GO Proudly Presents: 100 Women We Love, Class Of 2020

Andrea Jenkins

Photo by Brooke Ross Photography.

Writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist Andrea Jenkins became the first Black openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States after joining the Minneapolis City Council in 2018. She first fell in love with the state after moving to attend the University of Minnesota in 1979, where she was hired by the Hennepin County government for 10 years. Transitioning to the Minneapolis City Council, Jenkins spent 12 years as a staff member, working to strengthen support for transgender issues, earning a fellowship, and helping to establish the Transgender Issues Work Group in 2014. The same year, she organized a City Council summit with the intent to highlight the equity issues trans people in Minnesota face. For Jenkins, being proud has given her the chance to draw upon her own identities and experiences in the fight for others. “Being an open and out Black Trans woman has given me the freedom to speak up on behalf of my community with authenticity,” Jenkins tells GO. “I recognize the intersections of sexism and racism on a deeper level than some, and it gives me insights into supporting other marginalized communities.” After over a decade as a staff member in City Council, Jenkins transitioned into the role of curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota’s Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies. A nationally and internationally recognized writer and artist, Jenkins was granted the 2011 Bush Fellow to advance the work of transgender inclusion as well as numerous other awards and fellowships. In 2018, she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University. —IL

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