Munroe Bergdorf on feminism and finding strength every day

As part of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, we’re highlighting women who are being bold for change and making a difference in the world.

Transgender DJ, actor and activist Munroe Bergdorf is championing an intersectional approach to feminism that goes beyond gender, and is working hard to fight for trans rights. We caught up with her to find out more…

Who is one woman you really admire? And why?

I'm a huge lifelong fan of Cyndi Lauper. Both her music and her work as a human rights activist has inspired and shaped me as a person. Seeing her example of being so accepting of all people, no matter who you are, to fight for what's right and just, definitely had a massive impact on my formative years. Time After Time still always gives me butterflies with every play.

What do you do to prepare when you need to feel confident?

Solitude. I have to be alone and away from distractions. Lighting candles, applying a face mask, bath bombs… Self care plays a big part in how I keep things in perspective.

When have you been proud of yourself for being bold?

You know what, every single day I am proud of myself, that I have the courage and strength to be my true self on the inside as well as out. I live my life as authentically as I can and that isn't always met with a great reception. So yes, sometimes I look back and think, “Three years ago, I would never have had the confidence to be doing this.” It may even be the smallest of things, but those mini victories all add up to make up the bigger picture. 

Who in your life do you respect for being bold for change?

My mother inspires me all the time. As I've gotten older, I've come to realise that my parents are only human. That they have had to sacrifice HUGELY so that I can have what I have today. Time after time I see my Mum put others before herself.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to try and understand that their child was born into the wrong body, it must have been so hard to process. But she did. It wasn't always smooth sailing, but she's human and it took that period of time for me to realise that. Parents are not all seeing, all knowing deities, they're humans who have to sacrifice parts of themselves to give you life, sometimes you have to cut them a little slack.

Exclusionary forms of feminism just aren't going to cut it at this point in time

What one thing would you most like to see change to help improve gender equality in your society today? 

People need to understand that feminism must be intersectional. You cannot call for your own liberation if it excludes or oppresses others who have less privilege to that of your own. I'm doing what I feel everyone should be doing - thinking outside our own existences and needs.

More women who want to see change need to think more about how their actions affect others, we need to lift each other up, exclusionary forms of feminism just aren't going to cut it at this point in time. A united front is what we need.

Follow us on Instagram to see more of our International Women's Day portraits and let us know which amazing women you're celebrating this week.

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