Eli Erlick

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Eli Erlick
Erlick in 2015
Born (1995-07-10) July 10, 1995 (age 22)
Willits, California
Occupation Director of Trans Student Educational Resources
Known for Transgender activist, writer
Website www.elierlick.com

Eli Erlick (born July 10, 1995) is an American transgender activist, writer, and director of Trans Student Educational Resources.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Eli Erlick was born on July 10, 1995. Her parents met while protesting, which she cites as a background behind her community work. She is of Jewish heritage and grew up in the rural community of Willits, California.[4][5] She reported telling her rural community members she was a girl at age 8, leading her to become a victim of assault, isolation, and violence. She was allegedly not allowed to use public restrooms for six years.

At age 13, she transitioned to female. She decided to keep her birth name in order not to hide who she was as so many other transgender people did at the time. She quickly became present in media through legal advocacy, writing, and co-founding the organization Trans Student Educational Resources at age 16.[6] She attended Pitzer College in Claremont from 2013 to 2016, where she graduated early with honors.[7]


Erlick cites starting her activism at age 15, in 2010, when she became a board member for a local LGBTQ youth conference. She first became public in media over a year later while advocating for California's School Success and Opportunity Act, the first state bill to protect transgender students.[1] Erlick co-founded Trans Student Educational Resources, an organization "dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment."[8]

While advocating for comprehensive admissions rules for trans students at women's colleges, she spoke about the importance of remaining skeptical of all policy work.[9][10] In 2015, Erlick published an article on why equality should not be the goal of the transgender movement.[11] For her organizing, Erlick has been recognized in The New York Times, Refinery29, and The Advocate among other publications.[12][9] In 2016, Teen Vogue named her a New Face of Feminism for her work.[13]

In 2015, she led national efforts with Trans Student Educational Resources to admit trans women at women's colleges. She also co-authored Trans Student Educational Resources' model policy for admissions of trans students at women's colleges.[14][15]

Erlick additionally co-founded Trans Youth Leadership Summit, a project run through Trans Student Educational Resources and the only national fellowship program in the United States for transgender youth. Several of its fellows have gone on to become prominent media advocates, scholars, and organizers since its launch in Summer 2016.[16][17]

In 2017, she began publicly advocating for self-expression of gender-nonconforming transgender women. [18]

Trans Student Educational Resources[edit]

In 2011, at age 16,[1] Erlick co-founded Trans Student Educational Resources, an organization "dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment."[19] She taught herself web programming at age 8, which allowed her to code TSER's web site when she was 15. It is the only national organization led by transgender youth and, according to Erlick, TSER is best known for its media work and youth activist trainings. She is currently the director of the organization. It is one of the largest transgender organizations in the United States.[3][20]

Academic career[edit]

Erlick has published numerous scholarly articles focusing on political philosophy, social movements, and transgender communities.[21][22][23] In 2017, Glamour Magazine named her College Woman of the Year, the first trans woman to receive the honor in its 60-year history.[24] She is currently a doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the prominent Feminist Studies Department researching the political philosophy of social movements alongside other interdisciplinary topics.[25] She has stated she intends on teaching gender studies and political theory.[26]


While writing on transgender identity, Erlick also published in numerous fashion and culture publications including Teen Vogue and Glamour magazine regarding transgender and queer aesthetics. In an interview with Yahoo News, Erlick expressed she felt social pressure to dress femininely based on the widespread conflation of gender identity and gender expression despite wanting to dress more masculinely. Several publications have named Erlick a fashion icon for her unique style.[4][27]

Personal life[edit]

In fall 2017, Erlick began a Ph.D. program in the renowned Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she researches the political philosophy of social movements.[25]

She is openly queer.[28]


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Huffington Post Live[29] Herself TV series; Episode: "How Can We Create Trans-Friendly Schools?"
2013 SBS Dateline[30] Herself Documentary; Episode: "Crossover Kids"
2013 Huffington Post Live[31] Herself TV series; Episode: "Transgender Student Athletes Fight To Compete"
2013 TakePart Live[32] Herself Talk show
2013 Huffington Post Live[33] Herself TV series; Episode: "The Fight For Transgender Teen Rights"
2014 Huffington Post Live[34] Herself TV series; Episode: "Making College Transgender Friendly"
2014 Huffington Post Live[35] Herself TV series; Episode: "QueerView with Josh Zepps"
2016 Faint of Heart[36] Sara Quin Tegan and Sara music video
2017 ABC News[37] Herself TV series with Lana Zak


  1. ^ a b c "Who We Are – Trans Student Educational Resources". TransStudent.org. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Proposed Law Would Require School Support for Transgender Students citing radio". The Forum. KQED Radio. 
  3. ^ a b "Changing Gender, Changing School". The Story. 
  4. ^ a b "Trans woman shares gender expression journey, from 'femme to dapper'". Yahoo.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Meet Eli Erlick: A Trans Youth Activist Who Stars in Tegan and Sara's New Music Video "Faint of Heart"". TheQueerAV.com. August 19, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  6. ^ "I Knew I Was a Girl at 8: Transitioning and Teenage Activism". AutoStraddle.com. September 30, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Gov. Brown signs transgender students' rights bill - News - KCRA Home". KCRA.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  8. ^ "What AB1266 Means for Transgender Students in Public Schools". Take Two. KPCC. 
  9. ^ a b "Meet The Trans Teen Who Just Won $25K to Make Schools Trans-Inclusive". Advocate.com. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  10. ^ bigstory.ap.org/article/womens-colleges-address-transgender-applicants
  11. ^ Erlick, Eli (June 9, 2016). "Why Equality Is Toxic to the Transgender Movement". HuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  12. ^ "30 Under 30 S.F. — Rising Young Stars in San Francisco". Refinery29.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  13. ^ "10 Badass Young Feminists Who Are Totally Changing the Game in 2016". teenvogue.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  14. ^ Moyer, Justin Wm (May 4, 2015). "Smith College to admit transgender women in historic policy change". Retrieved November 1, 2017 – via www.WashingtonPost.com. 
  15. ^ "Spelman Just Joined the Growing List of Women's Colleges to Officially Admit Trans Students". Brit.co. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  16. ^ https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2016/03/30/trevor-celebrates-transgender-day-of-visibility/
  17. ^ https://www.bustle.com/p/what-does-the-trans-visibility-day-theme-mean-its-all-about-resisting-oppression-48249
  18. ^ http://www.refinery29.com/2017/10/178830/trans-woman-side-by-side-transition-photos
  19. ^ "What AB1266 Means for Transgender Students in Public Schools". Take Two. KPCC. 
  20. ^ Erlick, Eli. "Why Trans Students Need Your Help Right Now". Glamour.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Selected Writing". EliErlick.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  22. ^ "The Winter 2014-2015 Edition of the Journal of the Student National Medical Association is here! - JSNMA". JSNMA.org. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  23. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Remedy-Queer-Trans-Voices-Health/dp/1551526581/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472311933&sr=8-1&keywords=zena+sharman
  24. ^ abcnews.go.com/US/video/transwoman-wins-glamours-college-women-year-award-47015605
  25. ^ a b https://humanities.ucsc.edu/about/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=eerlick
  26. ^ Militare, Jessica. "Meet *Glamour*'s 2017 College Women of the Year". Glamour.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  27. ^ "100 Most Stylish dapperQs 2017 - dapperQ". dapperQ.com. June 1, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  28. ^ "QueerView with @JoshZepps". Huffington Post Live. October 2, 2014. Huffington Post. 
  29. ^ "Videos - The Huffington Post". live.HuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Crossover Kids". SBS.com.au. April 30, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Videos - The Huffington Post". live.HuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  32. ^ . September 4, 2013 http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/09/04/takepart-live-tonight.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ "The Fight For Transgender Teen Rights". HuffPost Live. November 20, 2013. 
  34. ^ . March 4, 2014 http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/on-campus-how-schools-can-be-transgender-friendly/530ea86d78c90a37660001bb.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ . October 2, 2014 http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/queerview-top-lgbt-news-on-huffpost-live/542564c7fe3444c176000474.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ Ceron, Ella. "Tegan and Sara's Brand-New "Faint of Heart" Video Is Amazing For So Many Reasons". TeenVogue.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  37. ^ News, ABC. "Video: First transwoman wins Glamour's College Women of the Year award". ABC News. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 

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