Sarah Paulson, RuPaul and Gavin Grimm among the most influential people in the world
The TIME 100, the magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people, this year includes LGBT activists and celebrities Gavin Grimm, RuPaul and Sarah Paulson.
Barry Jenkins, who won the Oscar for best director for the gay-themed Moonlight – which took home eight Academy Awards in total, including best film – has also made the list.
Grimm, a 17-year-old student in Virginia, was thrust into the global spotlight after filing a lawsuit against his school so he could use a gender-appropriate bathroom.
The student is suing the Gloucester County School Board – who ordered him to use a toilet corresponding with his “biological gender” – with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, arguing that the policy violates his right to freedom from discrimination.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a request from Grimm’s attorneys asking for a May hearing in order to achieve a ruling before the teenager graduates.
However, the impact of Grimm and his landmark case was shown by his invitation to speak at the US Congress earlier this month.
During his appearance, Grimm condemned President Trump’s decision to roll back protections for trans students, saying: “The guidance had a very simple message: treat trans students with dignity and respect them for who they are.
“The decision to withdraw the guidance sent a terrible message to some of the most vulnerable people.”
Adding that he was “so disappointed” with the move, he said: “Actions speak far louder than words, and the message sent with this action could not have been more damaging for trans youth.”
Speaking to local publication Daily Press, the teenager said: “It’s inconceivable. I still haven’t really registered it.
“To have a place immortalised through time, literally, and in the sense of the publication, is such an honour.
“To have a transgender youth activist on a list of influential people is a hugely important step forward for transgender advocacy.
“It sends the message that the story is being told and the message is being heard.”
Janet Mock, a trans author who has worked tirelessly for trans equality, wrote in his profile that “Gavin is the cherubic face of a reductive, dirty debate about trans people’s right to exist in public spaces without hostility, harassment and violence.”
She added that Grimm’s case, which will now not be heard before he graduates, “has implications that extend far beyond bathrooms.
“It’s about a greater sense of belonging for us all—at school, at home and in our neighborhoods and places of work and worship.
“So many are made to feel as if they should hide, pretend or perish. Gavin’s refusal to be treated unjustly is an enduring reminder that we will not be stayed.”
Paulson, who came out in 2005 when she kissed her then-partner Cherry Jones as she went up to accept her Tony, had an incredible year.
She won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark in The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Cate Blanchett, writing for TIME, called her “unique and unboxable,” adding that Paulson “has been at the forefront of a generation of women who are changing the landscape of the film and television industry.
“When I first met her, on the set of Carol, I was floored by her buoyancy, her irreverence, her left-field sense of humour and her devotion to her craft,” she continued.
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The star also got married in January, on the 23rd anniversary of when he met his now-husband Georges LeBar.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell praised RuPaul’s “wit and his intelligence – he’s like an encyclopaedia. And his beauty is far beyond skin-deep.”
She added that it was “incredible what he’s done for the drag queens who compete on that show – bringing them out, introducing them to a mainstream audience and letting them be proud of who they are and what they want to be.
“I am blessed to know Ru. We all are.”