Ashlee Marie Preston
Ashlee Marie Preston
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Known for||American media personality, journalist, activist|
Ashlee Marie Preston is an American media personality, journalist and activist, the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and the first openly trans person to run for state office in California. Originally from Kentucky, she moved to Los Angeles and began transitioning at age 19. She first rose to public attention after publicly confronting Caitlyn Jenner over her support for the Trump administration. She contributed her writing to a number of publications, and been recognized for her activism by various media organizations and companies. She is active in the Los Angeles trans community, and is a member of multiple community organizations, including serving as the chair of communications and media sponsorship with group Los Angeles Pride, and as a community outreach member with the Human Rights Campaign.
Preston, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, left her home town at age 19, moving to Los Angeles where she transitioned, and experienced a period of homelessness and sex work. She began doing drugs and was sexually assaulted. Speaking to Vice, "the drugs were a social lubricant that numbed my conscious to the demoralizing things that were done to me out of survival. It all went hand in hand."
Preston rose to public prominence after confronting Caitlyn Jenner during an event at the Trans Chorus of L.A. in 2017. A video of the event, which included Preston calling Jenner a "fucking fraud" over her support of US president Donald Trump, went viral online. Preston later resigned from the Trans Chorus citing concerns over the groups mission "on paper" verses their "active mission". In a subsequent interview with TMZ, she expressed concern about the alignment of those such as Jenner along with Harvey Levin, who she saw as supporting a political agenda which was antagonistic of the LGBTQ community. As she told The Huffington Post, "I’m not saying you can’t be an LGBTQ+ identified Republican; I’m saying that you don’t get to access safe spaces that are designated for those of us your political efforts have harmed."
In 2017 Preston was appointed as the first trans-gender editor of the feminist publication Wear Your Voice. She is also highly involved in the local trans community in Los Angeles, and has served with the Transgender Service Provider Network of Los Angeles, as chair of communications and media sponsorship with group L.A. Pride, and as a community outreach member with the Human Rights Campaign. She is the host of the podcast REVRY Studio’s SHOOK with Ashlee Marie Preston, which covers topics related to discrimination, and she has contributed her writing to outlets such as Teen Vogue and Vice. Preston appeared on The Root's list of 100 most influential African-Americans in 2017.
Preston has advocated for the online hashtag #ThriveOver35, highlighting the average life expectancy of black trans women in the US. She popularized the campaign by commissioning a cake for her 34th birthday bearing the images of 77 black transgender women who were murdered before reaching age 35. She also lead a movement to boycott the radio show The Breakfast Club, after host Charlamagne tha God "appeared to goad comedian Lil Duval into making statements about killing trans women". She, along with Patrisse Cullors of the Black Lives Matter movement went on to disrupt an event featuring Charlamagne tha God at Politicon in protest.
Preston announced in 2018 she would run for election in California's 54th State Assembly district, a seat vacated by the retirement of Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, making her the first openly trans statewide candidate in the history of California. She later withdrew from the race, but did not provide immediate specifics behind her decision to drop out. In an interview with The Daily Beast, she stated she "had insufficient time to mount the type of campaign needed for an insurgent, unconventional candidacy such as hers."
Awards and honors
- The Root's 100 most influential African Americans of 2017
- PopSugar's 2017 top 40 LGBTQs
- Logo TV's NewNowNext 30 Most Influential LGBTQ Influencers of 2017 & 2018
- OUT Magazine's OUT100 of 2018
- Coca-Cola’s Next Generation LGBTQ Leadership influencers of 2018
- Bell, Whitney (January 31, 2018). "Ashlee Marie Preston Opens Up About Experiencing Homelessness, and Coming Out as Transgender". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Blum, Steven (August 7, 2017). "The Woman Who's Making History as the Black, Trans Editor in Chief of a Publication". Vice Media. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Blum, Steven Blum (October 20, 2017). "'We Bring It on Ourselves': The Myths Silencing LGBTQ Sexual Assault Victims". Vice. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Nichols, James Michael (August 29, 2017). "Trans Activist Confronts Caitlyn Jenner: 'You're A F***ing Fraud'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Michelson, Noah (September 2, 2017). "TMZ Gets Schooled By Trans Activist Who Confronted Caitlyn Jenner". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Ennis, Dawn (February 9, 2018). "Historic Trans-Activist Drops Her California Campaign Bid". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Grasso, Samantha (June 29, 2017). "Feminist publication makes history by appointing black trans woman as editor-in-chief". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Preston, Ashlee Marie (March 19, 2018). "Hope Hicks Isn't a Victim". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Preston, Ashlee Marie (October 24, 2018). "My Struggles with LGBTQ+ Nonprofits as a Black Trans Woman". Vice. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- "The Root 100 - The Most Influential African Americans In 2017". The Root. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
- Ramanand, Elizabeth (June 15, 2018). "Ashlee Marie Preston Spends Birthday Honoring Trans Women Who Were Murdered". Ebony. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Mock, Janet (July 31, 2017). "Dear Men of "The Breakfast Club": Trans Women Aren't a Prop, Ploy, or Sexual Predators". Allure. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Hill, Zahara (January 3, 2018). "Trans Journalist Who Slammed Caitlyn Jenner Is Running for Office". Ebony. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Gerami, Vic (January 28, 2019). "10 Questions with Ashlee Marie Preston". Get Out! Magazine. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Rawles, Timothy. "Trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston withdraws from race for CA State Assembly seat". San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- "The Root 100 2017". The Root. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
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