Pauline Park


Pauline Park




Jackson Heights, NY


transgender activist

Own Words

I was born in Korea and adopted with my twin brother by European American parents in Wisconsin. So I grew up in a German American household on the south side of Milwaukee.

After doing my B.A. in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I did a master’s degree at the London School of Economics. My first career was in public relations and my second was in academia. In graduate school, I studied German in Berlin and in Regensburg, a small city in Bavaria where I lived in a 12th-century medieval tower. I did my dissertation research in Brussels and Paris and got my Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

I came out as an openly transgendered woman after moving to New York City. In June 1998, I co-founded the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), the first statewide transgender advocacy organization in New York. I was asked to lead the campaign for passage of Int. No. 24, the transgender rights ordinance enacted by the New York City Council as Local Law 3 of 2002. After the bill was signed into law, I served on the working group that helped to draft guidelines — adopted by the Commission on Human Rights in December 2004 — for implementation of the new statute.

I was the first openly transgendered individual chosen to be a grand marshal of the New York City Pride March, serving in that capacity in the 2005 Pride March.

After moving to Jackson Heights, I co-founded Queens Pride House (a center for the LGBT communities of Queens) in January 1997, Iban/Queer Koreans of New York (Iban/QKNY) in February 1997, and the Guillermo Vasquez Independent Democratic Club of Queens (GVIDCQ) in July 2002. I also participated in the founding of the Out People of Color Political Action Club (OutPOCPAC) in April 2001. I also serve on the board of directors of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF).

One important aspect of my advocacy work is training, and I have conducted transgender sensitivity training sessions for a wide range of social service providers and community-based organization.

Documentarian Larry Tung made a 32-minute documentary about my life and work (“Envisioning Justice: The Journey of a Transgendered Woman”) that premiered at the New York LGBT Film Festival in 2008.

You can find out more about me and my work at

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