Catalyst Transgender Leadership Program

/Catalyst Transgender Leadership Program
Catalyst Transgender Leadership Program2019-08-15T15:21:38-08:00

Catalyst applications are now closed! Thank you for your interest. Please check back in early 2020 if you’re interested in joining the 2020-2021 Catalyst cohort!

Are you a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person committed to fighting transphobia in Oregon? Are you looking for ways to be involved, to expand the work you’re already doing, or to be a leader in your community? If so, we invite you to apply for a position in the 2019-2020 Catalyst cohort! Join us on a 12-month journey to explore what it means to be an advocate and leader for transgender justice.

As a cohort member, you will:

  • Be equipped with the tools you need to take on a leadership role in the social justice movement.
  • Gain skills to support and expand the work you are already doing in your community.
  • Deepen your understanding of the ways transphobia impacts us and learn strategies to dismantle these systems of oppression.
  • Attend weekend retreats, webinars, and actions where you will be surrounded by a community of transgender Oregonians.
  • Build a multi-generational network of peers.
  • Think about transgender justice through a lens of racial and economic equity as we come to understand the intersections of our varying identities.
  • Learn about political strategy and advocacy tools rooted in a social justice framework.
  • Join a network of transgender leaders who hold a lifetime commitment to fighting for transgender justice and creating lasting change in both the LGBTQ and wider communities.
  • Have opportunities to take on leadership roles in Basic Rights Oregon’s work to ensure that transgender Oregonians experience legal and lived equality

Click here to learn more about Catalyst!

Time Commitment

The primary time commitments for Catalyst participants will be 4 weekend retreats over the course of 12 months. Retreats will begin on Friday evenings and end on Sunday afternoons. Selected applicants must be available to attend all four weekend retreats. The first three retreats are scheduled (see below). Dates for the final retreat will be confirmed with participants.

Please note that many retreat centers are affiliated with a religious denomination. Basic Rights Oregon will strive to minimize the impact this may have on participants and will never ask Catalyst members to engage in any type of religious observance. We ask that applicants consider whether convening in a space managed by a religious denomination will be a substantial barrier prior to applying. 

Short monthly webinars will be offered between retreats. Webinars will be scheduled by participants during retreats.


Spring: April 26th-28th

 Summer: July 19th-21st

Fall: November 22nd-24th

Winter: TBD; February

Participant Criteria

To Be Eligible:

  • Identify as a transgender, nonbinary and/or gender-nonconforming person[1]
  • Reside in Oregon[2]
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Hold an interest in building a movement for justice that is united across identities
  • Commit to full participation in program trainings, events and activities

Ideal Candidates will possess:

  • Experience working with transgender and/or LGBQ communities – for example: participation in a school GSA, participation in an LGBTQ employee resource group, a social service role  that serves LGBTQ clients.
  • Previous entry-level community, student, electoral or other community organizing experience – as a volunteer or in a paid position
  • Willingness to engage in verbal and written communication.
  • Dedication to building strong relationships

A note about the selection process:

In addition to the qualities listed above, the Catalyst Selection Committee will consider several demographic factors in order to select a cohort that represents the breadth of lived experiences of transgender people in Oregon. Specifically, at least 25% of cohort members will reside somewhere outside the Portland Metro Area and 50% of cohort members will be people of color. Beyond these two targets, the Selection Committee will strive to establish a cohort that is intergenerational and includes the voices of transgender folks who hold multiple marginalized identities.


All materials, room and board are provided. Reimbursement for childcare is available. Participants who are able to drive a carpool vehicle will be reimbursed for mileage. Transportation will be arranged for individuals who do not have access to a vehicle.

To Apply

Please complete the following application below to be considered for Catalyst. The information you provide will help us determine whether you are a good fit for this program and make sure that the training and other features of Catalyst meet the needs and experiences of participants. Please note that selection for Catalyst is competitive. Applicants who are not selected for the 2019-2020 cohort are encouraged to re-apply in following years.

If you would like to include a current resume to be considered in your application, you are welcome to do so; however, a resume is not required in order to apply and participants who do not submit resumes will not be penalized. Resumes may be uploaded at the end of the application form.

One letter of reference is encouraged but not required. References may come from anyone who can attest to your interest in leadership and transgender justice. Letters of reference may be uploaded below OR emailed separately to If submitting via email, please include the name of the applicant in the subject line of the email (e.g., “Letter of Reference for Catalyst Applicant Laverne Cox”)
All uploaded/submitted documents should be in .pdf or .docx format to ensure that the Selection Committee can access them.

Applications are due no later than 11:59 PM PST on February 25th 2019. Following an initial application review by a selection committee, finalists will be invited to participate in a phone interview in March, and final decisions will be released on March 26th.

If you have any questions or concerns or need this application provided in a different format, please email

[1] Here “transgender” is used as an umbrella term to refer to anyone whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

[2]  People who reside in the Vancouver, WA area or otherwise outside of Oregon but within driving distance of the Portland metro area are also welcome to apply. Please be aware that much of the content of trainings will focus on Oregon.