Today's question is "Who do you look up to?" and because of that I think I'll talk about some of my transgender role models... kind of. Also "why having role models is a terrible idea."
I'll actually do that last thing first. See, I've learned that having really hardcore role models--people you really try to emulate and who you really, seriously look up to--will usually end in disappointment when I learn that not only are they imperfect, they're doing and saying things that make my heart sink. Celebrities especially love disappointing me by saying some asinine shit about abortion or throwing the c-word around on Twitter or making some awful transphobic joke. So I make no claims that any of these people are perfect, and lots of them are radically different, but they just a few of who pops to mind when I think "transgender and gender variant role models."
Louis Sullivan was a gay trans man who transitioned in the 1970s and 80s and was instrumental in creating the current distinction between "gender identity" and "sexual orientation." Before Sullivan, homosexuality almost entirely barred one from gaining transition related therapies.
Maddie Blaustein was a trans woman voice actress, Second Life personality, and comics writer most famous for voicing Meowth on the English dub of the Pokémon anime. She was often very open about her transition when asked by fans about, for instance, why she was originally credited as a different name.
When I was newly ex-vegan I was reading Berlin Reed before I had any idea he was a trans man. Reed wrote The Ethical Butcher, a book on responsible and sustainable omnivorism. He also occasionally shows up in porn.
Raven Kaldera is a well-known Pagan author who either wrote or co-wrote a lot of books that I use a lot, notably Urban Primitive, Pagan Polyamory, and Northern Tradition for the Solitary Practitioner. I haven't read it yet, but he also wrote a book called Hermaphrodeities that specifically deals with transgender and third gender myth and spirituality.
I learned about TJ Jourian the way most people probably did, which was through the documentary series Transgeneration. I saw him speak at the MBLGTACC conference one year and he did very well.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
I have to give at least a nod to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, who in many ways shaped my politics (especially early on). Sycamore is a radical queer author and editor who is responsible for That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, and Why Are Faggots So Afraid Of Faggots?