Meet Our Scholars
Jalen Smith, a 20-year-old transgender man from South Pasadena, California, is a queer rights activist currently studying political science. After deciding to live as his authentic self in the spring of 2019, Jalen sought to better educate those around him through partaking in his own social advocacy. As a member of the Angels of Change cohort at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Jalen’s work consisted of empowering trans and gender-nonconforming youth and further promoting trans visibility. As a result of his work, he was awarded by Los Angeles City Council in 2019 on behalf of the city for demonstrating the strength and resilience of gender-diverse youth. This milestone made him feel ready to share his story. And now having had the pleasure of speaking with journalists and state legislators across the country about the struggles faced by LGBTQ youth, Jalen has gone on to lobby for monumental bills like the Equality Act, intern for the United States Senate, and even model for queer-inclusive rap group Brockhampton. As an HRC Youth Ambassador, he works to not only help others like him feel valid in their identities but help them understand the importance of living their story and their truth.