2019 Presenter Bios (2020 are coming shortly)
Lynne M. Alexander
Lynne M. Alexander is a dual masters student in the Department of Public Policy focusing on Public Administration and the School of Social Work with a concentration in Practice with Individuals, Groups and Families. They work with the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Instructor.
Anthony Arrien is a 65 year old transgender man who does LGBTQ public policy advocacy in New York State, and has facilitated The LOFT transgender peer support group twice per month for three years, which gives him a good feel for the problems of the trans community. He transitioned on the job two years ago, and managed to keep his civil service job before GENDA law was passed in his state. (Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act just signed into law in NY State on January 18, 2019).
Alana Behrens is a medical student at Frank H Netter Quinnipiac School of Medicine and an advocate for better LGBTQI+ health care. I am developing a Transgender Health Brochure with topics selected by the community because I want to empower trans people to shape their own health care. I believe that everyone has something to teach and that health care providers have much to learn from the communities they serve.
Elder A. Vickie Boisseau
Elder A. Vickie Boisseau CPF. is the New England Director of Organization Intersex International. Herm is a public speaker and lecturer on intersex issues and transgender education to the public. Herm is a rights activist/advocate, facilitator of intersex/transgender support groups. Herm is the co-founder of the Intersex Day of Awareness started in 2002 at the University of Montana which is now gone national on herm’s birthday. Herm is the writer of Born Purple and wrote the Christian chapter about intersex and eunuch in the book ""Hermaphrodities 2nd Edition"" consolidated by Raven Kaldera. Herm is a certified peer support specialist.
Zane Carey holds a Bachelors of Arts in Urban and Community studies from UConn, and is currently pursuing a masters in Public Administration, also at UConn. Previously he worked at the Rainbow Center coordinating the Legally Trans workshop and transgender and non-binary discussion group. He aspires to work in state or national policy after graduating in May.
Nick K. Chaleunphone
Nick K. Chaleunphone is a poet and published author. Herm has written 3 books: “The Immortal Poet”, “My World through my eye” & “Living the Dream.” Herm is a College graduate from Eastern Connecticut State University with a Bachelors of Arts in History and Social Science. Nick K. Chaleunphone lecturers at Eastern Connecticut State University and is a residential instructor at Primecare and Auxiliarist at the United States Coast Guard.
Alberto Cifuentes, Jr.
Alberto Cifuentes, Jr., LMSW, is a community social worker and doctoral student at the UConn School of Social Work. He focuses on LGBTQ rights/equality and HIV/STI prevention. He has been a member of the GLSEN Connecticut Board of Directors for nearly fifteen years and currently serves as the chapter's Community Outreach Coordinator.
Susan Collins is a woman of trans experience, and cherishes the magic of who she is.
-She has worked as a therapist for 31 years, the last 9 years specializing in gender identity issues.
-She has served as TLBG Specialist at Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia, coordinating the Trans Health Program from 2005 - 2008.
-She sat on the Mayor's committee on Sexual Abuse and Assault 2006 - 2008 – helping create a training film for ER doctors dealing with trans patients who have been assaulted/raped.
-She sat on the Mayor's committee on homeless shelters and gender minorities in 2004–2005, helping create inclusive rules for shelters.
-She served on Executive Planning Committee for the Philadelphia Trans Health conference for 5 years.
-She has done extensive lecturing on transgender and gender identity issues to both lay and professional audiences, locally and nationally.
-She has presented workshops on Wellness and gender issues at TG conferences across the country.
-She produced the Transcommunity News Show for Transfm.org 2008 - 2011, sharing news of our world wide trans community.
- She has worked as Lead Therapist at Morris Home in Philadelphia 2012/2013, a dual diagnosis recovery treatment program for those who are transgender/GV, the first program of this kind in the country.
- She currently is the Manager of The Family Dining Center for Master's Manna in CT, providing meals and dignity to hundreds of people per week.
And she loves every one of you.
Tony Ferraiolo is known as a compassionate and empowering Life Coach and a motivating and thought-provoking trainer. He is also a certified teacher of mindfullness meditation.
Since 2005 Tony has provided trainings to over 20,000 people around the country. Tony has dedicated himself to both promoting competent and respectful health care for the transgender community, by educating providers, and advocating on behalf of patients. Also, training educators on providing a safe and respectful space for transgender children in a school environment. He encompasses a unique ability to make light of a sometimes-challenging situation which puts his audience at ease to fully participate in his trainings.
Ms. Darby-Hudgens joined the Center in 2017. She has spent her professional career with the goal of pursuing meaningful, civic-minded work, with a focus on advocating for high needs populations. At the Center, she promotes an awareness of fair housing issues and concerns across the state and works to help Connecticut residents advocate for their own fair housing rights. Finn’s research on exclusionary zoning was published in Connecticut’s 2013 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing. She earned her B.A. from Trinity College and will be awarded an M.P.A. from the University of Connecticut in May of 2018
Dallas Denny has been a leader in the transgender rights movement since the 1980s. Her work as advocate, writer, editor, speaker, and community builder have played a significant role in the advancement of rights for transsexual and transgender people in North America and around the world.
Dr. Eckert is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights, and has introduced trans hormone therapy programs and safe space programs to both rural and urban communities. Dr. Eckert sees all ages, from infants to the elderly. She believes that there is no single formula or equation in healthcare. Her goal is her patients’ full expression of health.
Dawn Ennis is an award-winning journalist who was America's first transgender journalist in a TV network newsroom when she came out 6 years ago. She lives with her children in West Hartford, where she teaches journalism at University of Hartford.
Attorney Laura Heneghan also represents children with disabilities through the special education process and acts as an Educational Surrogate Parent for children in foster care. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Western Connecticut Association for Human Rights and was appointed a Guardian ad Litem in the Connecticut Superior Court for Juvenile Matters in cases of abuse and neglect. Laura is currently active as a Parent Leader of the Northern Fairfield County chapter of SmartKids with Learning Disabilities and volunteers with the Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative as a Mentor to encourage school attendance and positive relationships for students. Laura has 3 children, 2 of whom have disabilities.
Stana Horzepa, BA, JD, is a male-to-female transgender, who began crossdressing at age 12. In her late teens, she took baby steps out of the closet on Halloween and over the years, got further out of the closet by honing the skills necessary to allow her to pass as a woman in society (without hormones or surgery). Femulate.org is her popular blog.
Jen Johnston, MA, LPC is a clinician and owner of a group counseling and wellness practice, Collaborative Change Counseling and Wellness, in Hamden. In her clinical work, she specializes in mood, self-injury and suicidal behavior, emotion regulation, sexual and gender identity, and related concerns. She has completed intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and works to apply the principles of DBT specifically to concerns of transgender individuals and their families.
Attorney Dana Jonson has been protecting the civil rights of students with disabilities through the special education process in Connecticut for almost 15 years. Dana also acts as an Educational Surrogate Parents for children in foster care, our most vulnerable population. Prior to working as an attorney, Dana was a teacher and administrator in the Boston Public Schools. Dana has 4 children with varying special needs, 3 of whom identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Dana's experiences provide a unique perspective in her advocacy for students. She frequently presents both locally and nationally on a variety of areas pertaining to special education and related issues.
Jesine O’Gara, PsyD is a clinician in private practice in Needham, MA. She has worked in residential, intensive outpatient, and outpatient settings, including acting as program director for the adolescent eating disorder intensive outpatient program at Walden Behavioral Care. She is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and integrates this approach in her work with gender and sexual identity, mood disorders, suicidal and self-injurious behaviors, affect dysregulation, and associated concerns.
Paul Levatino is a licensed Family Therapist and Assistant Professor and Program Director at Southern Connecticut State University's Marriage and Family Therapy Program. Paul's research and study areas include gender expression and the impact of societal expectations and roles on minority populations. www.paullevatino.com
Elijah Lombardi is a long-time member of the LGBTQ+ community (almost 15 years ago) and discovered the joys of kink a bit later (7 years ago), who "is a perennial-joysayer, bondage-pony-and-fire-play enthusiast, lover of chastity and service, and quintessential INFP". His journey has included coming out to the final realization that he is a pansexual gender fluid Wiccan Transman. He will graduate in May with a M.A. Biomolecular Sciences from CCSU.
Natasha Rose Lombardi
Natasha Rose Lombardi has been involved in the LGBTIQQA community since 1988 when she began volunteering at Project 100/The Hartford gay and lesbian community center. Natasha Rose graduated from University of Saint Joseph and earned her MSW from Fordham. A member of the NASW, she is currently working on her license (LMSW). She is Outreach and education chairperson for the Society, a local pansexual BDSM community center. She is Mistress to her husband and slave of 5 1⁄2 years, Elijah.
Cassandra Martineau is an out and proud trans woman currently running a university Pride Center. In the last few years, she has spoken to thousands around New England, as state leader for the Women's March on Washington, as a Stonewall Speaker, and independently, to a wide variety of audiences. She continuously works with the community and keeps up on professional literature in the area.
With 13 years of experience working in public schools, and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education, Cassandra brings her activism together with her work experience in public schools to provide practical suggestions about how to talk with students, co-workers and parents, some tips on creating a safe space in your classroom, etc. Cassandra transitioned while working in elementary school and brings the insights from her experiences to her trainings.
Karleigh Chardonnay Merlot
Karleigh Chardonnay Merlot (she/her). Emerson is a New Haven-based activist who has worked directly with Staklo on several projects as a member of the PSL. Karleigh is a central Connecticut-based activist and member of the PSL, and is a lead operator for Translifeline
Rev. Aaron Miller
Rev. Aaron Miller, M.Div.'08 Yale Divinity School, is ordained by the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). He is the Pastor of MCC Hartford, Spiritual Leader of the MCC Oasis (a global spiritual community), chaplain at Yale New Haven Hospital, and a Trans* educator and political activist who is committed to full LGBTQ equality and liberation.
Asa Paradis, LMT has been a Licensed Massage Therapist for the better part of a year. In this time she has totaled over 600 hours of practical experience. Asa has been featured in Elements’ Massage newsletter as “The Muscle Whisperer.” She is routinely recommended by doctors for migraine relief and specific work for tension removal. She can be found at Elements Massage in Meriden where she is certified in: Himalayan Salt Stone, Hot Stone, and Prenatal massage; her favorite modalities include Deep Tissue, Trigger Point removal, and Surgical Recovery work.
Lindsey Pembrooke is on the Board of Directors for the New Haven Pride Center and a co-coordinator for their Transgender Adult Support Group. They are the co-facilitator for the newly formed Non-Binary breakout group with Hartford PFLAG and admin for the 7,800+ person Non-Binary Gender Pride support group on Facebook. They have paneled on transgender identities for Yale Medical and also been the featured interviewee for the four-part "Coming Out" series in “Raise Vegan”, aimed at parents of LGBTQ+ youth.
Dr. Priya Phulwani
Priya Phulwani MD is a pediatric endocrinologist at the CT Children’s Medical Center where she is medical director of their Gender Program, and an adult endocrinologist at Hartford Healthcare. In addition to hormone management for gender transition, she has given several talks on this subject to various audiences. She has provided clinical opportunities and education in this area to medical and nursing students; internal medicine, pediatric and OBGyn residents; and adult and pediatric endocrinology fellows.
Dr. Gina Rosich
Dr. Gina Rosich is Ass't Professor at USJ Dept. Social Work. She has taught courses on LGBT policy issues. Her dissertation was on employment discrimination and people who are transgender or gender non-conforming.
Liz Rowell retired as Emeritus from Rhode Island College. Prior to being at RIC she taught at all different grade levels in 9 countries & 6 states. She continues to study, write about, learn, and give talks related to Transgender Friendly Picture Books and transgender young children. She is on the GLSEN DownEast Maine Board and serves on the Welcoming Renewal Committee which is focused on Transgender at her UUC church.
Zeke Spooner has been a licensed massage therapist since December 2014. He practices in Simsbury CT, specializing in a technique called myofascial release. He was interviewed about that technique in a July 2018 Wellseekers podcast. He has done educational speaking for Stonewall Speakers, True Colors, and Institute for Sexuality Education and Enlightenment. In 2017, he debuted his workshop “Transitioning With Your Transgender Client: Gender 101 and Sensitivity Training for LMTs.”
Our lead facilitator is IV Staklo (they/them). Staklo is an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation centering on Transgender and Intersex right and they are Program Director for Trans Lifeline, North American also trans-centered and trans-staffed helpline. Staklo is a strong Connecticut-based advocate who has not only been on the frontline, they have trained dozens of others who have also taken up a shield for transgender rights. Joining them are fellow activists Emerson Mason Cheney (he/him).
Reverend Moonhawk River Stone
Reverend Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC, is an Interfaith Minister, psychotherapist, consultant, educator, writer and keynote speaker in private practice in the Albany, NY area. For over 33 years in his private practice he’s worked with transgender clients of all ages and with their families. His consulting and educational work take him all over the country into corporations, colleges, K-12 schools, clinical and professional conferences. He holds considerable expertise in areas of transgender workplace, healthcare and school policy. He is currently volunteering in various capacities with the Gov. Cuomo’s Ending the Epidemic by 2020 AIDS Task Force Subcommittees, and he was the first transgender person appointed to the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission, serving for about 18 months.
Jim Tully is the Owner and Publisher of Seasons Magazines, based in Avon, CT. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Providence College and an MBA in Marketing from Xavier University, Jim’s media career began in the radio station industry. Jim created Seasons Media, LLC and recently Season Franchises, LLC. Jim and his wife Rachel reside in Simsbury with their three children, including one teen on the autism spectrum.
May A.M.R Tuscano, LMFT
May started her career as an activist in both LGBTQIA+ and sexual violence prevention communities. Since then, she has become a family therapist, an advocate, and an educator. May educates schools and medical & mental health clinics in transgender cultural competency. May volunteers as a board member of PFLAG Hartford, and facilitates their LGBTQ Youth Group.
Kristin Van Ness Scrivano
Kristin Van Ness Scrivano has spent the past ten years working in higher education, student affairs, and community based advocacy, education, and leadership development. Their expertise is in family dynamics, specifically around issues of gender and sexuality. By using a collaborative intersectional framework, they have facilitated workshops and trainings for diverse communities (students, parents, families, and professionals) around LGBTQIA+ issues involving anti-bias, cultural competency, identity development, group relations, and communication and conflict management in family systems.