Appearing Saturday at the Human Rights
Campaign's (HRC) 18th annual National Dinner in
Washington, D.C., fashion model Geena Rocero, who came out
transgender earlier this year on International Transgender Day of
Visibility, discussed her coming out journey.
Rocero was born in Manila, Philippines
and began competing in beauty pageants at age 15. She immigrated to
the United States at 17 and was discovered at 21.
“I was lucky I made it [as a fashion
told the crowd, estimated at 3,000. “But I had a secret.
Earlier this year during speaking at TED Talk I shared my story with
the world. My neighbors, friends, colleagues, even my agent did not
know about my history. It's something I wasn't ready to share to
many people in the first nine years in New York.”
“I am a transgender woman of color,”
she said to enthusiastic applause. “I am an immigrant.”
Rocero said she came out because she
could no longer “live her truth alone.”
“The transgender community allowed me
to be who I am at such a young age. They accepted me. It's time
that I give back that love,” she added.
Since coming out, Rocero has launched
which describes itself as “an advocacy and awareness campaign that
aims to advance the rights of all transgender individuals.”