Trans Student Educational Resources was co-founded in 2011 by Eli Erlick and Alex Sennello, two 16-year-old transgender women, as Trans Student Equality Resources. It was and remains the only national organization run by young transgender people. TSER was originally envisioned as an organization for creating safer schools through youth-led action, much of which focused on policy. Since this time, we have hugely expanded our efforts in scope and scale to encompass many programs and services.
In 2013, we collaboratively launched our successful infographic series that expanded our reach to millions of people around the world. These graphics covered a wide range of topics pertinent to trans youth around the country.
In 2014 we changed “equality” in our name to educational, recognizing that equality will not liberate us but actually reinforce systems of white supremacy, transphobia, and injustice. Late that same year we began accepting donations and quickly growing in structure as we received the Peace First Prize, our first foundation grant. We also released The Gender Unicorn, our most viral infographic and teaching tool that revolutionized how people think about gender.
In 2015, we released our first policy publication, a Model Admissions Policy on Transgender Students at Women’s Colleges, which is now used around the world as a guide for single-gender institutions. We additionally began releasing statements, gathering resources, and mobilizing on a variety of issues facing marginalized communities including police, Black Lives Matter, and equality, thanks to our new program director, Harper Rubin. We also launched our first scholarships.
In 2016, we hosted our first Trans Youth Leadership Summit, the only national fellowship program for young trans organizers of its kind. This year we have gained over 10 staff members and are excited to continue growing as we work to undo the climate of transphobia in education and youth. We additionally published our second model policy for four-year colleges and universities, which is currently used as a guide to make these institutions safer for trans students around the country. Our resources sparked large Evangelical protests in North Carolina as they were being used in K-12 schools around the state.
In 2017, The Gender Unicorn was also used to discuss trans issues in National Canadian Senate as well as dozens of textbooks and resource guides around the world. In July we hosted our second annual Trans Youth Leadership Summit, bringing in 10 additional fellows to our program. In August-November, we hired our first 10 paid staff members to help expand the organization’s reach around the country. That year, we reached thousands of schools, colleges, and universities with our message.