How Transgender Actress Angelica Ross Is Making LGBTQ History On 'Pose' & 'American Horror Story'

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Who Is Angelica Ross? 6 Facts About The Actress, Model & Transgender Activist

Angelica Ross, known for her work on "Pose" and "American Horror Story," was honored at The Root 100 gala at New York City’s Angel Orensanz Foundation space on Thursday, November 21 for her work as an actress and LGBTQIA+ activist.

“I’m so honored to be here in a time where I can stand here right now in the midst of this and know that I’m not just up here because I’m trans … [It’s because] I’m a [good] actress,” she said.

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The Root celebrated 10 years of being the leading online source of black thought, news, opinions, and excellence.

Ross closed out the ceremony by speaking about transgender issues and praising The Root for its ability to speak on these issues and to provide the LGBTQ community with an outlet. Ross is known for advocating for equal rights in the LGBTQ community by assisting them in achieving more equality and acceptance in today's society.

Who is Angelica Ross?

Read on to learn about actress and LGBTQ advocate Angelica Ross, and her powerful journey to success.

1. She’s the founder and CEO of TransTech

TransTech is a self-described "creative design firm that provides graphics, web development, and multimedia production," serving as "an incubator for LGBTQ Talent with a focus on economically empowering the T, transgender people, in our community."

Ross has noted that the company has helped changed the lives of trans people who have been discriminated against in the workforce.

“In our first year, we gave away 13 iMac computers, which changed 13 people’s lives," she said. "There was a black trans woman we helped who was chronically homeless and dealing with sex work and is now making six figures. A girl who volunteered with us from day one is now working in Washington, D.C., with a national trans organization.”

2. She hosted the national 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues

Ross joined GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis on the stage to question candidates on September 20 at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Before the event took place, Sarah Kate Ellis said, “It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage.”

3. She’s the first trans actor to land two series-regular roles

Ross made history by landing roles in two different series, both projects created by Ryan Murphy.

The two roles include Candy on FX’s series "Pose" (2018-2019), and Nurse Rita/Dee Dee in "American Horror Story: 1984."

“I always see these things not as coincidences, but as little nods from the universe, and sometimes it all depends on how aware I am — how quickly I pick up little signs and symbols that can put me at ease after a long-term commitment for an unknown and uncertain time. You never know when things are going to happen, or when opportunities are going to open up.”

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4. She enlisted in the military with the hope of becoming straight

When Ross came to the realization that she was gay, she felt completely trapped. Being raised by strict parents and a Christian upbringing meant that her family would not be receptive to her being gay, because that is not what they believed in.

Ross decided to enlist in the military hoping it would turn her straight, but her plan backfired.

Ross recalled attending a friend’s party in the barracks and being harassed by a man at the party, prompting her to admit that she was gay or else he would punch her. After she continuously denied the claims, she eventually caved and confessed, but the man dangled her out the window until she reaffirmed that he too was not gay.

The next day, Ross signed a document to voluntarily discharge under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy as “an admitted homosexual.”

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5. She began her transition at 19

After returning from her time in the military, Ross began her transition process at the age of 19.

She went on to work as a model and actress for several years, not sharing her gender status with anyone. Eventually, she confided in a gay booking agent who was willing to work with her discreetly.

6. Her mother was initially not receptive to her coming out as trans

During a recent appearance on "Black Women OWN the Conversation," Ross recalled that her mother was “definitely not accepting at all in the beginning.”

Her mother had strong Christian beliefs and felt that her being trans went against the Bible.

In a moving confession of sorts, her mother "admitted that she believed her daughter would go to hell and fell into a deep depression. At one point, she even advised her daughter to take her own life, threatening that if Ross didn’t do it, she would take hers instead."

After several years of strain in their relationship, the two worked to reconcile with each other.

After watching an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" about a woman who had lost her LGBTQ+ son, her mother realized she need to work things out with her child.

Now, Ross says, “My mother and I have a very loving and healed relationship."

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Elizabeth Ward is a writing student finishing her bachelor’s at the University of Louisville. She covers news, entertainment, relationships and everything in between.