A self-described Georgia Peach in the Big Apple, Raquel Willis is a Black transgender activist, writer, and media strategist. Her previous work includes being the executive editor of Out magazine and a former national organizer for Transgender Law Center (TLC). She’s also a part of Echoing Ida, a national Black women and nonbinary writers’ collective.
In 2018, she was named an Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellow. Through that fellowship, she founded Black Trans Circles, a project of TLC, focused on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces to work through oppression-based trauma and incubating community organizing efforts to address anti-trans murder and violence. That year, she was also named a Jack Jones Literary Arts Sylvia Rivera Fellow. In her time at Out Magazine, she published the Trans Obituaries Project to highlight the epidemic of violence against trans women of color.
Raquel harnesses the power of communications, storytelling, and digital organizing as elements of radical change. She believes that we should all break down restrictive notions of gender. “Our fight is for the women and girls who struggle to be seen as smart and capable leaders, for the men and boys who struggle to express their emotions and be tender, and everyone else who lives straddle all of those struggles and more.