Raquel Willis

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Raquel Willis
Raquel Willis at Trans March San Francisco 20170623-6535.jpg
Willis speaking at the 2017 San Francisco Trans March
Born1990/1991 (age 29–30)[1]
NationalityAmerican
EducationUniversity of Georgia
OccupationWriter • public speaker • activist
OrganizationMs. Foundation for Women
Websiteraquelwillis.com

Raquel Willis (born 1990/1991) is an African American writer, editor, and transgender rights activist.[2][3] She is a former national organizer for the Transgender Law Center,[4] the former executive editor of Out magazine,[5] and currently serves as the Director of Communications for the Ms. Foundation for Women.[6] In 2020, Willis won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Magazine Article.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Willis was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia. She grew up in a Catholic family that encouraged volunteerism, stewardship, and giving back to the community. Her parents were both Sunday school teachers, and she attended church every weekend.[8]

As a child, Willis "was very conflicted" over her gender and sexuality. She was bullied at school and by kids in the neighborhood. As a teenager, she came out as gay, and eventually found acceptance from her peers and parents.[9]

Willis attended college at the University of Georgia, where she encountered more harassment for being gender non-conforming. She came to realize that she was a trans woman, and decided to transition. She worked with other students to counter discrimination based on gender identity. Willis graduated in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.[10]

Activism and career[edit]

Following graduation from UGA, Willis moved to Atlanta and began getting involved in activism with fellow transgender and gender non-conforming people of color. She later came to live in Oakland and work as a communications associate, then national organizer, for the Transgender Law Center.[11][12]

Willis was one of the speakers at the 2017 Women's March in Washington, D.C.[13][14] She later stated that though she was glad to be there, she felt that trans women were an "afterthought in the initial planning", and she was cut off by organizers when she tried to say this at the demonstration itself.[15][16]

Willis has spoken out strongly on behalf of trans women, criticizing comments by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that differentiated transgender women from cisgender women,[17] and calling for a boycott of The Breakfast Club radio show after comedian Lil Duval joked about killing trans women during an interview.[18][19]

Willis designed the Black Trans Flag, a variation on the Transgender Pride Flag with a black instead of white stripe across the middle.[20]

Willis' writings have appeared in publications including The Huffington Post,[21] BuzzFeed,[22] and Autostraddle.[23] She also hosted The BGD Podcast with Raquel Willis.[24]

In December 2018, Willis was appointed as executive editor of Out magazine, becoming the first trans woman to lead the publication.[25][26]

Willis, along with Neal Broverman, endorsed Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[27][28]

In June 2020, Willis was announced as the new Director of Communications for the Ms. Foundation for Women.[29][30]

Work[edit]

  • 2017 – Sojourner Truth Transformational Leadership Fellow[31][32]
  • 2018 – Jack Jones Literary Arts Sylvia Rivera Fellow[33]
  • 2018 – Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellow[34][35]
  • 2019 – The Trans Obituaries Project[36][37][38]

Awards and recognition[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Root 100 Most Influential African Americans 2017". The Root. September 2017. Archived from the original on November 13, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Daniel, Ian (August 10, 2017). "Ian Daniel and Trans Activist Raquel Willis on Elevating Trans Experiences". Vice. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Darville, Jordan (July 26, 2017). "How Trump's Anti-Transgender Policy Goes Beyond Twitter, The Military, And The News Cycle". The Fader. Archived from the original on July 6, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Raquel Willis". Transgender Law Center. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Christian, Tanya A. (December 10, 2018). "Transgender Activist Raquel Willis Appointed Executive Editor at Out Magazine". Essence. Archived from the original on November 8, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Ms. Foundation for Women Announces Raquel Willis as New Director of Communications". Philanthropy New York. 2020-07-08. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  7. ^ "Pose, Schitt's Creek, Lil Nas X, Booksmart, The Rachel Maddow Show, Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, Raquel Willis among winners at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards". GLAAD. 2020-07-30. Archived from the original on 2020-12-03. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  8. ^ Willis, Raquel. "Bio". Raquel Willis. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "The Human Element: Raquel Willis on finding empowerment in her gender identity". Georgia Unites Against Discrimination. October 20, 2016. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Aaron, Darian (November 11, 2015). "Atlanta trans activist Raquel Willis on gender identity, race on WABE". The Georgia Voice. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Chapin, Angelina (2020-07-06). "How I Get It Done: Writer and Activist Raquel Willis". The Cut. Archived from the original on 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  12. ^ "Raquel Willis' Rise to Becoming a Leading Voice for Trans Rights". www.vice.com. Archived from the original on 2020-10-25. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  13. ^ "Huge turnout for Women's March". MSNBC. January 22, 2017. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Women's March on Washington". C-SPAN. January 21, 2017. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Mukhopadhyay, Samhita; Harding, Kate (2017). Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America. Picador. p. 201. ISBN 9781250155504.
  16. ^ Valentine, Claire (September 27, 2017). "Beautiful People: Raquel Willis Is an Intersectional Transgender Activist Fighting for Authenticity". Paper. Archived from the original on October 2, 2017. Retrieved October 1, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Pickens, Ashley (March 13, 2017). "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Under Fire For "Trans Women Are Trans Women" Views". Vibe. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "Lil Duval Jokes About Murdering Transgender Women, Leads To 'The Breakfast Club' Boycott". Essence. July 31, 2017. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ Karlan, Sarah. "People Call For A Boycott Of "The Breakfast Club" After A Guest Joked About Killing Trans Women". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on 2020-05-26. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  20. ^ Willis, Raquel (August 23, 2016). "I designed the Black Trans Flag to represent Black trans identity for #BlackTransLiberationTuesday". Archived from the original on July 11, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2017 – via Twitter. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "Raquel Willis". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on February 24, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ "Raquel Willis". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ "Raquel Willis". Autostraddle. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ "Podcast". Raquel Willis. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ Toone, Stephanie; Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta. "Transgender activist Raquel Willis finds strength in telling stories of forgotten trans women". ajc. Archived from the original on 2020-11-24. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  26. ^ Modarressy-Tehrani, Caroline (2019-02-27). "Raquel Willis On Making History As The First Trans Editor Of Out Magazine". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 2019-10-04. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  27. ^ "Out, Advocate's Executive Editors Endorse Elizabeth Warren". Out. January 31, 2020. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved February 27, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. ^ "'I felt seen for the first time': why trans activists are rallying behind Elizabeth Warren". the Guardian. 2020-02-28. Archived from the original on 2020-12-02. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  29. ^ "Ms. Foundation Names Trans Writer and Activist Raquel Willis as New Director of Communications". The Glow Up. Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  30. ^ "Why activist Raquel Willis believes in Black Trans Power". The Face. Archived from the original on 2020-12-04. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  31. ^ "Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle – Auburn Seminary". Archived from the original on 2021-01-20. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  32. ^ "Beautiful People: Raquel Willis Is an Intersectional Transgender Activist Fighting for Authenticity". PAPER. 2017-09-27. Archived from the original on 2020-10-26. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  33. ^ "Raquel Willis, Writer and Activist, Executive Director, Out Magazine". KTLA. 2019-06-11. Archived from the original on 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  34. ^ "Soros Equality Fellowship". www.opensocietyfoundations.org. Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  35. ^ "Open Society Foundations Announce 2018 Soros Equality Fellows". www.opensocietyfoundations.org. Archived from the original on 2021-01-31. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  36. ^ "Opinion | Transgender Lives: Your Stories: Raquel Willis (Published 2018)". The New York Times. 2018-09-13. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  37. ^ "Introducing the Out100 Trans Obituaries Project". www.out.com. 2019-11-20. Archived from the original on 2020-12-28. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  38. ^ "Why 'Out Magazine' Is Focusing Attention On The Deaths Of Transgender Women Of Color". NPR.org. Archived from the original on 2020-10-14. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  39. ^ Williams, Lauren N.; Arceneaux, Michael; Robertson, Regina R.; Sykes, Tanisha A.; De Luca, Vanessa K.; Christian, Tanya A. (April 18, 2017). "ESSENCE Presents 'Woke 100 Women'". Essence. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  40. ^ Office of Transgender Initiatives (March 28, 2018). "How are you celebrating Trans Day of Visibility 3/31?". Retrieved December 11, 2018 – via Twitter. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  41. ^ Antiracist Research and Policy Center (November 15, 2018). "Announcing #TheFD200 Awardee!". Archived from the original on September 27, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2018 – via Twitter. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  42. ^ Padgett, Donald (July 30, 2020). "'Out,' 'Schitt's Creek,' Dolly Parton Win at GLAAD Media Awards". Out. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved October 25, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]