The Short Story
KaeLyn Rich (she/her) is a queer feminist, a direct action organizer, a nonprofit leader, a word wrangler, and a professional speaker. Her community organizing experience dates back to stuffing folders for her parents’ union meetings around the dining room table. She’s an adoptee immigrant from South Korea, a comfort food foodie, and a persistent devotee of the Oxford comma. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit.
The Long Read
Like a proper xennial, KaeLyn has had many jobs and worn many hats, often more than one at the same time.
Most recently, KaeLyn was the Executive Director of Bitch Media, an independent nonprofit feminist media organization best known for the essential Bitch Magazine. She’s a freelance writer and author whose first book, Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activist, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution (Quirk Books), a YA activism handbook was released in August 2018. She’s a contributing writer for the popular queer online publication, Autostraddle, where she writes biweekly columns on community organizing and queer parenting and other various content about queer politics, life, and culture. Her writing has been featured across the internet.
KaeLyn has over fourteen years of nonprofit campaign experience ranging from local grassroots movements to leading the field work of large statewide issue coalitions. KaeLyn spent eight years working for the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), managing regional offices across the state as the Assistant Advocacy Director for Chapters for two years and directing a regional office as Genesee Valley Chapter Director for six years. KaeLyn was the community affairs coordinator at Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York. Through her campaign work, KaeLyn has led or co-led work on a wide range of issues including reproductive rights, voting rights, police reform, immigrant rights, transgender rights, marriage equality, gender equity, and more.
KaeLyn is a professional speaker on intersectionality, activism and organizing, and LGBTQ issues. She presents workshops in high schools, public libraries, bookstores, and college campuses to groups as small as four and as large as 4,000. From 2011-2015, she traveled to colleges and universities across the United States as a sexuality educator with Sex Discussed Here, co-presenting funny, smart, honest lectures and programs about sexual health and responsible intimacy, safer sex, LGBTQI+ issues and much more. (Yes, it was really fun!)
KaeLyn is a founding member of the WOC^ART Collaborative, a multi-generational collective of Black womxn & womxn of color creators in Rochester NY. In 2017, KaeLyn was featured in Her Voice Carries, a public art project featuring women lifting up other women and an Emmy-nominated documentary film about the project. In 2012, KaeLyn was co-editor of the inaugural edition of the ImageOutWrite Literary Journal, a collection of writing by and about LGBTQ authors. She penned a monthly queer women’s health column in the Empty Closet from 2007-2010. In 2014, she co-authored an article on feminist praxis in student leadership programs published in Feminist Community Engagement: Achieving Praxis (Palgrave Macmillan). Her creative work was showcased at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference as part of the 2004 Creative Writing Series.
KaeLyn is a founding board member and the first volunteer co-trainer of Connect & Breathe, a taboo-breaking after-abortion talkline. She served on the board of ImageOut: the Rochester LGBT Film & Video Festival for six years, during which served on various committees from strategic planning to special events and watched a gazillion LGBTQ+ films. She also previously served on the state board of Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York.
KaeLyn holds B.A. degrees in women’s studies and English from SUNY College at Oswego and a M.A. in Liberal Studies degree from SUNY College at Brockport with an emphasis on feminist intersectionality in the nonprofit sector. She completed a graduate certificate in nonprofit management at SUNY College at Brockport in 2009. She teaches women and gender studies courses about LGBTQ+ cultures and histories at local colleges including SUNY College at Brockport and the University of Rochester.