All Rights reserved
Two inspiring Out100 honorees, the nonbinary actor Theo Germaine and the trans activist Kayla Gore, talk about representation, role models, and what the community needs now.
The annual Out100 honors the foremost LGBTQ+ advocates, creatives, and leaders making a difference. This year Citi joins us in celebrating the essential work being done to support the LGBTQ+ community and the fight for inclusion and equality for all. Citi recently became the first major bank in the U.S. to give eligible credit card customers the option of requesting a new card displaying their chosen first name. And as part of Citi's commitment to increasing awareness and acceptance of gender diverse people, the brand sponsored a conversation between two of our Out100 honorees -- nonbinary actor Theo Germaine and trans activist Kayla Gore -- for a discussion about media representation, role models, and changing the world for the next generation. Here are some of the key takeaways:
The Importance of Being Seen
Germaine, who is best known for playing trans and nonbinary roles, recalls as a child being "so hungry to see myself reflected back at me in the media. God, I think that that's probably what a lot of us want...is literally just to be seen, to be seen in every industry, to be seen in every part of every industry, to be seen when you turn the TV on, to be represented. I think it's really viscerally important...to have yourself reflected back at you."
Gore, executive director of My Sistah's House, a non-profit that that helps trans women and non-binary people with safe housing, explains "I think what happens when we start to see more positive things in the media about the trans community, that resonates with folks and it shows them a different side of us," explains Gore. "I think that that increases our safety because people are starting to learn more about us, so they're not fearing us. I think that's a big deal."
"I just want people to accept each other when someone's like, 'Yeah, this is who I am and this is my name and this is my gender marker,'" Germaine says. "It's not a lot. It's simple." And yet, they acknowledge, when companies provide trans and nonbinary customers the ability to change their name or gender, something so simple can "actually [be] a pretty big deal."
Their efforts, Gore says, are "not just changing something for ourselves. We're changing something for a whole generation to come."
Leadership in Action
Out100 honorees are LGBTQ+ people who are at the vanguard, leading us into a new and better future. Together, we are helping to enable an equitable and inclusive culture for trans and nonbinary people struggling to navigate the world without discrimination and barriers to inclusion. And Citi is committed to doing the same. Citi's new functionality demonstrates the power of these relatively simple changes that can create big impact. Providing trans and nonbinary customers with the ability to use their chosen first name on their credit card really shouldn't be revolutionary. And yet, it can be for people in the trans and nonbinary community.
Citi is also helping increase the visibility of trans and nonbinary people in their new campaign with trans and nonbinary talent in front of and behind the camera, and accepting chosen names as legitimate names. The company has also worked with GLAAD, one of the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer media advocacy organizations to provide insights and guidance about trans and nonbinary people to Citi's cisgender customers and employees, including resources like 10 tips for allies of transgender and nonbinary people.
The process for making this change is also incredibly simple. Eligible Citi credit card customers need only to call the number on the back of their card or log into their account to edit their first name in their profile. That's it. To learn more click here.
"I think it is truly phenomenal that Citi has taken on this leadership role in leading the charge with affirming trans folks, with providing them with a credit card with their chosen name," Gore says.
Video directed by Kelly Teacher for Out and Citi. Styling for Kayla Gore by Alexandria Jackson.