Geena Rocero, a Filipino model and former beauty queen, came out as transgender last week and announced she is launching a worldwide awareness campaign.
In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, Rocero took her story public during a Ted Talk conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"All of us are put in boxes by our family, by our religion, by our society, our moment in history, even our own bodies," she told the crowd. "Some people have the courage to break free, not to accept the limitations imposed by the color of their skin or by the beliefs of those that surround them. Those people are always the threat to the status quo of what is considered acceptable."
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"I was assigned boy at birth based on the appearance of my genitalia," Rocero continued. "Gender has always been considered a fact immutable. But we now know it's actually more fluid, complex, and mysterious. Because of my success, I never have the courage to share my story. Not because I thought what I am is wrong but because of how the world treats those of us who wish to break free."
"Every day I am so grateful because I am a woman. I have a mom and dad and family who accepted me for who I am. Many are not so fortunate," she said.
Rocero also announced the launch of her new advocacy initiative, Gender Proud.
"I believe that a more mature and in-depth contemplation of the subject of transgender will be the bridge that leads humanity to a deeper understanding of gender as a whole," she said. "This deeper understanding begins with the realization that we live in a culture that assigned us gender at birth and that the appropriate roles and expectations of our gender are defined by our society and our culture."
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