By Brook Shelley

Before I moved to Oregon from Texas, I had experienced firsthand the challenges of living as a transgender woman and a dyke in a conservative state. I was amazed to see the progress that had been made for LGBTQ equality here in Oregon. After some time in our state, a coworker at Puppet Labs connected me to Basic Rights Oregon, as she knew about my speaking about being queer in tech, and thought I might be interested in working with them.

She was right.

I’ve been on the board of directors at Basic Rights Oregon for a little over a year now, and the opportunity to extend our hard-won rights and access to every corner of Oregon is huge. As a transgender woman, I recognize just how far we have to go to ensure other transgender Oregonians have healthcare, housing, and employment. Our focus on both transgender justice and racial justice is tackling some of the most difficult and longstanding inequalities in our state.

But the fight is far from over.

When I think about the future—beyond my own lifetime—I know that Basic Rights will continue working to end inequality wherever it is, and with each new victory will refocus and reengage with our causes. In the event of my passing, hopefully far in the future, I want to ensure that I can help our organization continue fighting.

That’s why I have allotted 20% of my estate to Basic Rights, and have made a commitment to monthly giving that, matched with my company, totals $4,000 in giving to LGBTQ equality. 

When I started at my company, we hadn’t made a commitment to charitable matching. But following the results of the election, we decided matching $2,500 of donations would be the best way to support the amazing work of organizations like Basic Rights Oregon. It feels great to work with two organizations focused on equal rights for transgender and queer folks, as well as racial justice and immigrant rights.

I believe Basic Rights—in a multi-issue struggle to make Oregon a better place for everyone—has a proven track record of success. And though it may take some time, we will continue to advance racial and transgender justice.

I want my life and my death both to be deeply enmeshed in a march of progress towards equality, and I’m proud to be part of this effort. I encourage everyone to think long and hard about including Basic Rights Oregon in their estate plans, giving when they can, and volunteering. Your time, your heart, and your support make all the difference. We’ve won so much, and yet we’re far from done. Join us to fight for the next four years.

Brook is senior developer relations engineer at Turbine Labs and a Basic Rights Oregon board member.

To learn more about including Basic Rights Oregon in your estate plans, please contact our major gifts officer, Mikki Gillette, at