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A graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program of the California Institute of the Arts, Tony Valenzuela is a longtime community activist and writer whose work has focused on LGBT civil rights, sexual liberation and gay men’s health. His previous positions include Manager of Research and Administration at GLASS (Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services) in Los Angeles, the largest and oldest LGBT child welfare organization in the country serving abused and neglected LGBT youth; Administrative Director of the Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Center in San Diego where he spearheaded campaigns ranging from anti-gay hate crimes awareness to the needs of LGBT youth in schools; and Director of VOICES ’96 (Voters Organized in Coalition for the Elections).He is credited with having ruptured the conventional wisdom in HIV/AIDS prevention among gay men by launching an international debate regarding responsible sex without condoms and continues to this day to be a leading voice in the gay men’s health movement. Out Magazine has listed him among the “Out 100.”He wrote, produced and performed his acclaimed one-man show, “The (Bad) Boy Next Door,” a second generation AIDS narrative which toured in a dozen cities in the U.S. He has continued to publish essays, fiction and journalism and is currently working on a memoir. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Rob Ferrante.
William Johnson is a Brooklyn based essayist, cultural critic and editor. His writing has appeared in numerous art catalogs and periodicals: Boy Book: A Pictorial Study Of Urban Male Nudes in a Contemporary Urban Setting, A Question of Beauty, works by Anika Wilson, and “I Knew It Was Your Arm…:” works by Doug Group. He is a contributing arts and culture writer for CrushFanazine. He is also the editor and publisher of Mary Literary, a literary journal dedicated to showcasing queer/gay writings of artistic merit.
Kathleen DeBold has more than 30 years of non-profit experience including service as executive director of Mautner Project, the National Lesbian Health Organization, interim executive director of Service members Legal Defense Network, and deputy director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
A lifelong lover of LGBT history and literature, DeBold has had a long association with the Lambda Literary Foundation beginning in the early 1990?s as a book reviewer, cartoonist and crossword puzzle creator for the Lambda Literary Review (formerly Lambda Book Report). In addition to being a long-time judge for the Lambda Literary Awards she has helped with logistics, fundraising and publicity for Lammy Award ceremonies in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. She is the editor of Out For Office: Campaigning in the Gay Nineties (GLVF Press) and author of Word Gaymes (Alyson Publications). Her writing and cartoons have been featured in books and periodicals throughout the country.
An articulate advocate for the LGBT community, DeBold has been a featured speaker/trainer at hundreds of events, workshops, and seminars, including the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University), Physicians for the Underserved, Feminist Expo, Bridgebuilder’s Conference, American Cancer Society Diversity Conference, Susan G. Komen Foundation Mission Conference, Women’s Information Network, National Lesbian Health Conference, OutVote, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Summit.
Kyle Sawyer is a recent graduate from Antioch University Los Angeles with a degree in Queer Studies and an almost Minor in Creative Writing. He spends much of his time connecting his passions to social justice and is a long time trans* activist. Kyle has developed an experiential Trans* Ally Workshop to help educate individuals, organizations, and service providers on best ally practices. When not pursuing his own creative efforts, he is cleaning up the creative efforts of his dog, Maxers. (*denotes the recognition, within text, of myriad gender identities)
Shirley Vilca, is a nonprofit professional that credits her early exposure to social justice issues for her passion towards youth empowerment/education and LGBTQ advocacy work. She is currently working on earning her M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University, and holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College . Her previous work experience includes positions at The Trevor Project, The Seattle Art Museum, Neighborhood House, Be More Heroic, and The Evergreen State College. When Shirley isn’t changing the world she loves quality time with her sister, good episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and taking hikes with her pup, Captain Carlos.