I have some exciting news to share.
In December after 18 years as the Executive Director of NCTE, I let our Board of Directors know that I will not be renewing my contract.
I am happy to announce that NCTE's Deputy Executive Director Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen will succeed me as Executive Director this summer.
I’ve known Rigo for a long time and have had the pleasure to work alongside him and see up close his strong commitment to advocating for policy change for trans people. He’s been working with me on all of NCTE’s policy and communications efforts since he came to NCTE. He has been integral in our internal transformation over the last year as we’ve been on a deep racial justice journey, examining every facet of the organization, updating policies, and changing internal culture to foster a more just and diverse workplace where everyone can thrive. I look forward to witnessing the continued growth of NCTE under his leadership. You can read more about the changes we’ve been making here.
While it is so hard to say goodbye to this organization that I love so much, I could not be happier that NCTE’s board of directors has selected him to be the organization’s next leader.
When we founded NCTE in 2003, trans people didn't have a voice in Washington. As a trans person, I just knew that was wrong. It made me want to advocate for trans people and it made me want to empower others to be advocates and allies. Back then we all agreed that neither NCTE nor I should be the only representative of our community. And today there are many trans voices a part of important conversations.
I am so proud when I reflect on what we have done together to pass federal legislation, advance better ID laws, increase health care access, and completely change how the government and society sees us.
And together, we have established an LGBTQ movement that truly includes trans people and prioritizes our lives to this day.
Indeed, we have kicked open every door in Washington and state capitals for trans people to be seen and heard at every policy table.
Our work now is as important as ever as we work to pass the Equality Act, fight for trans youth, and end all forms of disrespect, discrimination, and violence that hold trans people back. Discrimination in all its forms endangers trans people. Now we must continue the work to improve policies and change trans lives.
I am extremely proud of these accomplishments. To sit where I am now seeing all the progress that’s been made, that I got to play a part in-- we’ve created this trans movement, we’ve created this LGBTQ movement, that means together we have made a real difference.
For that, I thank you for this journey.
...and not to worry, you will not be rid of me just yet!
There is still time to join us next Wednesday, March 31 at 7 pm ET at the 2021 Trans Equality Now Awards.
Visit here to purchase tickets. The awards will be a fun celebration and all for a good cause.
I will also have the opportunity to speak more about all that NCTE has meant to me, give many needed thank yous, and pass the flag to Rodrigo as we hear his vision as he takes the role of NCTE’s next leader.
I look forward to seeing you next week.
Thank you for all you have done to make NCTE the powerful organization that it is.
Mara Keisling, Executive Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality