Sklarz is Director of the New York Trans Rights Organization
and is playing a lead role in efforts to pass the Gender Expression
Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in the New York legislature.
she snagged only a cameo in the 2005 film "TransAmerica"
starring Felicity Huffman, Melissa Sklarz has played a long-standing
role as one of the most respected and effective transgender
community activists in New York. After proving an important
mover in the recently successful push to finally get GENDA,
a gender expression non-discrimination bill, through the State
Assembly, she was just named one of ten New Yorkers on the Rules
Committee of the Democratic National Convention set for Denver
this August. In 2004, Sklarz was one of only six transgendered
delegates at the convention in Boston.
of the New York Trans Rights Organization, she's currently the
vice chair of National Stonewall Democrats' board of directors
and is a former president of Manhattan's Gay and Lesbian Independent
Sklarz, 57, is the collections manager at the Actor's Fund Credit
Union, having previously worked for Gay Men's Health Crisis
and the Gay Games. A former high school varsity athlete, she's
a center fielder on the Vikings team in the Big Apple Softball
League, where she's played the last eight years.
resident of Manhattan, Sklarz recently moved to Woodside in
Queens. Growing up on Long Island, she went to her first transgender
bar in 1976 and has "never really looked back."
Sklarz, who last year became the first openly transgender public
official in New York State with her election as a Democratic
county judicial delegate in Manhattan, spoke about the effect
her transition in the '80s to a female identity had on her life.
eliminated my middle class upbringing," Sklarz said. "It
eliminated my white skin. It eliminated my education. It eliminated
my work experience. I started out new..."