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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Alexander Chen, 2014

JD, Harvard University

Alexander Chen is a New American

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at Harvard University

Alexander was born in Colorado, the son of Chinese immigrants. Having lived under Mao Zedong's authoritarian rule, his parents encouraged Alexander to follow his dreams, and he studied English Literature, first at Oxford University and then as a graduate at Columbia University.

At the same time, Alexander was becoming involved in trans activism, and a rift was opening between his public and private worlds. In an attempt to reconcile the two, he took a multi-disciplinary course at Columbia, 'Law and the Humanities.' Writing about the historical relationship of trans people to health care and the law, Alexander realized he wanted a career in civil rights advocacy. Accordingly, he switched to a JD degree at Harvard Law School.

At Harvard, Alexander aims to acquire the skills to combine litigation, policy work, and academic research to advance civil rights for trans people. Involved in legal advocacy efforts on campus, he has also written on trans issues for the Harvard Law Review. He interned with the ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project during the summer of 2013, and will be working at the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and at the National Center for Transgender Equality in the summer of 2014.