Masen Davis is a native Midwesterner who has lived the California Dream since 1995. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center, a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. Prior to coming to TLC in 2007, Masen spent six years at United Way of Greater Los Angeles where he managed allocations for 194 agencies, oversaw education/youth grant making; and raised more than $5.8 million through foundation and corporate giving.
Masen has been an activist in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality since 1990. His experience includes advocating for LGBT survivors of hate crimes, domestic violence and police misconduct; consulting with education and social service providers to help develop and implement best practice standards for transgender youth; and presenting diversity trainings for police departments in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
In 2002, Masen co-founded FTM Alliance of Los Angeles, the first Southern California nonprofit dedicated to advocacy within the female-to-male transgender community. He has served in leadership roles for many organizations, including FTM Alliance (Board President, 2002-07); City of West Hollywood’s Transgender Task Force (Vice Chair, 2001-03); National Center for Transgender Equality (Vice Chair, 2005-2007), and Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (Board Member, 2007-Present). His work on behalf of transgender equality has earned him awards from the National Association of Social Workers, International Foundation for Gender Education, and UCLA. Masen received his Masters of Social Welfare with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from UCLA, and Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University.
Enza “Supermodel” Anderson is a Canadian transgender political activist and media personality. She grew up in Toronto, living near Jane and Finch with an Italian-Catholic father. Initially she attended York University to study geography but left due to a combination of lack of interest in the subject and her mother becoming sick. After a one-year hiatus, she attended Seneca College where she studied civil engineering and technologies. After graduation she worked as the quality control supervisor of a concrete pipe-manufacturing plant, but was laid off after five years. She then worked part-time as a bartender at Woody’s. In 1995 she got a job at a hair salon on Yonge Street, which called for her to hand out flyers for the salon to pedestrians in drag. It was during that job that a photo of her kissing then-mayor Mel Lastman ended up on the front cover of the Toronto Sun, marking the start of her career in the public eye.
Anderson wrote a social column, “The Hot Ticket”, for Canada’s highest circulated free daily newspaper, Metro Toronto. She also divides her work schedule at the Bank of Montreal assisting clients as a financial services manager. In 2000, Anderson ran for mayor of Toronto. Although the eventual winner of that campaign, Mel Lastman, won over 80 per cent of the vote, Anderson garnered 13,585 votes, placing third behind Lastman and Tooker Gomberg. She was one of the few candidates besides Lastman, Gomberg and Ben Kerr to gain widespread name recognition in the race. In the 2003 municipal election in Toronto, Anderson ran for a city council seat against incumbent Kyle Rae and placed second, though she was originally not considered to be a serious threat against him.
Anderson has a column in the Toronto newspaper Metro, covering local entertainment and party gossip since 2004, after she pitched the idea of her doing a column to the editor-in-chief, bringing a mocked-up version of one of her articles complete with Metro banner. She was the subject of a 2003 documentary by Carlos Valencia and was interviewed speaking about her spirituality on Vision TV’s Credo. Anderson was chosen as Grand Marshall of Toronto’s 2008 Pride Parade and served as a board member of the Church and Wellesley Neighborhood Police Liaison Committee. Her two years as Pride Committee Co-chair of Fundraising helped raise record amounts needed to cover festival costs. She put in many fundraising hours for the AIDS Committee of Toronto and its signature fundraising event Fashion Cares. Anderson helped bring awareness of support groups like the People With AIDS Foundation and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Youth Support Line. She serves on the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations.
Paisley Currah is Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He was born in Ontario Canada, received a B.A. (Hons, First Class) from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario and an M.A and Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. Currah co-edited Corpus: An Interdisciplinary Reader on Bodies and Knowledge, as well as Transgender Rights which won the Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. Paisley has authored many articles and he even curated a “Symposium on the State of LGBT/Sexuality Studies in Political Science”, and helped edit “Trans-,” a special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly and “The State We’re In: Locations of Consent and Coercion in Trans Policy,”. In 2002, he received Wayne F. Placek Award from the American Psychological Foundation. He is currently working on a book, The United States of Gender, (forthcoming with NYU Press).
As a founding board member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, Currah has advocated for transgender rights at all levels of government. He also serves on the board of directors Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE). He is a member of the advisory board of Human Rights Watch Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program. From January 2005-December 2006, he sat on the External Advisory Committee to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the Amendment of Birth Certificates for Transgender Persons. From November 2004 to December 2005, he served on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee Transgender Subcommittee, New York City Human Resources Administration and in that capacity was a co-author of “Recommended Best Practices for Working With and Serving Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Employees and Clients.” He was a co-founder of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, and helped draft the legislation to amend New York City’s Human Rights Law to include discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
Dr. Currah is currently the chair of the Department of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He served as the Executive Director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York from 2003-2007. Currah sits on the editorial boards of GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy. His service on advisory boards includes: Biopolitics: Medicine, Health, and Technoscience in the 21st Century, a book series from New York University Press; Sexuality and the Law, Social Science Research Network; International Resource Network, a project hosted at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies and funded by the Ford Foundation; the University Consortium on Sexuality Research and Training.
M. Dru Levasseur is the Transgender Rights Attorney for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV. Levasseur focuses his work on impact litigation, advocacy and community education to advance the civil rights of transgender people nationwide.
Before joining Lambda Legal, Levasseur was staff attorney for Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, where he advocated for transgender equal rights through test-case litigation, public policy efforts, community organizing and public education. Prior to that, Levasseur served for two years as law clerk to 12 Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court.
In 2007, Levasseur co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to fund gender-confirming surgeries. That same year, he initiated and co-organized New England’s first-ever Transgender Pride March and Rally. During law school, Levasseur worked at Western Massachusetts Legal Services, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and served as a law fellow for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project.
He serves as Chair of the Legal Issues Committee of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and is an active member of the LGBT Rights Committee of the City Bar of New York. He is also a former Foundation Board Member of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL) and initiated its Transgender Committee.
In 2011, Levasseur was a recipient of the National LGBT Bar Association’s Best LGBT Lawyer Under 40 Award. He received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Women, Sexuality and Gender Studies from the University of Massachusetts, and his law degree from Western New England College School of Law.
Prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” has spoken at home and abroad on such topics as racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, transgender issues, anti-oppression, anti-violence, multi-issue organizing and more. In addition to lectures and keynotes, their work manifests itself through skits, one-person shows, poetry, spoken word performance, workshops, readings and experimental film.
Ignacio is the founder of Poly Patao Productions. P3 is dedicated to producing sex-positive workshops, performance pieces, films, play parties, panel discussions, social/political groups and educational opportunities that are specially geared toward queer women, transgender, multi-gender, gender-queer, gender non-conforming and gender variant people of color.
They also helped found the the Queers for Economic Justice, a progressive non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation, as one of the board members.
Shannon Price Minter is the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. He serves on the boards of Faith in America and is also a founding board member of the Transgender Law & Policy Institute. Previously served on the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Shannon was lead counsel for same-sex couples in the landmark California marriage equality case which held that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are inherently discriminatory and subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny. Shannon was also NCLR’s lead attorney on Sharon Smith’s groundbreaking wrongful death suit and has litigated many other impact cases in California and across the country.
Shannon has been named a California Lawyer of the Year, one of six Lawyers of the Year by Lawyers USA, and among California’s Top 100 Lawyers by the legal publication The Daily Journal. Received the 2008 Dan Bradley Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association for outstanding work in marriage cases and was the recipient of the Cornell Law School Exemplary Public Service Award. Shannon was one of 18 people to receive the Ford Foundation’s “Leadership for a Changing World” award. Shannon has also received the Anderson Prize Foundation’s Creating Change Award by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Distinguished National Service Award from GAYLAW, the Exemplary Public Service Award, the Unity Award, the Advocacy Award, and the Justice Award. The list goes on, the amount of this trans man’s awards and contributions to his community are impressive.
Jason Cromwell, Ph.D., was a doctoral student in anthropology, former president of the Ingersoll Gender Center, and a member of the board of directors of American Educational Gender Information Service, Inc. and the International Foundation for Gender Education. With Jamison Green, he revised and expanded the late Lou Sullivan’s Information for the Female-to-Male Transsexual and Crossdresser. As a Trans Man insider and an anthropologist, Jason presented the first in-depth examination of what it means to be a female-bodied transperson in his book Transmen & FTMs. Cromwell also contributed chapters to Two-Spirit People: Perspectives on Native American Gender and Sexuality.
Theresa Sparks is one tough cookie. After having gone through two divorces, she attended therapy and shock treatment in an attempt to control her desire to transition into a woman, before finally embracing herself. Her three children from her first marriage supported her decision and with their love in tow, she moved to California to transition and start a new life. Finding herself unable to attain a job as a woman in her field of expertise despite 20 years of experience as a man in that field, sick of the harrassment of police officers who assumed that she was a prostitute due to the fact that she was transgendered, Theresa decided to act. Gathering together a large group of other transgendered people, she began an activist campaign to change California and took the community by storm.
Ms Sparks is now the Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and was a candidate for San Francisco Supervisor for District 6 in the November 2010 election. She is the former president of the San Francisco Police Commission and former CEO of Good Vibrations. In 2008, she became Grand Marshal in the San Fransisco Pride Parade and is one of the most famous Transgendered Women of California. Theresa is a member of the Emeritus Board of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, an Army veteran and holds a degree in engineering. As well as being a member of the Board of Directors of the Horizons Foundation, a community-based LGBT philanthropic organization. Over all she’s one busy lady.