Umut Dursun, MA
Photo Credit: Angel Valentin for The New York Times
November 20, 2020 is Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience – Originally posted 27-July, 2017 and edited with current information: 20-November, 2020
Umut Dursun, Executive Director of Education with YES Institute and former Sergeant in the US Marines, shared his heartfelt emotions on the day the White House reversed course on allowing transgender troops to openly serve (2017).
New York Times journalists noted that transgender service members are expressing a mix of “Sadness, anger, and fear,” and interviewed Umut on his thoughts.
“I thought we were at a place of progress, and it feels like we’re taking 10 steps back. We’re not afraid of bullets flying at us…but we are afraid of someone’s experience around gender because we don’t understand it. -Umut Dursun
“This is why education makes the difference. If I can sit down and talk with someone one-on-one about my experience, and connect as two people, that’s when the experience can shift.”
-Umut Dursun on NBC 6 South Florida News with Steve Litz
YES Institute addresses the root causes of discrimination, harassment, and suicide by initiating authentic, powerful dialogue and providing education on gender and orientation.
Work we’ve done with military personnel includes education trainings for the US Coast Guard 7th District Leadership Diversity Advisory Council, the Miami VA Hospital, and the South Florida Federal Executive Board Conference at US Southern Command.
“The council members and myself thank Umut Dursun, Jennifer Lopez and YES Institute volunteers for taking the time to assist us in creating a more open respectful and inclusive Coast Guard.”
-Seaman Elise Withers, US Coast Guard
Request a YES Institute dialogue on gender and orientation for your school, hospital, or workplace to take steps toward purposeful action that keeps all youth and families safe and affirmed.
YES Institute’s vision is a world in which all youth are free of suicide, violence and discrimination. We invite you to be part of realizing this vision. Contact us to become a volunteer speaker, take an education course, or contribute financially to our community-based education.