Anthony Rapp

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Although Anthony Rapp, the queer stage and screen actor, is best known for originating the role of “Mark Cohen” in the musical Rent, his career began when he was six years old with a title part in the Broadway production of The Little Prince and the Aviator. Along with several Rent revivals and numerous other small roles, Rapp has written original music and a memoir (which he’s since transformed into a production of its own); taken director roles; and gone on a musical tour with another Rent actor. Rapp consistently takes on the roles of queer characters, including a gay man in the short film Grind and a bisexual man in the Broadway production If/Then.

Rapp’s prolific Twitter feed is available here.

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Myriam “tnkgrl” Joire

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As the tech geek, biker, and all-around badass known online as tnkgrl puts it, she was “born wearing combat boots and holding a keyboard,” and she’s been “stomping, typing and hacking ever since.” Although she was born in France, she fell in love with Canada during a study abroad excursion and settled there as an engineer. With her background in computers stretching back to the first PCs, she landed gigs doing audio work with video game companies, including Relic, EA, and LucasArts. When gaming lost its luster, she elevated her pet blogging project into a full-time journalism career with Engadget.

Thanks to a fruitful relationship she’d formed on the job, at the time of this writing Joire is working for tech startup Pebble as their Chief Evangelist. Joire identifies as queer, and in her spare time she’s been involved with various queer and trans visibility projects. tnkgrl’s current blog and its legion of mobile podcasts is available here; her Google+ is here; and her Twitter, here. She also has her own Wikipedia page here.

Sonya Renee

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Sonya Renee, a poet and activist, got her start on the stage by accident. She was recruited to perform at a small work event and fell in love with the open mic style. Things kept escalating, and she began collecting titles like International Poetry Slam Champion. Her work has appeared in numerous spoken word and gender-related publications, and she published her own anthology in 2010. (This was on top of her other work in HIV outreach.) In 2011 she launched a new project called The Body Is Not An Apology intended to foster positive self-image; it even comes with a 30-day challenge.

Renee identifies as queer, and cites it as an integral part of her work. Her Twitter is here; her Facebok here; and her YouTube channel here.

Kit Yan

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Kit Yan is a Hawaiian slam poet and musician whose work focuses on his identity as an Asian-American trans man. He was interviewed for East of Main Street: Asians Aloud, a 2010 HBO documentary, and performs at poetry festivals, institutions of higher learning, and pride events, among others. By 2012 his poetry had garnered enough attention to earn him a small personal feature in The Advocate magazine, and (in a less serious capacity), 60th place in gender-bending fashion website dapperQ‘s 2013 “100 Most Stylish dapperQs” list. He was crowned Mr. Transman in the Brooklyn competition’s inaugural contest.

Video samples of Yan’s poetry can be found on his YouTube page here; biographical information and links to his social media are available on his personal website here.

Lee Harrington

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Lee Harrington is one of a rare breed of individuals who manage to make their living entirely from writing and lecturing about kink. He started rolling down the career track as a peer sex educator, later becoming an adult film star and an internationally-known D/s speaker. Authenticity is a prominent theme in his work; here, he discusses the deliberation that predated his surgical transition, including the limitations of the various options and the social pressures both for and against transition, along with a few moments of camera time dedicated to the treatment of femme and gay trans men. He was selected to deliver the keynote address at the 2010 Transcending Boundaries conference, available for viewing here.

Harrington also runs a spiritual practice as a shaman that he links to his BDSM. One of his books, Sacred Kink, compares traditional tools in kink (such as floggers) with their historical religious uses, and offers advice on integrating spirituality and sex.

Kate Bornstein

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As the tagline for her memoir Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger advertises, Bornstein’s life is “the true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today.” “Auntie Kate,” as her fans call her, is the author of seminal gender studies texts Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook (now in its second edition) and a performance artist and lecturer. Her material argues for an expansive definition of gender (or, as the full title of Gender Outlaw puts it, “men, women, and the rest of us”) and includes themes of harm reduction that stem from her personal struggles with suicidal ideation. She has distributed “Get out of Hell Free” cards along with a promise to – as she says in her It Gets Better video – “do your time for you.”

Bornstein was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012. She underwent treatment and was ruled cancer-free. However, cancerous cells have since been discovered in a lymph node and at the time of this writing she is collecting donations to continue paying her medical bills.

(While Wikipedia’s page employs Bornstein’s name in lieu of third-person pronouns, her partner refers to her with female pronouns on Bornstein’s blog; due to her personal knowledge of the source, her account is considered authoritative.)

 

Sassafras Lowrey

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Lowrey’s critically acclaimed debut anthology, Kicked Out, was built on the foundations of Portland zine experience and hir own time on the streets. The exile came quickly: after the fellow dog trainer who had taken hir in cracked open hir diary and, in hir words, “realized I was a dyke,” all it took was a short phone call to the school to notify them that she would not be picking Lowrey up that day to leave hir without shelter or the dogs that made up hir pack of friends. Ze credits a local youth shelter and the families of choice ze found there with hir survival.

Now Lowrey maintains several blogs (one linked above), has another anthology (and a novel) in print, is credited in numerous anthologies, and offers lectures on homelessness and hir work. Ze also had a hand in founding Oregon’s Queer Youth Summit, at which ze gave the keynote address in 2013. Hir photography and mixed media art have appeared in galleries across the United States and United Kingdom.