Dr. Ruthie is dedicated to spreading sex-positive information, advocacy and community building to all adults. No matter where you live or the nature of your sexual experiences, Dr. Ruth Neustifter is a recognized relationship expert specializing in sexual communication and education as well as recovery from intimate partner violence. University instructor, published author, respected presenter and dedicated activist, Ruth Neustifter holds a doctoral degree in Child & Family Development with specializations in Couples and Family Therapy and Qualitative Research.
Star Peterson (ze/zir) is a non-binary, pansexual diversity trainer who is multiply neurodivergent. Star is passionate about helping healthcare workers, mental health professionals, and allies be more welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent communities. Star gives talks on pronouns, gender-neutral language, avoiding microaggressions, and unpacking cishet privilege.
Laya Monarez is a transgender bisexual latinx artist, musician and transgender activist. She studied art at the George Washington Corcoran School of Art and Design where she received her BFA in Fine Art focusing on Painting and Sculpture. Laya has had many art shows through the DMV area and has worked on several murals as well. Her artwork is inspired by science, surrealism and social justice movements. Here activism is rooted in her need to uplift transgender people and educate the public on transgender issues.
Laya’s LGBTQ Activism started with her volunteer work with the DC Trans Coalition where she helped to train police on Trans sensitivity. While working with the Human Rights Campaign on their membership and operation teams Laya trained new employees on Transgender issues. Laya has also given presentations at the bisexual Because Conference in Minneapolis, the Capital Building, Princeton University and the White House Among others. One of her proudest moments is helping to introduce a bill to decrminalize sex work in Washington DC. A bill she thinks will especially help keep black and brown transgender sex workers safe and healthy.
Please send her an email if you’d like to invite her to speak at your event or train your team on transgender and gender issues. You can also view her artwork at layamonarez.com
Delan Ellington (He/They) is a passionate fighter for Black Queer liberation in all forms. He recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University earning an M.A. in Public History with a thesis entitled “For Us, Serving Us, By Us: Prioritizing Black Queer Historical Spaces” based on research he’s collected leading the Rainbow History Project’s (RHP) ClubHouse Oral History Project. The Black Queer DC community now considers him one of the experts in the community’s history and the study of historical Black Queer Spaces. He’s the world’s foremost expert in The ClubHouse, a Black queer after hours disco that introduced House music to the DMV, was the center of the Black queer community between 1975 and 1990, and whose signature event is the precursor to DC’s Black Pride (the oldest and longest continuously running Black pride in the world) and the reason why it is held Memorial Day weekend.
Delan is featured in the 2022 documentary “Fierceness Serve! ENIK Alley Coffeehouse” A black queer short form documentary that world premiered at the 2022 DC International Film Festival. The CoffeeHouse is the location where the first generation of openly gay African American artists, writers, poets, and filmmakers congregated and performed. He was featured in Washington City Paper’s 2021 People’s Edition where they profile around twenty DC residents doing amazing, interesting, or important work in and around the DMV. Furthermore, he had the honor of being the youngest featured speaker at TEDx Foggy Bottom 2022, where he spoke on the importance of prioritizing Black queer historical spaces and publicly laying out a plan to begin to begin memorializing and stewarding them.
Throughout his 11-year fight for social equality and justice he’s been a member of many Black Queer Feminist organizations. Currently, he organizes with Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, a Black Femme & Queer led abolitionist organization. During their 2021 Boycott Nellies block Parties, He was a central and consistent Presence. He has worked with BYP 100’s DC Chapter and served as chair of the board for No Justice No Pride’s 501c 3 application after organizing with them for several years. He helped lead the 2015 University of Missouri student protests that resulted in the ouster for the System president and the University’s Chancellor. For his work building and maintaining the racial, sexual, and generational coalitions that achieved their goals Delan was featured in Spike Lee’s Two Fists Up ESPN documentary, awarded the 2016 Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Award and Mizzou 39 distinction where 39 members of the graduating class were recognized for academics, leadership, sports, volunteerism, and/or impact on the campus community.
He has served a two-year term on RHP’s board of directors where he co-chaired the programs committee created and the Black Queer History Committee. Currently, he is in the process of initiating the Memorialization Committee where he aims to lead the group successfully applying for historical queer spaces in DC to be recognized on the DC and National Register of Historic Places.
He’s considered an innovative GNC trailblazer professionally and aesthetically. Delan’s bold looks have been featured in the Blade and Metro Weekly. In the international Gay Rugby community, he’s known as the person with the audacity to wear a full face of make-up during matches as to showcase the expansiveness of GNC identities and expressions.
Delan has over a decade of public speaking and presenting experience, which has enabled him to be comfortable holding the attention and interacting with any audience. These qualities are important, as they allow connections to be made and growth to be shared, and learning to occur. It’s important for him to give back to the community and spread knowledge about important events in queer history, especially those that center Black people and other intersectionally marginalized communities within the queer population.
Topics he can speak and present on include Black Queer Feminism, Black Queer History, Queer History, Black Queer Spaces, DC Queer History, History of Black queer organizations, Black queer luminaries, nationally recognized historic queer spaces, inclusion in organizations, mental health in the queer community (from personal experiences), and History of Dance music and how Black and queer people were central in its creation and longevity.
IG @ decultured84 https://instagram.com/decultured84?igshid=MWI4MTIyMDE=
A Veteran who transition while on active duty, a Friend of our communities, and Advocate for LGBT+ Rights.
Mia Mason has successfully served for twenty years with the United States Navy, the United States Army, and the District of Columbia National Guard.
Throughout her career, she has served onboard USS Kitty-Hawk CV-63 for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom for three tours of duty. She also served onboard USS Bataan LHD-5 for aid in efforts of Hurricane Katrina. Her previous units included AIMD Oceana and Mid Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) Calibration Center. Her daily skills of responsibilities included testing, troubleshooting, 3M repair, calibration and preventive maintenance for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment that is used with any aircraft to include the Consolidated Automated Support Systems (CASS) variants. Overall, she completed three years of oversea duty and sea duty. Her efforts awarded her the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM), Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device and Humanitarian Medal for her efforts.
Thus, with her broad skill set, she quickly adopted various technical expert jobs within the Army as Company Intelligence Analyst for counterinsurgency or counterinsurgency (COIN) Operations. Therefore, during mid-deployment, she focused her role toward Fire Command Controls to assist in aid of countering any Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) Emplacements with Area of Operations. With this success, she became employed as the Battalion Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO/EW) to provide Joint Tactical Operations Command training, Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) Training, and EW protection to counter against Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIEDs). During her two deployments to Afghanistan, SGT Mason received the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), several Army Achievement Medals and Army Commendations, while protecting and aiding Commands with Afghan-partnerships against any IED threats.
Upon return home from deployment and discharge, she became a Contractor for the United States Coast Guard. There she served as Item Manager and Equipment Specialist to oversee and manage any C4ISR equipment to include induction, replacement, procurement, and budgeting for Long Range Enforcers.
SGT Mason joined the District of Columbia National Guard in 2013 and served as Calibration Technician with the 104th Maintenance Company before she transferred to the 352nd JAG Team Support and later to the National Guard Bureau, Legal Support Office to head up international operations.
Mia has previously run for Public Office in Maryland and supports Women rights, Poly-relationships, and anyone with disabilities.
Rev. Jason Carson Wilson is an authorized United Church of Christ minister. Wilson serves as Justice & Peace Policy Fellow in United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries’ D.C. office, where he lobbies for just domestic policies. He also serves as adjunct minister at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Wilson is also a member of Dignity Washington. He’s a graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, where he founded the Bayard Rustin Society. Wilson is a former newspaper reporter.
68 , a proud, open and out, Black Gay retired Washingtonian.
Cedric has been out all his life and volunteering most of my life. Cedric currently is a activist and volunteer for gay elders, in the community and assist elder family members. Currently, collects food from food banks to share with others. Gives out information on health care, housing, city programs, free events, savings programs and more. Cedric gives comfort and prayer via phone calls or visits ill persons he knows. Cedric first stared in the fight and education of HIV/AIDS in 1989 when he attended a support group for those HIV+ with Group Health. There he learned of the Inner City AIDS Network (ICAN) and took a class to became an educator with the class #4 in 1990. From there, a volunteer for many years with Food and Friends and Whitman Walker Clinic.
Being HIV+ for over 30 years Cedric has volunteers and gives support and time to the community. One of Cedric’s proudest moment was being a volunteer with the 2012 International AIDS Conference held here in Washington, DC.
- Ambassador for the DC Office on Aging
- Ambassador for A.A.R.P. – D.C. chapter
- DC Dept. on LGBT Affairs supporter
- THE DC ( Gay ) CENTER supporter and volunteer
- D.C. Goverment, D.O.H. / HIV/AIDS Adim. ( HOHSTA & HOPWA ) supporter and advocate
- Housing advocate & volunteer with the * Equal Rights Center & National AIDS Housing Coalition
- Us Helping Us, HIV supporter
- HIV/AIDS & Seniors advocate
- SAGE Metro – DC and supporter
- Supporter of the DC Rainbow History Project
- DC Long-Term Care volunteer with Ombudsman Program of AARP
- Graduate of the C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team ) program ( including Red Cross first aid training )
- Mental Health advocate * Suicide Prevention certified
- Honoree of “OUR HEROS” Exhibition 2015
- Supporter of the Inner Faith Conference of Washington, DC.
- Volunteer and supporter of Mary’s House for Older Adults
Alexandra is a Policy Advocate at Protect Democracy, where she leads the National Election Advocacy Team and coordinates the activities of the National Task Force on Election Crises, a cross-ideological group of over 50 civil society leaders who worked to ensure free and fair elections in 2020 and 2022, and now seek to prevent election crises in 2024 and beyond. Previously, Alexandra was a career national security professional for 13 years. Inspired by living in NYC as a law student through the 9/11 attacks, Alexandra started her career as an intelligence analyst in 2004. In 2006 she was the first employee ever to complete a gender transition while working at the Office of Naval Intelligence. She ultimately led the Intelligence Community analytic effort to disrupt the proliferation of WMD by sea, and supported many successful U.S. policy initiatives while working at ONI and at the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. After leaving government in 2017, Alexandra was the first openly transgender candidate to run for Congress from Massachusetts.
Alexandra enjoys providing her perspective on leadership and communication as a transgender woman, mentoring younger LGBT and national security audiences, and discussing the stakes of the U.S. and global effort against authoritarianism. She has presented on leadership, career development, LGBT and transgender issues for private corporate clients as well as the Out and Equal Executive Leadership Forum, Leadership Summit For Women in National Security, the Rainbow Families conference, Columbia University SIPA, Rutgers University, Yale University, and Capital Trans Pride.
Alexandra is a board member of GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, and previously served on the board of Whitman Walker Health and the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. Alexandra was named by Out in National Security and New America as an Out Leader in 2021, and her writings have been published in the Washington Post, The Hill, the Yale Journal of International Affairs, and the Boston Globe. Alexandra is a graduate of Brown University with an A.B. inInternational Relations, and received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School.
Colleen Dermody is a strategic communicator, a marketing solutions counselor and a social marketing expert. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Communication and a certification from the Search Engine Academy for search engine optimization strategy. Dermody has developed and implemented highly successful research, marketing and media initiatives for a long and varied list of corporate, non-profit and government clients including Aetna, the Michael D. Palm Center, Mautner Project, the National Lesbian Health Organization, the District of Columbia Department of Health, the New York LGBT Community Center, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Sunrise Senior Living, DC Tobacco Free Families campaign, and a host of others. Additionally, she has taught professional writing and management at the Master’s level for American and Central Michigan Universities.
Her 25 years of marketing and public relations experience includes serving as Vice President at Witeck-Combs Communications the nation’s premier LGBT marketing communications firm, and as Communications Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, one of the highest profile health and nutrition advocacy organizations in the United States.
Colleen is also well known and respected for her years of work in women?s issues and progressive advocacy communications having held senior communications posts with the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women and the Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International.
Dermody is an accomplished forward-thinking leader with the demonstrated drive, imagination and interpersonal skills to launch strategic communications initiatives that deliver significant gains in profit, efficiency, prestige and competitive edge. She is a success-driven change agent credited with transforming outdated communications strategies into inclusive, flexible and potent marketing campaigns. Skilled in community outreach, business case development, advertising campaigns and budget analysis, negotiating, and cultivating relationships with diverse corporate, government, NGO, trade association, and media partners. Dermody is a gifted communicator capable of quickly building trust and cooperation among internal and external groups.
Dermody is a nationally recognized diversity expert for marketing outreach to diverse markets and employee recruitment and retention efforts. She has lead efforts to develop and implement national and international strategic communications programs resulting in increased awareness, visibility, sales and brand recognition. She has lead, advised, communicated, and collaborated across divisional/geographic boundaries on behalf of executives, opinion leaders, customers, scientists, business analysts, target audiences and media.
Dana Beyer, M.D., a retired eye surgeon, is a well-known advocate for health issues as well as gender rights. She practiced medicine and surgery in D.C., Miami, Mississippi, Africa and Asia. She is currently a candidate for Maryland State Delegate, having first run in 2006. She is Vice President of Equality Maryland, former Executive Vice President of Maryland NOW, founding member of the Progressive Working Group, Maryland?s newest progressive alliance, member of the Board of Governors of the Human Rights Campaign, and board member of Mobile Med. She recently co-authored The Dallas Principles. She is currently on leave as Senior Adviser to Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg of the Montgomery County Council, to run her campaign. She lives with her two sons in Chevy Chase.