Heng-Lehtinen is a graduate of Palmer Trinity School where he was on the honor roll several times. In high school, he was active in a dramatic arts club and a mountaineering team, served in the Honor Council, and founded a chapter of Amnesty International at the school. He began living openly as a transgender man while attending Brown University, which is when he informed his parents.
Heng-Lehtinen was a member of Queer Alliance at Brown University. While attending Brown University, he produced the documentary Free Within These Walls, about Cuban prisoners of conscience. Heng-Lehtinen was a field organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Later, he was the Membership Director at Gender Justice LA, a grassroots organization that works to build the power of the transgender community in Los Angeles through community organizing and leadership development. He also worked in fundraising at Liberty Hill Foundation, organized a transgender leadership development conference with the Transgender Law Center, and served as the membership manager at GLAAD, an LGBT media advocacy organization.
In May 2015, Heng-Lehtinen was honored by the LGBT-rights group, SAVE, at its 2015 Champions of Equality reception. He was honored for appearing with his mother in a highly-rated television interview, increasing visibility of the transgender community.
In May 2016, Heng-Lehtinen and his parents appeared in a public service announcement titled "Family is Everything", which discusses his family's personal journey and acceptance, that all South Florida families should embrace their children, and the reason why all Americans should have the same opportunities regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Heng-Lehtinen is now the public education director at Freedom For All Americans, the national campaign for LGBT nondiscrimination protections.
Heng-Lehtinen is the oldest child of lawyer Dexter Lehtinen and congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He is the grandson of author Enrique Ros. He is the first openly transgender child of a member of Congress.
He is married to Kristofer Heng-Lehtinen, who is of Scandinavian descent and an artist living and working in Miami. Rodrigo Lehtinen changed his name to Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen when they married in March 2015.
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