(pronouns: they, them, theirs)
I am a transqueer consultant, activist-educator, artist, healer, and true-heart with a background in community mental health.
Born with a fierce sense of justice and a tender heart, I have been passionate about and committed to activism and advocacy since I came out as queer at the age of 19.
From organizing large-scale events like the Day of Silence, to training faculty and staff on college campuses, one of my life’s passions is teaching others how to provide inclusive and dignifying spaces and services to LGBTQ-identified individuals.
Since my second “coming out” as genderqueer and then trans, I have been dedicated to making the world a safer and more compassionate place for those who identify as trans and gender non-conforming/gender-variant (GNC/V).
Competent and authentic, my style can be described as:
– Direct meets compassionate
– Grounded meets visionary
– Expansive meets the specific
– Personal meets the professional
My education and training instilled in me the importance of using research and best practices to inform action; my experiences in the world have taught me the importance of using my heart to drive what I am passionate about and to instigate change.
I work collaboratively with those who want to open their hearts and shift their perspectives to build inclusive and dignifying environments, foster relationships and connections in the process, and create a space where everyone is not only free to be who they are but are loved and appreciated because of who they are.
I currently live and work in Minneapolis where I proudly parent three cats and am a partner, bextie, friend, ally, advocate, and member within a vital queer family and community.
Background and Experience
When I was little I used to smash rocks open with a hammer to see what was on the inside. I remember walking around my neighborhood to collect as many types of rocks as could possibly vary in a 4-block radius in Southeastern Iowa.
After I had smashed my first rock and realized that a dull and plain outward appearance could give way to rings of purples and greens and browns, I was hooked. I knew that things weren’t always as they appeared to be on the surface.
This curiosity followed me to high school sociology class and then psychology; I was fascinated by the fact that humans are both remarkably complex and predictable. I wanted to know more.
During my fourth year of undergraduate classes, I was lucky to be introduced to feminist theory and the reality of intersecting identities. While my education in psychology helped me understand what guides an individual’s behavior, feminism positioned that individual in the world based on their various identities: religion, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and ability, to name just a few.
I also learned that a person’s experience in and of the world can be dramatically influenced by their positioning in it. I learned about systemic oppression and learned to identify and own the privileges that come along with my white skin, middle class status, and able-bodiedness.
And I felt a fiery inspiration to change the world, to attempt to make it a safer and more compassionate place for those who have less privilege and face hardship because of their sexual identity and/or gender identity/expression. To make it a world worth living in.
Earning a master’s degree from Auburn University and completing six years of a PhD program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison did allow me to impact the lives of others; I learned how to be fully present with another person as they told their story and to listen with empathy and kindness. I learned an unbelievable amount about people’s resilience in the face of enormous tragedy and trauma, and I learned about the power of love and compassion.
But I felt stifled in the world of academia and managed care; I wanted to reach a wider scope. I wanted to touch more lives. I wanted to bring my advocacy work for those who identify as trans* and GNC/V beyond the field of mental health.
So here I am, 25 years after sitting on my front stoop smashing rocks, my curiosity and wonder still at the forefront. I don’t feel the need to smash open each rock anymore, as I have more confidence now that at the center of everyone is goodness–their own patterns of purples, greens, and browns. And I have replaced the hammer with openness, a deep caring, and compassion.
I feel much less of a need to ask “why?” now and feel driven instead by “how?” How can we open our hearts to one another, across difference, across the unknown, across fear, across pain and insecurity? How can we go beyond tolerating one another to dignifying one another? How can we reflect each other’s goodness?
I hope you join me in answering these questions.
Recent Presentations, Trainings, and Workshops
– Mayflower Early Childhood Center (May 2017)
– Minneapolis Public Schools: Minneapolis Kids (April 2017)
– Sabes JCC Early Childhood Center (February 2017)
– Saint Paul Public Schools: Discovery Club (January 2017)
– Minnesota Council of Nonprofits: Developing Inclusive Workplace Practices HR Panel (October 2016)
– Minnesota Council of Nonprofits 2016 Leadership Conference (June 2016)
– MnAEYC MnSACA 2016 Annual State Conference (February 2016)
Community Organizing and Advocacy
– Served in several leadership roles of prominent community groups while part of the queer community in Madison, WI for 6 years.
– Served as a Peer Counselor and part of the Speaker’s Bureau for Madison’s LGBTQ community resource center.
– Served in leadership roles in campus LGBTQ groups at Auburn University and Southwest Minnesota State University.
– Columnist for Original Plumbing, an online trans culture magazine.
Six years of Ph.D. coursework and practica, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Program: Counseling Psychology
M.Ed., Auburn University
Track: Community Agency Counseling
B.A., University of Cincinnati