Sharon daVanport is a disabled advocate, speaker, and educator who serves as the Founding Executive Director of the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. They are passionate about access to sexual and reproductive health care, support and advocacy for victims and survivors of intimate partner violence, gender and racial equity and justice in disability rights organizations, and leadership of disabled people in multiple marginalized communities. Under Sharon’s leadership, AWN’s website was selected by the Library of Congress to be archived for AWN’s contribution to women’s and gender studies, AWN joined a critical collaboration with autism researchers at George Washington University and Children’s National Health System, expanded to hire its first staff, launched its own publication imprint as DragonBee Press, collaborated on the annual Autistics Present Symposium on autistic culture and community, and developed a robust fiscal sponsorship program that supports the work of grassroots organizations, projects and events in the greater disability community. Some of these fiscal partners include the Disability Intersectionality Summit, Access the Polls, and the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment.
Sharon serves on the steering committee of the National Disability Leadership Alliance; represents AWN as part of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities; serves as Board Treasurer for Crushing Colonialism, a multimedia Native-led project; and serves as a self-advocate advisory board member for Felicity House, a social support and community outreach center for autistic women in New York City. Over the past decade, Sharon has advocated for autistic women, girls, and nonbinary people through forging critical research collaborations and providing consultations to White House and U.S. Government Accountability Office staff. In connection to their role as Felicity House advisory board member, Sharon was interviewed on the Today Show during the morning program’s Sisterhood Series in January 2020. Along with Emily Paige Ballou and Kristina Thomas, Sharon co-edited the anthology What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew, which received the Autism Society’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for Outstanding Literary Work of the Year in 2017. Sharon also contributed an essay on AWN’s founding and early work to the collection Autistic Advocacy and the Neurodiversity Movement: Stories from the Frontline. They received the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s Award for Service to the Self-Advocacy Movement in 2014.
Outside of their work with AWN, Sharon is the Business Manager for BeeDragon LLC, which provides full-service web design and development services to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Previously, Sharon served as Treasurer for the Nebraska State Independent Living Council, where they had been appointed as a representative of the Nebraska Department of Education. Sharon’s professional work history includes case management for a state employment service and workforce development agency, a family support worker at a human services agency responsible for promoting family reunification for children and youth in the foster system, and an advisor for a court watch program and domestic violence coalition. Sharon’s educational pursuits include women’s & gender studies, as well as entrepreneurship & business administration, and is a certified peer support and wellness specialist. In Sharon’s spare time, they enjoy traveling, research, reading, music, and spending time with family and close friends.