These activists are changing the narrative around trans rights

Here are the recipients of a new grant that’s changing the future for transgender people.

Since 2020, Pop Culture Collaborative’s Becoming America Fund has been supporting trailblazing social change practitioners using pop culture content to ignite passion, instill curiosity, and drive change in our society. With a multimillion-dollar fund amplifying the work of artists, producers, movement organizations, and cultural organizers, the Becoming America Fund has over 120 grantees to date. Now, in its fourth iteration, the Becoming American Fund has selected a new crew of trailblazers, and this time, there’s an emphasis on impacting trans futures.

Previous cycles of the Becoming America Fund supported grantees under one “Big Sky” network of multigenerational changemakers driving cultural change. This time around, that network was split into fiver smaller ones, focusing on Pluralist Visionaries, Democracy & Society, Reproductive Justice, Truth Seekers, and Trans Futurists. Now, there’s a cadre of trans and nonbinary visionaries, including Chase StrangioHope GiselleImara JonesGeena RoceroJordyn Jay, and Ty Defoe, changing the narrative around trans people through innovative advocacy and storytelling.

“At the Pop Culture Collaborative, we’re firm believers that achieving a just and pluralist society in the U.S. requires collaborative efforts between social justice movements, pop culture storytellers, cultural strategists, researchers, and funders,” Bridgit Antoinette Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Pop Culture Collaborative, said in a press release. “Through initiatives like Becoming America, we’re investing in exceptional artists, producers, and cultural strategists ready to create transformative storytelling that challenges toxic narratives and fosters a culture of democracy across the nation. The stories we tell now will define the nation we will become.”

The Pop Culture Collaborative “centers the innovation of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), immigrant, and Muslim creators, organizers, strategists, and influencers, especially those who are women, trans, nonbinary, queer, and disabled.” A first-of-its-kind philanthropic fund, Pop Culture Collaborative was founded in 2016 in collaboration with philanthropic foundations such as, Unbound Philanthropy, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Now, the Pop Culture Collaborative has supported groundbreaking projects from Barbie stars Issa Rae (Color Creative) and America Ferrera (Harness organization), as well Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Alliance, which supported the critically acclaimed film, Origin

Learn more about the new Trans Futurist grantees below:

  • Imara Jones, an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning creator, leads TransLash Media, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization that tells trans stories to save trans lives. Recognized by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People” in 2023, Imara hosts the TransLash and “Anti-Trans Hate Machine” podcasts. She was the first trans person honored by the National Black Journalists Association and was named among Politico’s “Power Players” in 2022. Imara is a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, Soros Equality Fellow, and Pop Culture Collaborative Pluralist Visionary.
  • Geena Rocero born and raised in the Philippines, is a four-time Emmy nominated producer, writer, director, and trans liberation activist based in New York City. She is the author of award-winning memoir Horse Barbie and recently directed and executive produced “Caretakers”, a four-part original documentary series with PBS featuring stories of Filipino American frontline healthcare workers. She is a 2023 Glamour Woman of The Year, recipient of The A1 Award in Gold House’s A100 List of the most impactful AAPIs, and named as one of OUT100’s most impactful and influential LGBTQ People.
  • Chase Strangio is a lawyer and activist at the forefront of the national legal battle for trans people’s civil rights. As the Deputy Director for Transgender Justice and staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), he combines legal advocacy with multimedia education, helping the public understand critical political and legal issues. Chase has also received acclaim for his documentary work, short-form videos, and essays.
  • Hope Giselle is a writer and community organizer known for blending in-person rallies, direct community support, and legislative campaigning to expand the conversations around reproductive justice, gender inclusion in the workplace, and more. With connections spanning from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to the Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network, Hope is skilled at building genuine networks with deep community roots.
  • Ty Defoe is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe and Oneida Grammy-winning performance artist, activist, and writer. From Broadway stages to rural communities, digital spaces to oral histories, Ty’s powerful multidisciplinary work interweaves Native futurism, decolonial approaches, Indigiqueer theory, and climate justice. 
  • Jordyn Jay is a community organizer, arts advocate, and producer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Collective (BTFA). Through BTFA, Jordyn organizes programming that centers and highlights Black trans femme artists, executive produces projects led by Black trans femme artists, and provides direct support to Black trans artists.

Learn more about Pop Culture Collaborative and the rest of the Becoming America Fund grantees at

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