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#Pride30: LGBTQ Advocate Kyle Sawyer Is Building Transgender Allies

Sawyer's organization, Building Allies Together, offers training to schools, businesses and municipalities on how to be more transgender-inclusive.
Photo courtesy of Kyle J. Sawyer
Photo courtesy of Kyle J. SawyerKyle J. Sawyer

"Being an ally, being an activist, it's not always a grand gesture," Kyle Sawyer said over the phone in an interview with NBC Out. "The goal is to supply folks with actionable items and tools to use in their every day lives."

Based in Los Angeles, the transqueer activist heads up Building Allies Together, an organization he cofounded in 2013 that provides workshops and empowers non-transgender people to be better allies to the transgender community.

LGBTQ advocate Kyle SawyerCourtesy of Kyle Sawyer

"It's not always about being a part of the protest," Sawyer said. "Sometimes it looks like challenging bad language, or it looks like fighting for gender-neutral restrooms in your local community, even if there's not a trans person in your environment."

Sawyer graduated from Antioch University with an undergraduate degree in queer studies and a masters degree in nonprofit management. Today, Sawyer is committed to changing the way allies approach trans issues and activism on the whole.

"There are a lot of programs really focused around helping folks to be aware of their privilege," Sawyer said. "But sometimes we stop at the awareness part. We need to teach them how they can use that privilege to create change."

LGBTQ advocate Kyle Sawyer and his dog, MaxCourtesy of Kyle Sawyer

Fun Fact: "I have a dog. Well, let me rephrase. I have a creature who masquerades as a dog. His name is Max."

Pride Means: "Pride means to live in honesty, as hard as that may be sometimes. Pride means the willingness to challenge yourself and where you are. I think it means moving through the world in a way that you can stand behind."

Kyle Sawyer was nominated for NBC Out's #Pride30 list by actor Ian Harvie, who praised Sawyer's organization and described him as a "smart, passionate person who deserves recognition for his hard work in the community."

Check out the full NBC Out #Pride30 list & follow NBC Out on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram