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Meet the Logo30: Melanie Willingham-Jaggers

The seasoned LGBTQ advocate is GLSEN’s first Black nonbinary executive director.

Every day during the month of June, we will be spotlighting our 2022 Logo30. This powerful series profiles ordinary and extraordinary people who show pride in unique and provocative ways. Visit the Logo30 homepage to view current and past honorees.

By Sam Manzella

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers made history with their most recent leadership appointment back in January, but they’ve been fighting the good fight for years.

Willingham-Jaggers was named GLSEN’s new executive director earlier this year. They identify as both nonbinary and a Black woman, so they are the first nonbinary person, nonbinary person of color, and Black woman to spearhead the youth-focused LGBTQ advocacy organization since its inception more than 30 years ago.

Speaking to Logo, Willingham-Jaggers says Black women are their “political north star”: “I was raised as a Black woman. That is my political home. Outside of my Blackness and outside of that political identity, I identify as queer and nonbinary because that's really my gender identity in my body as I move through the world.”

They came to their role at GLSEN with a rich background in advocacy work, including a three-year tenure as board chair of the Audre Lorde Project. Above all, Willingham-Jaggers is thrilled to continue uplifting the most marginalized within the queer community at this critical juncture for LGBTQ+ liberation.

“What's exciting about this moment is that we really get to choose our direction,” they add. “We get to make sure that we are centering those folks who are most marginalized. And right now, that means kids of color, kids with disabilities, kids who are trans and nonbinary.”

Learn more about Willingham-Jaggers and the rest of our inspiring Logo30 honorees in the video below.