Alexis Martinez (she/her) is a core organizer for Chicago Therapy Collective’s Trans-Inclusive Chicago Campaign. As a prior business owner of 20 years Alexis brings a vital perspective to the demands of running a successful business in Chicago while balancing the needs of supporting a diverse staff. Alexis aims to foster opportunities for local small businesses to meet hard working, talented, and qualified job candidates. When training staff on Trans-Inclusive practices, Alexis brings multitudes of examples of where things can go wrong and what to look out for as an employer, as well as sheds light on the complexities of marginalization that trans people, and trans people of color in particular, face when employed. In addition to her work with CTC, Alexis works part-time for the Transformative Justice Law Project and core organizer for the Dyke March Collective. Alexis is a long-time Chicago activist in the Trans community, wood-worker, grandmother, and 35 year Andersonville resident.
Angelina Nordstrom (they/them) has been an unapologetic force to be reckoned with when it comes to advocacy for equity for the TGNB community and the LGBTQ community at large. They serve as the President of the Chicago LGBTQ Workers Center. They also serve as a Representative for the #HireTransNow Campaign. In addition, they have been serving as a Member of the Northside Community Advisory Board for Howard Brown Health for a number of years. They have been serving as one of the Facilitators and as the Associate Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Heart Of Chicago chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) support group for a number of years. They have volunteered for a number of organizations across the Chicago area. They also serve on the Interdisciplinary Review Committee (IRC) for the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference. Last, but absolutely not least: they are a powerful poet, lyricist, writer, and spoken word performer. And they’re only getting started. Now, they are proudly serving in multiple capacities for the Chicago Therapy Collective.
Bonsai Bermudez (he/him, she/her, they/them) supports organizations and collectives around the country that are working to incorporate trauma informed, harm reduction, and/or art-healing practices into their programs, policies, and institutional work. Bonsai previously spent five years at the Broadway Youth Center, a Chicago program that serves LGBTQ youth experiencing housing instability or homelessness, as the Drop-In and Resource Advocacy Manager and is now Executive Artistic Director of Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP). Bonsai completed a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Puerto Rico with a concentration on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer issues. He has been working in the social justice-service field for over 15 years – focusing on trauma, transformative justice, and harm reduction practices. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and Dance he has worked professionally as a ballet/modern dancer and actor. Bonsai became a part of Ballet Teatro de Puerto Rico, Conservatory of Ballet Concierto, Broadway Dance Center, Traveling Theatre of Puerto Rico, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, among others. He joined to Board of Chicago’s Orgullo en Accion in 2010 to politically advocate for the Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Community.
Devin Niecy (he/him) is one hell of a force of nature. He has transcended many obstacles from a tragic house fire that shifted his biological family’s life, navigated and escaped white suburbia as a young Black, trans and queer lad and experiences the daily void of a deceased mother. Devin is most inspired by his queer family that crosses rivers and lakes. His relationship to his chosen family has sustained him even when the darkest days produced little light. Devin is an international speaker, artist and poet. He enjoys speaking about the intersections of his identity and how his travels around the world have connected him deeper to his ancestors. In 2017, Devin began his medical transition from female to male and is active and open to co-create conversation in the community that will empower change. Devin founded two trans masculine community groups on the South Side of Chicago, Envision and Enlighten that supports other trans masculine folxs and their journey’s. Devin’s passion for diverse people is undeniable, he is truly humbled and honored to witness other folxs journey, which has laid plenty of bricks for him to walk his own.
Elise Malary is on Chicago Therapy Collective’s Board and #HireTransNOW team. She is thrilled to be a part of the collective as she is extremely passionate about advancing social justice for the LGBTQ+ and POC community, especially trans people of color. In 2016, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago which is where she began her work with LGBTQ organizations. She brings her years of experience in advocacy, community organizing, communications, administration, nonprofit development, and sales in this role. She currently serves on the community advisory group for Equality Illinois and fundraises for community organizations.
Erin Tinnon, LCSW (they/them) is an organizational change consultant, guiding organizations through policy development, strategic planning for cultural change, and training. Their practice is rooted in anti-oppression, harm reduction, transformative justice, somatic practice, disability justice, healing justice, and the importance of relationships. Erin is also a psychotherapist working primarily with clients who identify as trans, non-binary, queer, and poly. Erin supports their clients through gender identity and expression issues, trauma, anxiety, depression, structural dissociation, whiteness, racism and other forms of structural oppression with kindness. Erin’s in depth knowledge of marginalized individuals’ experiences in various settings helps inform their sensitive and impactful interventions. Erin’s past work includes developing a curriculum on how to become a Culturally Responsive and Trauma-Informed Organization for the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health.
Iggy V Ladden, LCSW (they/them) is a therapist and Chicago Therapy Collective’s Founder and Lead Organizer. Iggy earned their Masters from the the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, and was named one of Windy City Time’s “30 under 30” in 2014 for their direct service to the Trans community. Iggy is dedicated to unpacking the social factors underlying their clients’ mental health struggles and designs community interventions that directly address social and systemc factors. Chicago Therapy Collective’s initiatives rely on widespread coordinated efforts, and Iggy invites all interested to join in solidarity for our mutual mental health and wellbeing.
Jacqueline Boyd (she/her) is a dynamic speaker, facilitator/trainer, and entrepreneur who brings passion and expertise to the field of LGBTQ+ advocacy and health care. Jacqueline has consulted with national and local organizations such as SAGE, Howard Brown Health Centers, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and Affinity Community Services to enhance services offered to LGBTQ+ older adults. Jacqueline is also the founder and owner of The Care Plan, the country’s first LGBTQ+ centered care management company. Beyond her work on LGBTQ+ advocacy, managing and providing care for aging LGBTQ+ adults, and providing intersectional trans-affirming trainings to audiences within many different settings, Jacqueline is co-founder of Project Fierce Chicago and One Roof Chicago, and has the pleasure of sitting on the advisory board of Pride Action Tank, and the Services Committee for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. She’s a multi-faceted leader and powerhouse for the LGBTQ community.
Lee Dewey (they/them) helps push Trans Inclusive Chicago forward and take care of the collective’s accounting needs for special community events. Lee is an organizer, activist, and advocate, focused upon the trans/gender-nonconforming, queer, and HIV Positive communities, all of which they are a part. Their wider activism is centered in anti-racism, anti-bigotry, the abolition of systems of oppression, and positive radical change. They are a Freelance Accountant & Reconciliation Specialist, the Lead Organizer/Facilitator for CommunityCave Chicago, the Treasurer on the Board for Upswing Advocates, a Community Advisory Board Member for AIDS Foundation Chicago, and actively engaged in myriad hustles at any given time. They are a passionate, year round commuter cyclist, a fair weather artist, enamored with the outdoors, and always in search of their next dance floor.
Mirza Shams is Chicago Therapy Collective’s Trans Art Is Advisor. They are passionate about creating authentic and loving spaces for the Trans community, and believe diy spaces are a conduit for community connection and healing. Mirza is a queer/gender-fluid Egyptian artist, musician (under their stage name NAXÖ), therapist, queerness/gender advocate, and LGBTQ+ asylum seekers/refugees activist. They have a Bachelor in General Medicine and Surgery from Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Egypt. Mirza incorporates social, mental and emotional justice through mindfulness, queerness and cultural intersectionalities into their music and mental-health work. They focus their activities on helping their queer-migration communities around Chicagoland towards healing paths and true-self journeys.
S Simmons “S”, PhD Through over a decade of experience working on college campuses in the U.S., S has developed an engaging, informative educational experience for units, departments, and divisions. S’s approach is one of challenge and support. As a Black, queer, trans*, first-generation, temporarily able bodied, upwardly mobile, spouse living in Chicago, S’s various identities and the associated structures that label and influence them inform how S shows up and how S educates. S believes that who we are influences how we know and what we know. S’s epistemology is deeply rooted in recognizing the influence of systems of power, privilege, and oppression in how we know and what we know as knowledge is often filtered through these systems. As such, S believes in the value of experience as knowledge and the importance of centering marginalized (lost) voices. S’s dissertation literally made visible the trans* educators in his study, and possibly others, through portraiture methodology. S connects in a lot of ways to CRT, Black Feminist Thought, and newly conceptualized Trans Epistemology. This deeply informs his methodological and pedagogical practices. Freire asserts “No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption.”
Silas (they/them) is a Chicago Therapy Collective Trainer, data analyst, and Coordinator of #HireTransNow. Silas provides employer-focused training and best practices grounded in an understanding of business operations, sustainability, profitability, and growth gained from a decade in retail and hospitality management. As a biracial, queer, trans, and neurodivergent individual, Silas is deeply committed to an intersectional approach to training that addresses the systematic barriers and personal biases that impact employment equity for LGBTQ+ individuals. Outside of their work with Get Trained, Silas volunteers as a Medical Advocate–providing in-person crisis support at Chicago hospitals to survivors of sexual assault and abuse –and serves as a Community Representative on their neighborhood High School’s Local School Council.
Vanessa Sheridan is an insightful corporate consultant, pioneering author, inspiring professional speaker, and a premier transgender awareness trainer. Vanessa has been speaking, writing, and researching on transgender issues since 1991. As a recognized leader and prominent voice for inclusion within the business community, her extensive knowledge and experience help her clients to more fully understand their present and effectively live into their future. Her groundbreaking book, The Complete Guide to Transgender in the Workplace, continues to be a must-have resource for HR professionals and gender-diverse employees alike.
Victor (he/him) is a facilitator and trainer with 20+ years of experience, specializing in LGBTQ+ access, inclusion and support. He holds a master’s degree in community-driven design processes, which centers on inclusive space creation with intersectionally-marginalized communities. The great majority of his career has been spent wrangling with large systems to establish spaces where intergenerational trans and nonbinary people can find support. Victor has spoken, trained and facilitated locally, nationally and internationally on trans and gender non-conforming health and equity, and coauthored CDC- and NIH-funded HIV prevention curricula for trans youth that have gone on to multi-site national trials. He is also trans and queer-identified himself, the gestational parent of a beautiful biracial child, and a proud member of an incredible multiracial family