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Jacob Tobia

Duke University

Human Rights Advocacy



Jacob Tobia is a writer and organizer committed to justice for gender non-conforming, genderqueer, and transgender people. They graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke University in 2014 with a degree in human rights advocacy, where they specialized in the history of the LGBTQ movement in South Africa from Apartheid to the present day. At Duke, Jacob served as the Vice President of Equity and Outreach for Duke Student Government, where they successfully lobbied for full inclusion of gender neutral housing and restrooms, pushed for comprehensive healthcare coverage for transgender students, mobilized the Duke community against anti-LGBTQ ballot initiatives in North Carolina, and worked for socially responsible investing of Duke's $6 billion endowment. In addition to campus organizing, Jacob worked at the the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, Sonke Gender Justice Network, and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa over the course of their undergraduate career. In 2012, Jacob began blogging for The Huffington Post. Since then, their projects and writing have been featured on MSNBC, PolicyMic, The Nation, Huffpost Live, Thought Catalog, and many other outlets. They have also received multiple awards for their organizing work including the Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship, the Harry S. Truman scholarship, the Oliver Koonz Human Rights Award, and the Campus Pride National Voice and Action Award. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Jacob enjoys good guacamole, craft supplies, hiking/backpacking and reading Judith Butler on the beach.

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