Mara Keisling is the founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. A trans woman and a parent, Keisling is one of the country’s leading voices for transgender rights and has appeared in many prominent media outlets promoting the organization, which she helped found in 2003.
It’s a big season for the group. This week, the Center celebrated its eighth year anniversary. Keisling’s work with the Center has involved several prominent achievements including the first-ever trans-inclusive federal legislation, modification of State Department rules for changing gender markers on passports and the first congressional hearing on transgender issues. She has also lobbied for a trans-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that has languished in Congress for years.
Prior to her work with the Center, Keisling was a public health social marketing and opinion researcher. She also taught government as an adjunct faculty member at George Mason and Marymount universities. Keisling started transitioning in 1999. Keisling is a graduate of Penn State University and did her graduate work at Harvard University in American Government. She is a founding board member of the Stonewall Democracy Fund, and has served on the board of Directors of Common Roads, an LGBTQ youth group, and on the steering committee of the Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition.