Richard Blum has been a staff attorney in the Civil Division of the Legal Aid Society since 1990, where he specializes in employment law, after many years of litigation and advocacy concerning government benefits, particularly welfare. From 2003-2009, Richard taught a seminar on welfare law at New York University School of Law. He is a member of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, in which he served as the Bargaining Committee representative of the LGBT Caucus, helping to obtain domestic partner benefits for Legal Aid staff attorneys. He has also been a member of Pride at Work, the LGBT labor organization, since its inception. Richard was a founding board member of Queers for Economic Justice.
Terry Boggis is a founding board member of Queers for Economic Justice. She is the Director of Center Kids, the family program of the LGBT Community Center in New York City. She has published and contributed to articles on LGBT family issues in The New York Times and other New York City dailies, Out Magazine and other gay media, and she has helped produce, and has also appeared on, news programming for the major networks. Her articles and essays have appeared in Our Right to Love (Simon & Schuster, 1995), The Lesbian and Gay Almanacs (Berkeley Books, 1996), The Lesbian and Gay Book of Love and Marriage (Paula Martinac, 1998), and Homefronts (Alyson Books, 2000), among others. She contributed to the lesbian feminist newspaper Womanews, and has produced programming for gay television.
Reed Christian has worked with low-income and homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth who are marginally housed and street involved, in foster care, and shelter systems in Los Angeles and New York City. He is a graduate of the Hunter College School of Social Work and currently serves as the Director of The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center’s Health Outreach to Teens Program, which provides a vital link to free health care including sexual and reproductive health services, family planning, primary transgender related health care and hormone replacement therapy, mental health support, prevention services for HIV/STI/unwanted pregnancy, case management, free pharmaceutical access, and youth development programming. Formerly, Reed supervised Integrated Services to Runaway and Homeless Youth at The Door—A Center of Alternatives in New York City and with homeless and street involved youth at The Jeff Griffith Drop-in Center at the LA GLBT Center in Los Angeles. Reed sat on the Board of Directors of Queers for Economic Justice from 2005-2009.
Debanuj DasGupta is a doctoral student and graduate teaching associate in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Ohio State University. Debanuj’s current academic interests lie within feminist political philosophy, critical queer, race, (dis)ability, and migration theories. Debanuj’s research interrogates the sexualized and racialized basis of present day immigration politics in the US. He has worked for over 16 years across two continents in the “civil society sector.” In 1994 Debanuj founded the first HIV prevention program for men-who-have-sex-with-men in Kolkata, India. His work in the US has largely been within the environmental rights, sexual rights and immigrant rights movements. Debanuj was on the founding board of the Queer Immigrant Rights Project. In this capacity he helped organize over 300 LGBT immigrants from 52 countries residing in the New York Tri-State area. As the New Voices Fellow/Immigration Policy Analyst, Debanuj worked with Queers For Economic Justice, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, NNIRR, and several local Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer identified Immigrant rights formations across the US to lead the campaign to remove the US HIV ban on travel and immigration. Debanuj has received numerous grants, awards and fellowships notably the Association of American Geographers T.J.Reynolds Award for Disability Studies, Ford Foundation / Academy for Educational Development funded New Voices Fellowship, The British Department for International Development-West Bengal Sexual Health Project Multi-Year Award, Graduate Research Fellowships from the University of Akron and the Ohio State University, and The International AIDS Society Fellowships for Emerging Activists. Debanuj holds a B.A. in Sociology (HONS) from Presidency College, Kolkata (now the Presidency Autonomous University), and an MA in Geography & Urban Planning from the University of Akron, OH. Debanuj is a self-identified Brown Nomad. He believes in creating “magical sanctuaries” for and with queer/immigrant/(dis)abled/other bodies. In his free time he can be found igniting magical sparks in bleak, unfound urban spaces.
Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis is a founding member and the Founding Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice. Prior to that, he served as the Director of SAGE/Queens (an organization serving LGBT senior citizens) for five years. He also was on staff for six years at the New York Foundation, a progressive philanthropic organization. He has served as adjunct faculty at the Graduate Schools of social work at both Hunter College and Fordham University, and is currently teaching at Portland State University. He has served on the Steering Committees of the New York State LGBT Health and Human Services Network and also the Welfare Reform Network. He is the winner of the prestigious Union Square Award, and a nationally recognized leader in the LGBT movement. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Work at Portland State University
John D’Emilio has been a pioneer in the developing field of gay and lesbian studies. He is the author or editor of more than half a dozen books, including Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States; Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (with Estelle Freedman); and Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin. D’Emilio was a finalist for the National Book Award, a Kessler lecturer at CLAGS in NYC, and received the Brudner Prize from Yale University for lifetime contributions to gay and lesbian studies. A former co-chair of the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, he was also the founding director of its Policy Institute. Intimate Matters was quoted by Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case, the decision that declared state sodomy statutes unconstitutional. He currently is a Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Áine Duggan’s expertise spans two decades and continents, and a diverse range of NGO size, mission and function. From her work in Dublin, Ireland in human rights on issues pertaining to reproductive health, immigration and HIV/AIDS, she has become a respected organization and policy leader in the US anti-poverty movement. During her recent seven-year tenure as Vice President for Research, Policy & Education at the Food Bank for New York City, she served as a thought leader who propelled the conversation about food poverty, its root causes and needed solutions onto national and international media and advocacy stages. Additionally, she established the organization’s research wing, authoring a series of reports on hunger that highlighted disproportionate levels of poverty among women, children, seniors and veterans. Co-founder and board member of Queers for Economic Justice, Áine is currently teaching in the Graduate Social Research program at Hunter College where she designed a public policy analysis class focused on violence against women and children. Prior to taking up full-time residence in the United States in 1995, she graduated with an MA from University College Dublin, Ireland.
Lisa Duggan is a journalist, activist, and Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is author of Twilight of Equality: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy (Beacon, 2003), and Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence and American Modernity (Duke University Press, 2000). She is co-author with Nan Hunter of Sex Wars: Essays in Sexual Dissent and American Politics (Routledge, 1995 and 2006), and co-editor with Lauren Berlant of Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and National Interest (NYU Press, 2001).
Kenyon Farrow is a Black gay activist and writer based in New York City. Kenyon is the former Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice, and has also been a longtime HIV/AIDS activist having worked on HIV/AIDS with Policy Institute at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Housing Works and Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project. He currently serves on the board of Streetwise and Safe in NYC, and the advisory committee of BreakOUT! in New Orleans. In addition to his political work, he is a prolific writer, who blogs at KenyonFarrow.com, is the co-editor of Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out (Nation Books, 2005) and his work has appeared in the anthologies Spirited: Affirming the Soul of Black Lesbian and Gay Identity (Red Bone Press, 2006), Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Same-Sex Marriage (AK Press, 2010), and the forthcoming For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough (Magnus Books). His work has also appeared in publications such as The Huffington Post, theGrio.com, Colorlines, American Prospect, and Alternet. Kenyon was named one of Out Magazine’s Out 100 for 2008, the Advocate Magazine’s “40 Under 40” LGBT Leaders in the United States for 2010, and one of Black Entertainment Television’s “Modern Black History Heroes” for 2011.
Marcia M. Gallo is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She received her Ph.D. in History with specialization in Gender and Sexuality from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in 2004. Her first book, Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement (Carroll & Graf, 2006; Seal Press, 2007), won the 2006 Lambda Literary Award for Nonfiction and was named one of the best books of the year by The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2007, Gallo received the Passing the Torch Award from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY for her scholarship on feminist and lesbian activism. Gallo has researched and written about Cold War women’s history, focusing on the ways in which women of color, working and poor women, and sexually nonconforming women organized for civil and human rights in the US and internationally. She is now working on a book about Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, who was murdered in Queens, New York in 1964 and became an international symbol of urban apathy, the “bystander syndrome,” and the failure of community. Gallo was Field Director for the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco before entering academia. She also served as Director of Development and Donor Programs with the Funding Exchange, a network of progressive community-based foundations headquartered in New York.
Che Gossett is a member of ACT UP Philadelphia, on the steering committee of the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, a board member with the Sex Worker Outreach Project and has been involved in queer and/or trans and gender nonconforming decriminalization, decarceration and prison industrial complex abolitionist organizing. Che is currently working on a biography of queer AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.
Reina Gossett is an activist living in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Currently Reina works at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project as Membership Director and formerly directed the Welfare Organizing Project at Queers for Economic Justice and was a Soros Justice Fellow on staff at Critical Resistance. She is a contributing writer to Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment & the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press 2011) and believes imagination and creativity are vital for creating strong social movements for self-determination and liberation.
Tom Hill identifies as a white, gay man in long-term recovery from addiction. Tom has over twenty years of both recovery and community organizing experience. He has worked, both as a professional and a grassroots community leader, in areas such as recovery and addiction, HIV/AIDS, LGBT and reproductive rights. In addition, Tom has extensive experience as a trainer and facilitator in addiction and recovery, diversity/cultural competency, LGBT health, mental health, community organizing, and leadership development. He has served as faculty at many learning institutions and has presented workshops and keynote speeches at numerous conferences and summits nationwide. Tom has served on numerous committees and boards and is a founding board member of Faces and Voices of Recovery, a national advocacy organization. Tom holds an M.S.W. from Hunter College at the City University of New York. Tom was a Robert Wood Johnson fellow in the Developing Leadership in Reducing Substance Abuse initiative from 2003-2006 and is a recipient of the Johnson Institute’s 2006 America Honors Recovery Award. Trained as a fine artist, Tom recently returned to painting. In 2008, he had artwork selected by Innovators Combating Substance Abuse for their Art and Addiction book and exhibition project.
Amber Hollibaugh is the Co-Director of Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ). Formerly she was Chief Officer of Elder & LBTI Women’s Services at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago. Previous to that she was Senior Strategist for the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce and before that she was the Director of National Initiatives at SAGE—Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders. Earlier in her tenure there she was their Director of Education, Advocacy and Community Building. Before joining the staff of SAGE, she spent seven years at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) as Director of the Lesbian AIDS Project and subsequently as the National Director of Women’s Services. Prior to that, she had been the Director of Education for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, AIDS Division. A well-known activist, artist, public intellectual and community organizer, she was a founding member of Queers for Economic Justice and is currently on the boards of CLAGS (the Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies), LAIN (LGBT Aging Issues Network) of ASA and on the editorial board of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. She is also the founding director of the Lesbian AIDS Project (LAP) of the Gay Men’s Health Crises (GMHC) in New York City. She was a recipient of the Dr. Susan B. Love award for outstanding achievement in women’s health and is the author of My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home, and the director and co-producer of The Heart of the Matter, a documentary film focusing on women’s sexuality, denial and risk for HIV and AIDS. The film won the 1994 Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression award and premiered on PBS’s prestigious POV film series. She emphasizes the importance of looking at an issue through different lenses as well as the complexity of the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality.
Richard Kim is the Executive Editor of TheNation.com and co-editor of the New York Times best-selling book Going Rouge: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare. His writing has appeared in The Nation, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Sun-Times, Salon, The Huffington Post, In These Times and other publications. His TV and radio appearances include CNN, NPR, Democracy Now!, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Up with Chris Hayes, CNBC and other programs. He was on the founding board of Queers for Economic Justice.
AJ Lewis first began volunteering with Queers for Economic Justice in 2004. He is currently a doctoral student in American Studies at University of Minnesota, where he’s working on a dissertation about nonsecular and nonrationalist social change strategies in 1970s gay movement politics. His research has been supported by funding from the University of Minnesota, Cornell University’s Kroch Library, and Harvard Divinity School.
Syd London holds a deep reverence for the potential power of the photographic image. Her passion is story telling of subcultures that are often ignored, misunderstood or mis-portrayed. She strives to communicate the visceral moments of what is ultimately a shared human experience. Currently, Syd works as a Brooklyn-based photographer and photojournalist. Syd is a regular contributing photographer to Time Out NY, Curve Magazine, and she is Queers for Economic Justice’s official documentarian. Syd’s photographs have been on exhibit across the U.S. including 3 state houses. Her work has been published by NY Times Magazine, Time Out NY, The Village Voice, InStyle, Curve Magazine, The Trevor Project, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, The Westchester Philharmonic and the Municipal Arts Society NY to name a few.
Rickke Mananzala has been involved in racial, economic, and gender justice issues for more than a decade. He most recently served as the Executive Director of FIERCE, an organization that builds the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City and nationally. As a former New Voices Fellow at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), he worked to develop methods for legal work to increase support for organizing efforts by transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York City. Rickke was a founding National Steering Committee member of the Right to the City Alliance and he also served on the Board of the Third Wave Foundation for five years where he helped to advance grant-making strategies to support feminist youth organizing work. Rickke is currently studying Political Science at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Robert McRuer is Professor of English at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. He is the author of Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (NYU 2006) and The Queer Renaissance: Contemporary American Literature and the Reinvention of Lesbian and Gay Identities (NYU 1997). With Anna Mollow, he co-edited Sex and Disability (Duke 2012) and with Abby L. Wilkerson, he co-edited Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies, which appeared as a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (Duke 2003). He is completing a project on disability resistance to a globalized austerity politics.
Anya Mukarji-Connolly is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and a former Equal Justice Works fellow. She has been an advocate for low-income and homeless communities in New York City for ten years. Anya is currently an attorney with the Brooklyn Family Defense Project (BFDP) where she represents low-income parents in child welfare proceedings. BFDP works to support families and prevent them from being torn apart, while also seeking to change the child welfare policies and practices that disproportionately target low-income communities. Prior to joining BFDP, Anya had been an advocate for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth for over eight years at the Peter Cicchino Youth Project (PCYP) of the Urban Justice Center. While at PCYP, Anya represented LGBTQ youth struggling to survive on New York City’s streets, and in its foster care, juvenile justice and shelter systems. In 2002, Anya was awarded an Equal Justice Works fellowship to represent LGBTQ youth who were at risk of entering the foster care system. Anya is currently on the Board of Directors of Streetwise and Safe (SAS), a youth development project for LGBTQ youth of color in New York City. From 2004 until 2006, Anya sat on the Board of Directors of FIERCE!, a community organizing project for Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Queer, and Questioning youth of color in New York City.
N. Ordover is the author of American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism which focuses on the convergence of medical, judicial, and public policy discourses that left marginalized communities and populations (immigrants, people of color, poor women, LGBTQ people, PLWHAs, people receiving state assistance) vulnerable to eugenics for the better part of the twentieth century and explores the ways in which this legacy continues to inform economic and health care policies. In 2006, Ordover co-founded the Coalition to Lift the Bar, an alliance of LGBT, human rights, immigrant justice, and HIV/AIDS organizations that waged a successful campaign to overturn the US ban on entry, residence, and stay for HIV-positive people. Ordover served on the International Task Team on HIV-Related Travel Restrictions, convened by and concerned with issues relating to the health, human rights, and economic impact(s) of HIV entry bars on immigrants, migrants, refugees, asylees, detainees, and other mobile populations. Ordover earned a PhD in Ethnic Studies at the UC Berkeley and did a post-doc at Columbia University’s Program for the Study of Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights. While still in San Francisco, Ordover served on the editorial collective of Socialist Review, a nonsectarian journal concerned with issues of public policy, cultural dissent, and political economy. For several years, Ordover taught Urban Studies at the Queens College Worker Education Extension Center, a program borne of collaboration between the City University of New York and local labor unions, designed for rank and file union members working toward their BAs and MAs. Currently Ordover is Program Director at Funders for LGBTQ Issues in New York.
Susan Raffo is a writer, bodyworker and community-organizer. She is the editor of Queerly Classed: Gays and Lesbians Write About Class (South End Press, 1995), co-editor with Victoria Brownworth of Restricted Access: Lesbians on Disability (Seal Press, 1997) as well as a frequent blogger and contributor to other publications. She lives in Minneapolis with her partner, Rocki, daughter, Luca, housemate Kelly and assorted other people from time to time. Susan is currently jobsharing the position of Executive Director at PFund Foundation with Kate Eubank. Susan always prefers to do things in groups, even if it’s only a group of two.
Laura F. Redman is currently a Staff Attorney at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice in New York City and was a member of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Committee from 2006-2011. From 2006-2008, as an Equal Justice Works fellow, Laura established NCLEJ’s Access to Medicaid Project, which focused on pursuing impact litigation seeking systemic change in the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs throughout the country. Prior to her fellowship, Laura clerked for two years in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Staff Attorneys’ Office, and worked as a Staff Attorney at the Commission for Racial Equality in the UK. She is also a former volunteer at the LGBT Community Center’s Transgender Legal Clinic, Name Change Project and, from 2005-07, served on the Board of Trustees at the Albert Kennedy Trust, a UK-based non-profit that provides supportive services to lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment. During law school, Laura interned at Equal Rights Advocates, in San Francisco, CA; the National Council for Civil Liberties in London; and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, in Boston, MA. Prior to law school, she worked as a legal assistant at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in Washington, D.C. Laura graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 2003; has an M.A. in Gender Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London; and is a graduate of American University.
Catherine Sameh is Associate Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and editor of The Scholar & Feminist Online. At BCRW, she coordinates transnational collaborations with peer centers globally, and is co-director, with Ynestra King, of the Feminism and Disability Oral History Project. She holds a Ph.D. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University.
Svati P. Shah is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her book, entitled Seeing Sexual Commerce: Sex, Work and Migration in the City of Mumbai, based on her research in Mumbai, India on migration and sex work, will be available shortly from Duke University Press. In addition to teaching and doing scholarly research, Dr. Shah writes for a number of blogs and progressive periodicals. She has worked with queer, sex worker, feminist, and secularist grass roots organizations in the U.S. and in India.
Southerners on New Ground (SONG) is a 19 year-old membership organization that is a home for LGBTQ-led organizing across race, class, culture, gender, and sexuality. SONG breaks new ground in the South for LGBTQ liberation by building, connecting, and amplifying organizing work by LGBTQ communities who are willing to work for justice for all people. For more information, visit SONG’s website.
Jessica Stern is the Director of Programs at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. As the first researcher on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights at Human Rights Watch, she conducted fact-finding investigations and advocacy around sexual orientation and gender identity in countries including Iran, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. As a Ralph Bunche Fellow at Amnesty International, she spearheaded anti-racism initiatives and documented police brutality. She was a founding collective member and director of Bluestockings, then New York’s only women’s bookstore. She is a member of the board of directors of Queers for Economic Justice and an advisor to the New York Women’s Foundation. She is frequently quoted in the Mail & Guardian, Al Jazeera, the Associated Press, ColorLines, Reuters, Agence France Presse, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, The Guardian and The BBC.
Kay Whitlock is a Montana-based writer and organizer whose current work focuses on dismantling structural violence and injustice in law enforcement and other public institutions. She is co-author (with Joey L. Mogul and Andrea J. Ritchie) of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (2011), which won a 2011 National Council on Crime and Delinquency PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award. Kay wrote a series of LGBT Justice Visions working papers for the American Friends Service Committee, addressing the violence of the criminal legal system, mass incarceration, and the prison industrial complex—most notably, “In a Time of Broken Bones: A Call to Dialogue on Hate Violence and the Limitations of Hate Crimes Legislation” (2001). Her writing has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies. She is a contributing editor for the Criminal Injustice series on the Critical Mass Progress blog.
Miriam W. Yeung was born in Hong Kong and raised in the projects of Brooklyn. She spent a decade at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center working various positions within the youth program and the policy and government relations departments. Currently she is the Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, the nation’s only progressive, multi-issue organization dedicated to building a movement to advance social justice and human rights organization for Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls in the US. Miriam has served on the boards of Queers for Economic Justice and Generations Ahead, and is the co-producer of the documentary, I Look Up To The Sky Now. Miriam did her undergraduate studies at NYU and her Masters in Public Administration at Baruch College. She and her partner are trying to raise their two daughters to be fearless.