Last September, transgender activist and model Munroe Bergdorf made headlines when her straight talk about racism cost her a coveted campaign with L’Oreal. But Bergdorf hasn’t let the experience silence her; in fact, she’s allowed it to further fuel her openness about the myriad issues affecting black people, women, and the queer and transgender communities.

So when Bergdorf recently sat down with The Glow Up to discuss her new BBC documentary, What Makes a Woman, we expected her to give us the real on her journey through gender dysphoria and how she’s now leveraging her growing platform and activism. But we received so much more as Bergdorf graciously took the time to educate us on how those of us who claim to be allies of the LGBTQIA+ community—in particular the trans community—can truly help save lives.

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In a month when we proudly celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, Bergdorf’s words were a sobering reminder that for trans women of color, the battle against homophobia, toxic masculinity and violence wages on—and it’s literally a matter of life and death. Most important, her honesty was a reminder that until all of us are free to live without fear, none of us will be.

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