Advisory Committee

A distinguished Advisory Committee of leading LGBTQ+ activists and scholars serves as a primary accountability mechanism and resource as we develop this groundbreaking project.

A. Sparks

Sparks (she/her) values and is deeply committed to promoting equity based on her experience as a queer, multi-racial, next-generation, woman in the field of philanthropy. She is currently Executive Director of the Masto Foundation, a US-based family foundation rooted in the Japanese-American community. Prior to taking on the leadership of her family’s foundation, Sparks worked in philanthropy for 12 years and founded Queer Leaders in Philanthropy, a national network of philanthropic professionals focused on changing the culture of philanthropy to be more empowering of LGBTQ communities. Sparks has a BA from Vassar College, an MSW from UC Berkeley, and just completed her MBA at the University of Washington. She lives in San Francisco with her adorable Morkie named Panda and travels up to Washington State regularly for work with the Foundation.

Alice Y. Hom, PH.D.

Alice Y. Hom (she/her) is a community builder invested in bridging diverse and overlapping communities for social change.  She is the Director of Equity and Social Justice at Northern California Grantmakers. Before joining NCG, Alice was a Soros Equality Fellow of the Open Society Foundations, where she created a podcast, Historically Queer, on historical and contemporary activism by LGBTQ People of Color. She serves on the board of Borealis Philanthropy and on the Advisory Council for the Conscious Style Guide. Alice has a PhD from Claremont Graduate University, a MA from UCLA, and BA from Yale University. She co-edited Q & A: Queer in Asian America and has a forthcoming anthology, Q & A: Voices from Queer Asian North America from Temple University Press.

Alok Vaid-Menon

Alok Vaid-Menon (they/them) is a gender non-conforming writer and performance artist. Their distinctive style and poetic challenge to the gender binary have been internationally renowned. As a mixed-media artist Alok uses poetry, prose, comedy, performance, fashion design, and portraiture to explore themes of gender, race, trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017) and Beyond the Gender Binary (2020). In 2019 they were honored as one of NBC’s Pride 50 and Out Magazine’s OUT 100. They have presented their work in more than 40 countries.

Alyce Emory

Alyce Emory (she/her) is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Bold And BraveTM, a Harlem NYC collective that produces Black Lesbian Conferences and other projects that center Black/African Descent lesbian life and work. Her past work included developing and managing event production, programming and strategic partnerships for NYC Black Pride, Circle of Life Celebration and Pride Memorial, Third Wave Foundation, Urbanworld Film Festival, UNESCO and others. Alyce advises African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change (AALUSC) and is a member of the Black & Latino LGBTQ Coalition, ZAMI NOBLA’s Women Sweet On Women Film Festival Committee, Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Her work and teams she’s led have received numerous accolades including proclamations from the Manhattan Borough President, Brooklyn Borough President and the New York City Council. Alyce has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Sociology from Georgia State University with additional studies in Multi-Cultural Marketing from the New School of Social Research in New York City.

Amelie Zurn, MSW

Amelie Zurn (she, her) is a social worker & justice activist who has been fired up for queer liberation, health & sexuality for the past 30 years. Beginning her journey as a street activist with OUT! DC, part of the National ACT-UP Movement, Amelie used her feminist health & AIDS activist tools to help grow the DC AIDS Information Line & programs for womxn living with HIV/AIDS.  An instigator for national lesbian/ queer health organizing in the 1990s, she was the Founding Director of Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health & an early organizer with Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer. She currently serves as a psychotherapist helping predominately queer & transfolk heal from trauma, subvert oppression & build healthier lives. She facilitates workshops & conversations to build queer kinship, foster mutual aid networks & embody your desires.

Honorable Andrea Jenkins

Minneapolis City Council member Andrea Jenkins (she, her) is the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the United States. Jenkins moved to Minneapolis in 1979 and has more than 25 years of public service experience as a Minneapolis City Council policy aide, nonprofit executive director and consultant, and Hennepin County employment specialist. She is also an award-winning poet, writer, performer and curator for the University of Minnesota's Transgender Oral History Project.

Bianca D. M. Wilson, PH.D.

Bianca D. M. Wilson (she, her) is the Rabbi Zacky Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. Her research focuses primarily on system-involved LGBTQ youth, LGBT poverty, and sexual health among queer womxn. In addition to multiple peer-reviewed and institution-published reports, she co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies that featured a multidisciplinary collection of work on health and other topics from the perspectives of Black Lesbians in the U.S., Caribbean, and South Africa. She earned a doctorate in Psychology from the Community and Prevention Research program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a minor in Statistics, Methods, and Measurement, and received postdoctoral training at the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies and the UCSF Lesbian Health and Research Center through an Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) postdoctoral fellowship.

Cathy Cohen PH.D.

Cathy J. Cohen (she, her) is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago.  She is also the Deputy Provost for Graduate Education and the former Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago.  Cohen is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1999).  She is co-editor of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader (NYU Press, 1997) with Kathleen Jones and Joan Tronto.  She also has a new book entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (Oxford University Press). Her articles have been published in numerous journals and edited volumes including the American Political Science Review, NOMOS, GLQ, Social Text, and the DuBois Review.  Cohen was a founding member of Black AIDS Mobilization (BAM!) and one of the core organizers of two international conferences “Black Nations / Queer Nations?” and “Race, Sex, Power.”  Cohen is also the founder of Black Youth Project, a website devoted to black youth.

Coya White Hat-Artichoker

Coya White Hat-Artichoker (she, her) was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota; she is a proud enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Coya has been doing activist work in various communities and movements since the age of 15. She is a founding member of the First Nations Two Spirit Collective; they are a Collective working to building a stronger political presence for Two Spirit people within the national dialogue of queer rights.  She was an Advisory Committee member for the Host Home Program, working to provide safe homes for homeless queer youth. Coya has worked with a number of philanthropic organizations like Astraea, Funders Exchange Outfund, Headwaters Fund, PFund, Bush Foundation. She is a former board member of the American Indian OIC, PFund, and currently serves as the Treasurer of the SisterSong board. She is currently Program Officer, Safety, Health and Economic Justice at Ms. Foundation.

Dean Spade, Esq.

Dean Spade (he/ his) is a trans activist, writer and teacher. Spade is currently Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law. Spade has been working to build queer and trans liberation based in racial and economic justice for the past two decades. He’s the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law, the director of the documentary “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!,” and the creator of the mutual aid toolkit at His latest book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next), forthcoming from Verso Press October 2020. He is a member of La Resistencia, No New Washington Prisons, and Collective Justice.

Ignacio G. Rivera, M.A.

Ignacio G Hutía Xeiti Rivera (they/them) is a cultural sociologist with expertise in sexual trauma and healing for marginalized populations. Ignacio is a Queer, Trans/Yamoká-hu/Two-Spirit, Black-Boricua, and Taíno activist. They are an internationally known speaker, educator, writer, and performer with over 20 years of experience on multiple fronts, including economic justice, anti-racist and anti-violence work, as well as mujerista, LGBTQI2S, and sex-positive movements. Ignacio’s work is influenced by their lived experience of homelessness, poverty, and sexual trauma and is focused on providing educational opportunities that are especially geared toward the sexual liberation of queer womxn, transgender, gender non-conforming, gender variant, and queer people of color. Ignacio, together with their daughter, Amanda, are co-hosts of Pure Love Talks, a Youtube series involving intergenerational conversations and lessons for creating sustainable relationships with children, normalizing sex education, and shifting the culture of sexual abuse. As the Founder and Executive Director of The HEAL Project, Ignacio is on a mission to prevent and end childhood sexual abuse through healing the wounds of sexual oppression and embracing sexual liberation.

Imani Woody, PH.D.

Imani Woody (she, her) is a nationally recognized thought leader and an advocate of women, people of color and LGBTQ/SGL people for more than 25 years. She has spoken out locally and nationally about the circumstances of elder LGBTQ+/SGL individuals and the specific jeopardies that LGBTQ+/SGL elders of color face as they age. Dr. Imani brought these perspectives and decades of community praxis to the 2015 White House Summit on LGBT Elder Housing and recently partnered with SAGE as a panelist in the National LGBT Elder Housing Symposium. She has a PhD in Public Service Leadership, and a Master of Human Services degree from Lincoln University. She is the founder and CEO of Mary’s House for Older Adults, (MHFOA) with the vision and commitment to serve LGBTQ+/SGL elders experiencing housing insecurity and isolation including building brick and mortar communal residences. She has received many awards including Next Avenue’s 2019 Influencers in Aging, Forbes Business of Pride, and the SAGE Creating Change Advocacy Award.

Jack Harrison-Quintana

Jack Harrison-Quintana (he, him) is a queer Mexican-American activist, writer, and researcher. He spent the last five years serving as the director of Grindr for Equality (G4E).  At Grindr, Jack harnesses the power of the world’s largest network of gay, bi, and trans people to promote LGBTQ health and human rights in nearly two hundred countries. For his work with the app, Jack has been honored as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and Foreign Policy’s 2016 Global Thinkers. Before Grindr, Jack was the director of the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Policy Institute, where he co-authored the landmark study, Injustice At Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. He has also worked at the Global Trans Research and Advocacy Project (GTRAP), the National Center for Transgender Equality, and Khemara Cambodia. Hailing from Signal Mountain, Tennessee, Jack earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgetown University in DC, which he still resides.

Juan Battle, PH.D.

Juan Battle (he, him) is a Professor of Sociology, Urban Education, Public Health, & Social Welfare at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is also the Coordinator of the Africana Studies Certificate Program and teaches at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.  With over 100 grants and publications – including books, book chapters, academic articles, and encyclopedia entries – his research focuses on race, sexuality, and social justice. In addition to having delivered lectures at a multitude of academic institutions, community based organizations, and funding agencies throughout the world, Professor Battle’s scholarship has included work throughout North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Loraine Hutchins

Loraine Hutchins (she, her) helped put the "B" in LGBT -- working the last 50 years as an advocate/activist for bi rights and liberation, both nationally, and locally, in Washington, DC with BiNet USA, AMBi - the Alliance of Multicultural Bisexuals, and other LGBT organizations.  Starting as a DC social justice activist she became a multi-disciplinary sexuality educator - teaching both undergraduates and community organizers, as well as a contributing historian of LGBT activisms and health studies in several textbook/anthologies. Doctoral work/current research in queer feminist sacred sexualities probes intersections of somatic bodywork, trauma healing, sexuality education, spiritual-erotic practices and specialized sex work; particularly with respect to sexual minorities, people with disabilities, and the aging.

M. V. Lee Badgett, PH.D.

M. V. Lee Badgett (she, her) is a professor of economics and co-director of the Center for Employment Equity at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and she is the former director of the School of Public Policy. She is also a Williams Distinguished Scholar at UCLA’s Williams Institute, where she was a co-founder and the first research director. She has a Ph.D. in economics from the UC Berkeley and a BA from the University of Chicago.  Her research focuses on economic inequality for LGBT people, including wage gaps, employment discrimination, and poverty, and on the global cost of homophobia and transphobia. Her books on LGBT economic issues have debunked the myth of gay affluence and have shown that same-sex marriage is good for society. Curve Magazine has named Badgett one of the twenty most powerful lesbians in academia, and she has appeared on The Advocate magazine’s "Our Best and Brightest Activists" list and Out Magazine’s “Out 100.”

Mandy Carter

Mandy Carter (she, her) has spent over 50 years of her life organizing for the LGBTQ community. She relocated to Durham, North Carolina, during the height of the AIDS crisis and committed herself to changing the culture of the South. She is a co-founder of Equality North Carolina, the oldest statewide organization in the country dedicated to securing rights and protections for the LGBTQ community, and Southerners on New Ground (SONG), a social justice and advocacy group committed to queer liberation and economic and racial justice. Carter is also a co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization serving the LGBTQ community. And in 2005, Carter was nominated as one of the "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005,” which recognized, made visible and celebrated the peace work of thousands of womxn around the world.

Mary Anne Adams

Mary Anne Adams (she/her) is Founder and Executive Director of ZAMI NOBLA-National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging dedicated to building a national base of power for Black lesbians 40 + centering service, advocacy, and community-action research. She has a master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Partnerships and over 25 years of work experience in public health, social work education, community engagement, capacity building, group facilitation, outreach and recruitment, planning, community organizing, and mobilization. Her interests are in investigating the social determinants of racial and sexual minority health inequities. For the past 14 years, she worked at two major universities in Atlanta directing and managing NIH funded research related to the dynamics of transmission of HIV/AIDS and STIs. Adams is a member of the Executive Advisory Board for BEAM whose mission is to remove the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing.

Sandra Nathan, PH.D.

Sandra Nathan (she, her) currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, a public foundation rooted in LGBTQI communities and movements. She is Principal and CEO for Apodictic Consultants, providing strategic consulting and transitional leadership to philanthropic institutions, nonprofits and government with an equity and social justice lens. Prior to Nathan’s time at Astraea she served as the Interim Executive Director for Philanthropy Southwest, Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Services and Community Investment for the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) in Tucson. She also oversaw the work of CFSA’s affiliated partner organizations, including the African American Initiative, the Alliance (LGBTQ) Fund, the Latino Giving Circle, and the Santa Cruz Community Foundation. Nathan has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of San Diego, a Master of Arts in Public Administration from National University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Christian Education. She also holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Harvard Business School. With a passion for board service, Nathan serves on the Board of Directors of Northern California Grantmakers, UC Berkeley Pacific School of Religion, the Tohono Chul Park Foundation, Equality Arizona, and provides pro bono consultant support to Tucson Senior Pride.

Sandy E. James, Esq., Ph.D.

Sandy E. James (he, him) was the Research Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality and lead author of The Report from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. In that role, he led a research team in conducting the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest survey ever conducted to examine the experiences of transgender people in the United States. Sandy has worked on numerous projects involving trans- and LGBQ-related legislation, policy, and research. He previously served as a Staff Attorney at FreeState Justice, representing LGBTQ people in civil legal matters and participating in policy advocacy and education and outreach work. He is the former Chair and a current member of the Board of Directors of Whitman-Walker Health, a community health center with expertise in HIV and LGBTQ health care. Sandy earned a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University.

Suzanne Goldberg, Esq.

Suzanne Goldberg (she, her) is the Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, founding director of the Law School’s trailblazing Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, co-director of the Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality and Executive Vice President for University Life. Goldberg launched her career as an advocate at Lambda Legal, the country’s first and largest legal organization focused on achieving full equality for LGBTQ+ people. While at Lambda, she worked on immigration, employment discrimination, and family law matters as well as two cases that became cornerstone gay rights victories at the U.S. Supreme Court: Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark decision that struck down Texas’s sodomy law, and Romer v. Evans, which overturned an anti-gay Colorado constitutional amendment. She has continued this advocacy as a professor at Columbia, filing briefs in nearly every marriage equality case in the United States. Professor Goldberg is a frequent commentator and analyst for the news media on the MeToo movement, sexuality and gender law, and discrimination law and litigation issues.

Tonia Poteat, M.D.

Tonia Poteat (she, her) is Assistant Professor of Social Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as core faculty in the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. Her research, teaching, and clinical practice focus on HIV and LGBTQ health with particular attention to the role of intersectional stigma in driving health inequities. Certified by the American Academy of HIV Medicine and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, she is a global leader in HIV research and care with transgender persons. She is an Associate Editor for the journal, LGBT Health. In 2019, she was named to the National Academies of Science Consensus Panel on the Well-being of Sexual and Gender Minorities and co-authored the 2020 consensus study report, “Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations.”

Study Team

Urvashi Vaid, Esq.

Urvashi Vaid (she, her) is President of The Vaid Group and Executive Director of Justice Work. Vaid has extensive experience in community-based research, including a national participatory research project that led to the first policy report on LGBTQ Poverty (Intersecting Inequality), the Black Pride Survey 2000. 

Vaid was a Senior Research Fellow at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, Senior Fellow at CUNY Graduate Center,  Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, Deputy Director of the Governance and Civil Society Program at the Ford Foundation, Executive Director and later the Policy Institute Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project. 

She is author of Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class & the Assumptions of LGBT Politics; Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay & Lesbian Liberation; and co-editor with John D’Emilio and William Turner of Creating Change: Public Policy, Sexuality and Civil Rights.

Vaid is a founder of Donors of Color Network, National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group, The National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network,  LPAC, the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, Equality Federation, Creating Change conference, among other movement strategies.

Jaime M. Grant, PH.D.

Jaime M. Grant (she, dyke) is Research Director of The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey. Grant served as the principal investigator for the National Transgender Discrimination Survey and has been active in anti-racist, feminist, and queer-led liberation work for the past 30 years.  For the past 5 years, she has been training globally on grassroots research methods and sexual liberation projects and processes with queer and trans activists from Beijing to Cape Town, Kenya to Kolkata, Havana to Hong Kong.

Grant is former Director of the Policy Institute of the National LGBTQ Task Force and past executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College.

Alyasah Ali Sewell, PH.D.

Alyasah Ali Sewell (they, them) is Senior Research and Data Analyst for The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey. Sewell is Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University and Founder and Director of The Race and Policing Project. A widely-published medical sociologist, they assess the political economy of race, neighborhoods, and health. Their research has garnered support and recognition from the National Institutes of Health, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Baden-Württemberg Foundation, among others. In 2016. Planned Parenthood designated them “The Future: Innovator and Visionary Who Will Transform Black Communities.” They received postdoctoral training from the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania, their Ph.D. and M.A. from Indiana University, and their B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Florida.

Johanna Sanders, Esq.

Johanna Sanders (she, her) is the Director of Policy and Organizing at The Vaid Group and at Justice Work. She is an attorney and activist who has been researching and organizing in the LGBTQ+ space both domestically and abroad for a decade, focusing her work on criminal justice reform and anti-poverty advocacy. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Binghamton University and a Juris Doctorate from Fordham Law School where she worked in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, traveled to Dilley, Texas with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project to assist with legal representation at the border, worked with the International Planned Parenthood Federation on a project for the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, worked for Brooklyn Legal Services in their LGBT/HIV Advocacy Unit, and at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Sanders previously co-facilitated the National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group and worked on the research initiative that led to the Donors of Color Network. Sanders currently serves on the study team for The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey, co-coordinates the National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network and serves on the Board of Directors for Congregation Beit Simchat Torah.

Carla Sutherland, PH.D.

Carla Sutherland (she, her) is Senior Advisor for Research, Evaluation and Program Strategy at The Vaid Group. Sutherland is former Head of Programs at the Other Foundation, an African Trust that advances the rights and wellbeing of LGBT people in Southern Africa. Sutherland helped establish the Other Foundation and also helped to found UHAI the East African Sexual and Human Rights Initiative, an indigenous activist funding network based in Nairobi.

Sutherland was an Associate Research Scholar at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University School of Law (New York), exploring how tradition, culture and religion have been used as a barrier to advance sexual rights within global and regional human rights mechanisms. Dr. Sutherland was director of the Arcus Foundation's international program on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Before joining Arcus, Dr. Sutherland led the Ford Foundation’s Education and Sexuality program in Eastern Africa. She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics.‍

Jay Wu

Jay Wu (they/them) is Communications and Outreach Strategist for the National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey. They are a freelance communications consultant who specializes in public education and advocacy efforts to advance LGBTQ+ equality. Jay was previously Director of Communications at the National Center for Transgender Equality, where they led a team that used innovative tactics to push back against harmful Trump administration policies. This included creating the viral #WontBeErased hashtag and running the Protect Trans Health campaign, which eventually spurred over 20,000 community members to submit public comments to the Trump administration. Prior to that, Jay was an Obama political appointee at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving as a press assistant focused on the Affordable Care Act. Jay holds a B.A. in linguistics with minors in English literature and gender and sexuality studies from Swarthmore College. Originally from Hong Kong, they currently live in Chicago with their partner and cat.

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