Monday, April 13, 2009

Jeanne Manford’s Activism Inspires a New Visionary Leader

In 1972, Jeanne Manford started an international movement when she marched with her son Mortie in New York’s Pride Parade carrying a sign that said, Parents of Gays: Unite in Support of Our Children. In that instant, Ms. Manford began meeting a need that had never been met before by effectively starting PFLAG’s critical work of supporting parents, families and friends of LGBT folks while educating a misinformed community and advocating for equality and fairness.

Thirty years later, Eli Green followed in Ms. Manford’s footsteps launching Trans-Academics.org, meeting a long overdue need for academics and activists alike by creating a dedicated space to all those who are interested in participating in the discussion of gender theory, the trans community and its various identities. As a measure of its success, Trans-Academics.org inspired the founding of a non-profit organization, the Association for Gender Research, Education, Academia and Action (AGREAA) - a professional development organization working towards bridging the gaps between academia and activism.

Tonight, AGREAA will accept the 2009 Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Award for a Visionary Leader for its flagship project, Trans-Academics.org. After nearly seven years online, and with over 1,000 registered members, and 50,000 unique website hits per year, Trans-Academics.org has certainly demonstrated its success - meeting a need for transgender, gender diverse and ally communities that is unparalleled. With the vision and leadership of Eli Green, the project’s continued success connects people working on trans-related research with other professionals working within the field. Three of its notable achievements include:

· Serving as the longest standing trans-specific academic community
· Providing a reference archive of over 1,600 trans-related publications
· Offering an engaging and dynamic professional development community via a listserve of over 500 people and growing.

Similar to Jeanne Manford’s pioneering civil rights activism, Trans-Academics.org continues to break new ground by connecting both academics and activists alike who share research, best practices and ideas on how to work in coalition to overcome gender-based oppression through the founding of AGREAA.

“We are honored to receive recognition for the efforts of Trans-Academics.org, particularly since such projects are often overlooked because of their virtual nature. Work like this website and resulting community shows how much can be accomplished with an idea, good timing, and ongoing dedication, and we are grateful to be recognized.” said Eli Green.

The Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held at American University in Washington, D.C. tonight at 5:30 p.m. For more information on Trans-Academics.org and other projects of AGREAA, please visit http://www.agreaa.org/.


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