Life can be hard as a trans person in the United States when so many bills seek to take away your rights. Fighting back against all of that can be exhausting when you just want to be able to exist, and it can feel hopeless or like you can’t make real change yourself. If Rebekah Bruesehoff was confronted by those feelings, she didn’t let it show, and has been a powerful and important voice advocating for trans rights since the age of 10.
Rebekah Bruesehoff knew who she was from a very early age, but finding the right way to express that was its own challenge. Bruesehoff’s parents were supportive of her liking traditionally feminine-coded things, but it wasn’t until later that she was able to articulate her gender identity. Not that much later, however, as Rebekah Bruesehoff socially transitioned at just 8 years old with the support of medical professionals and her loving family.
At the age of 10, Rebekah apparently received a rude awakening to the reality that trans people face in the wider world in 2017. Upon hearing that the Trump administration was rescinding the protections that trans students had in schools, including the ability to use the correct bathrooms, Rebekah’s mother, Jamie Bruesehoff, reached out to New Jersey’s biggest LGBTQ+ organization, Garden State Equality, to volunteer as a speaker at their rally, and Rebekah ended up joining in as well. At 10 years old, Rebekah Bruesehoff stood up in front of 200 people and explained why these protections were necessary for transgender students. That same day, she went viral for a photo of her holding a sign at the rally that you’ve probably seen before, reading “I’m The Scary Transgender Person The Media Warned You About.”
Since then, it’s clear that Rebekah Bruesehoff has never looked back. Bruesehoff’s father is a Lutheran pastor and Rebekah became the first openly trans person to speak at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Youth Gathering to an audience of over 30,000. If that wasn’t enough, she also testified before the New Jersey state legislature in favor of a bill that would require schools to include the history and accomplishments of LGBTQ+ in their teaching.
If you think that all of this sounds like the work of a superhero, then you’ll find that you’re in agreement with Marvel. Rebekah was chosen as one of the young people to be selected for Marvel’s Hero Project. Lifting up people that have “dedicated their lives to selfless acts of bravery and kindness,” the project tells their stories and makes them official heroes in the Marvel Universe. Rebekah Bruesehoff (or “The Mighty Rebekah”) features in Marvel’s Hero Project episode 5, which you can stream now on Disney+.
Rebekah Bruesehoff has continued to speak out for LGBTQ+ rights through her advocacy and activism. In addition to speaking out publicly, she has written opinion pieces for major publications and has co-authored the book A Kids Book About Being Inclusive. Her website does take the time to highlight that she doesn’t spend all of her life working to push back against harmful legislation, and in her downtime, she does have a passion for musical theater, dance, and field hockey. All in all, Rebekah Bruesehoff is a perfect fit for INTO’s 25 Under 25, and definitely one to watch.
You can find Rebekah Bruesehoff on Twitter, Instagram, and her website.