Jazz McGinnis identifies as a queer trans man, social justice advocate, activist for LGBTQ rights, a writer, and cat lover. From a young age, he has struggled with depression but never allowed his mental illness to stop him from advocating for others. After enduring homophobic bullying during his freshman year of high school, he dropped out and went on to earn his Associate Degree at 17 years old. Jazz earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Oregon with Phi Beta Kappa Honors and was awarded the Wilson Cup for his outspoken advocacy as an out transgender student. He then presided over the LGBTQ Committee at Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette where he created and led cultural competency training for staff serving LGBTQ people seeking reproductive health care.
Jazz has gone on to coordinate a hormone replacement therapy clinic for low-income, uninsured, and homeless transgender people before spearheading the integration of transgender medicine into primary care services at Outside In, a community health clinic in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. For these efforts, he was awarded the Community Health Superstar Award in 2015. Jazz has been at the forefront expanding transgender health benefits under Oregon’s Medicaid program and has spoken at conferences, on panels, and lead training about how medical professionals can provide better transgender health services. His passion for competent and affirming transgender health care has led him to the field of Social Work, where he plans to further his advocacy for LGBTQ health equity.