Lexi Adsit is a fierce, fat, and femme translatina writer, storyteller, and stand-up comedian best known for her sassy, incisive feminist comedy style rooted in themes that advance social justice. Heavily influenced by W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, she guides audiences through journeys of healing and transformation. An artist, arts producer, and Managing Director of the trans women and femme of color –centered, East Oakland- based arts group Peacock Rebellion, she has co-led the group recently named to the 2017 “YBCA 100,” Yerba Buena Center of the Arts’ annual list of the one hundred people, organizations, and movements who are shaping the future of culture. She has performed stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, spoken word, and storytelling in Peacock Rebellion’s Brouhaha, 2016 Best of the East Bay winner for “Most Historic Cultural Event;” Man Haters, 2016 winner of Best of the East Bay for “Best Comedy Show;” American Repertory Theater at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; The News at SOMArts as part of the National Queer Arts Festival; STAY: An Oakland QTPOC (queer and trans people of color) Resilience Festival, and most recently, the Dyke March stage in San Francisco, CA. Her writing has been featured on Salon.com, Autostraddle, and in the upcoming anthology Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. She critically examines transgender women of color, social justice movements, art, cultural production, adoption, and neoliberalism.
Nava Mau is a mixed-race trans Latina filmmaker, actress, and cultural worker who has lived in Mexico City, San Antonio, and Oakland, CA. Nava wrote, produced, directed, and starred in “Waking Hour,” a short film about a young trans woman balancing her safety with her desire for intimacy. She was selected as a Production Fellow for the Netflix documentary “Disclosure,” and she produced the short films “Sam’s Town” and “Lovebites,” now streaming on the Issa Rae Presents channel. Nava appears next as a series regular in the HBO Max series “Generation.”
Nava’s long-term vision is to illuminate the stories of marginalized people in order to transform their access to resources. For 8 years, Nava worked in the fields of healing justice and culture change with community-based service providers, student organizations, and survivors of violence. She received her BA in Linguistics & Cognitive Science from Pomona College, after studying in Paris and completing a research project on the sociolinguistic practices of transfeminine people in Guadalajara, Mexico. Nava then worked with survivors of violence for three years; first with immigrant survivors as a legal assistant, and then as an advocacy-based counselor with LGBTQ survivors of violence at Community United Against Violence in San Francisco, CA.
Please visit navamau.com for more.
LaVelle Ridley is a queer black transsexual woman and PhD candidate in English and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. She holds a BA in English literature with a minor in Africana Studies from the University of Toledo and was a member of the 2015 Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute cohort in New York City. Her research and teaching interests include contemporary African American fiction and life writing, radical Black feminist theory, and queer and trans of color critique. Currently, she is working on a dissertation which examines contemporary life writing by black trans women in the U.S. and questions how a critical trans* imagination informs how these writers creatively engage black queer and feminist literary traditions, resist oppressive forms of state and social power, and move us towards more liberatory black/queer/trans world- and freedom-making. She has published book reviews and articles in academic journals such as GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies and TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. As an advocate for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, LaVelle centers her activism around community education and coalition-building across social-justice based movements. As an abolitionist, her greatest fuel for doing this radical work is the act of imagination, dreaming of a world in which oppressive structures of power no longer determine how we live our lives or care for those in our communities and struggling towards actualizing such a world. Her favorite community education topics include imagination as a radical form of resistance, black queer feminist history and politics, the liberatory power of transgender literature and art, and T4T (trans for trans) love and desire as a liberating relationship dynamic for trans and gender non-conforming folks. You can find her online at her website https://lavelleridley.wixsite.com/mysite and on Instagram at @academicfish.
Raquel Willis is a Black transgender activist, award-winning writer, and media strategist dedicated to elevating the dignity of marginalized people, particularly Black transgender people. She is the Director of Communications for the Ms. Foundation. She is the former executive editor of Out magazine and a former national organizer for Transgender Law Center (TLC).
In 2018, she founded Black Trans Circles, a project of TLC, focused on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces to work through oppression-based trauma and incubating community organizing efforts to address anti-trans murder and violence.
During her time at Out, she published the Trans Obituaries Project to highlight the epidemic of violence against trans women of color and developed a community-sourced 13-point framework to end the epidemic. This project won a GLAAD Media Award.
Raquel is a thought leader on gender, race and intersectionality. She’s experienced in online publications, organizing marginalized communities for social change, non-profit media strategy and public speaking while using digital activism as a major tool of resistance and liberation. She will be releasing The Risk It Takes to Bloom, her debut essay collection about her coming of identity and activism with St. Martin’s Press in 2021.
Erique Zhang (they/them) is a second generation Asian American, non-binary trans femme, and media scholar. Their research focuses on the cultural production, aesthetic practices, and beauty and fashion cultures of trans women and femmes of color. This work seeks to reimagine transfeminine beauty in ways that resist beauty standards that privilege white, cis female beauty, instead opening up new possibilities for trans women and femmes of color. Erique’s writing has been published in Studies in Costume and Performance, Fashion Studies Journal, and International Journal of Communication. They are currently a PhD candidate in communication studies at Northwestern University and an affiliate of the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies. Erique previously worked at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York, where they led educational programming about Chinese and Asian American history. They hold a BFA in studio art and an MA in fashion studies, both from New York University.