Jenn Burleton was named an LGBTQ Nation Hometown Hero of the Year for her work as the founder and director of the Oregon-based TransActive Gender Project, which is part of the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. Her award was announced in an article by LGBTQ Nation on Oct. 8.
The TransActive Gender Project was founded in 2007 in order to provide a range of services and expertise to transgender and gender-expansive youth and their families in the Portland area. The project provides professional development training, offers support groups for kids and parents, and is committed to personal and public advocacy.
TransActive has assisted in the establishment of two gender identity clinics in Portland. These clinics provide services centered on the needs of pediatric patients, and have served more than 2,500 families in the areas of Portland and Vancouver, Washington. Additionally, TransActive has provided professional development training to over 25,000 individuals for a variety of professions, including those in healthcare, social services and education.
Burleton was nominated twice for the Hometown Hero award. Although the nominations were anonymous, Burleton was informed that one came from a 12-year-old transgender girl.
“Personally, knowing that I was nominated by a 12-year-old that we’ve helped in some way is actually a greater honor than the award itself,” Burleton said via email.
With that said, Burleton still feels incredibly honored by the award.
“The award itself, since it was from a national organization, means a great deal to me as recognition of the work the whole team at TransActive Gender Project does and has been doing for several years now,” Burleton said.
According to Burleton, receiving this award provides an opportunity for TransActive to gain recognition and visibility. Burleton hopes that the platform this award has given her will help the organization grow and expand its outreach to families and communities in need.
Looking forward, Burleton hopes that TransActive can continue to provide evidence-based professional development to counter anti-trans hate and disinformation that is spread on certain news networks, social media and even school board meetings in Oregon and nationwide.
TransActive is currently working on publishing a toolkit for educators titled “PK-12 From Policy to Practice” on how to create inclusive and affirming schools. They are also developing the first national graduate-level certificate program for working with gender-expansive youth and their families.
Burleton works to benefit all children, teens and adults through supporting transgender and gender-expansive individuals in a society that does not always view their gender identity and expression in a positive light. She encourages others to become advocates in their own communities.
“We can all be a ‘Hometown Hero’ every day simply by standing strong with our friends, family and other members of our community that are being marginalized and persecuted simply for living in their truth,” Burleton said.
If you are interested in the work being done by the TransActive Gender Project, contact the organization by email at email@example.com or visit their website at go.lclark.edu/transactive.