Conference Chair/ BV Board President
Joe LeBlanc is a Cajun Genderqueer Butch who divides his time between being an activist, poet, photographer, and music junkie. Joe is a believer in personal story-telling as a significant method for people to share experiences and solidify a better understanding about LGBTIQ identities, issues, and concerns. In the past, he has served as a member of the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center Speakers’ Bureau and TransGender Michigan. He has also worked as a part-time volunteer marketing intern for Homofactus Press, and is a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest. He’s presented panel workshops at the 2008 Borders & Bridges Conference, as well as the 2008 Femme Conference.
An advocate for building Queer community wherever possible, both in person and in on-line forums devoted to Queer issues, Joe possesses eclectic tastes in music and books. He is also a fan of taking way too many photographs, most of which never get seen. Joe enjoys endless conversations about gender and sexuality, interlaced with talks about pop culture and fighting prejudice. You can usually find him on-line or at a Starbucks basking in the coffee afterglow.
Conference Co-Chair /BV Board member
Adrienne “Aj” Davis is a middle-aged, African-American butch living in the great Pacific Northwest. In her two decades out of the closet, she has been an HIV/AIDS educator, a science reporter, a system administrator and a technology educator. She is now pursuing a degree in bioinformatics/computational biology with aspirations of a life spent in academia. In her (ha!) spare (ha!) time she is an avid cyclist, a drummer, teaching herself to play guitar, a compulsive reader of Terry Pratchett and player of games like Sid Meier’s Civilization 4, Spore, and anything where she gets to be a Jedi and wield a lightsaber. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her wife, Jaime and their three cats; Willow the Princess, Cerridwen the Goddess and Liam the Wonder-Ninja, Panther kitty.
Finance Chair / BV Treasurer
Mary Stockton has been a successful Financial Services Professional with Stockton Financial for more than a decade in San Diego. Hy has earned the award of top producer and continues to thrive in the financial marketplace. Prior to moving to San Diego in 1996, hy owned and operated the women’s bookstore, Crones’ Harvest in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Hys business became a valuable cultural center and hy was honored with the Helen Diner Community Leadership Award. Hys community involvement also extended to the arts, where hy took pleasure in producing plays, poetry slams, concerts, and witnessed the burgeoning talent of many successful progressive artists’. Hy has served on the Board of Directors at Stepping Stone of San Diego, volunteering for four years in an effort to promote alcohol and drug rehabilitation for the LGBT community. Hy currently serves on the Board of Directors of The San Diego LGBT Community Center and is Board President of Diversionary Theatre, the third oldest LGBT theatre in the country and recognized as one of San Diego’s best theatre’s.
Mary has been a self identified butch for more than 25 years although hy has been living as a butch hys entire life. To help create space has been hys work as an activist for more than two decades and to now have the ability to devote hys energy to hys Butch brothers and sisters is a dream come true. Mary is blissfully married to hys wife, Alison McManus, a Family Nurse Practitioner and an activist in her own right. They have made their home in the North Park area of San Diego.
Outreach & Media Chair / BV Board Member
Q is a masculine identified lesbian or stud who resides in Dallas, Texas. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and a minor in Photography from Southern Methodist University, Q has gone on to work in the film, television and music industries. Q has worked as a producer, director, editor, post-production supervisor and video journalist and is now the owner of a full service multi-media production company, Orange Moon Media. Q produces and hosts an online TV show, Say What?!, that focuses on issues affecting the LGBT community. As a member of the Senators, a group of masculine identified lesbians, she is dedicated to empowering and educating lesbians. Q is also a running back on the Dallas Diamonds Women’s Professional Football team.
Q recently served on a Transgender panel at the 2008 Borders and Bridges Conference held in Dallas, TX. Q attended the National Black Lesbian Conference in 2005, which inspired her to become more involved in the LGBT community. Other activities include volunteering at the South Dallas Cultural Center and occasionally performing with the Dukes of Dallas Drag King Troupe. Excuse Me Sir, a documentary about masculine identified lesbians directed by Q, is schedule to be released in early 2009.
Nico Carbellano has worked as a topiary gardener, fish-scaler, and after-hours bartender, and as a writer and editor for a great many obscure publications. S/he has channeled both creativity and rage into efforts with the Queer Resistance Front, NGLTF, and Queers for Economic Justice.
A grizzled veteran of both outer Brooklyn and Harvard University, Nico owes the former a visit and the latter approximately US $10,757,214.04 (before interest). Nico is engaged to Sophie Rogers-Gessert, with whom s/he has more productive discussions of queerness, feminism, and the possibility of justice than s/he can count.
Lea Robinson is a gender non-conforming butch dyke living in NYC. She built her first basketball goal in her front yard and ten years later landed in the 1992 Final Four National Championship, playing for Western Kentucky against Stanford. She then pursued her own career as a women’s basketball coach in Division I and Division III, and now works closely with The National Center for Lesbian Rights and It Takes a Team! on transphobia and homophobia in women’s athletics. Her narrative, “Love and Basketball” is published in Growing Up Girl (GirlChild Press).
Last year, she completed her master’s in Foundations of Education and Higher Education Administration at Suffolk University in Boston, and is now Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs at Columbia University, where she manages LGBTQ Programming and Advising. She hopes to encourage dialogue about sexuality and gender-identity in communities of color, and increase resources for LGBTQ youth of color.
Robinson is also an actor, and wants to see more visibility for queer, gender non-conforming artists. Thanks to the Butch Casting Project, she currently plays “Officer Ruffins,” the town cop, in Room For Cream, La Mama ETC.’s long running lesbian serial (prod. by the Dyke Division of Two-Headed Calf) and she is developing Syrup in My Shorts, a solo performance about growing up queer and black in Kentucky.
She performs with her partner, Elizabeth Whitney, as part of Bitches With Barrettes, the campy drag/cabaret hooping duo, as regulars in The Femme Show (www.thefemmeshow.com). Lea and Elizabeth also collaborate on The Miscegenations Project (www.miscegenations.org)—a digital storytelling performance and workshop facilitating dialogue about intersections of identity, with a focus on race, sexuality, and gender identity.
Lea and Elizabeth were married in Western Massachusetts at the Mass Museum of Contemporary Art and recently celebrated their four year legal wedding anniversary! They live in upper Manhattan with their happy tribe of six cats and one dog.
Programming Committee Member
Sasha T. Goldberg is a masculinity enthusiast. She is also a believer in queer advocacy and social justice, and, accordingly, has organized conferences, film festivals, fundraisers, workshops, and events, as well as having spoken extensively on sexuality, gender, and identity. In her professional life, Sasha is the Assistant Director of Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality, and holds a Masters in Judaism from the Graduate Theological Union. When not busy espousing the lustiness of the masculine or being a professional Jew, Sasha enjoys strong coffee, analysis, bromance, second helpings of pie, and spending time with her pack. Sasha hails from the good Midwestern stock of the United States, and has long since made her home in San Francisco
Arnetta Smith was born in St. Louis, Mo at the start of the eighties. From the time she was a little girl, she was always the center of attention. She first questioned her sexuality at the age of seventeen. Out of panic, she found a youth support group called Growing American Youth or G.A.Y. Because she was in the closet, she secretly attended meetings and was active in the community for 2 years without any knowledge from her friends or family. One highlight of her experience was being elected the Event Coordinator of the group, which entailed conceptualizing and organizing group activities. Another highlight was finding her first gay friends. One of her friends was a spectacular Drag Queen who introduced her to the lifestyle. From that moment on, Arnetta dreamt of performing on stage in drag being as dramatic as her counterpart. Her dream came true when a friend convinced her to do a drag duet to the song “All Out of Love” by Air Supply. That night Arnetta’s male alter ego, King McQueen, was born. She has since performed at venues such as the “House of Stormz”, “White Horse”, and “The Women’s Center”, to name a few. She is currently working on a new cabaret for the East Bay.
Kelli Dunham (www.kellidunham.com) is a New York based activist, author, stand up comic and registered nurse who grew up in the beet and beef land of rural Wisconsin. She has two comedy CDs, “I am NOT a 12 Year Old Boy” and “Almost Pretty” to her credit as well as four published books of light-hearted nonfiction. She was one of the co-founders of the Philadelphia Dyke March and was a long time board member of Sisterspace of the Delaware Valley. She identifies as gender queer/butch/boi depending on which day you ask her.
Krys Freeman is a genderqueer masculine identified lesbian writer, viral media strategist and activist. In 2007 s/he graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in Urban & Environmental Policy and a minor in Critical Theory & Social Justice. In 2008 s/he served as a Media Fellow for Communities of African Descent at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation where s/he helped to develop the voices of straight ally, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people for media outlets like the New York Times and Essence magazine.
Krys describes herself as a “diligent, dissident, queer woman thinker” on her blog, at http://www.blaktivist.com. Some of her writing has been published on AOL.com and Wiretapmag.org. S/he also manages a social networking community s/he created for transgender men and masculine dentified lesbians called “The Definition,” at http://beydonstud.ning.com, launched in August of 2008. Though a native New Yorker, Krys now resides in the conference’s host city Oakland, CA while she prepares to pursue a graduate degree in Urban Planning.
Blaze Martin, Poet/Spoken Word Artist/Aspiring Writer and Actor, was born and raised in West Philadelphia. Currently residing in Lancaster, CA,at the age of 32, Blaze feels that even though s/he has gotten off to a late start, it is not going stop s/him from doing and completing everything that GOD has in store. One of those things being education. Blaze went back to school in the fall of 2008 and is currently attending Antelope Valley College with a major in child & family education. At the rate of 15 to 19 units per semester, plus classes during summers and intersession, s/he will have completed s/his associate degree in the spring of 2010. At that time s/he will be transferring to CSUB (California State University Bakersfield) to obtain s/his bachelor degree in adolescent sociology. Blaze’s ultimate goal is to be a youth counselor with a focus on the LGBT youth of America.
Currently, Blaze is looking to take a grant/proposal writing class/seminar to help s/him obtain s/his another goal of opening a 20-25 bed group home in s/his hometown for the LGBT youth that have been cast out of their home/communities/and schools and for those foster care children who are cast out of the system at the age of 18. The age range of the residents would be from age 13 to 24. The focus of the group home would not just be to provide counseling services but to provide them with the resources needed to get back on their feet, survive, thrive and maintain. The program would offer GED classes, college prep classes, technical training and opportunities for internships. Help with job placement would be available as well as financial planning and investment classes so that when the individual is ready to leave they will have a little “nest egg” to start with.
Over the years Blaze has been very active in volunteering for different LGBT events, such as; Philadelphia Pride, LA Valley Pride, Outfest film festival, Fusion film festival, and assisting with promoting for LoveHerGirl Entertainment. S/He has also done some modeling for several online websites and agenicies such as Treazuremag.com and HerShe’ Amor Models & Talents.
Blaze recently performed in an original one act play entitled “A A” in an Antelope Valley One Act Play Festival that ran from January 28th thru February 1st 2009.
Awareness & Accessibility Chair
Cara Thaxton was born and raised in Chicago, IL with lots of laughter and lots of animals. She is the youngest of 5 kids and the aunt of 5 nieces and nephew. Cara has 10 years of experience as an anti-oppression and anti-violence advocate working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, police abuse and misconduct and hate crimes. In conjunction with providing direct services to survivors, she educated the public in a variety of settings about these issues as well, and was a recipient of the Cook County States Attorney’s “Domestic Violence Advocate of the Year”
Cara currently lives with her partner jen and their four cats in Oakland, CA, but is in the process of moving back to Chicago to be closer to family. In her free time cara enjoys reading, playing video games, the nature and laughing.
Accessibility and Awareness Co-Chair
Redwolf Painter is a two-spirit mixed blood Heyoka retired punk from Alaska. Wolf grew up in a poor mixed blood American Indian/White family with deep Alaskan roots which reverberates throughout their writing and social justice work. For the last 15 years Wolf has been writing, performing and producing events for various non-profit organizations, including Sundance Film Festival, CineVegas, San Diego Film Festival and Frameline. Concerned with the disappearing Native Track at Sundance, Wolf founded the Native American Film Series while working for the San Diego Film Festival in 2004 which is still running today. Currently Wolf sits on the original Transmarch Steering Committee in San Francisco, volunteers with Frameline and is working towards a degree in their spare time.