As some of you know, I have recently decided to transition from my role as Executive Director for Gender Justice League (GJL). It has been an honor and privilege to help lead this organization for the last 10 years. Reflecting on how far we have come, I remember our earliest meetings in 2012 at the height of the marriage equality campaign, and seeing a deep need for a trans-specific advocacy and human rights organization.
What an amazing 10 years it has been! We launched Trans Pride Seattle in 2013 on a hope and a prayer that we could create a hallmark event for the community to rally around, to see ourselves, and to celebrate our beauty and resistance. While COVID put a damper on it last year, I’m excited that we are yet again planning our 9th Trans Pride Seattle! It is a monumental undertaking, but one that makes me proud of our community.
Over the years GJL has helped to not only defeat 6 anti-trans bills in the legislature and two ballot measure attempts—we also fought relentlessly to expand health insurance coverage for transition related care far beyond any other state. It has been an honor to partner with so many amazing organizations, community members, and elected officials to help drive our state closer to justice and equity for trans and gender diverse people. When we launched the SafeHouse program in 2018 with our own office, it was exciting for me to see us adding mutual aid support to our set of programs, knowing how deep our collective community need is.
Navigating COVID these past two years has taken a particularly grueling toll on many of us. As a mom, as a community leader, and as an activist, it has been a daily battle to prevent burnout. In the last year I’ve faced immense family and health challenges of my own, which has made leading Gender Justice League at a time of such urgent need in our communities particularly difficult. It saddens me to have to step away, but I remain steadfastly committed to GJL’s work and future.
I want to thank each of you who might be reading this letter—thank you for your support over the years. Gender Justice League has relied greatly on the hundreds of volunteers, donors, community partners, and supporters to achieve so much for our community. Thank you for teaching me, being patient with me, and elevating my leadership helping to make my dream of being of service to our community come true.
As Gender Justice League moves into a new phase after 10 years, I know that the board, staff, and new Executive Director will propel us all forward into a better future.
I will always have a place in my heart for GJL and all of the thousands of people who helped us to achieve so much over the last 10 years.
With deep gratitude,
Elayne K. Wylie