Scroll To Top

This Year’s Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Who’s Who

This Year’s Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Who’s Who


The 2015 Trans100 list includes activists, journalists, academics, and sex workers.

The third annual Trans100 event, held Sunday at Chicago's Mayne Stage and live-streamed with support in part from Lambda Legal, recognized the work of out trans people who, in the words of cofounder Jen Richards, "are working on trans issues in the United States and having a positive impact."
Trans activists, journalists, professors, photographers, researchers, performers, clergy, sex workers, and others were selected on this basis, according to "What is this nominee doing to make life better for the trans community?"
In a press release, Richards said those nominated are "intentionally curated" by anonymous volunteers. Codirectors Rebecca King and Crispin Torres said in a statement it is not intended to be an award show: "It is not a list of the 'Best' or the 'Most Important' trans people. It is not a popularity contest and there are many individuals absent from the list who are doing excellent work. More are no longer with us."
Torres was among those who made the list this year. While praise for the program was nearly universal, Transgriot's Monica Roberts tweeted an observation on the list's large number of Chicagoans:
Trans social justice teacher and performance artist Precious Davis cohosted the event with her fiance, trans outreach coordinator Myles Brady, who himself was named to the Trans100 this year.
A trans woman and a trans man each gave a stirring keynote speech: Lana Wachowski, one of the directors of the Matrix movies and Cloud Atlas, told those assembled and watching online, "Our tribe is part of every tribe; there is no normal. To be different is ultimately what it means to be human."
Earlier, media advocate and strategist Tiq Milan cautioned the audience, "We have to be more concerned with building maps to the future than monuments to ourselves." He also moved the audience with the story of his coming-out -- "It wasn't about coming out, it was about inviting them in" -- and how his mother embraced him as her son, even correcting someone misgendering him with one of her last breaths.
Also at the venue, three trans musicians performed: Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace rocked the house, Carnegie Hall violinist Tona Brown stirred the crowd with her strings, and hip-hop rapper Rocco Katastrophe had fans on their feet.
Here are those selected as the 2015 Trans100:
Maddie Adams's impact within the trans community includes working with Freedom Michigan in late 2014 as the advocacy organizer for Wayne County to try to pass an LGBT-inclusive Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act in her home state of Michigan. Also, she was the first trans woman to work for the Michigan Democratic Party, as a field organizer and volunteer coordinator during the 2014 election cycle.
Ben Power Alwin is founder and executive director of the Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation Inc., a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For 37 years he has been curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives, a 40-year-old national collection of LGBTQ literature, history, and art open to the public and located in his home inNorthampton, Massachusetts. Ben also founded the East Coast FTM Group in 1992, the first-ever support group for trans men in the New England region.
Jae Bates is an impressive student activist and leader. Jae led a workshop at OutFront Minnesota's Youth Summit, which was attended by 400 high school students. He spoke at the Youth Rally held that same day in the rotunda of the Minnesota State Capitol. He was a strong advocate for passage of the Safe & Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, bullying prevention legislation that includes protections for LGBTQ students. He testified before a senate committee about how his life had been impacted by bullying. Currently a freshman in college in Washington, he is a bold advocate for the rights of trans students and athletes.
Oliver Bendorf is an Iowa-born writer and teaching artist, currently living and working in Wisconsin. He has read poetry and facilitated workshops across the Midwest on creativity, zines, identity, the body, and transforming dysphoria through art. His book of poems, The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State UP 2015) was selected for the Wick Poetry Prize by Mark Doty, who wrote, "It's a joy ... to come nearer to a realm of experience little explored in American poetry, the lives of those who are engaged in the complex project of transforming their own gender."
After nearly four years as a researcher with the Ironworkers Union's Organizing Department, Andrea Bowen led successful transgender policy advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., including passage of birth certificate and name change reform legislation, and mayoral policy solidifying transgender people's right to insurance coverage of transition-related care. She also helped engineer a legal victory against a women's homeless shelter in DC that was denying access to transgender women. She is currently executive director of Garden State Equality.
Avi Bowie is a proud multiracial, genderqueer Chi-town native and social worker with over 15 years of experience in social justice and youth advocacy. Avi's expertise is in the areas of LGBTQ youth services, childhood trauma, and program development and evaluation. Avi began working with LGBTQ youth and families at the NYC LGBT Community Center, where they cofounded the Transgender/Gender Queer Parents and Prospective Parents Group, and served as a consultant and trainer for the LGBT Foster Care Project, which strives to improve the experiences of LGBTQ youth in out of home care.
Myles Brady is a trans revolutionary social justice warrior. Myles's passion for social services comes through wanting to see marginalized populations being empowered so they can reach their full potential. Myles is currently the transgender outreach coordinator at Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center, and he is also a collective member with the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois.
Meghan Buell is a lifelong resident of northern Indiana and has been active in the transgender community since 2003. She currently resides in South Bend and is the executive director of the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana. Meghan also serves Out & Equal Workplace Advocates on its Transgender Advisory Committee. Most recently, she has established a new nonprofit organization that is working to bring transgender education and resources to underserved rural populations in the Midwest.
Lexie Cannes is an activist, actress, writer, and award-winning filmmaker. Lexie's popular transgender blog, Lexie Cannes State of Trans, reached a million views within three years. She also writes for The Huffington Post and other publications. Lexie's primary areas of trans activism include trans kids, trans violence, civil rights & equality and politics. Her transgender feature film, Lexie Cannes, racked up numerous awards and accolades on the festival circuit. The lead character is transgender and the film features trans actors. The film represents trans people factually and positively.
Daniella Carter is an advocate for LGBT youth and has given speeches at local, national, and international events, including panel discussions with political leaders and dignitaries. Daniella recently initiated a project to bring visibility to trans youth issues and has collaborated with Miss Universe and others to share their experiences in overcoming homelessness. She is working with her mentor Laverne Cox and was featured in the MTV and Logo TV documentary Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word.
Joanna Cifredo s a writer and the founder of, the brand ambassador to the DC Rape Crisis Center, and a fierce advocate for trans issues. Joanna began her career in community service as a youth health educator in central Florida. Eventually she transitioned to direct services working for the Health Department, where she provided case management services to those living with HIV or AIDS. After relocating to D.C., she continued her service to the community, lending her time to Empoderate, a local Latin LGBTQ community center, and providing voice to underserved populations. Joanna serves on the board of directors for Whitman-Walker Health and is the recipient of the 2015 Visionary Voice Award by National Sexual Violence Resource Center for her work on trans-inclusive health care. Joanna, in conjunction with DC Rape Crisis Center, is launching a city-wide conversation called "SIS to Cis," a conversation between cis and transgender people of color.
Thomi Clinton's priority is to provide trans people the tools they need to fulfill their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Behind the scenes, her work has affected millions of lives within this nation. She is a nurturer and mother when it comes to humanitarian needs. She has remained behind the scenes for many years. She has facilitated and reformed conservative arenas, including the Department of Justice's correctional treatment of trans to prevent rape and assault.
Lynn Conway is professor, electrical engineering and computer science, emerita, at the University of Michigan. As a young IBM researcher in the 1960s, Lynn made pioneering innovations in computer engineering. Sadly, IBM fired Lynn in 1968 upon learning that she was transgender. A gritty survivor, Lynn completed her transition and restarted her career in "stealth mode." Working at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, she went on to pioneer new silicon-chip design methods that fueled Silicon Valley's microelectronics revolution during the 1980s and '90s. After coming out via the Internet in 1999, Lynn went on to evolve her trans support website,, into a multilingual beacon of hope and encouragement for transgender women worldwide.
Yvonne Cook-Riley is truly a pioneer of the transgender movement. She helped develop the International Foundation for Gender Education. The Outreach Institute recognized Yvonne's dedication to the transgender movement when it awarded her the Outreach Medal in 1991. The community bestowed her with the IFGE Trinity award in 1991, the IFGE Virginia Prince Lifetime Service Award in 1995, and the Virginia Prince Pioneer Award in 2013. She is a veteran of the Air Force, having served during the Vietnam War, and now serves on the board of directors of the Transgender American Veterans Association.
James Darling is a Bay Area- based adult performer, educator, and director from the South. He is a two-time Transgender Erotica Awards FTM Performer of the Year as well as Feminist Porn Awards Heartthrob of the Year 2012. Most recently he was the second trans man to ever be nominated for 2015 AVN Awards Transsexual Performer of the Year. James opened doors for other FTM performers by working with cis gay studio Alternadudes and was influential in helping Grooby's Transgender Erotica Awards change its name and include trans men.
Although Jordan Gwendolyn Davis has recently moved to California, she has done a lot of work in her home state of Pennsylvania to advance transgender rights. In 2012 she worked with Philadelphia City Council on a resolution that successfully brought down a discriminatory gender sticker policy on public transit passes and also worked with the late Gloria Casarez on the first ever mayoral proclamation for Transgender Day of Remembrance, worked on the first Philadelphia City Council resolution for Transgender Awareness Week, and testified in a City Council hearing on street harassment. Her crowning achievement was a landmark TLGB omnibus bill she worked with Councilmember Kenney on that passed and was signed in spring 2013. She has also worked over a year with Pennsylvania state representative Mark Cohen on the first ever trans-specific rights bills in Pennsylvania history, HB 303 (Transgender Students Rights) and HB 304 (Transgender Health Benefits Act).

Rashida Davison is a black trans/genderqueer artist and activist hailing from Rocky Mount, N.C., and currently residing in Columbus, Ohio. While in Columbus, Rashida has been involved in advocacy for transgender people of color through leadership in SHADES Buckeye Chapter, Equality Ohio, TransOhio, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. While in the position of outreach and engagement coordinator at TransOhio, Rashida helped to organize Ohio's first Transgender Safety Summit, Northeast Ohio Transgender Job Fair, and advocated for respectful representation of the trans community in local media.
Mashuq Deen is an award-winning Brooklyn-based artist whose medium is primarily theater. He is committed to social justice, and his plays have been developed and produced at the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Dixon Place, InterAct Theatre, among others, and include Shut Up!, Tank & Horse, Draw The Circle, and The Shaking Earth. He is the recipient of the NYFA Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship, the James Baldwin Award, an honorable mention for the Dennis Johnston Playwriting Prize, and has been nominated for the Weissberger Award. As an activist, he is currently a working group member of Sampoorna* (by and for trans* and intersex Indians across the globe), and has worked for SALGA (queer desis in NYC).
Dallas Denny is a leader in the transgender rights movement. Her work as a writer, editor, speaker, and community builder have played and continue to play a significant role in the advancement of rights for transsexual and transgender people in North America and around the world. She is a board member for the nonprofit Transgender Health & Educational Alliance and Real Life Experiences, a member of the planning committee for the transgender event Fantasia Fair, and is a contributor to the recent book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves.
Ashley Diamond is a singer and entertainer from Rome, Ga., who unwittingly became a transgender rights activist following her incarceration in Georgia. After corrections officials terminated her hormone therapy and ignored her pleas for safe housing, Ashley commenced a lawsuit challenging Georgia's practice of denying transgender inmates gender-related care and turning a blind eye to their sexual victimization. Ashley also made a series of videos, Memoirs of a Chain Gang Sissy, amplifying the voices of LGBTQI inmates and shining a light on the abuse they experience on a daily basis.
Reverend Jubi Dutcher, OJCR, is a trans-identified priest of the Universal Anglican Church and is the diocesan administrator for the Midwest. She cofounded the Ecumenical Order of Jesus Christ Reconciler, resides in the founding house of the order, and co-pastors an oratory of the order. She has a master of divinity degree and master of arts in spirituality from Loyola University in Chicago. Mother Jubi also has two years experience studying with a Zen Buddhist master.
Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, "The Ancient Jazz Priestess of Mother Africa," is an African, Cuban, and Native American performance artist, author (Yemaya's Daughters), teacher, blogger (Lady Dane Speaks, Queen Goddesses), a regular contributor to Queer of Gender, cohost of the Inside Out Radio Show, advocate, a member of the TWOCC Leadership Team (Trans Women of Color Collective), a volunteer at Casa Ruby, life coach, and a founding member of Force/Collision. She began producing her own cabarets at the age of 17. At LaMama in New York in 2012 she originated the role of Madame Cordelia McClain in Erik Ehn's Shape. With Yemaya's Daughters (2013), she became the first transgender woman of color to publish a work of fiction in D.C. In 2013 (D.C.) and 2015 (NYC) she produced a reading of her musical Roaring (book and lyrics), which is about a transgender woman of color in the 1920s. She is represented by awQward Talent Agency.
Kale Edmiston is a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, where he studies the neuroendocrine system, stress, and social behavior. He has published numerous papers on the neural correlates of anxiety and stress in adolescents. Kale is dedicated to improving health care access for transgender people. As codirector of The Program for LGBTI Health, Kale has shaped health care policy, research, and education to improve the lives of transgender people. He founded Trans Buddy, a unique peer advocacy program that pairs trained volunteers with transgender patients.
Lauryn Farris has spent almost 10 years working on trans issues in the state of Texas and in San Antonio. Currently she serves as assistant director of The Thrive Center, the first LGBTQ specific homeless shelter in the South. The shelter opened with services for 14 LGBTQ, including six trans-identified, individuals inside the multimillion-dollar Haven for Hope Shelter in San Antonio. She transitioned on the job with Ariba Inc. in 2006. Lauryn is a mother and grandmother, and her spouse, sons and transgender daughter work with her in advocating for equality.
Sam Feder is a filmmaker exploring interpersonal power dynamics and the politics of media-driven identity. Sam's directorial debut, Boy I Am, is cited as one of the "10-Must See Gender Documentaries." Sam's third feature film, Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger, was voted one of the top 10 LGBT documentaries of 2014. Sam tours internationally, hosting screenings, discussions and lectures with their work at film festivals, universities, museums, and libraries.
Dylan Flunker is honored to be included in the Trans100. He is passionate about policy, biking, community-based research, parenting, health equity, and books. He is Rainbow Health Initiative's research and policy manager. He works on RHI's research efforts, including the annual Voices of Health survey of LGBTQ health access and experiences. He also supports the youth and young adults of Shift MN in building healthier LGBTQ communities.
Theo George currently works as the online communications manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality and lives in Washington, D.C. Theo is a digital strategist, community-based activist, and musician. As a digital strategist, Theo helps a variety of nonprofit organizations, arts festivals, and community-based grassroots organizations connect on a deeper level with their target audiences. Theo's music career highlights include being a percussionist for the Baltimore Ravens Band and the after-party DJ for 2013 MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham. He is most passionate about promoting and preserving the artistic and cultural legacy of African-American communities.
Goddess Queen sister Katrina Goodlett is a black transgender woman of color who is also the executive producer and host of The Kitty Bella Show on Blog Talk Radio. Katrina, a content creator, loves asking tough questions, building brands, and creating campaigns. Katrina created the empowerment campaign #tgirlsrock in 2013 to raise the visibility and to empower trans folk through clothing. Katrina serves on the Leadership of The TWOCC [Trans Women of Color Collective]. Katrina strongly believes in sisterhood and collective economics. Katrina just recently joined the groundbreaking queer/trans persons of color talent agency awQward.
Kai M. Green is a writer, scholar, poet, filmmaker, abolitionist, feminist, and whatever else it takes to make a new and more just world. Kai is invested in developing models of healthy and loving black masculinities. As a leader, teacher, and brother he is committed to raising consciousness around self-care, self-love, sexual health, emotional health, sexual and state violence, healthy masculinities, and black feminism. He believes that writing and storytelling are revolutionary acts, especially for those who are often erased by heteronormative and Eurocentric histories.
Brooke Cerda Guzman is a women's rights activist with a focus on women of transgender experience. Brooke came to America in 1989, but it wasn't until 2009 that Brooke was able to find the information and support to get the courage to start her feminization process and present to the world as herself. She decided to dedicate her life to educating and bringing awareness to the world as well as advocating for her own community. Since then she has gained great visibility and was awarded with the Legacy of Pride Award by Harlem Pride and has cofounded, with other community leaders, the Trans Women of Color Collective. In 2013 she finished her two-year (volunteeer) internship at The Gender Identity Project. On April 30, 2014 the Anti-Violence Project honored her.
Gretchen Rachel Hammond is a senior reporter for Windy City Times and considers herself fortunate to work for genuine role models in Tracy Baim and Andrew Davis. She feels honored to be able to write about the transgender community; her community. Gretchen once hid from even being called transgender but now calls that "the greatest mistake of my life. I missed out on years of a community that defines courage, strength, dignity and an uncompromising honesty that you will rarely find because it has often cost us our friends, family, jobs, homes and too often our lives."
Rhys Harper is a Little Rock-based portrait photographer who created the Transcending Gender Project in January 2014. He has been photographing trans-identified folks all across the U.S. and is currently working to expand the project. He hopes that this project will reach new people and help them think about and have conversations about gender in our society. Rhys is so grateful for the amazing support he has received for this project, which would not be possible without the incredible support of so many.
Imani Keith Henry is a longtime anti-police brutality, antiwar and anti-death penalty activist in the U.S. Imani was the first program coordinator of TransJustice, a NYC political group created by and for trans and gender-nonconforming people of color. As playwright/performer, Imani toured with his multi-media theatre piece, B4T (before testosterone), across the U.S. and internationally. He is a journalist for Workers World newspaper, and his writings has appeared in several publications. Imani is an organizer within the #BlackLivesMatter movement within the Peoples Power Assembly.
Joe Ippolito is a doctor of psychology, clinician, researcher, writer, educator and filmmaker. Joe transitioned his gender 14 years ago and has been advocating for the trans community ever since. Joe is a faculty member in the psychology department at Metropolitan State University, assessment and referral clinician for Allina Health Systems and founder and executive director of Gender Reel, the country's only coast-to-coast film and performance art festival dedicated to enhancing the visibility of trans people. Joe co-authored a chapter in the book, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. Currently, Joe is working on his next documentary and writing a book about the socialization experiences of men, and has founded TAP, Trans Masculine Abuse Project.
Mary Irons is a board member and facilitator for the Washington Gender Alliance, which provides peer support for transgender and genderqueer persons 16 and older. Mary is the founder of the Shoreline Washington Gender Alliance meeting and received the volunteer of the year award from the North Urban Human Services Alliance for her work. Mary is a single mother of two amazing boys ages 10 and 7. She is the founder of Transgender Parents of Washington, which provides a safe place for trans* parents and their children to meet for support, participate in social activities, and work to create positive systemic change in the trans community for parents and their children/youth.
Monica James is a 40-something black transgender woman from the south side of Chicago whose strong activist voice has been heard around the world. She has survived years of police targeting, including being confined in the maximum security section of Cook County Jail more than 100 times. In 2007, with legal and community support, she fought trumped-up charges following a brutal assault by police. In 2014 she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify before the U.N. to the severe abuses inflicted by cops and courts on trans women of color. She is currently a collective member at the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois and a staff member at Howard Brown Health Center.
Sandy James is the survey project manager with the National Center for Transgender Equality and leads the research team for the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey. After spending a decade as a forensic toxicologist, Sandy launched a new career as a civil rights advocate focused on laws and policies that affect trans people. He serves on the steering committee of Trans Legal Advocates of Washington, a volunteer-run organization that cosponsors a free name and gender change clinic in the D.C. area and provides financial assistance to clients. He is also on the board of Whitman-Walker Health.

Jennell Jaquays is a pioneer. Her career as a game developer, artist, and creative leader began in the earliest days of both the traditional table-top role-play and video game industries. Jennell's transgender advocacy has focused on using her high profile professional status to reach outside the transgender community as an ambassador to game players and game makers alike, discussing the intersection of transgender issues and gaming with the advocacy group She also mentors game fans and peers as they take first steps navigating through gender transition. She is a trustee on the board of the Transgender Human Rights Institute, the organization that launched two successful petitions for Leelah's Law in in early 2015. Jennell is a founding partner and chief creative officer for game developer Olde Skuul, in Seattle, Wash., and is married to game developer Rebecca Heineman.
Samantha Jo-Dato has become a force to be reckoned with as a dedicated and passionate advocate and activist for trans* issues in Philadelphia. A self-determined, affectionate, and loving person with a sassy, fireball personality, Samantha has worked tirelessly in a number of efforts forwarding the trans* movement. While living a transparent life as a trans woman, she has become a role model, leader, big sister, and support system to many.
Sayer Andrew Johnson is a parent, partner, artist, social worker, and lifelong activist. He proudly identifies as a queer transgender man. Sayer sits on the board of the LGBT Center of St. Louis and is president and cofounder of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group. Sayer worked with MTUG and the University of Missouri-St. Louis to help create the first conference on transgender issues in the St. Louis metro region. Sayer believes along with positive visibility and support, storytelling is vital to the trans rights movement. He is coproducer and assistant director on the documentary TransGeek Movie and has a screenplay called Intentional in pre-production. Sayer has also helped to bring the stories of trans people to NPR's acclaimed StoryCorps.
Monica Jones is an activist for trans rights and sex worker rights. She is a student at the Arizona State University school of social work and she travels to educate people on the issues that affect both trans women and sex workers. She just traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to speak about trans and sex worker issues.
NIC Kay is a transdisciplinary artist whose work straddles performance, video, installation, collage, and printmaking. NIC's current projects explore movement as a place of reclamation of the body, history, and identity. Born and reaised in the Bronx, New York, NIC graduated from Professional Performing Artist School in 2007 and was a Hemispheric Institute EMERGENYC Fellow in 2009. NIC was a youth member and peer educator at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk School, for eight years. Now residing in Chicago, they are a founding member of 3rd Language queer arts collective. They gave the 2013 keynote speech at The Trans, Gender Nonconforming, Intersex Freedom Picnic and Rally in Chicago, and they have taught for About Face Theatre, Women Made Gallery, Free Street Theater, and Broadway Youth Center. In 2014 they were awarded the Chances Dances - Marc Aguhar Memorial Grant.
Bryn Kelly has shared her written work at NYC-based performance series TRIPS, Low Standards, and Queer Memoir; as a columnist at Showtime Network's; in Original Plumbing magazine; as a regular contributor to the digital literary magazine; and in the anthology, Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love and Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary, edited by Morty Diamond. The Brooklyn resident has written short fiction for the journal Time is Not A Line: Reflections on HIV/AIDS Now, commissioned by the New Museum, and EOAGH, a Journal of the Arts.
Aydin Kennedy, MSW, ACSW, has been providing mental health counseling for transgender youth, adults, and their families for the last five years. He is the cofounder of the Stonewall Alliance Center's community counseling program in Chico, Calif. As a queer trans man and activist, Aydin is extremely passionate about exploring the intersecting identities and often multiple disparities experienced by the trans community. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he is the coordinator of the Transgender Health Program and Trans* Empower Program at St. John's Well Child and Family Center; a no-barrier, informed consent medical and mental health program providing services for transgender adults in the south Los Angeles area.
Mira Krishnan is a neuropsychologist and healthcare leader. At Hope Network, a leading social service agency, she directs the Center for Autism, west Michigan's leading autism evaluation and treatment program. She is active on the local, state, and national levels, including a board advisory role with the American Association of Children's Residential Centers and cochairing the American Psychological Associations Division 44 Committee for Transgender People and Gender Diversity. Mira has presented at the First Event and Southern Comfort Conferences on workplace transition/coming-out success, and she is also an active blogger on LGBTQIA+ and feminist issues. She lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is in a committed relationship with a trans man, Teri Jourdan. She came out publicly as trans in July 2014.
Malachi Larrabee-Garza currently serves as director of the Community Justice Network for Youth at the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Malachi leads the CJNY, a network of over 200 organizations across the U.S. working to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities within the juvenile justice system and build community alternatives to the juvenile and criminal justice systems. While at the Burns Institute Malachi cofounded the Brown Boi Project and works with the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), Southerners On New Ground, Transgender & Intersexed Justice Project, Brown Boi Project and BreakOUT! through board appointments and staffing special projects.
Jiz Lee entered the world of adult films in 2005 and over the course of a decade slowly built a name in the industry by presenting their genuine pleasure and gender expression on camera. They speak at colleges and universities, lead queer and consent-based sex ed workshops, curate screenings, and work tirelessly behind the scenes at Pink & White Productions (, supporting queer and trans cinema, and emerging filmmakers. Their erotic philanthropic Karma Pervs project benefits sex worker, LGBTQ, and health-focused organizations. Jiz chronicles their adventures in porn on their blog, and is currently editing their first book, Coming Out Like a Porn Star, with essays on intersectional experiences in pornography. In their downtime, Jiz is training for an Ironman 70.3.
Justin Lemley is an organizer for the National LGBTQ Task Force, helping to train and mobilize trans and queer people. An activist in many LGBTQ campaigns, Justin has worked on issues ranging from trans-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances to paid sick leave for all workers, in places such as Ohio, Utah, Miami, and Chattanooga, Tenn. In addition to their activism, Justin is an avid trombonist. Originally from New Jersey, Justin is a graduate of the College of New Jersey in music and women and gender studies. Justin seeks to find ways to infuse and incorporate the community building power of music into their work for LGBTQ liberation.
Aryah Lester is the current chair for the Florida Health Department's Transgender Work Group and a member of Trans* Active Florida, an advisory board of Equality Florida. She also founded the organization Trans-Miami, Miami-Dade's first transgender organization, as well as continued the social news network for her National Alliance of Traansgender Advocates and Leaders. Aryah currently assists the Switchboard of Miami as a nationall certified suicide crisis hotline counselor and speaks nationally toward transgender equality. In addition, Aryah has, in collaboration with Unity Coalition as a board member, instituted a monthly support group for ransgnder individuals in Brickell, and offers workshops throughout the year as well as sitting as a member of the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors transgender group.
Dr. Rachel Levine is currently the Acting Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf. She is also a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. Rachel graduated from Harvard College in 1979 and the Tulane University School of Medicine in 1983. She completed her training in pediatrics at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City in 1987 and then did a fellowship in adolescent medicine at Mount Sinai from 1987-88. Until her current appointment, she was on the Board of Equality PA and the board of the Capital Region Stonewall Democrats.
Jennifer Louise Lopez is a New York City trans activist, advocate, supporter, public speaker, investigative journalist and internet radio host, whose biography on Everything Trans NYC describes her as the appointed chairwoman of the Transgender Services committee for the Bronx LGBT Center, and executive director of the transgender Experience, a local pride organization. She also volunteers at many organizations to support the trans community. Lopez says: "Simply put I am a Transgender, Transsexual, Bisexual, Lesbian, Curvy, Cross-eyed, Latina and Woman here to change the modern day views of society."
For nearly a decade, Kristen Parker Lovell has worked vigorously to carry on Sylvia Rivera's legacy to support transient young people. A survivor of the streets who was mentored by Sylvia herself, for over eight years Kristen has been a symbol of strength, and resilience in her work at Sylvia's Place/MCCNY Charities Inc., NYC's only emergency queer youth shelter. She's currently the Program Coordinator for HIV Testing and Counseling and has been helping relaunch STARR, the radical trans activist group started by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson in 1972. A fierce advocate for trans women, Kristen is also the founder of an empowerment group, Trans in Action.
Tommy Luckett, born and raised in Helena, Ark., is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas. Luckett advocates for people living with HIV or AIDS and is well aware of the disparities in health care coverage transgender peopel face at an alarming rate and is working to remedy it. She attended the 53rd annual Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS meeting and participated in a five-speaker panel discussing Medicaid expansion and the private option. Since then, Luckett became the Arkansas state coordinator for AIDSWatch 2014 in Washington, D.C. Luckett sits on the board of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Colaition and is a quality of health care advisor for the Arkansas Department of Health. Luckett's most recent accomplishment is to be on the board of the U.S. PLHIV Cacus Steering Committee.
Mickey Ray Mahoney is an educator, curator, and media maker, based in Chicago. Mahoney's videos, performances, and photography traverse the abstruse landscape and language of gender both in the body and within and across culture, using humor and narrative to disrupt, refigure, and complicate understandings of gender and sexuality. Mickey is an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he teaches classes in queer and trans cinema in the departments of art history and film, video, new media, and animation.
Greta Gustava Martela is a trans dyke and a software engineer living in San Francisco. Martela and her partner, Nina Chaubal, founded Trans Lifeline, a crisis line for transgender people staffed entirely by transgender people. Since its launch in September 2014, Trans Lifeline has grown very quickly. In January of 2015, Trans Lifeline's 90 operators talked to transgender people in crisis for 513 hours.
J Mase III is a black/trans/rowdy-as-hell poet and educator who has toured the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. He's author of And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer's Reflections on Grief, Unemployment & Inappropriate Jokes About Death and founder of awQward, the first talent agency specifically dedicated to uplifting the work of trans and queer folks of color. As an educator, J Mase has worked with thousands of community members on the needs of LGBTQIA youth and adults in spaces such as K-12 schools, universities, faith communities, and restricted care facilities and is a cofounder of the weekly twitter chat series #qfaith, an interfaith discussion for trans and queer folks of faith.
From the Bronx, N.Y., now in Connecticut. J.D. Melendez has been part of the Neutral Zone, FIERCE!, Sylvia's Place, Public Allies-Americorps, New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth, and was a 2012 Soulforce Equality Rider. J.D. is currently employed with a sexual assault crisis services program in Connecticut, where he is the TLGB advocate. He offers advocacy, support, and counseling to TLGB survivors of sexual violence. J.D. is currently working to get the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities to use the preferred name of trans students in the classroom, and in communications with other students, to create a safer learning environment. He is also an expert on zombies.
Julian Melson cofacilitates FTM support groups with TSAZ (Trans* Spectrum of Arizona), volunteers every year for the One-n-Ten youth camp as a counselor, attends the LGBT Consortium meetings, and is a diversity trainer for Stonewall Institute. Julian is employed at the Mayo Clinic and is the cochair of the LGBT Mayo employee resource group. He is diligently working with the Mayo on transgender employee and patient education, and advocating for transgender healthcare benefits. Julian's most recent accomplishment is cocreating a support group for parents of trans youth and giving gender-variant kids a safe place to be themselves. Through his activism, Julian has received the Phoenix Pride John Bircum-shaw Community Service Award, the Mayo Clinic Diversity and Inclusion Award, and Echo Magazine's 2014 Man of the Year.
Joselyn Mendoza is an undocumented transgender woman from Queens, N.Y., who has organized and lead the largest immigrant youth led movement to fight for trans liberation. She began organizing after feeling like a victim of employment discrimination due to her gender identity. Yet Joselyn has always been a person who never gives up. She started organizing with Make The Road New York, a local organization from Queens, N.Y. to push for GENDA legislation that would include gender identity and expression in employment protections. She has then become a national leader for the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, a program of United We Dream, where she led the recent #WeCantWait campaign.
Victor J. Mukasa, executive director at Kuchu Diaspora Alliance-USA, is a human rights defender from Uganda with tremendous contribution to human rights struggles in Africa and globally. He is founding member of several Ugandan and regional human rights groups, including Sexual Minorities Uganda, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, Freedom and Roam Uganda, Trans Support Initiative, Uganda, among others. Victor was the first activist to address the U.N. about transgender issues in Africa, in 2006. He initiated the Nairobi Trans* Declaration 2007, and the first pan-African transgender meeting in 2008, from which the project Proudly African and Transgender and several transgender organizations in Africa, emerged.
Michael Munson is the cofounder and executive director of FORGE, a 21-year-old organization focused on improving the lives of transgender individuals by building stronger connections, providing resources, and empowering growth through knowledge. FORGE is a national training and technical assistance provider funded through the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Munson's educational background is in psychology, with an emphasis on trauma-informed care and non-traditional healing modalities.

Toni Newman is the author of the memoir I Rise -- The Transformation of Toni Newman. I Rise was nominated in 2012 in two categories for the Lambda Literary Awards. I Rise is being sold in 22 countries and 15 different languages. British director Keight Holland and writer-producer Alton Demore have adapted the memoir into the feature film Heart of a Woman. The Advocate, the Huffington Post, and Ebony magazine have featured Toni Newman and I Rise. Toni is the community editor for Proud to Be Out digital magazine and a blogger for Huffington Post's Gay Voices. Her day-to-day position is development and administration coordinator for the largest health care and wellness centers in south Los Angeles.
Maxwell Ng currently serves as chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, a group dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. With MTPC he is currently working on legislation to protect trans people in public accommodations. Maxwell also serves on the Steering Committee for the Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance, an organization committed to providing a supportive social, political, and educational environment for LGBTQ people of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage in the Boston area.
Kean O'Brien is the creator and curator of Transient, a Los Angeles-based mobile exhibition of international transgender artists that creates a dialogue around social constructs and trans in(visibility). Now in development on its third iteration, Transient has as its goals to bring the mobile exhibition to spaces outside of an urban landscape and offer a space for trans artists all over the country to show their artwork. Kean is also an educator and activist who has participated in creating artist-run spaces, fighting the prison industrial complex, as well as training folks about transgender incarceration politics and rights.
Elijah Oberman is the violinist of Brooklyn rock band The Shondes, whose most recent album, The Garden, brought the band to a new level of success including opening for Against Me!, and was hailed by Rolling Stone as an album that would kick your ass for giving up on hope and said Oberman "scrapes hornets and angels from his fiddle." As a core and founding member of The Shondes, he has honed his craft, influenced by punk, Jewish, and classical music, played songs that are hopeful and life-affirming, and always insisted on using mainstream success to highlight the issues of queer and trans people. He has also been particularly vocal as a Jew against the occupation of Palestine.
Marcus Ordane is a 23-year-old trans man. He is a graduate student at the University of Montana working towards a doctorate. He transitioned when he was 18 years old and has been out to the community since. Marcus says, "I would like to say that I am here because of the love from my family and friends. I would also like to point out that I am here today, loving who I really am due to one person; LC. Thank you for all that you have done and all that we have been through together."
Reyna Ortiz is a proud trans Latina who has been openly trans for over 20 years. She says, "Living my life as a trans woman growing up in the inner city, you come to realize the lack of resources and understand the needs in your community. My passion is to inform all trans woman about the resources that are available. Reyna says connecting with "the girls on a deeper personal level, understanding the struggles that trans women go through and finding ways to make our lives and transition easier. Trans people are here, have been here and will always be here."
Alexis Paige is a bisexual mixed-race Korean trans woman. She assisted in the planning of Portland, Ore.'s first official Trans Pride March, planning the Meaningful Care Conference (a national LGBTQ medical conference), and in the promotion of and education about Oregon's Medicaid program ending exclusions of transiton-related transgender health care. Currently she works at the Cascade AIDS Project assisting people in applying for health care and is a member of the trans inclusion committee there. She also volunteers as an HIV tester and counselor at monthly trans community nights at Pivot in Portland and as an operator for the Trans Lifeline.
Ben Panico works for the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus as the David Bohnett Victory Congressional Fellow. He supports the work of the Equality Caucus by tracking legislation, drafting memos and letters, and developing the caucus's website and social media platforms. He recently received media attention for being the only openly transgender staffer on Capitol Hill. Panico graduated in 2014 from Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor's in English and a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies. At Johns Hopkins, he successfully lobbied university administrators for gender-inclusive housing, and spearheaded the development of a safe zone training program. A Connecticut native, Panico enjoys playing the guitar, painting, and rock climbing.
Petey Peterson earned their M.Ed. in higher education and student affairs from Iowa State University in 2012. For two years, Petey served as conference cochair for the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference -- attracting over 1,700 students from 22 states. Petey has been a program coordinator with LGBTQI Life at Vanderbilt University in Nashville since July of 2012. Their work focuses on gender and sexuality educational trainings and serving as a resource for navigating campus life and policies for trans and genderqueer students, faculty, and staff .
Diane Grace Piggott is a transgender woman living authentically in Boise, Idaho. She is involved in LGBT activism through Idaho and can proudly say that she has been to jail for justice. She was arrested during peaceful civil disobedience actions in the Idaho Statehouse while seeking to have the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" added to the state human rights act. As part of this effort, Dianne and her wife were interviewed for a documentary, named after the movement, titled Add the Words. She was also honored to work with the ACLU of Idaho under a Pride Foundation fellowship and helped organize a statewide network of transgender activists. Since transitioning, she has returned to college to earn a master's in psychology to become a counselor. She wants to help empower LGBT people to heal from the burdens society has put on us.
Chelsea Poe is a writer, porn performer, director and activist from Grand Rapids, Mich., but currently residing in Oakland, Calif. Her activism centers around improving sex work conditions for trans sex workers. She has openly questioned mainstream porn's lack of trans inclusion, which ultimately led to her becoming the first trans model in the history of alt porn site God's Girls. Within mainstream trans porn she has raised the issues of the use of transphobic slurs by non trans run sites which lead to a petition that has received over 1,600 signatures. She's written for Xojane, Autostraddle and Fleshbot. Her work has earned her two AVN nominations and eight Trangender Erotica Award Nominations as both a performer and filmmaker.
Penelope Poppers is a proud Southerner working around the issues surrounding homelessness in the LGBTQ community and its impact on LGBQ, but especially transgender individuals, living in the American South. She is the founder and executive director of Lucies Place, an organization in Arkansas working with homeless LGBTQ young adults. She is in love with the American South and hopes that one day she can help make it a better place LGBTQ folks so that they can feel comfortable staying.
Rebeka Refuse is a sex worker by trade. She works as an adult model and escort and was nominated for two Transgender Erotica Awards this year. Rebeka is a formerly homeless trans person and has been moderating the blog since December of 2013 in solidarity with the currently homeless. Rebeka is an outspoken advocate for homeless trans persons and vocal critic of capitalism and gender on a variety of media platforms. She hopes to become involved in developing more satisfactory approaches to the unique challenges the trans homeless face in the coming months and years.
Geena Rocero's life in the public eye began in Manila, Philippines, where she joined the TransWomen Beauty Pageant at the age of 15. She quickly became one of the most prominent figures in the trans beauty pageant world. Geena emigrated to San Francisco in 2001, and moved to New York City in 2005 in order to pursue her modeling career. She soon realized her bigger purpose in life was to share her journey and work towards justice and beauty in the transgender community. After she "came out" to the entire world in her viral 2014 TED Talk, she founded Gender Proud, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating tansgender visibility. Gender Proud is currently advocating for more progressive gender marker policy around the world. Geena currently tours the country as a speaker, focusing on the urgent need for transgender equality.
The Rev. Megan Rohrer was the first openly transgender pastor in the Lutheran Church and has worked for over 12 years serving and advocating for LGBTQ homeless individuals. The pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church and executive director of Welcome, a communal response to poverty in San Francisco, Pastor Rohrer was a 2014 honorable mention as an Unsung Hero of Compassion by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, received an honorary doctorate from Palo Alto University and a Distinguished Alum award from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in transgender nonfiction, and is an award-winning oral historian and filmmaker.
Avi Rudnick, Esq., is a volunteer attorney and coordinator of the monthly Name Change Mobilization at the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois, which provides free, zealous, life-affirming, and gender-affirming holistic legal services to low income and street based transgender and gender-nonconforming people targeted by the criminal legal system in Illinois. TJLP provides legal services with a commitment to three core values: the right to gender self-determination, vision toward a long-term goal of prison abolition, and dedication to resisting state-sponsored systems of control through transformative justice and community empowerment models. Avi is also the drummer for the Chicago-based queer punk band Slop Sink.
Jayden H.C. Sampson is an African-American trans man who has been serving the transgender community for over 12 years. As a graduate of the University of Chicago, he is a lifelong learner, an attorney, educator, financial adviser, and mentor. Jayden has been a committee planner for the Mazzoni Philadelphia Trans Health Conference since 2002. He also serves on the Philadelphia Alumni Board of the University of Chicago and has been the Career Day event planner for the last three years. He is also a current board member for Gender Reel, which is non profit organization committed to providing an art space that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds and experiences but with a specific focus on transgender film and art.
First volunteering as a photo curator for, Greyson Simon has been creating opportunities for transgender body positive expression online since 2009. Founder and curator of TransQueersXXX, a self-submission adult site on Tumblr for transgender persons promoting sex- and body-positive imagery in the community since 2011, he also volunteers as an administrator for the Facebook Transgender Alliance, the largest transgender community on Facebook. Greyson lives in Seattle with his partner, Northwest transgender artist and Northwest Leather SIR 2013 Quinn Sowers, where he is active in the local leather and pup communities.
Ms. Dr. Joseph L. Simonis is an athlete, activist, writer, and scientist who focuses on building community and creating inclusive, affirming environments. Josie holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University and is a conservation biologist at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. In addition to their nerdy ecological research, Josie advocates for and speaks about queer and trans inclusion in the sciences. Josie founded the Trans, Gender-Non-Conforming, and Intersex Athlete Network, an organization aimed at connecting TGI athletes and promoting trans-and queer-inclusion in sports. They also speak and write about the importance of self-identity for trans athletes and consult organizations crafting gender policies. A former wrestler and football player, Josie currently plays competitive roller derby. They skate for the Windy City Rollers and Team Illinois and have competed at national and international championship tournaments. Despite her love of contact sports, Josie very much enjoys hugs.

Grace Sterling Stowell has worked for social justice for over 40 years. Grace's personal experiences of harassment and discrimination served as a catalyst for her youth activism in the 1970s. In 1980, Grace joined the founders of the newly formed Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth as its first (and only) executive director. In the 1990s, Grace was a leader in the pioneering national movement to expand community organizing, advocacy, and support for the LGBTQ youth and transgender communities. Grace was a founding member of several local and national LGBTQ youth and transgender advocacy organizations,. She is a longtime steering committee member of the MA Transgender Political Coalition and has worked with many other local, state, and national organizations. While she has served many roles in her community work over the past four decades, she remains especially honored to be known as "Mother" (and now "Grandmother!") by three generations of LGBTQ youth.
Turner Stulting is a trans and queer student activist who is passionate about justice for trans youth. Turner is a junior at Bucknell University in rural Pennsylvania where ze is majoring in women's and gender studies with minors in public policy and social justice. On campus, Turner is the president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the assistant director of Common Ground, a student-led diversity immersion retreat. Ze has worked in various capacities with the Pennsylvania Student Equality including the State Operations Co-Chair for the 2014 Youth Action Conference: Igniting a Pennsylvania Youth Movement for Trans Justice and Freedom and the Convener of the Coordinating Committee. PSEC awarded Turner with the 2015 Mara Keisling Leadership Award. While studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, Turner interned with the Triangle Project, an LGBT rights organization, assisting with the monitoring of hate crimes that LGBT people experience in the Western Cape.
De Sube graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1973. She worked in the retail industry for JCPenney, and Proffitt-Parisian for 30 years in various management positions including store management; merchandise management; human resources; and marketing. Wanting to settle down in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and transition, she formed De Sube Business Consulting, focusing on retail sales, human resources, and marketing. In May 2006, She created and became the facilitator of New Life Transgender Outreach, a transgender support group that later evolved into The Gender Expression Movement of Hampton Roads. In 2011, she opened the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads where she still works as an advocate and an activist for the trans* community. In 2011, she was given the Old Dominion University Diversity Award. In 2014, she was given the Virginia Beach, Va., Human Rights Commission's community service award.
Emma Violet Todd is an advocate for direct support and legal protections for the trans community. As deputy executive director of the Trans Lifeline, a hotline run by trans people for trans people in crisis. She has helped the organization to have the capacity to support thousands of trans people in crisis. Her experiences of discrimination in school, discrimination in health care, and depression have led her to center her activism on protecting trans youth and the most marginalized segments of the trans community. At the lifeline her focus includes developing better outreach and resources for trans people in rural communities and trans people of color. Emma has also volunteered with organizations such as GLSEN, Equality Illinois, Oklahomans for Equality, and Pride at the University of Tulsa to advocate for support, equality, and liberation of the LGBT community.
Crispin Torres is an artist, rock musician, activist, and educator born in Mexico City and raised in Chicago. At the age of 15 he discovered his passion for writing and playing punk music as a means of antiwar and feminist activism. Torres most recently performed in Chicago's premier gay and punk Alanis Morissette cover band, You Fucking Oughtta Know. Torres has been a relentless advocate for TGNC musicians in the Chicago independent rock scene. With projects like Queer Amp, Glitter Creeps, and Chicago Girls Rock! Camp, Torres has supported inclusion, visibility, and affirmation for the growing voice of transgender rock musicians in Chicago. In addition to his music, he currently serves as Lambda Legal's midwest regional community educator.
Jos Truitt is the executive director of Feministing, where her work is focused on uplifting the voices of young feminists from marginalized groups and getting them paid. She writes and speaks about topics including transgender media coverage, grassroots organizing, and pop culture. She has been published at The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. Jos was politicized in high school when she led a walk out against the Iraq war. She organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program's annual reproductive justice conference while she was a student at Hampshire College; has worked on the National Abortion Federation's hotline; was a field organizer at Choice USA; and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos completed her MFA in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

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.

Jay Very holds a bachelor's in fine art and master's in art therapy and is currently pursuing a doctorate in human sexuality. Jay is cofounder and director of Tongue in Chic Gallery, a fiscally sponsored project that empowers transgender artistic entrepreneurs. As an artist, Jay uses film, self-portraiture, sculpture, installation, performance, and musical composition to reflect on societal constructs around gender, kink and sexuality. Jay composed and recently produced WildcardxFaust, a rock opera, with the help of Apaulo Hart, Fabienne Delacroix ,and over 20 queer-identified cast and crew.

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.

Bonn Wade, LCSW, has 19 years' experience designing, directing, and providing services within housing and supportive service programs for LGBTQA youth using trauma-informed frameworks. From Miami to Chicago, they have worked with dynamic young folks and allies to create thoughtful space where community members can heal. In addition, Bonn is the co--founder and former associate director of UCAN's LGBTQ Host Home Program, an appointee on Cyndi Lauper's Forty to None Project advisory board, and a current board member at the LYTE Collective and TaskForce Prevention and Community Services. Day to day, they work with youth and adult allies to provide consultation at the local and national levels around LGBTQ youth issues.
Melvin Whitehead is a black, same-gender-loving, transgender librarian and educator who strongly believes in the power of education through storytelling to end stigma and violence against marginalized groups. He has been a speaker and panelist on topics such as race, gender identity, and diversity. In addition to fulfilling his duties as a librarian at Joliet Junior College, Melvin works to improve the campus climate for all students through his work in developing the college's Safe Zone Ally program and Safe Zone Speakers Bureau, advocating for LGBTQ-affirming initiatives, and facilitating workshops on gender identity and sexuality. Beyond the campus walls, Melvin engages with his community through running a support group for transgender and gender-nonconforming people in Joliet, Ill., and working to make his church more open and affirming for LGBTQ people.
Willy Wilkinson, MPH, is an award-winning writer and public health consultant who has been advocating for marginalized populations since the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. A dynamic and engaging speaker who is recognized widely for his expertise in transgender issues, he has trained and provided consultation services for hundreds of community health organizations, businesses, and educational institutions on how to provide equal access for LGBT populations. He founded the first support groups for trans-masculine people of color, started the first HIV prevention program for trans men who have sex with other men, and launched the first trans health care access project in the nation at Transgender Law Center. Willy is the recipient of a National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association award and the Transgender Law Center Vanguard Award. His memoir Born on the Edge of Race and Gender: A Voice for Cultural Competency is forthcoming. Learn more at
Dawn Josephine Wilson has been working for transgender civil rights in business, education, and TBLG communities for 20 years. After working on Capitol Hill, and following her transition, Dawn brought her skills to the first Transgender Lobby Days event in 1995, helping trains transgender people on how to effectively lobby Congress. In 1998, Dawn joined the Louisville Fairness Campaign, working to educate the GLB community as well as publice office holders, on transgender rissues. In 2000, Dawn was awarded the IFGE Trinity Award. In 2004, Dawn joined the board of the Council for Fairness and Individual Rights (C-FAIR), the Fairness Campaign's PAC, and remains a member of the C-FAIR board today. Dawn currently serves as a commissioner on the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, as the commission's education chair, and as a member of the trustee of Edenside Christian Church in Louisville, Ky.

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).

Evan Young is a retired Army major, the national president of the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA), board president of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ArTEC), and is a member of the veteran's committee in SPARTA, an LGBTQ service members organization. Daily he works with transgender veterans, advocating for their rights through direct ongoing contact with Veterans Affairs directors responsible for resolving discrimination and providing proper treatment. As a leader with ArTEC, Evan advocates publicly that no one should have to leave Arkansas to be who they are. ArTEC has built a medical resource clearinghouse and conducted a series of town halls throughout Arkansas. Currently, the organization is leading the effort to bring the first ever legal name and gender change clinic to the state of Arkansas. Transgender service members fight every day for America's right to freedom. It's time they serve without fear, fighting for country and not career.

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."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Dawn Ennis

The Advocate's news editor Dawn Ennis successfully transitioned from broadcast journalism to online media following another transition that made headlines; in 2013, she became the first trans staffer in any major TV network newsroom. As the first out transgender editor at The Advocate, the native New Yorker continues her 30-year media career, in which she has earned more than a dozen awards, including two Emmys. With the blessing of her three children, Dawn retains the most important job title she's ever held: Dad.
The Advocate's news editor Dawn Ennis successfully transitioned from broadcast journalism to online media following another transition that made headlines; in 2013, she became the first trans staffer in any major TV network newsroom. As the first out transgender editor at The Advocate, the native New Yorker continues her 30-year media career, in which she has earned more than a dozen awards, including two Emmys. With the blessing of her three children, Dawn retains the most important job title she's ever held: Dad.