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Alok Vaid-Menon is a trans South Asian writer, performance artist, and community organizer based in New York City. For the past six years they have organized in solidarity with racial, economic, and gender justice movement across the world. Alok currently serves on staff of the Audre Lorde Project, a community organizing center for and by queer and trans people of color. They also are on tour with DarkMatter, an activist poetry collaboration.
Victoria Villalba is a trans woman from Hermosillo, Mexico raised in Phoenix, Ariz., since the age of 3. In 2010, after her father's deportation, she returned to Mexico with her mother, determined to keep their family together. As she readjusted to life in Hermosillo, Victoria began to realize that she would not be able to live an authentic life in Mexico. Determined, she presnted herself at the U.S. border to request asylum. She was detained and held in all-male ICE detention for 3 1/2 months, during which time she organized other trans and queer migrants in a hunger strike to protest the abysmal conditions in detention. Since her release, she has worked tirelessly towards the liberation of all trans and queer migrants from the detention and deportation system. She is the founder of Transcend Arizona, an organization working to dismantle the systems that oppress queer communities.
LaSaia Wade is a 27-year-old trans woman of color who graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor's in business administration. She has worked for many different organizations such as the Trans People of Color Coalition and many more. She is now executive director of the Tennessee Trans Journey Project where she deals with economic justice, creates jobs, and uses funding to open doors for all trans folk in the state of Tennessee.
Hina Wong-Kalu is a highly respected teacher, cultural practitionar, and community leader who has brought national attention to the Native Hawaiian embrace of mahu -- those who embody both male and female spirit. She was a founder of the Kulia Na Mamo transgender health project, cultural director of a Hawaiian public charter school, and candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of the first transgender candidates for statewide political office in the United States. The award-winning PBS documentary Kumu Hina traces Hina's evolution from a timid high school boy to a married woman and kumu (teacher) who uses traditional culture to empower a young girl to lead the school's all-male hula troupe. A children's version of the film is being used to raise awareness of gender diversity in schools across the country, and to focus attention on the true meaning of aloha -- love, honor, and respect for all.
Kylie Wu is the creator of Trans Girl Next Door, a weekly autobiographical Web comic series about her life as a transgender woman and a professional napper. Since she day she was born, Kylie always knew she was a watermelon enthusiast, but she didn't realize she was a lady until the year Justin Bieber turned 19. Having personally visited the public restrooms in China, Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, she decided Los Angeles has the best ones, and that's why she is currently residing there. Kylie enjoys surfing in the afternoon and chopping wood at night in her bikini (usually in a stranger's backyard).
As a community organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), LaLa Zannell is the face of AVP's public community organizing work, doing advocacy, outreach, and networking on behalf of LGBTQ New Yorkers who have experienced violence. LaLa also plays a key role in AVP's Rapid Incident Response team, which responds whenever incidents of hate violence, sexual violence, or intimate partner violence impacting LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers become public. LaLa is a gifted public speaker and speechwriter who speaks out on issues related to anti-LGBTQ violence, and especially the disproportionate violence that transgender women of color face. Additionally, LaLa is a mentor for the Trans Mentorship Program at the Ali Forney Center, coalition memer of Communities United for Police Reform and a member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) Movement Building Committee. Lala believes "we must all be accountable to each other."
In Memoriam: Leslie Feinberg was an author, activist, queer radical, and pioneer whose life works challenged the very foundation of the gender binary and gave voice to the transgender experience in the United States. Excerpt from Feinberg's obituary, written for The Advocateby surviving partner Minnie Bruce Pratt: "Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of 'transgender liberation,' and her work impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organizing. Her historical and theoretical writing has been widely anthologized and taught in the U.S. and international academic circles. Her impact on mass culture was primarily through her 1993 first novel, Stone Butch Blues, widely considered in and outside the U.S. as a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender."