About Shannon

I’m a socially aware, radical individual who lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, right outside of Washington, DC.

Shannon's family-of-origin
My family of origin in 1999. Not pictured: any of the dogs that i grew up with. (That’s me on the left with the dark green jacket and jeans.)

I was  born in 1972 and grew up in St. Louis, MO, with two younger brothers, a younger sister, a mother, a father, and, usually, a dog. I got my Bachelors degree in International Studies, with a minor in French, from Vassar College in 1995 and my Masters in Women’s Studies, with a concentration in Sociology, from George Washington University in 2001.

I moved to Washington, DC, after i graduated from college, and have lived in both the District and Maryland over the ensuing years.

My principle advocacy and academic interests lie in the following:

  • LGBTQI issues, with a particular focus on trans and non-binary lives and experiences;
  • Antiracism;
  • Adultism and youth rights; and
  • Broad-based social justice work.

That commitment to larger social justice pervades much of my life and my politics. Part of this dedication stems from my identities and priorities. I’m queer, white, feminist, antiracist, US-born, anti-assimilationist, androgynous, upper-middle class, agnostic, neurotypical, and (probably temporarily) able-bodied.

Notwithstanding all of that, i strive to be involved with a movement because i agree with its goals and because it acknowledges that many people have multiple identities through which they can experience oppression or marginalization — and not because it might benefit me personally.

I also believe strongly that the end point of movements cannot be assimilation into the larger culture; liberation movements must change that culture in order to make it more just. For instance, i want straight and cisgender people to acknowledge my queerness, to celebrate it, and to be willing to change the ways that they see sexual orientation and gender identity/expression more generally. “Tolerance” for my and others’ differences is a short-sighted and dead-end goal.

Post-commitment ceremony kiss
Me and Katie right after our 2012 commitment ceremony.  Photograph by Exclamation Imagery.

On a more personal level, i have an amazing life partner, Katie. We’ve been together since 2003, had a wonderful commitment ceremony in 2012, and (because she wanted to) got legally married in 2013. We have two cats and one dog (and had one other dog and two other cats who have died) — all of whom we’ve adopted.

During the workday, i’m a Program Officer with the DC Trust, an organization that does grantmaking to and capacity building with agencies that serve children, youth, and families in the District. We focus primarily on communities of color and economically marginalized neighborhoods in the city.

Outside of work, i volunteer with an amazing group of gender non-conforming and trans children and young teens; help coordinate Hyattsville’s antiracist book group; and work with a loose collective of people who organize Undoing Racism trainings in DC.

With whatever time that’s leftover, i enjoy doing projects around the house, reading, watching the news, passing too many hours on Facebook, and spending time in the yard.

[As a quick note on style, i leave my first-person pronouns lower-case. The fact that, in English, “I” is the only pronoun that we capitalize seems to reflect our basic cultural self-centeredness: I am more important than you, he, she, ze, it, we, or they.]