Meet our Team
Shelby, a white nonbinary person with chin length gray hair and glasses, smiles at the camera. Their arms are behind their back, and they look confident.

Shelby Chestnut

Executive Director
Pronouns: They/He

Shelby Chestnut has over 20 years of community organizing, policy advocacy, management and leadership experience. Shelby is mixed race Assiniboine and white and was born in rural Montana. They spent their time growing up between Montana and Minnesota in a working-class, single-mom household. Shelby came out as queer and trans in the 1990s, to a supportive family, and got their first organizing experience when navigating school bullying.

Prior to stepping into the role as Transgender Law Center’s (TLC) Executive Director, Shelby served for five years as TLC’s Director of Policy and Programs. In that role, Shelby helped build a robust team that successfully launched projects like the Disability Project, Black Trans Circles, Justice for Roxsana and Free Chin, and the Trans Agenda for Liberation, the community-led guide towards the future we deserve.

Prior to TLC, Shelby served as the Director of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP). At AVP, Shelby led the growth of state, local, and national organizing and policy efforts. In their decades of work within BIPOC, LGBTQ, and anti-violence movements, they were part of coalitions working on the passage of the Violence Against Women Act and the NYC Right to Know Act. Additionally, they served on various mayoral and city council commissions and worked to increase funding for LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence. They also helped build a local and national rapid response model for incidents of violence impacting LGBTQ people, especially transgender women of color.

Shelby is a graduate of Antioch College and The New School, and currently the chair of the Board of Trustees at Antioch College.