans community.
"Positive transgender visibility is incredibly important, since visibility promotes familiarity and a stronger desire to protect those who have often been left out or attacked by others," according to LGBT media organization, GLAAD.
Click on the image below to see transgender #selfie visibility.