She Did That! Andrea Jenkins

The longtime advocate for the transgender community made history in 2017, becoming the first African American openly trans woman elected to political office.

Andrea Jenkins made history in 2017 as the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to political office in the United States. A longtime advocate for the transgender community, Jenkins is also an accomplished poet and historian.


Jenkins, a native Chicagoan, grew up in the 1960s immersed in the city’s up-and-coming Black Arts Movement, a Black nationalist movement expressed through the arts. Jenkins used poetry to tell her truth. Before becoming a politician, she served as curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota.

As a champion of rights for trans women of color, after winning an election, Jenkins said, “As an African American trans-identified woman, I know firsthand the feeling of being marginalized, left out, thrown under the bus. Those days are over.”

As BET continues to celebrate Women's History Month, we celebrate the outstanding advocacy done on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community by Andrea Jenkins and other women "who did that" by any means necessary. 

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