For transgender model Geena Rocero, 30, coming out appeared to have occurred in stages, one exhilarating episode at a time.
The first time was at age 15 when she won a beauty pageant in the Philippines, then at 19 when she underwent a gender reassignment surgery in Thailand. That surgery would pave the way for her to acquire a San Francisco driver’s license identifying her as Female with the name Geena spelled “with a double E” as in Geena Davis of the cult hit “Thelma and Louise.”
“I remember looking at my California driver’s license,” Geena told a recent TED Talks conference. “That was a powerful moment.”
With that personal revelation last month, Geena came out yet again. For the first time, her New York friends and colleagues, including her agent came to learn about her true gender identity. A model under contract with Next Model Management, Geena said she came out because she’d like to lend her voice “to help others live their truths.”
The Philippine-born Geena came to New York in 2005 to fulfill her dream of becoming a top model. She would later became a model for companies like Hanes, Target, Macy’s and Rimmel Cosmetics.
Although she came to an early realization at age 5 that she may be more ‘girl’ than ‘boy,’ it would be at age 15 when she joined her first beauty pageant on the goading of a woman who promised to take care of her registration fee and gowns. Geena won Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown in addition to placing 2nd runner-up among 40-plus candidates in a Philippine province.
She would join more beauty contests wherever they were held – in the back of a truck or at a pavement near the rice fields — and found herself enjoying all attention and to a certain extent the validation of a long-held dream.
It was when she achieved success as a model that she decided to open up about her true gender identity. The death of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman from Harlem who was beaten to death and whose alleged attacker did not face charges, moved Geena to advocate for transgender individuals who face constant threats of hate and violence.
“Our suicide rate is nine times higher than the general population,” she said. Hate, she declared, ended Nettles’s life.
On May 3, Geena will come out yet again before the Filipino American community. She is confirmed to speak at NextDayBetter’s Defining Breakthroughs series where she will introduce Gender Proud her advocacy group that is working toward a “more progressive” gender marker legislation. The series will be held at the Centre for Social Innovation at 601 W. 26th St #325.
CEO and co-founder Ryan Letada said NextDayBetter is a platform for exploring world-changing ideas that inspire and “move humanity forward.”
Additional content on Geena
just take a moment
to gush over
and her cosplays
(SHE MAKES THEM ALL HERSELF LOOK AT THAT DETAIL JFC)
because she is currently
ruining my life right now
And they also started an online radio show hosted by Eguchi Takuya and Saitou Souma.