8 Philly Area Transgender People Named to National Trans 100 List

It’s a big year for Philadelphia and its surrounding regions on the third-annual Trans 100 list. Eight (8!)  folks with local ties have been recognized by national groups This Is H.O.W. and We Happy Trans for their achievements in advocacy and progressing transgender rights in our city and beyond.

The 100 honorees were announced Sunday evening at a live-streamed event in Chicago. The names were then shared on Twitter, one by one, which is where I culled my list of 8 locals:

Dr. Rachel Levine

Dr. Rachel Levine

It was just announced that Governor Tom Wolf named Dr. Rachel Levine the first transgender Acting Physician General for PA. The Middletown, Pa. resident is also a Professor at the Penn State College of Medicine, where she serves as chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders, a program she created on her own. She has also worked actively with the school’s Office of Diversity, mentoring LGBT students, faculty and staff, and she sits on the board of Equality PA.

Andrea Bowen, our go-getting sister across the Delaware, is the recently instated Executive Director of Garden State Equality (GSE). Bowen comes to GSE from Washington D.C., where she worked as the social policy organizer with the D.C. Trans Coalition, and policy expert for the National Center for Transgender Equality. In these roles she played an integral part in getting key legislation passed for the LGBT community, including a bill that allows transgender people to change their birth certificates and names, and she helped spearhead a movement that ensured D.C. health insurance policies covered many trans-specific health care needs. Learn more about what she’s got in store for GSE here.


Jordan Gwendolyn Davis

Jordan Gwendolyn Davis recently moved to California, but her work in Philly to promote transgender rights is still being felt in a big, big way. She worked with then City Councilman Jim Kenney to orchestrate 2013’s LGBT Equality Bill that extended unheard of rights to Philadelphia’s transgender community, and most recently she has worked with Representative Mark Cohen to introduce a couple LGBT- and trans-specific bills in the House of Representatives.

Joe Ippolito, a doctor of psychology, clinician, researcher, writer, educator and filmmaker, is working at Agrosy University in Twin Cities now, but thanks to his work in Philly we now have the Gender Reel Film Festival. The annual event showcases multimedia works from transgender artists—stuff that tends to get overlooked in your typical LGBT film festivals. It has become such a success that the festival now shows in New York City.

Speaking of Gender Reel: The film festival’s board member Jayden H.C. Sampson is also recognized. As a member of Mazzoni Center’s Board of Directors, the attorney also helps organize the annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference.

According to Trans 100, Samanthan Jo-Dato “continues to live an authentic life with her core belief that our stories can change lives.” A great deal of that is manifested through her work at Mazzoni Center, where she works as conference coordinator to organize annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. She recently told us that she will soon publish a testimonial journal called Sami Jo Shattered Perfect, which she “hopes will reach trans* people near and far and inspire them to transform their narratives of struggle into stories of major success.”

J Mase III is a black/trans poet and founder of the first all-trans person of color-led talent agency, awQwardtalent. The organization “seeks to empower trans and queer folks of color (TQPOC). By providing a direct link between TQPOC talent and venues that wish to showcase them, it hopes to further uplift the creativity, genius and expertise of the TQPOC community which is often overlooked.”


Turner Stulting

Turner Stulting “is a proud trans and queer Bucknell student, activist, and leader.” They are also a convener at the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC), a coalition of youth leaders who work to empower ourselves through meaningful community engagement and effective advocacy.” Read a good Q&A with Turner here.

Many congrats to all the honorees. To learn more about them and the other 92 folks from across the country who made the Trans 100, check out this year’s downloadable program here.