Scholar Class – 2011
Kathleen McGinn was born and raised in central New Jersey and from an early age she developed a passion for social justice issues. Upon coming out in college Kathleen dedicated her career at the George Washington University to fighting for LGBT rights on campus. When she saw how few queer women were involved in LGBT activities on campus she founded the Association of Queer Women and Allies (AQWA). AQWA provided a safe space for queer women to come together and discuss issues important to them and as president, Kathleen produced events that included a queer women’s health forum, movie screenings and guest speakers. The presence of queer women on campus increased substantially, both in LGBT student groups and in the GW community at large.
Kathleen also fought for transgender rights on campus. She lived in the first gender neutral housing option at GW and pushed for a university-wide gender neutral housing option, which the university will implement in the fall. She also advocated for the inclusion of “gender identity or expression” into GW’s non-discrimination policy, which the university adopted in 2009. In addition, Kathleen was an intern with the Victory Fund, an organization that helps LGBT political figures run for office.
Kathleen graduated from the George Washington University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the University Honors Program. She double majored in Sociology and Women’s Studies and traveled to Amsterdam for a semester to study sexuality and gender. She won two awards from the Women's Studies Department at graduation: the Outstanding Undergraduate Major Award and the Undergraduate Feminist Scholarship Award.
Kathleen hopes to practice international human rights law and work in public service. Her focus will be on women’s rights and LGBT rights both domestically and abroad.