June 12, 2014

Jenn Burleton head shot
TransActive Gender Center founder and executive director Jenn Burleton received the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee's (CIC) seventh annual Sy Award at its annual celebration dinner on June 11. The Sy Award honors Sy Kornbrodt whose passion and voice on behalf of underserved and under-represented citizens in Multnomah County is legendary. The award is presented to one citizen every year for a lifetime commitment to justice, equality and facilitating access to and transparency at all levels of government.

Ms. Burleton is being honored for her work on behalf of transgender and gender nonconforming children and youth in Multnomah County and beyond. In 2013, Multnomah County became the first county to require gender-neutral restrooms in all new construction projects. In October, the Oregon Health Plan will begin covering pubertal suppression treatment for transgender adolescents. Ms. Burleton played a primary role in securing these and other achievements that positively impact the lives of children and youth in Multnomah County and beyond. 

TransActive Gender Center was founded in 2007 by Ms. Burleton and two other Multnomah County residents to provide services specific to the needs of transgender children, youth and their families. Under her leadership and with the help of an almost all-volunteer staff, the organization has grown to become the leading provider of services to families of transgender children and youth in the United States. At the present time, TransActive Gender Center provides clinical counseling and support groups to more than 300 Portland-area families, training to hundreds of teachers, administrators, students, care providers and professionals and advocacy services and resources to over 1,000 families across the nation.

CIC Chair Sue O’Halloran said, “[s]imilar to Sy, Ms. Burleton exhibits a commitment to increasing equality and justice for some of Multnomah County’s most underserved youth. She exemplifies how an individual’s impassioned public service can improve lives for those in need and how leaders can give a voice to those often thought of as voiceless.”

As a Sy Award winner, Ms. Burleton joins an exceptional group of citizen empowerment advocates. Past winners include citizen involvement activist Moshe Lenske, Multnomah County Office of Citizen Involvement Director Kathleen Todd, former Board President of the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization Thach Nguyen, assisted living innovator Dr. Keren Brown Wilson, former Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Shrunk, and former Multnomah County Environmental Health Services Manager Lila Wickham.