Catalyst Transgender Leadership Program

/Catalyst Transgender Leadership Program
Catalyst Transgender Leadership Program2020-05-11T16:38:10-07:00

Past Catalyst participants universally agree that the 3-day in-person retreats held throughout the year are the most meaningful component of their time in Catalyst—retreats give participants a chance to connect and build community in a way that is not possible to replicate virtually. As such, we will not be transitioning to a virtual version of the Catalyst program and plan to begin the next cohort year in the Fall (or, as soon as the threat of COVID has passed). Look out for applications opening later this summer!

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 next Catalyst cohort! Join us on an 18-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 6 weekend retreats over the course of 18 months. Retreats will begin on Friday evenings and end on Sunday afternoons. Selected applicants must be available to attend all six weekend retreats.

The first Catalyst retreat for the 2020-2021 Cohort will take place July 17th-19th 2020. Dates for all future retreats will be posted here when confirmed.

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 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.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain a long-term commitment (1 year+) in a volunteer or other community-serving role.

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, the selection committee will prioritize selecting a cohort that is intergenerational, includes participants living outside the Portland Metro Area, has significant representation from trans People of Color, and includes a balance of women, men, and nonbinary people of varying gender experiences.


This program is completely free of charge. All materials, room and board are provided. Transportation will be arranged for individuals who do not have access to a vehicle. Mileage and dependent care reimbursements are available.

To Apply

The following timeline is tentative and subject to change.

April 1st: Catalyst application opens

May 1st: Catalyst application closes

June 1st – 15th: Catalyst finalist phone interviews

June 17th: Catalyst finalists notified of final decision

July 17th: First Catalyst retreat begins

[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. Catalyst participants do not need to self-identify with the word ‘transgender” but should expect that this word will be used generally to describe the program and participants.

[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.