‘The T Word’ One Year Later: Here’s How These Young Trans People Are Making A Difference

T Word One Year Later

One year ago, Laverne Cox's Emmy-winning documentary 'The T Word' aired on MTV. The emotional, enlightening tour de force profiled several young transgender people, chronicling their personal journeys to living their truths.


In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, MTV News caught up with 'T Word' stars Daniella Carter, Shane Henise and Zoey Luna to find out what's changed in just one year.

Daniella Carter

Ryan Lash/TED via Daniella Carter

In 'The T Word,' Daniella recounted the events that occurred after being raped in New York City -- namely, that hospital workers didn't give her proper care because they thought she might be a sex worker.

MTV: How has life for you changed since 'The T-Word' aired one year ago?

DC: It feels like just yesterday that I was crying at the premier of 'The T Word' because I was telling my truth and sharing it with family, friends, community members and the world. ... I have gotten engaged, I have been given the opportunity to speak for my community at venues near and far, I have seen a world so far from the struggles I lived with as a child.

I was free from trauma, abuse, and violence I encountered as a child; I was free to be free, to be me, Daniella Carter.

This past June, I was lucky enough to move to New Mexico and get access to necessary trans-related health care, which was something I had struggled long and hard with before. Today I can say that being 100% happy with who I am and 110% happy with who I hope to be is my blessing.

o novo que é tão corvo

I know that 2.5 million of my sisters and brothers are walking the walk and sleeping on the very streets I called home. To know that not only do I have a place to call home, but that I have a family that loves and accepts me, and a future of endless possibilities, reminds me how lucky I am to overcome my adversities.

Paul Young toda vez que você vai embora

MTV: How have you become more involved in activism?

DC: I have given speeches at local, national and international events, including panel discussions with political leaders and dignitaries. I continued to motivate youth to achieve their goals and develop tools to overcome their adversities. I also was recognized on the 2015 Trans 100 list.

I collaborated with Miss Universe and others to share our experiences overcoming homelessness. In addition, I got the opportunity to work with various celebrities to raise awareness of LGBTQIA youth homelessness. I shared my experience at the Humans Rights Campaign 'Time to Thrive Conference' for LGBTQIA youth. I attended the White House annual emerging leaders day, highlighting 100 black leaders. I recently became a Human Rights foundation Youth Ambassador.

I can’t even believe I'm saying this, but I have also given two TEDX speeches, and I spoke at the first historic TED TALK LIVE Event on Broadway here in NYC. I’m proud to say that we have come a long way in terms of what freedom and love looks like, but we can't forget that we have a long way to go. We are at the beginning of creating affirmative and inclusive communities for all trans folks and anyone who decides to be different.

Shane Henise

Shane Henise

At the time 'The T Word' aired, Shane was a college student.

MTV: How has life for you changed since 'The T Word' aired one year ago?

SH: I could have never envisioned how 'The T Word' would change my life, but I am so fortunate for all of the opportunities I have been given since then.

To begin, I graduated from my undergraduate institution Magna Cum Laude and in August I began a graduate program at Teachers College, Columbia University. I am now working towards a Masters of Education in Psychological Counseling. I moved to New York City and have begun doing the work I am most passionate about. I am currently serving as the Trans Media intern at GLAAD, where I am not only creating media but also uplifting people’s voices and monitoring current media outlets.

In being a part of 'The T-Word,' I realized that I love media work! Since the premiere I have been featured in more videos, web series, lectures, and even shot a music video. I am currently signed with one of the first trans modeling agencies, Trans Models NYC.

MTV: How have you become more involved in activism?

SH: Even when 'The T Word' premiered, I had been involved in activism, but now I devote my every day to making situations better for the trans community. Working with GLAAD has been an amazing experience where I am able to advocate for my community on a daily basis.

I have gotten connected with the Trans community here in the city and have been able to meet so many influential people doing the work. Recently I launched a photo campaign with GLAAD highlighting the experiences of transgender microaggressions, which was prompted by the publication of my first academic article. I am working both in front of and behind the camera to ensure that trans stories are told from a truthful, honest and authentic place.

Zoey Luna

Senhor Huron, confins da terra
Zoey Luna

A year ago, Zoey was 12 years old and living in L.A. with her mom, whose support of her daughter is unwavering.

MTV: How has life for you changed since 'The T-Word' aired one year ago?

ZH: For me, life after 'The T Word' has made me much more confident, and much more proud to be transgender.

MTV: How have you become more involved in activism?

ZH: Before 'The T Word,' I was already involved in activism. But today, I do much bolder things, such as speaking to huge crowds about family support and transgender issues. I also have done a couple of magazines, such as the November issue of Seventeen Magazine . I also was able to participate in the SOMOS LOUD national multi-platform campaign. You check it out at somosloud.org .