Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Questions surround uncertain future of the Trans 100
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond

This article shared 5651 times since Sat Jan 9, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

For the past three years, the International Trans Day of Visibility has also seen the presentation of the Trans 100 —a gala evening held in Chicago that unveils a list of 100 impassioned transgender and gender nonconforming individuals representing a vast cross section of age, race, talent, profession, income level and culture from across the United States.

However, since the 2015 event, the Trans 100 website remains inactive and its social media pages have gone dark. The question remains as to whether there will even be a list or an event in 2016 and beyond.

The genesis of the Trans 100 occurred in the fall of 2012 when Arizona-based Trans 100 creator and Executive Director of Transcentrism inc. Antonia D'orsay posted a comment on Facebook she had made to her son regarding how she believed she more modestly ranked among transgender people. The post was seen by internationally celebrated advocate and co-writer and co-producer of Her Story Jen Richards.

Richards and D'orsay collaborated on the production of the first Trans 100 in 2013 so beginning a legacy that provided a sampling of everyday transgender people celebrated, not as a best-of or a top-100 but for their work for the transgender community that has both elevated and advanced it in a society whose hostility, judgements and overall misconceptions about transgender individuals have led to prejudice on every level, inordinate poverty, mass incarceration and appalling violence oftentimes going uninvestigated by law enforcement, ignored by the mainstream press and forgotten with sublime disregard by legislators.

In 2015, Richards turned over the reins of the event to Community Educator of the Midwest regional Office of Lambda Legal Crispin Torres alongside activist and national educator Rebecca Kling.

With the unimaginable numbers of transgender women of color murdered during that year, reports detailing the tremendous financial, judicial and human rights inequities faced by transgender individuals, the attempts to legislate against transgender use of public spaces through campaigns of fear waged in states across the country and the questionable and controversial impact Caitlyn Jenner's public transition, subsequent reality television program and statements made by the celebrity have made on the community's visibility, the 2016 Trans 100 would seem more imperative than ever.

However, the immediate hours after the March 29, 2015 Trans 100 were marked with disputes regarding the selection of that year's list along with an open letter of protest regarding off-the-cuff remarks made by the evening's keynote speaker.

A disagreement between Torres, Kling and D'orsay regarding ownership of the event and its website quickly devolved into a heated public fight on social media.

"Following the 2015 Trans 100, we had a number of conversations with Toni where it became clear she expected to rejoin the Trans 100 as Executive Director," Kling told Windy City Times. "Crispin and I were interested in continuing to co-direct the Trans 100 at the time and so invited Toni to come on as an advisor and a voice in the future of the event but neither of us were comfortable walking away when we had been asked by Jen Richards to lead the organization."

"Toni feels a lot of personal investment in the Trans 100," Torres added. "Neither of us have a close relationship with her but she was essentially unwilling to work with anyone else on the project. She was looking for sole leadership and ownership of the Trans 100. At the end of the day, Rebecca and I thought it was best to step away from the project and let Toni take the lead. Even though were not sure what that would do to the future of the Trans 100, we did not want to have an inter-community conflict over something that really belongs to trans people across the country."

Both Kling and Torres maintain that D'orsay took the website down after they refused to acquiesce to her demand to take full ownership of the Trans 100—one that she was expressing via email even during the 2015 live broadcast.

"Unfortunately that has not resulted in a 2016 Trans 100," Kling asserted. "We are proud of the work we did with it in 2015. It was not perfect and there was and is room for improvement. One of the things that breaks my heart is that, at least in the short term, we're not going to be able to explore what was possible. One of the reasons I was interested in having Toni involved as part of a more cohesive board that we were hoping to form was to make things more accountable and transparent to the larger trans community."

D'orsay told Windy City Times that much of 2015 was spent dealing with the horrific illness which eventually claimed the life of her husband. It has taken her well over a year to begin to recover from her loss.

"Everything was centered around him," she said. "I was difficult to get a hold of. The content and the idea of the Trans 100 is obviously something I'm extraordinarily passionate about. But I wanted to wait to step in until [Torres and Kling] had completed the 2015 event. They were under the impression that I had left it entirely which was not true. So there was a conflict in terms of how we saw the ownership of it and therefore the direction that we wanted to take it. I had wanted to work with them but, due to the nature of the events surrounding the turnover, it unfortunately meant that they were not willing to go forward. "

D'orsay added that she has spent the last six months quietly working through the issues that were raised following the 2015 Trans 100.

"I haven't decided whether I'm going to do a list this year or not," she said. "Because I need to get some of these issues finalized and formulated before I can move ahead. The transparency issue has always been something that has haunted the Trans 100. My model for it was created to avoid the kind of political infighting that tends to plague the community. The question is are we going to be doing that on a larger scale? The Trans 100 needs to be international but there are cultural and socio-political considerations to that."

"My heart is in the creation of the list," D'orsay stated. "I love the event and it is a critical and crucial component of the Trans 100. Some of my ideas are to have the Trans 100 be something that moves around the country so that is not tied to a specific location. I did not disagree with creating a sense of stability with what we were doing by keeping it in Chicago for a few years. I would actually love to do it again in Chicago but, as an individual, I don't have the capacity or the skillset to pull it off. So it may not be possible to have an event this year."

Regarding the social media fight, D'orsay asserted that it was born out of a breakdown in communication with Torres and Kling.

"We were all negotiating and dancing around each other," she said. "We weren't getting anywhere so I took my complaint to a public platform in order to get a response. It wasn't something I liked doing. But I felt like I was being completely cut out of my project. In my doing so, I created an interpersonal rift between the three of us and that was not my goal. I would actually love to work with Crispin and Rebecca in the future. I've apologized for the rift but there's nothing more I can do. There's a justifiable, understandable, very human reason why this division exists and the responsibility for it does fall to me but, at the same time, I don't regret it because of the position I was in at the time."

"In all the conversations that came up with Toni and up to the point we resigned, we were very willing to work with her," Torres said. "We wanted to make that relationship equitable. We weren't trying to keep her away or out of the project. We wanted to honor and respect her leadership of the origins of the Trans 100. We weren't denying her a seat at the table. We just wanted to do it in a way that was respectful of the amount of work everyone put into this. We all believe in the mission. We're all here for the same reason."

Kling and Torres have managed to keep the email newsletter going that is circulated between prior honorees and others involved in the organization of the event. "The goal of that has been to keep the network and the community going," Torres said. "We believe in the power of the people who have been involved, in the possibilities for collaboration, supporting each other and lifting each other up."

"I know that there is no enterprise that has had the scope, tenor and public scrutiny of the Trans 100 that can go without criticism," he added. "It's truly ironic that the Trans 100 is not supposed to be about celebrity but that is some of what ended up creating conflict around it. The whole situation was damaging and traumatic for me personally. To have your own community lack compassion and understanding was hurtful."

"There was ego involved. I created the Trans 100 and I'm not going to back down from that," D'orsay said. "It's my legacy and I'm going to protect it. I want it to blossom and move forward but a fundamental philosophy I have is that nothing can be done by yourself. Every single person on the last has been surrounded by other people who have made it possible for them to do the things they do. If Crispin and Rebecca want to get back together, work with me and make something happen, I am absolutely willing to."

D'orsay pledged that the Trans 100 website and accompanying social media would be back up by the end of the month. She added that the reason it has been down is due to issues with a new server she was using.

"We and dozens of volunteers put a lot of time, effort, love and belief in the value of the Trans 100," Kling said. "It is so important to have spaces that are celebratory, where we can lift each other up and demand visibility of our value and the important work we are doing. To do any activist work requires you to be an optimist, so I still have hope that the Trans 100 will return."

"I have to decide now whether I will be working on a list for 2016," D'orsay said. "The Trans 100 is going to continue on. It's going to be international and it's probably going to take a couple of years to get there. In the end, the Trans 100 is about bringing us together, showing the world what we are about and recognizing that, as much change that has been happening over the last decade, there's still much more work to be done and this work has real impact on the daily lives of everyday trans people."

This article shared 5651 times since Sat Jan 9, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

WORLD Venezuela code, Oxfam, Bosnia items, 'Brokeback,' Pope Francis 2023-03-25
- Venezuela's Supreme Court annulled a controversial part of the military justice code that had criminalized same-sex relations within the armed forces, the outlet Punch noted. The court annulled the provision, which had provided for a penalty ...

Gay News

NATIONAL 'Don't Say Gay,' anti-trans bills, gay Irish leader visits, gay Calif. mayor 2023-03-25
- In Indiana, approximately 100 students from the Center For Inquiry School 27 held a walk-out to protest the state's "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would restrict how teachers are able to discuss sexual orientation or gender ...

Gay News

Iowa, Georgia ban medical treatment for trans minors 2023-03-24
- Two more states have enacted laws that prohibit medical treatment for transgender minors. On March 22, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law that affect transgender minors in the state, NBC News reported. Senate ...

Gay News

World Athletics Council: Trans women banned from track-and-field competition 2023-03-24
- The World Athletics Council has barred transgender women from competing in elite female competitions if they have gone through male puberty, ESPN reported. Organization president Sebastian Coe said at a press conference that the decision was ...

Gay News

Mayoral candidate forum centers BIPOC LGBTQ+ issues, Vallas declines to participate 2023-03-23
- Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson participated in a March 22 virtual LGBTQ+-focused forum co-hosted by Affinity Community Services (Affinity), Association of Latinos/as/xs Motivating Action (ALMA) Chicago ...

Gay News

US Bishops' statement limits trans health care in Catholic health care facilities, DignityUSA responds 2023-03-22
--From a DignityUSA press release - On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine released a policy statement on how Catholic medical institutions should treat transgender and nonbinary people. Entitled "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to ...

Gay News

Kentucky lawmakers pass anti-trans youth bill; governor plans to veto measure 2023-03-20
- In Kentucky, Republican lawmakers passed a bill that bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care, lets educators refuse to refer to trans students by their preferred pronouns and would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Black Adam,' Cyndi Lauper, Sondheim, Oscars, OutFest 2023-03-18
- Cultured Magazine recently profiled Quintessa Swindell—who became the first out, non-binary actor to play a lead superhero in the DC universe when they portrayed Cyclone in the 2022 movie Black Adam. Swindell grew up in Virginia ...

Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event 2023-03-18
- Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...

Gay News

Opera Preview: Life of gay World War II hero Alan Turing transformed into a world-premiere opera 2023-03-17
- It has taken a decade for The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing to grow from an idea into a full- fledged opera. Chicago Opera Theater stages the world premiere of composer Justine F. Chen and ...

Gay News

Arkansas governor signs anti-trans medical malpractice bill 2023-03-15
- Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that makes it easier to sue providers of gender-affirming care for children, ABC News reported. This move, involving a law that will take effect this ...

Gay News

Editorial: In praise of Drag Story Hour 2023-03-14
- Drag Story Hours have really come to the fore in our political consciousness in the last few years, as the radical right has strategically targeted events raising the visibility of individuals who are gender-nonconforming, transgender or ...

Gay News

TransLash Media CEO Imara Jones reflects on JK Rowling and 'Hogwarts Legacy' 2023-03-11
- The action role-playing game Hogwarts Legacy has been making big news lately—and it's not just because so many people are playing it. Hogwarts Legacy, inspired by writer J.K. Rowling's wizarding ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Little Richard, Indigo Girls, Rodriguez's honor, dance film, Pedro Pascal 2023-03-10
Video below - Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortes' Sundance opening-night documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything will debut in theaters and on VOD ...

Gay News

WORLD Zero Discrimination Day, African countries, facility damaged, travel items 2023-03-10
- On Zero Discrimination Day this year (March 1), under the theme "Save lives: Decriminalize," UNAIDS showed how the decriminalization of key populations and people living with HIV saves lives and helps advance the end of the ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.