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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.
Ella is a writer, editor and events curator living in New York City. A graduate of The New School and a 2013 Queer / Art / Mentorship alum, Ella has long been active at the intersection of art and social justice. She founded and ran the online magazine and reading series In the Flesh for several years, an exploration of queerness as a desire for knowledge wedded to the erotic. Her writing has been featured in Guernica, Tin House, Slice Magazine, The Rumpus, Full Stop, Pretty Queer and Huffington Post, and her first play, Helps to Hate You a Little: A Lovestory, debuted at Dixon Place in Fall 2015. She is currently at work on a second play and will be co-curating a new reading series.
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)