Around the world, there are still too many people that are persecuted because of their identities. They live in fear for their safety and very often become some of the most marginalised people in their countries. But progress is being made with the help of many individuals who fight tirelessly to change the world. Here are the world’s transgender rights trailblaizers.

The Politicians

1.Michelle Suarez

Michelle Suarez

Michelle Suarez. Getty Images

Michelle Suarez is a woman of many firsts and has been a major trailblazer for LGBTQ people not only in her home Uruguay but throughout South America as well. She was the first trans woman to attend university in the country and was a key player in helping table protective laws for LGBTQ people in 2013. Last year she made history once again when she was elected as the country’s first transgendered senator. She has vowed to use her seat of power to help forge a new future for countless people who would otherwise face unthinkable violence because of their identities. We’ve rounded up a few more strong transgender women making waves in the political sphere.

2. Danica Roem is one of the United States’ most prominent transgender politicians, helping bring rights to the forefront of public conversation.

3. LaDon Henry is the first openly transgender black woman to win a seat in government in the United States.

The activists

4.Kasha Nabagesera

Transgender Trailblazer Kasha Nabagesera

Kasha Nabagesera. Getty Images

Kasha Nabagesera is one of the foremost LGBTQ activists on the African continent and one of the most celebrated human rights activists in the world. Born in Uganda, Kasha saw firsthand the horrors faced by so many people identifying as a queer identity in Africa. She founded the Freedom and Roam Uganda organisation which helps fight on behalf of people unable to do so while helping bring to light to the struggle of transgendered, gay and lesbian Ugandans. We’ve rounded up a few more strong activists who are helping change the world for the better:

5. Zoey Black, who lives and works in Cape Town uses her blog to help broaden the narrative on transgender issues.

6. Susie Green runs a charity called Mermaids and fights tirelessly for the rights of trans children and their families.

The media frontrunners

7. Lana Wachowski from the United States is one of the most important directors of the past two decades.

Transgender Trailblazers

Lana Wachowski. Getty Images

Over the course of the last few years, these women have made transgendered people visible in the media. By creating visibility and awareness, they are helping change the way people around the world are looking at trans people and their rights.

8. Laverne Cox from the United States on the cover of Cosmopolitan SA.

9. Ines Rau from France as Playboy’s first transgendered Playmate.

10. Janet Mock from the United States as one of the most visible transgendered people in television.

11. Andreja Pejić from Bosnia as one of the world’s first high-profile transgendered models.

12. Munroe Bergdorf from the United Kingdom as a Loreal’s first transgender ambassador.

13. Mya Taylor from the United States as one of the first transgender woman to win a major motion picture award.

In our May edition of Marie Claire, we highlight another fearless trailblazer for transgendered people. Read about her, and other incredible women in our latest edition featuring Meghan Markle on the cover. Let us know which trailblazers you look up to and why they inspire the world to be a better place.