November 04, 2010


By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, will give the talk, "My Journey," Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. in Rooke Chemistry Auditorium at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the departments of Education, English and Philosophy; the Women's and Gender Studies program; the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender; the Women's Resource Center; the Office of LGBT Awareness; and FLAG&BT as part of Transgender Awareness Day.

Political calling
One of seven siblings, Keisling grew up as Mark in Harrisburg, Pa., a shy boy who was uncomfortable speaking to his class.

Keisling became more extroverted after joining the school's Model U.N. Club, where he found his calling in the political arena. He graduated from Penn State, and pursued post-graduate work in American Government at Harvard University.

In the 1990s, after Keisling told friends and family he'd felt like a woman since childhood, he began his transition to Mara. Keisling soon turned to activism after seeing the discrimination transgender people face.

Keisling co-chaired the Pennsylvania Gender Rights Coalition and served on the steering committee of the Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition.

NCTE founder
In 2003, recognizing the need for a cohesive voice in Washington for transgender people, Mara Keisling founded the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), a social justice organization dedicated to advancing equality through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.

Keisling and NCTE were among the leaders of UnitedENDA, a coalition of more than 400 GLBT organizations lobbying for a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Keisling has more than 25 years of professional experience in social marketing and opinion research. In 2005, Harvard University named Keisling Outstanding LGBT Person of the Year.

Contact: Division of Communications


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