Ephraim Getahun (he/him)

Luis de la Garza (he/him)
Host, Openhouse

Luis’ experience with Openhouse (OH) spans eight years. He identifies as Chicano with many years of grassroots organizing in the Latino/x community. As a gay man he aligned himself with OH to embrace aging in a successful, positive, and productive manner. During this time, he has partaken of OH’s many services, programs, and classes. His activism and leadership gave rise to two writing groups at OH (Queer Elder Writers Workshop and Gay Gray Writers), and the creation of the Leadership Council on Queerness, Race, and Privilege to address issues of his BIPOC older adult community. He has also been a core member of the Community Ambassadors at Openhouse. He creates art through OH’s partnership with Art with Elders. Participating in Zoom OH programs and foreign language classes have been his response to fighting the isolation, fear, and anxiety brought upon the COVID restrictions, violence against older adults, and society’s rampant gun violence. Because of these societal factors, his participation in daily public life has definitely been impacted. Meeting weekly in virtual spaces not only has taught him art techniques, and Japanese and Yiddish language skills, but it has also had the extra benefit of fostering new friendships with fellow older adult community members.

Trudie Jackson (she/her)
Community Engagement Coordinator, Phoenix Pride

Trudie Jackson, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and identifies as a Two Spirit transgender relative. She is of the Bitterwater and Folded Arms People. Her maternal grandfather is the Mexican People and her paternal grandfather is Yucca Strung Out In A Line People. Originally from Teec Nos Pos, Arizona.

She advocates on behalf of Two Spirit and Transgender woman in the Southwest region including Sovereign Nations. Her advocacy has led to spearheading the Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gathering which was a vision that continues to address health disparities within American Indian 2SLGBTQIA communities. In 2004 she founded the Miss Arizona Transgender Arizona pageant which solely highlights language, cultural, and traditional values.

She currently sits on the Phoenix Pride – Education and Outreach Committee advocating for POC, inclusion of underrepresented communities and diversity of underserved populations.

Her dream is to open a non-profit organization that caters specifically to Two Spirit transgender relatives and building collaborative partners with Sovereign Nations that addresses policy changes.

Gary Neumann (he/him)
TA Coordinator, Tribal Tech

Gary Neumann has over 35 years’ experience in the field of prevention and human resource development. He has worked successfully with a variety of tribal, state and federal agencies in the area of program design, implementation and evaluation focusing on at-risk youth, their families and communities. Currently, he works for Tribal Tech as a TTA Coordinator and serves as a task lead for training SAMHSA staff. He has developed a series of newsletters – Spirit-Honor-Inclusion with a focus on Two Spirit issues. Mr. Neumann previously served as the Project Manager of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Access to Recovery III program. He also served as the Training and Technical Assistance Director of the Native American Center for Excellence, NACE, a national resource center for Native American substance abuse prevention providing culturally centered training, technical assistance, and information resource services to a variety of Native and non-Native audiences throughout the United States. His work experience includes extensive knowledge of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) and how it applies to American Indians and Alaska Natives, having developed and conducted ACA trainings for Montana/Wyoming Tribes. Mr. Neumann is skilled in assessment, capacity building, prevention specialist certification, marketing, grant writing, methamphetamine prevention, youth violence, bullying and suicide prevention, opioid addiction and sustainability. Mr. Neumann has developed several culturally appropriate training curricula, community-based organizing modules and presented and trained at many national and international conferences throughout the United States, Alaska and Canada. He is a certified SAPST trainer/Facilitator and Certified Prevention Specialist. Mr. Neumann is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Nation and identifies as Two Spirit.

Quentin* Bell (they/them)
Co-Chair Transgender Task Force Board Member,
The Knights & Orchids Society

Quentin “Que” Bell is a 30-year-old Black Trans activist, entrepreneur, and mentor born and raised in historic Selma, Alabama. Que received his Bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University in Business Administration and graduated from the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute in 2015. While at ASU Que co-founded The Knights & Orchids Society Inc, a southern centered direct support non-profit organization led by black, queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming people fighting at the intersections of racial and gender justice. Since 2012 Quentin’s goal remains unchanged, to improve the quality of life within the LGBTQ+ community by creating safe spaces that empower, educate, and unite Trans, GNC, & Queer role models of color. Que has dedicated his adult life to actively serving in leadership positions to help advance the fight for LGBTQ equality and inclusion while increasing visibility for Trans men of color. He is a 2016 Transgender Justice Funding Project grantee (TJFP), a 2017 Transgender Law Center National Training Institute for TGNC Leaders member, Gates Millennial Scholar Alumnae, and most recently Quentin was a panelist for TJFP ‘s first million dollar grant making campaign.

Morningstar Vancil (they/them)
Community Member, Openhouse

Freddie Kendrick (he/him)
Community Member, Openhouse

Mike Webb (they/them)
Policy Engagement Strategist, Equality Federation

Mike Webb is the Policy Engagement Strategist at Equality Federation. In this role, Mike works with member organizations to leverage their advocacy capacity to influence state and federal policy while ensuring effective implementation of those policies.

Mike has spent the last 10 years rooted in LGBTQ political and community organizing ranging from LGBTQ policy work with state and local elected officials in Texas to HIV/AIDS advocacy fighting HIV Criminalization laws and for adequate public health funding and culturally competent prevention services.

Mike is very proud of their role as former President of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, growing the organization to be one of the most diverse and largest membership-driven LGBTQ civil rights organizations in the South, which held local elected officials accountable to the LGBTQ community while helping elect pro-LGBTQ candidates.

Mike graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, started their HIV/AIDS advocacy in Washington, D.C. where Mike found out they were living with HIV, and finally returned home to Houston, Texas where they currently reside.

Leo Goldsmith (he/they)
Environmental Policy and Planning Professor,
ICF International

Leo Goldsmith (he/they) is a Climate and Health Specialist at ICF and is one of the co-authors of Queer and Present Danger: Understanding the Disparate Impacts of Disasters on LGBTQ+ Communities. Together with Dr. Michael Mendez, Assistant Professor of Environmental Planning and Policy at the University of California, Irvine Vanessa Raditz from Out in Sustainability who is a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia, they researched the unique vulnerabilities of this community in disaster relief; the myth of gay affluence; how faith-based groups have a history of discriminatory practices in disaster relief; how cohesive is the LGBTQ community and how race is a problem even in LGBTQ groups. Leo also provides practical ways community members and leaders can build stronger, more resilient LGBTQ+ communities that can bounce back from extreme weather events.

Veronica Beaty (she/her)
Director of Policy and Research,
California Coalition for Rural Housing

Imani Woody (she/her)
Speaker/Activist, Mary’s House for Older Adults, Inc.

Dr. Woody is an internationally and nationally recognized thought leader and an advocate of women, people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people for more than 25 years. She has addressed the issues elder LGBTQ+/SGL individuals and the specific jeopardies that LGBTQ+/SGL elders of color face as they age. Dr. Woody has a Ph.D. in Human Services, specializing in nonprofit management. Her thesis was “Lift Every Voice: A Qualitative Exploration of Ageism and Heterosexism as Experienced by Older African American Lesbian Women and Gay Males when Addressing Social Services Needs.”

Dr. Woody has served on the Board of Directors of the Mautner Project for Lesbians, Women in the Life Association, the Whitman-Walker Lesbian Services, and is the former Chair of SAGE Metro DC. She was the first Program Officer for the 50+ Ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches and currently serves on the Board of the LGBT Technology Institute. She has been appointed by former DC Mayor Vincent Gray and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to the Office LGBTQ+ Affairs. Dr. Woody has also been appointed Commissioner by Mayor Bowser to serve on the Global Age-Friendly Task Force.

As a veteran community organizer, Dr. Woody retired from AARP to become a pioneer in the building of alternative housing and creating welcoming environments. She is the founder and CEO of Mary’s House for Older Adults, (MHFOA) with the vision and commitment to serve LGBTQ+/SGL elders, experiencing housing insecurity and isolation. Dr. Woody has secured funding required to begin construction of a 15-room communal residence in WDC – the only one in the country as well as designing The Villages at Mary’s House, creating a virtual community village.

Dr. Woody brought these perspectives and decades of community praxis to the first White House Summit on LGBT elder housing development as a panelist in its National LGBT Elder Housing Symposiums. In 2021, Dr. Woody was invited to the White House by Vice President Harris to join a small, intimate group to discuss issues that impact LGBTQ/SGL elders. Most recently, she was invited by the Biden Administration to meet with its highest-ranking lesbians to discuss matters impacting lesbians and women loving women and presented on LGBTQ+ SGL elder issues for HUD staffers.

Dr. Woody is the principal of IWF Consulting, LLC providing Board, staff and volunteer development using a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. She has been a life coach for more than 10 years delivering Living Life Like It’s Golden, a program that empowers people, particularly people of color and women to live their lives more fully through visioning. A winner of many honors and awards, Dr. Woody was a 2019 Next Avenue Influencers in Aging: a 2020 Encore Fellow and a winner of the 2023 AARP Purpose Award. Dr. Woody currently lives in Washington, DC with her wife of more than 20 years, Ms. Andrea Macko and her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

Dr. Woody is the Program Officer for the 50+ Ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches and serves on the Board LGBT Technology Institute. She is the principal of IWF Consulting, LLC providing Board and Staff development. She has been a life coach for more than 10 years delivering Living Life Like It’s Golden, a program that empowers people, particularly people of color and women to live their lives more fully through visioning.

As a veteran community organizer, Dr. Woody retired from AARP to start Mary’s House for Older Adults, a not-for-profit organization with the vision and commitment to serve LGBTQ/SGL elders experiencing housing insecurity and isolation. She has spoken out locally and nationally about LGBTQ/SGL individuals, aging and the specific jeopardies that LGBTQ/SGL elders of color face as they age. Dr. Woody brought these perspectives and decades of community praxis to the 2015 White House Summit on LGBT elder housing development. More recently, she secured an expert board of advisors and a commitment of $1.2 million from the District of Columbia to begin construction on the first Mary’s House dwelling, a 15-room community residence located in Southeast Washington, DC.

Dr. Woody has a PhD in Human Services specializing in Management of Nonprofit agencies. Her thesis explored issues germane to older African American lesbians’ and gay males’ access to community services. Dr. Woody holds a Master of Human Services degree from Lincoln University and is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Paralegal Program. She has written countless articles on issues affecting women, LGBTQ/SGL elders, and people color communities. Dr. Woody is a nationally recognized subject matter expert on inclusion and diversity, specializing in the field of aging and LGBTQ/SGL elder issues.