Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992) was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. The Stonewall Inn, a bar located in Greenwich Village, New York City, was the scene of an uprising against police repression that led to a key turning point in the struggle for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
Ellen D.B. Riggle is one of our Plenary Speakers. She is a Professor of Political Science, and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include positive identity, the effects of minority stress on the well-being of LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples, and the impact of law, legal debates, and policy issues on LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples.
Her articles have appeared in leading professional journals, including the American Journal of Political Science, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, Journal of Social Issues, and the Journal of Counseling Psychology.
Tracie Q. Gilbert is one of our Plenary Speakers. She is an educator, writer and consultant, with nearly 25 years of experience providing dynamic educational opportunities for urban youth, young adults, and their advocates. Tracie received her Masters of Science in Applied Psychology & Human Development at the University of Pennsylvania, and her Doctor of Philosophy with the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University, focusing on sexuality and gender in African American communities.
In addition to her work at Widener, Tracie conducts direct services for youth and teen audiences, as well as training and curriculum support for youth serving organizations as "Dr. Thembi", through her organization ThembiAnaiya LLC. Overall, she is dedicated to providing culturally-sensitive pedagogy for multicultural and under-resourced communities.
Brandie Balken is one of our Plenary Speakers. Previously, Brandie served as a senior director of programs for the Gill Foundation, and as the executive director of Equality Utah.
Brandie helped form and lead Utah's America Votes affiliate round table which worked to align labor, education, conservation, women's organizations, and the LGBT community in their endorsement and advocacy goals.
She has deep experience in the nonprofit sector having volunteered for a diverse array of organizations including Food Not Bombs, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, the Inclusion Center for Community and Justice and as a volunteer radio host for KRCL – Utah progressive public radio. She has provided board service to Seeds of Peace, Envision Utah, the Utah Pride Center, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, and the Equality Federation.
Judy Bowen is one of our Plenary Speakers. She is a transgender activist who started two transgender support organizations in New York City in the early years after the riots at the Stonewall Inn. But Bowen was raised in the South in a religious home, and worked as a reporter for an evangelical newspaper. She was unable to conceal her transgender identity in her youth, and found support from her mother after an attempted suicide. Bowen moved to New York after witnessing racist and transphobic violence in Knoxville. She worried that if she stayed, she would be killed. In New York, Bowen lived in Greenwich Village before the Stonewall riots, and found joy in a community filled with trans people. She was an organizer and community activist, as well as a patient of the famous pioneer of transgender medicine, Harry Benjamin. She eventually moved to Las Vegas and is a veteran of the rich trans history of NYC in the mid-twentieth century.
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