Freedom for All Americans Welcomes Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen as Director of Public Education

By Adam Polaski • August 31, 2016 • 3:34 pm
courtesy_rodrigo_heng-lehtinen_03_411323afa7364c2c9e569457f426122b.nbcnews-ux-600-700Today Freedom for All Americans announced that Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, a transgender man and longtime LGBT policy and advocacy expert, will be joining its full-time staff as director of public education. In his new role, Heng-Lehtinen will be responsible primarily for developing messaging, resources, and trainings to support public education efforts advancing nondiscrimination protections and defending against anti-LGBT legislative attacks.
Heng-Lehtinen has previously worked at the National LGBTQ Task Force, Gender Justice LA, Liberty Hill Foundation, and GLAAD. He has a background in fundraising, field organizing, leadership development, and media advocacy, and has been honored by the Florida-based grassroots political advocacy organization SAVE. He is a graduate of Brown University.
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen said today:

“I am honored to join the dedicated, diverse and talented team at Freedom for All Americans. As a transgender man, I have dedicated my life to equality for all people as a moral imperative. Freedom for All Americans is strategic and well-positioned to showcase the real faces and stories of transgender people, advance nondiscrimination protections in more states, and beat back harmful attacks on our lives and dignity. We are at a watershed moment in the LGBT movement, and it’s urgent that we move forward with all hands on deck.”

Heng-Lehtinen is also the first openly transgender child of a member of Congress. His mother, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, was the first Cuban American and Latina elected to Congress, the first Republican woman elected to the U.S. House from Florida, and is currently the most senior Republican woman in the House. Additionally, she was the first Republican member of Congress to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, the first Republican to cosponsor the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal act, and the first Republican in the U.S. House to support same-sex couples’ freedom to marry. His father is former politician and prominent Florida attorney Dexter Lehtinen. Alongside his parents, Heng-Lehtinen recently filmed a public service announcement in Spanish about his experience as a transgender man and his family’s unconditional support, created by and in collaboration with SAVE.
Freedom for All Americans is committed to placing transgender people in leadership positions on nondiscrimination campaigns through its Transgender Freedom Project and LGBT University, two public education programs that Heng-Lehtinen will play an active role in executing. Heng-Lehtinen will begin after Labor Day and will be based in Miami, where he grew up and where he currently resides with his husband.

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