Deaf and Trans Activism: Chella Man

Deaf and Trans Activism: Chella Man

Photo from MED-EL


Trans, genderqueer, Deaf, Jewish Chinese artist, activist, and author Chella Man has been combating gender norms and sharing his experience online for years. With 400k followers on Instagram and 260k subscribers on Youtube, he often posts photos and videos of his creative process making art, dealing with dysphoria, and his experience as a disabled person. 

Chella Man launched a ‘series’ on his youtube channel almost three years ago to document his transition. His videos feature talks about genderqueerness, taking testosterone, and conversations with his partner MaryV. 

In an interview with L’Officiel Art two years ago, he talked about the importance of being able to freely express himself on social media, “Instead of waiting for big corporations to decide which faces to bring to public attention, we can all represent ourselves by posting a selfie or sharing an experience on Instagram.” 

He has been at the forefront of a movement for years, advocating for the lives of trans and Deaf lives, as well as working to uplift the voice of others in marginalized communities.

I am able to speak up but I never want to be the voice of anything. If you have a unique story, it’s important to share it,” he told L’Officiel Art.

Chella Man was the first Deaf and trans-masculine model to be signed by IMG Models in 2018 and has worked in campaigns for GAP, Calvin Klein, and America Eagle. 

On his website, he posts an array of things, from paintings, sketches, and photography to tattoo designs and homemade films. He has held multiple art exhibitions and painted public murals, including a mural in New York depicting ‘BLACK DISABLED TRANS LIVES MATTER’ in American Sign Language which he shared on his Instagram. 

Most recently he published his first book, Continuum as part of the Pocket Change Collective. There he dabbles on his experience as a Deaf trans person of color and his journey of self-acceptance and discovery. 

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