By Megan Staley, EI blogger

Over the past month, important women from throughout history have been honored and recognized as part of Women’s History Month. Yet, often lost among these accolades are the past and present contributions to society by trans* women. We all know Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner. These two women have changed the frequency and the light in which we see trans* women in the media.  We admire these women and the advocacy work they do every day. However, we should not let celebrities overshadow the experiences and accomplishments of the millions of trans* women fighting on the ground.  In honor of Women’s History Month, let us take a moment to recognize just five of the many influential women working for justice.

  1.  Kokumo – Chicago based trans* activist and artist shedding light on the experiences of trans* people of color. In 2012 she helped to organize the country’s first Trans*, Gender Non-conforming, and Intersex State of the Union address held at Union Park, Chicago. To experience her art for yourself check out KOKUMOMEDIA.
  1.  Trudie Jackson – A tribal member of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, Trudie Jackson advocates on the behalf of American Indian LGBTQ Two Spirited members. She has worked on the LGBTQ Task Force and has been awarded the ECHO Magazine Woman of the Year Award. She is also a frequently invited speaker at universities across the country.
  1.  Ja’ Briel Walthour – Georgia based children’s author, community organizer, and advocate. Ja‘Briel is a GLAAD spokesperson and has written for Huffington Post on several occasions.
  1.  Kemi Bello – Houston based activist and writer known for protesting deportations, racism, and incarceration. I encourage you to listen to her poem”Letter to My Family of Displaced Peoples” by Kemi.
  1. Jara Krys – Philadelphia’s own. This University of Pennsylvania student is a trans* escort, entrepreneur, and advocate. She works to destigmatize sex work in the trans* community of color.