Seeing yourself in the world is a powerful and empowering thing. No matter where you are in your gender journey in this weird n wild thing we call life, surrounding yourself (and your eyeballs) with positive and complex representations of gender and sexuality can be a big contributor to self-love, self-understanding and self-acceptance.
Representation matters, especially for marginalised communities—Black Panther is the most tweeted about film in the world for a reason after all. Actively seeking out transgender Instagram accounts, as well as gender non-conforming and non-binary folks on Instagram to fill your feed up is a really simple exercise in that.
Whether you’re interested in makeup, fashion, activism, photography, great writing or just really attractive NB honeys, there’s a lot of individuals on the internet who we think should be celebrated. Of course, this is in no way an exhaustive list of the transgender and genderqueer individuals who are killin’ it in the way of representation: think of this list as a lil jumping-off point.
A note for the cis-people in the back: following trans and non-binary people online is a nice way to show support as well as keeping up to date on issues the community faces!
Jonno Revanche @jonnoxrevanche 3.8k followers
Jonno is a writer and multidisciplinary artist working in Sydney. They are the kind of person who’s so thoughtful and creatively inspiring it’d be intimidating if they weren’t such an angel. Their writing has been featured in esteemed pubs from i-D to The Guardian to Teen Vogue, and their Instagram is a dreamy feed of film pictures. Start with their piece on the beautiful, salvational quality of queer friendship here and prepare to be absorbed.
Sian Vandermuelen aka Miss Blanks @miss.blanks 5k followers
The Australian hip hop scene has come a long way from white dudes rapping about the ‘hood,’ like, I know you’re from Castle Hill, James. An early driving force in this shift: Brisbane artist Sian Vandermuelen, better known as Miss Blanks. She’s been a juggernaut for queer and POC representation, stacking up appearances at festivals, including Listen Out, and working with the legendary likes of Salt N Pepa. A defiant trans woman of colour owning her sexuality and killing it in her field? You love to see it.
Samuel Luke @samuellukeart 5.4k followers
More art, more trans art, more art that reflects softness, more art that reflects reality, more art that reflects trans experiences. This is what we like to see and this is what Sydney-based illustrator and printmaker Samuel Luke Beatty is putting down! His work explores gender identity and self-discovery, the latter which we can all relate to. Follow him for dreamy comics and to keep up to date on his art shows, and cop an issue of his graphic series How to be a Gender Explorer.
Adam Benedict @softooth 13.3k followers
Another visual artist we adore is Adam Benedict (he also writes poetry), whose breathtakingly detailed art explores gender, sexuality, romance and nature. Romance and nature, what more do we need in this life of sin? As well as producing art on Instagram, Adam has a Patreon for anyone interested in digging a little deeper into their work, including a membership for access to NSFW art.
Hari Nef @harinef 469k followers
If you haven’t met Hari Nef yet, all I can say is that I’m excited for you. A multi-hyphenated talent, Nef is a model, actress, activist, writer and all around gem who sits squarely in the cultural crosshairs of what’s cool. Vogue’s described her as “something of a Tumblr-age Chloë Sevigny” and there’s definitely the same kind of unaffected charisma and style about the Nef.
She’s more than just style inspiration though, a vocal activist, she’s constantly evolving her own identity and style of femininity, hoping to use her platform to inspire others to live on their own terms. “It’s not enough to be cute in a magazine,” she told Vogue, “You have to talk.”
Eli Erlick @elierlick 41.5k followers
Something of a veteran among young activists in the trans-rights and queer space, Eli Erlick is a must-follow. At 16, she co-founded the Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER), an organisation dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans students through collective action and has done simply the most since then.
Appearing everywhere from Refinery29 to The New York Times to The Economist and Time Magazine, follow her for thoughtful commentary (homegirl is literally doing a dissertation on Disrespectability), activism and insights around her evolving self-presentation.
Wednesday Holmes @hellomynameiswednesday 96.5k followers
Like many of the multi-talent, multihyphenates on this list, Wednesday is a queer trans artist and designer (you’ve more than likely seen their work somewhere in your internet travels) as well as being an LGBTQIA+ and mental health advocate.
Wednesday uses their platform to create learning resources about queer experience in order to encourage empathy in the cishet community, we love this comic on dismantling harmful myths about TGNC (transgender and gender-nonconforming people). Follow them to for bright art and as a good resource if you’re ever levelled with questions you don’t know the answer to.
William Scott @bobscott200 6.8k
Responsible for some incredible beats on the likes of Amandla Stenberg, Padma Laksmi and Karlie Kloss, William Scott is a makeup artist to watch. The Libra uses they/them pronouns and originally hails from Miami—is this why the sun looks like it’s literally shining out of their skin? Who knows. Follow them for some incredible makeup and skinspiration, their highlight on skincare is particularly good.
River Gallo @rivergallo 6.5k followers
After a killer 2019 (casually debuting in Ponyboi, a film exploring intersex identity executive produced by HBIC Emma Thompson), River Gallo is not coming to play in 2020. The Salvadoran-American filmmaker, actor, model, writer and intersex advocate is the CEO and founder of Gaptoof Entertainment, a multi-media production house in Los Angeles, which focuses on intersectionality and creating inclusive spaces for POC, LGBTQIA+, and womnxn narratives. (Slow clap).
The “I” in LGBTQIA+ is often neglected, and River advocates for the intersex community with grace and gloriousness that can only be admired.
Bex Taylor-Klause @bex_tk 472k followers
A breakout star in from the American adaptation of cult-favourite Danish crime series The Killing, Bex Taylor-Klause is now *killing it* as the lead in the current western-cop show Deputy. Yes, there is still a tonne of work in the way of media representation to go but it’s a huge feat for a non-binary queer person to be playing the lead role in a network show on Fox. In their words, “Every day, it feels like less of a fight to be taken seriously, and that’s really cool.”
Alok Vaid-Menon @alokvmenon 294k followers
Alok Vaid-Menon wears a lot of hats: writer, performance artist, speaker, but the gender-fluid / gender-nonconforming artists Instagram feed sums it well: “fashionist@.” Seriously, have a scroll through their feed and it’ll make you want to dress about ten thousand times boldly. The colours, the prints, the silhouettes, the hair. We have no choice but to stan. Start with their podcast on why clothes have no gender here, and then get your brightest clothes out the drawer.
Kai Wes @kai__wes 79.9 k followers
Model, MTV cast member, gender-nonconforming merch maker, Kai Wes has a lot going on. They were part of the first-ever sexually fluid cast in the history of U.S TV and since then has used their own experiences to highlight the voices and culture of queer and trans folk. We’re extremely into the minimal, witty merch they produce under the label @genderelectic. Streetwear meets social conscience, yes please.
SOPHIE @sophie_msmsmsm 98.9k followers
A longtime collaborator with the likes of Charli XCX, Vince Staples and… uh, Madonna, SOPHIE was an artist who was usually in the wings, rather than centre stage. Since the release of her debut studio album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides a lot’s changed.
After coming out as trans, she’s continued to use her alternative, synth-heavy and sometimes abrasive pop to explore identity while challenging binarism and the sentiment that we shouldn’t cry. Her Instagram is currently quite bare (promoting a remix of the album), but keep an eye on those stories where the good shit happens.