Leo Cranney – Women Deliver

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Leo Cranney

  • Age: 30
  •    |   They/them/their


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As we strive for equality and universal human rights, let us center those who have been most marginalized and open up platforms to amplify voices. We as a whole need to end historically oppressive institutions and provide necessary reparations to those impacted by these same institutions.

- Leo Cranney


Leo Cranney is a recent graduate from Mills College in Oakland, California where they earned their BA in the PEPL (Politics, Economics, Policy, and Law) major with a concentration in Public Policy. Leo is a leader and a committed servant to their community. Leo was accepted into Equality California’s Leadership Academy in 2019 as a Student Fellow as well as Equality California’s Comcast Fellowship in 2020. Leo has also been accepted into the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program Class of 2020. Leo is currently employed with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights where they had been the Financial and Projects Assistant since Dec. 2018 but have now transitioned to the Pro-Bono Associate position. Leo is always looking for opportunities to lead, learn, and serve their community. Their career goal is to enter the field of Public Policy with an in-depth focus on Transgender healthcare and non-discrimination laws.

What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?

I have always known that I wanted to advocate for gender equality and Transgender rights, but there is one experience that has strongly solidified my intent. Not too long ago, I made the decision to pursue a gender-affirming surgery; a necessary procedure for many Trans individuals. Unfortunately, the healthcare system/insurance providers do not acknowledge affirming procedures as necessities. The medical system as a whole contains sparse knowledge concerning Trans healthcare, and disproportionately denies Trans individuals essential care. Six months of intensive self-advocation has since followed, whilst also having to teach my doctors/insurance providers about my body, and I just now had my first consultation this week. This process put in place imposes extreme interpersonal violence on individuals outside of the binary. Our medical system systematically ignores the needs of Trans individuals, and I intend on advocating for structured and effective change.

Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.

In the Spring of 2019, I spearheaded a campaign on the Mills College campus that I unofficially titled “Some Men Use Tampons Too.” My journey with my own gender had led me to discover that no trash receptacles, other than compost, were provided in any of the men's restrooms. This is a considerable issue, as some folks who use these restrooms regularly generate trash that cannot be composted, i.e. menstruation products. After assembling with fellow students and staff, I wrote a brief but powerful letter to the college administration that spoke for all of us. Within two weeks of receiving this email from many folks on- and off-campus, we met the deadline that I had set, and trash receptacles were provided in the men’s restrooms before the end of the semester. The satisfaction of this specific service came in two parts for me. Firstly, I was able to identify the issue: an essential service that was not being provided for Trans and Gender Non-conforming (TGNC) people on campus, which I was then able to resolve by effecting change in campus policy. Secondly, I was shown through lived experience the necessity of relying on and organizing within your community.

Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?

I try to find spare time for reading outside of school. My favorites include the Lord of the Rings Series and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I enjoy climbing, more specifically bouldering. I also enjoy lifting weights and biking through the bay. I recently taught myself embroidery and am now attempting to tackle the Rubik's Cube.

Languages Spoken:

  • English (Advanced/Native)

Speaks On:

  • lack of access to healthcare for trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and intersex individuals
  • the importance of inclusive sexuality and gender options in the census

Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:

  • Highlander Research and Education Center Workshop
  • Equality California Institute Leadership Academy Student Fellow
  • Full Scholarship for PLEN Women in Global Policy Seminar
  • Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society
  • Academic Honors