Ryan Karnoski is a social worker and transgender man from Edmonds, Washington. From an early age he committed himself to living as a proponent of LGBTQ advocacy and social justice. His involvement with the LGBTQ community began when he was in high school, having led his school’s Gay Straight Alliance, and serving on the Queer Youth Space Board of Directors. At the same time, as a board member of the Washington Association of Student Councils, Ryan began volunteering with Special Olympics Washington, working to initiate a Unified Soccer program in his school district and helping to create a merger in the programming of the two organizations. Excelling academically, Ryan was active in many student organizations, including his high school’s National Honor Society, Interhigh, and Project Lead the Way Pre-Engineering program, where he was awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Society of Women Engineers.
Ryan attended the University of Washington and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare and a Bachelor of Arts in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies as well a minor in Spanish. He received his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families, and participated in the Child Welfare Training Advancement Program. He is currently the first named plaintiff in the lawsuit Karnoski v. Trump, challenging the ban on transgender military service. Ryan currently lives in Renton, Washington with his wife, two cats, and a dog, and works as social worker for a local non-profit serving children in foster care and their families.