National transgender rights group appoints new executive director
Chicago, IL – The National Center for Transgender Equality, also known as NCTE, has appointed longtime lawyer Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen as executive director. He replaced founding executive director Mara Keisling, who helped make NCTE one of the leading transgender advocacy groups in the United States.
Keisling said of his successor: “I have known Rigo for a long time and have been honored to work alongside him and see first hand his firm commitment to advocate for policy change for trans people. has worked with me on all NCTE policy and communications efforts since joining NCTE. “
Even before marriage equality became established law in the United States, transgender advocates struggled to bring public attention to trans discrimination at all levels of society. Even within the LGBTQ community, trans issues were seen as overlooked and neglected.
“When we founded NCTE in 2003, trans people had no voice in Washington. As a trans person, I knew that was wrong,” Keisling said. “It made me want to stand up for trans people and it made me want to empower others to be advocates and allies. At the time, we all agreed that neither the Neither NCTE nor I should be the only representative of our community. And today there are a lot of trans voices. Part of the important conversations. “
NCTE has helped organize one of the most comprehensive clearinghouses on transgender issues: aging and older people, non-discrimination in employment, housing and homelessness, immigration, policing and prisons, young people, among others. They took on the role of one of the chief educators on behalf of the community, lobbying for transgender protection at municipal, state and federal levels of government.
“Our work is now more important than ever as we work to pass the equality law, fight for trans youth and end all forms of disrespect, discrimination and violence that hold back trans people.” , Keisling said. “Discrimination in all its forms puts trans people at risk. Now we must continue to work to improve policies and change trans lives. “
Stewardship is one of Heng-Lehtinen’s first acts as executive director. He asked the defenders for additional financial support through a crowdfunding effort.