Brandi Ahzionae is a self-proclaimed fashionista, aspiring make-up artist, and political activist. An African-American born as a transgender girl in the “ghettos” of Washington, DC, she offers a different view on life and feels very passionate about shining light on the “dark places” not many of us know about. Brandi mentors young trans people looking for direction, her warm heart expressing a passion for community outreach to help the voiceless be heard.
Brenda Clemons is currently pursuing a professional writing degree at Saint Mary of the Woods College, and edits VenusPlusX’s Tumblr and Facebook portals. A self- described “late bloomer” she went back to school to fulfill her dream of being a writer after surviving lymphoma. She is a grandmother and wishes for a future where sexual adjectives such as transgender, gay, heterosexual do not exist, and people are free to explore their sexuality and just be.
Jack Diehl has been deeply involved in growth of virtual worlds for over a decade, from multiplayer role playing games into platforms for social interaction and artistic expression. Jack is fascinated by the freedom of speech and memes people are exhibiting online and is dedicated to seeing these freedoms protected in Real Life. Jack sees the Internet as history’s greatest asset for growth; creating a new age of reason and accountability.
Fito Moreno is an independent fiction film writer, director, and producer. His films often focus on dark comedy but he has recently entered the realm of experimental films. He is an advocate for freedom, especially when it comes to self-expression and freedom of speech. Born in DC but having parents from Spain and El Salvador has given Fito a unique point of view when it comes to societal/cultural norms (themes he plays with in his films and writings). His goal is to create films that allow for a discourse on various taboo topics in society. In addition to writing, reading, and playing video games, he is watching closely how freedoms are being will be stripped away from society in order to have a “safer” world, determined to do something to stop it.
Jamor Gaffney is a student at the University of Maryland studyingAfrican American Studies and Public Policy. She is passionate about social justice and diversity work, always striving to help others and fight against oppression. Since 2008, Jamor has served on the faculty for the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference where she teaches Independent School students strategies to promote cultural awareness and sensitivity in their schools and communities.
Alison Gardner is a founding member and co-director of Columbia. Whether working as a member of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance Advisory Council, hosting fundraisers at her Washington, D.C., home, or organizing grass-roots activists, Alison’s experience in education and public relations has equipped her to be a powerful advocate for sexual freedom as a basic human right.
Rachel Haywire is the instigator and founder of the Transhuman Separatists, a movement within Transhumanism that encourages the living exploration of transhuman ideals, extending beyond and personalizing a tradition of merely theoretical examination and imaginary extrapolation.
Philip Henry recently moved to the Metro D.C. Area from the Southwest. His interests are in science, specifically applied engineering as it relates to technology and policy. Aside from science, he is an avid LBGT Activist and proponent of equal rights and social justice.
David Kreps is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Japanese. His interests include learning about and supporting the empowerment of minorities across cultures, the struggle for progress in the face of western sexual politics, and the use of new interactive media like the Internet and video games as tools for expression, education, and change. He aspires to improve his knowledge of Japanese culture and language in order to be a contributing part of a Japanese community in need of an English language teacher.
Artemis is finishing his senior year at Ursinus College (PA), focused on East Asian Studies, Japanese, and Theater. He hails from Spain, and spends his free time time reading social justice blogs and art blogs while sipping on cheap coffee. He likes performance art, queer biographies, and researching obscure kink nobody seems to have ever heard of. He flags purple on both sides.
Dan Massey is a founding member and co-director of Columbia, the driving vision that finds expression through VenusPlusX. His activism focuses on the reformation of American civil religion to correct broad misunderstanding of sex and gender expression. Drawing from an extensive background in information theory and computer science, Dan’s interest in how new technology extends the boundaries of universal erotic freedom provides a realistic foundation to his advocacy. He is a member of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance Advisory Council and the Gender Rights Maryland Policy Advisory Board.
Tiye Massey is a 2010 graduate of The New School Filmand is a freelance filmmaker based in New York City, currently working on her own independently-produced narrative web series. For over a year she has been editing, shooting, and conducting opinion-on-the-street interviews for The Sexual Freedom Project at VenusPlusX, and previously produced video content for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. For more of Tiye’s video work, please visit somoslobos.blogspot.com and tiyemassey.com
Kushaba Moses Mworeko is a gay refugee, social worker, and HIV/AIDS and human rights activist from Uganda, who came to the US last year seeking asylum. He continues to be a vocal advocate for HIV-positive and LGBT people, sharing his compelling story with the media, and working with many organizations including Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Truth Wins Out, and several grassroots groups.
Gloria Nieto is a long time social justice activist, working successfully in New Mexico to aid passage of its Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Hate Crimes legislation, both transgender inclusive. As chair of the City of Santa Fe’s Immigrant Commission, she helped get driver’s licenses for immigrants. Gloria was President of the Silicon Valley LGBT Democratic Club and President of the Coalition for Equality in New Mexico, served on two Congressional Commissions on immigration, and has been honored twice as Santa Cruz County Woman of the Year. Gloria is a current contributes to the SF Gate City Brights blog, the Bilerico Project, LGBT POV and her own blog, Miss Wild Thing.
Giulio Prisco is a former administrator with the European Space agency actively interested in science, new technology, IT, space, and NBIC: the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science with the goal to improve human performance, expanding human cognition and communication, improving human health and physical capabilities. (see http://turingchurch.com/giulio-prisco/)
Melinda Prisco is a young Brooklyn-based writer-producer-actress-filmmaker, having grown up in Spain. Right now she is finishing up a feature film entitled MOM (written by Lonely Christopher, author of The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse), set for its worldwide premiere in Mexico City this summer (2012). More films are on the horizon, including a short film which will be Melinda’s directorial debut about a man and his cat. In short spurts of her spare time, she is a professional translator for VenusPlusX.
Zain Rizvi received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Psychology from Texas A&M University in 2009, and is completing his Masters in Accounting. Previously, his research has focused on South Asia and post-colonialism. His interests include cultures, philosophy, and languages. Zain does research and writes for VenusPlusX about global sexual freedom and a range of other topics.
Khannea Suntzu is a Dutch conceptual artist exploring variants of freedom, cognitive alteration, iconoclasm, lateral thinking, virtual reality, and the future. After a brief but colorful stint in game design, she currently works as a virtual reality design consultant. Khannea now ranks as a leading expert on the intricacies of the virtual online world of “Second Life.” (also see http://turingchurch.com/khannea-suntzu/)
Jos Truitt is an Editor at Feministing.com where she writes about a range of topics including transgender issues and abortion access. A graduate of Hampshire College, she was Student Conference Coordinator for the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual conference, has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer with Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has spoken and trained at several conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, and the principals of grassroots organizing. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Printmaking.
Kim Violet is a young, transgender adventurer from Mexico. She believes in freedom, love, and flow. Second Life provided her with a taste of being able to express her gender identity and sexual desires in a safe digital environment, and gave her insight into how this virtual reality experience can have a beneficial impact on one’s real life.