Elena Rose Vera
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, a Filipina-Ashkenazi trans woman originally from rural Oregon, joined Trans Lifeline’s executive team in May 2018. A longtime organizer, educator, and performing artist, she holds an M.Div. focused on social justice and community care work and was ordained as a minister by the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, a historic civil-rights church in San Francisco. Rev. Vera is proud to bring her deep commitment to love, support, and liberation for trans people everywhere to her work with Trans Lifeline.
Bunny joined Trans Lifeline in 2017 following her work as the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Trans Assistance Project. She is a trans woman and a veteran, holding an M.A. from Indiana University, and she brings a decade of experience in education, leadership, and nonprofit management to the position. She is passionate about serving her community with integrity and is committed to establishing Trans Lifeline as a sustainable resource for all trans folks.
IV is a Russian Rrom immigrant currently living in New England. They first joined Trans Lifeline to volunteer as an operator, and currently manage the hotline program, including helping train volunteers, creating new programming for operators and speaking publicly to help communities learn about our work. IV holds a B.S. in forensic psychology from the University of New Haven. IV is an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, focusing on antiwar and anti-racism work, immigrant and labor rights, healthcare access and LGBTQI+ rights. They represented Trans Lifeline at the 2017 national People’s Congress of Resistance summit and were invited to be a delegate to the Roma LGBTQ International Conference.
Jaden is a trans man currently based in San Francisco Bay Area. He joined Trans Lifeline in December 2014 as a volunteer while doing a variety of other social-justice related work centering school-aged LGBTQ+ youth and anti-bullying efforts. Currently, he’s attending school part-time with the goal of obtaining a B.A in Communications. During his free time, you can find him writing and performing poetry, practicing yoga, and playing roller derby!
Yana Calou is a nonbinary Brazilian American organizer who joined the Trans Lifeline team in 2020 to ensure that trans stories are told by trans people. As Communications Director, they want trans people who need access to our services to know we are here for them. Their work is informed by experience as a labor organizer and media activist, learning from roles at CLAGS Center for LGBTQ Studies, Coworker.org, the Retail Action Project, and GLAAD. Yana splits their time between NYC and the southwest desert, where they are working on a queer land project.
Bri Barnett (they/she) is an Ashkenazi non-binary trans woman who has been living in the Bay Area since 2013 and is originally from Western Washington. Bri is an activist and fundraiser who has organized in the labor, environmental, anti-racism, housing rights, and LGBTQ+ movements. They are most proud of their work with the SF LGBT Center, Paid Leave for the United States, and United Students Against Sweatshops. She is thrilled to fundraise for Trans Lifeline so that the organization can ensure that every trans person has the community and resources they need to thrive.
Kanoa Arteaga (he/they) is a māhū (transmasculine) person born and raised between two islands: Alameda, California and Oahu, Hawai’i. His entry to social justice and movement work is greatly informed by his time spent as an anti-racist and BIPOC-centered community organizer, working in the service industry, and in social work with queer and trans young people in foster care. Kanoa was mentored by queer and trans elders in Texas and the Bay Area who taught him to see that trans liberation is intimately tied to the fight for racial justice, justice for disabled communities and decolonization. When he’s not doting over his fur babies he’s on Duolingo learning a new language, in the kitchen testing out new recipes or generally loving being an Instagram husband™.
T Peña is a first generation genderqueer Afro-Cuban immigrant and a native of Miami, FL. They are most passionate about building sacred sex positive spaces that center QTBIPOC and their unique experiences with race, gender and sexual orientation. T graduated from Wellesley College in 2005 with a BA in Africana Studies and International Relations. As the Bilingual Hotline Services Coordinator, they hope to bridge the language gap for Spanish speaking trans folks to better gain access to TransLifeline and local services.
Angel del Solar
Ángel del Solar (they/he/she) is a transgender Peruvian artist, organizer, and storyteller who recently received their Masters in Oral History from Columbia University. Ángel joined Trans Lifeline in 2020 to create safer spaces for TGNC individuals to exist and succeed in, centering QTBIPOC’s unique experiences. Ángel believes in the liberatory power of crafting our own stories and is motivated to empower other trans people to be active stakeholders in the development of our communal histories. They are devoted to interrupting previous narratives of what we can become, and who will remember us. Ángel is also passionate about painting, documentary photography, archiving, reading, writing, and going on hikes with their dog.
Ari Luna (she/her) is an Afro-Latinx woman born and raised in Central Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and has over five years of experience in nonprofit administration. Since settling in Austin she has been engaged with various movement spaces and autonomous projects focused on Black autonomy and liberation, anti-capitalism, and queer & trans struggle. By day she’s excited to support Trans Lifeline’s mission, vision, and staff as the HR Manager. By night she’s a comedian, hanging with friends, and/or eating some kind of delicious hot chip.
Chris Garaffa (they/them) joined Trans Lifeline in 2018 as Technology Director. They’ve spent over 15 years in technology, starting with IT support, then moving into programming and development. Chris brings years of experience with security and usability to our community. A core belief they bring to our work is that technical systems don’t need to be overly complicated, and that security can be accessible to everyone. Chris lives in New Haven, CT with their partner, dog, two cats, a number of fish, and land snails. In their free time, they run technology and security trainings for small groups, and enjoy walks around East Rock Park. They are a regular guest talking about technology and security on radio shows like By Any Means Necessary, The Critical Hour and People's Republic.
Board Of Directors Click here to email the Board
Olivia is a trans woman, Volunteer Operator for Trans Lifeline since 2014, and a Family Medicine doctor in training in Corvallis, Oregon, where she provides informed-consent HRT prescribing. Other specialty interests include reproductive health. Olivia joined the Board of Directors in October 2016 and became Board Secretary December 2017. Her past experience includes street medicine, HIV test counseling, and research in molecular biology.
Bianca joined the Trans Lifeline Board of Directors in 2018. She is a Nurse Practitioner at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’s Center for Transyouth Health and Development, the world’s largest pediatric program. She provides competent care for youth and young adults using an informed consent model. She also provides primary care and sexual health care, like PrEP and PEP. Bianca also has experience working with young people affected by HIV, homelessness and mental health disorders.
Jess joined the Trans Lifeline Board of Directors in 2018. They are a Vice President with Innocent Technologies, LLC®, a business that helps providers to build authentic and individual relationships with the people they serve in order to end disparities in education, funding and grant-making, healthcare and the workplace. Jess was a keynote for the 2017 Because Conference for Bi+ Communities, a member of The CeCe Support Committee and the (former) Twin Cities Avengers queer direct action group.
Tonei is an Alaskan social justice educator and nonprofit operations manager currently based in Mexico City. They currently work as Director of Operations for the Dangerous Speech Project and as a program facilitator for the Civic Education Project, a service learning program for students in grades 7-12 based at Northwestern University. Tonei also has experience working with several national LGBTQ advocacy organizations, including GLSEN and the National Center for Transgender Equality, and is currently studying to become an Enrolled Agent with the Internal Revenue Service.
Noah (they/he) is a black queer jewish artist and designer based in Minneapolis, MN. As a member of Living Proof Print Collective, Noah has partnered with social justice and youth-serving organizations to offer free art classes and design support for movements and is currently active with Never Again Action, and the CTUL (Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha) Worker Solidarity Committee. Joining the board in 2019, Noah brings project management and creative problem solving skills developed in his career as a commercial interior designer, as well as a commitment to making spaces accessible and welcoming to all.
Maia Leonardo (she/her/hers) is a non-binary trans woman and community organizer originally hailing from Cooperstown, NY who relocated to New Haven, CT permanently in 2017. She has worked in fine dining, development and information technology and currently serves as the Marketing & Development Coordinator at the New Haven Pride Center. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Trans Lifeline since summer 2018, is on the Development Committee, and is the board secretary for 2020; she also serves as a staff operator and tech volunteer. Maia, an avid electronic musician, has interests in graphic design, computer programming, and media production, and wants to use her skills to make the world a better place for all marginalized communities, especially her own LGBTQ community.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Executive Director of Life in My Days, a non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals and their communities on their journeys for self-actualization, through starting difficult conversations, transforming communities, and providing support to overcome systemic challenges. They are a disabled, trans, Muslim, indigenous Palestinian focusing on creating transformative work around displacement, decolonization, equity and centering lived experiences of individuals most impacted by injustice. They have worked in over two dozen countries, and specialize in global and community vision building. Ahmad is an engineer, with a specialty in sustainability and social engineering, as well as a peer support specialist and has a traumatic stress graduate certificate. Ahmad brings together engineering, peer support, and trauma work to support their vision of more equitable and accountable communities that lead to individuals' self-actualization.
Jen is a founding partner of Medina Orthwein LLP, a small queer-owned civil rights law firm specializing in plaintiff-side employment and public accommodation discrimination, wage and hour, prisoner rights, conditions of confinement and other civil rights claims. Jen also helped launch and served as pro bono Senior Counsel for the Detention Project at Transgender Law Center. They previously maintained a successful legal and psychological consulting practice providing expert witness services to attorneys. Their work focused on assisting attorneys representing transgender people involved in civil and criminal cases.
Jen has co-authored publications related to practitioner liability in cases of suicide, both in the community and in prison, as well as gender bias in the California criminal justice system. They were also a co-principal investigator for the Transgender Research Consortium, which aimed to provide empirical evidence on the impact of discrimination on transgender people's physical and mental health.
Jen received a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University. They also served as a Law Clerk at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.