Alexis Martinez (she/her) is a Chicago Therapy Collective Board Member, Assistant Trainer and Co-Founder of Hire Trans Now a Chicago neighborhood-based campaign to reduce anti-Trans hiring stigma and create pipelines to Trans-affirming jobs. As a prior business owner of 20 years Alexis shares her wisdom about the demands of running a small business in Chicago and caring for a diverse staff. As a former victim of multiple anti-Trans employment incidents, Alexis is passionate about shedding light on the unique discrimination and marginalization that Trans Women of Color in particular face when seeking and retaining employment. In addition to her work with CTC, Alexis is a long-time Chicago Dyke March organizer, coordinating numerous radical pride events. Alexis works Full Time as a Court Specialist for the Transformative Justice Law Project, processing hundreds of name changes in the state of Illinois a year. Alexis is a well-known activist in the Trans community, wood worker, a proud grandmother, and 40 year Andersonville resident.
Angel Nordstrom (they/them) is a Chicago Therapy Collective Assistant Trainer and an unapologetically Black, Indigenous, Two-Spirit force to be reckoned with as both a person and LGBTQ+ advocate. Angel serves as the President and Anti-Discrimination Coordinator on the Chicago Board of Directors for the National LGBTQ Workers Union Center. They also serve as a Hire Trans Now Representative, and manages Chicago Therapy Collective’s #HireTransNow Job Board. Finally, Angel has also been serving as the Community Advisory Board for Howard Brown Health for a number of years. They understand the centrality of mental health in LGBTQ+ and Serve as Vice President for the GLBT-Chicago chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Last, but certainly not least: they are a powerful poet, lyricist, writer, and spoken word performer. They use their personal experience and love for words and performance to weave storytelling into their LGBTQ+ trainings.
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 (she/her) is a Chicago Therapy Collective Board Member and key player for the #HireTransNOW initiative. She is thrilled to be a part of the collective as she is extremely passionate about advancing social justice for the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC community, especially trans people of color. Elise understands on a personal level that the mental health needs of Trans community members is deeply connected to access to affirming jobs and healthcare. Elise wants to see Black Trans Women thrive and greater inclusion of LGBTQ+ Black people on the northside. 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
Iggy V Ladden, LCSW (they/them) is Chicago Therapy Collective’s Founder and Director. Iggy is dedicated to the serving the mental health needs of LGBTQ+ communities in Chicago, especially Trans communities. In 2014, Iggy was named Windy City Time’s “30 under 30” for their outstanding service to the Trans community. Iggy is passionate about improving the lives of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive individuals. Iggy has produced numerous social, educational, and political advocacy events for the Trans community. Additionally, Iggy provides LGBTQ+ affirming therapy in their private practice in Andersonville Chicago, serving predominantly Trans clients. Iggy provides frequent consultation to families of Trans individuals, fellow healthcare practitioners, and employers working to better support their Trans workers and/or clients/customers. In addition to therapy, Iggy teaches tai chi, yoga, and meditation: they find that embodiment practices deepen healing and believe reclaiming and re-inhabiting the the body is essential to Trans liberation. Iggy is thrilled to bring together and work with such a talented team of individual, group, and organizational change professionals. They trust that together we can solve problems that we couldn’t dream of solving alone.
J SILAS LESLIE
J. Silas Leslie (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.
Jacqueline Boyd (she/her and they/them) is a Lead Chicago Therapy Collective Trainer and dynamic speaker, facilitator, and entrepreneur who brings passion and expertise to the field of LGBTQ+ advocacy and health care. Jacqueline is an experienced consultant and has worked 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+ adults and older adults. 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. Lastly, Jacqueline is also the founder and owner of The Care Plan, the country’s first LGBTQ+ centered care management company. Jacqueline regularly demonstrates to business owners how Trans-Inclusion brings many practical benefits to her business.
Lee Dewey (they/them) is helps push the work of Trans-Inclusive Chicago forward. 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 (they/them) is a Chicago Therapy Collective Trainer, Trans Art Is Advisor, and Alternative Therapies Coordinator. They are passionate about creating authentic and loving spaces for the Trans community, and believe thoughtfully curated community events spaces can be 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 degree 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” (he/him) is a Lead Chicago Therapy Collective Trainer with 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.”
Vanessa Sheridan (she/her) is a Lead Chicago Therapy Collective Trainer, insightful corporate consultant, pioneering author, inspiring professional speaker, and a premier transgender awareness trainer. Vanessa has been speaking, writing, and researching on transgender issues for major corporate clients and government agencies across the country since 1991. As a recognized leader and prominent voice for Trans inclusion within the national business community, her extensive knowledge and experience help her clients to more fully understand their present and effectively live into their future. Vanessa literally wrote the book(s) on Trans in the workplace. Her latest groundbreaking book is titled “The Complete Guide to Transgender in the Workplace, continues to be a must-have resource for HR professionals and gender-diverse employees alike. she offers strategic planning and consultation on trans healthcare/insurance, workplace transition assistance, policy development, and expert guidance on creating a gender authentic, trans-inclusive workplace culture.