Our team believes a holistic approach to healthcare must address the social determinants of health severely impacting community members’ health and wellbeing. We are committed to the principles responsibility, compassion, and action in response to our city’s minority health disparities. Our collective’s current focus, Trans-Inclusive Chicago!, forefronts the need for Trans-inclusivity across the city, particularly when it comes to jobs, key cultural areas of representation, and accessible goods, services, and spaces for our Trans and QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) communities.
We invite fellow Chicagoans – from educators, to therapists, to artists, to business leaders – to join us as organizers to reduce health disparities facing our Trans people and QTPOC. Learn about who we are and how we each contribute to the collective.
Iggy V Ladden is Chicago Therapy Collective’s Founder and Lead Organizer. In addition to organizing with CTC, Iggy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice, a long-time Andersonville resident, and a registered yoga teacher. Iggy was named one of Windy City Time’s “30 under 30” in 2014 for their direct service to the Trans community. CTC is a labor of love for Iggy who is tired of seeing their Trans and QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) clients’ mental health thwarted by minority stress. CTC has become a vehicle for strategic high impact initiatives that address environmental factors sustaining minority stress and systemically-based health disparities. Iggy believes in the power of deep listening, social accountability, and relationship-building, and community-member empowerment in their community work. They are thrilled to be mobilizing Trans-Inclusive Chicago! with an incredible team of organizers.
Alexis Martinez is Chicago Therapy Collective’s #HireTransNOW Job Liaison and Core Organizer, who wants nothing more than to see Trans people employed. Alexis is a long-time Chicago activist in the Trans community, a prior business owner of 20 years, wood-worker, grandmother, and 35 year Andersonville resident. She has been and continues to be a core organizer for the the Dyke March Collective and works part-time for the Transformative Justice Law Project. In addition to being the #HireTransNOW Job Liaison, Alexis brings invaluable experiences and perspectives to Chicago Therapy Collective’s Get Trained education and outreach initiative.
Lee Dewey is Chicago Therapy Collective’s Accountant and Core Organizer, working to push Trans-Inclusive Chicago! forward and take care of the collective’s books. 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.
Elise Malary is Chicago Therapy Collective’s Community Outreach Specialist and Core Organizer. 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.
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.