Name: Mara Keisling
Hometown: Washington, DC
Occupation: Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
Why I Found Her at Creating Change:
Like many seasoned activists, Mara returns to Creating Change for an annual recharge. She loves the opportunity to meet new people (LIKE ME!), learn a lot, and also share the work that she’s been doing. During a Saturday session, she joined leaders from a number of other advocacy organizations to discuss, “WTF is Going On with Congress?”
Mara brings a wealth of experience as Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an organization in its seventh year of advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration, and empowerment. While Mara’s speaking out on behalf of the trans community, the NCTE website hosts a wealth of resources related to trans issues, such as guides to legislation, documentation, and even emergency preparedness. I personally encourage all my readers to take some time to peruse the NCTE page, because you might be surprised to see all the issues that are uniquely important to the trans community that rarely get visibility from the larger LGBT organizations.
Mara thinks it’s important to give back to a community that has taken such good care of her:
Queer people are people. If I can help, it feels really good.
What She’d Change in America:
I think that often, the simplest answers are the most profound. I always ask my interviewees what one thing they’d change in America if they could, because I want to provide an opportunity for them to discuss issues that are important to them. Mara’s response was poignant, and I want to share it in its entirety:
People would be nicer to each other.
People should be nicer to each other.
Ugh, Mara looks so much hotter in that picture than I do!