Women We Love 2022: Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins

by Rich Ryan

“I had worked in municipal government for many years,” Andrea Jenkins tells GO, “never really considering running [for office] myself, but in 2016, when America elected an orange reality-TV host as our president, I understood immediately that cities would be the last line of defense for protecting democracy.” So Jenkins ran for a seat on the Minneapolis City Council and, in 2017, became the first out Black trans woman elected to office in the country. With a keen understanding of the position she holds, Jenkins hopes to inspire the next generation of LGBTQ+ politicians. She also knows the statistics: only 10% of known LGBTQ+ elected officials are Black, according to the Victory Fund, and only two of those officials are Black trans women. This knowledge impacts all the work Jenkins does. As a politician, her goals are to create a national memorial to victims of police violence and brutality; ensure “a ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ process that is real, authentic and translates into reparations;” and guarantee the existence of a comprehensive process to address racism as a public health issue. In addition to being a politician and trans activist, Jenkins, who earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University, is also a published writer and poet. Being a woman heavily informs her political decisions and processes. “It has provided me the lived experience to speak out on issues that create negative outcomes for marginalized communities, and the strength to stand strong and fight for equity for all.” –AB

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