Katie Burgess has been a community organizer for over 12 years and has been living in the Twin Cities for over half that time.
After years of struggling with homelessness and drug addiction, Katie has found sobriety, sanity, and loving community as a young queer trans woman in South Minneapolis. Now
you can find her volunteering at the MN Trans Health Coalition's Shot Clinic, serving on the GLBT Host Home Program Advisory Council, or juggling fire on a unicycle in the park.
Her strength and healing has come in part through her work with TYSN as an Advisory Board Member. The resources, community, and empowerment available to her within this organization
have become a foundation for her life. Having worked with TYSN since it's inception, she has seen her personal growth run parallel with the growth and emergence of TYSN as a leader
in community organizing towards racial, social, and economic justice for trans and gender non-conforming youth.
Now she is excited to see her own leadership skills emerge in the community as the Executive Director of TYSN. Her commitment to ensuring the lasting sustainability of services
and community for trans youth, in particular young trans women of color, is unwavering and fueled from her own experiences utilizing the tools available to her in the Twin Cities to heal.
In the past two years she has transitioned into the role of service provider herself, as a Youth Counselor at Avenues Shelter for Homeless Youth. She now carries with her intimate
knowledge of both receiving and providing social services, and continues to develop her solidarity with local youth of color to work against the oppressive systems that would see our
As she continues to grow more fully into her self, she is determined to increase the opportunities for trans and gender non-conforming youth to do the same. Please join her in realizing
our collective strength and liberation in her position as Executive Director of TYSN.
Kelly Brazil is a Minnesota born-and-bred genderqueer artist and youth ally. She challenges homo-normativity as often as she can and has a lot of fun in the process. Kelly often disturbs the neighborhood when she rides her obnoxiously loud Harley, but makes up for it by looking real good. She is proud to be connected to TYSN and all its gender-busting queers!
Lex Horan was born and raised in the Twin Cities. He started working with TYSN in 2011 and now gets to sit on the board, write grants, and support struggles for justice led by trans youth. He's inspired by the community surrounding TYSN and all the work we have left to do together. He works at a natural foods co-op and believes in learning from our histories.
Riley is a wee young queer and trans person who is working on finding her way in the world as an organizer, as a healer, and as a gendered (or maybe not-so gendered) person. They is in massage therapy school and has all sorts of really big plans for the future, some of which may actually come to fruition. If you want to contact her feel free to email them, though it may take her a while to reply.
Owen Marciano jumped into Twin Cities queer community activism almost immediately after he moved here from New York in the summer of 2004. He has worked with or served on the governing boards of many local queer community organizations including the genderBlur collective, District 202, PFund, the MN Trans Health Coalition, and the U of M Transgender Commission. Owen also has over 11 years of experience working with college students on four different campuses in New York, Kansas, and Minnesota. He has experience designing and implementing LGBTQ student programming, and has worked as an academic adviser, a prospective transfer student adviser, and an adviser for LGBTQ students and student organizations. Owen is a white genderqueer transmasculine antiracist activist who has made a life long commitment to work against all forms of oppression and is excited and honored to be a part of TYSN's work as we create our liberation together.
Raquel (Rocki) Simões
Raquel (Rocki) Simões is a Brazilian butch who came to the United States in the late 80's, fell in love with women and rice krispies treats (not necessarily in that order) and decided to stay. Most of her community organizing work has focused on queer youth and homelessness. Most of her personal work has focused on being a loving friend, partner, ex-partner, anti-racist white ally, community member, and parent. On a good day she those some of these things well. She likes to surround herself with fabulous people, which is partly why she joined TYSN's Advisory Board.
Jesse Francis Valentin
Shauen is a conscientious objector with a background in national campaigning and organizing across cultures, youth justice work, anti- violence training and harm reduction, popular education, graphic arts, spiritually-grounded organizing and education founded upon tangible nonviolence and more. Ze is an Afro pen and paper artist and writer from the Midwest and beyond. Often found studying the sciences or drawing, Shauen enjoys the intersections of life and encourages everyone to think critically about what makes us who we are.
As a native of Chicago, Shauen has first line experience living in and beyond the intersections of racism, economic injustice, violence and war. Stemming from a place filled with beauty, progress, rebellion, wise elders, visionary leaders and constant struggle marked by corruption, violence and displacement, Shauen continues the fight for justice, self-determination, authentic love and fearless community building. Ze has worked with gender non-conforming communities at local, state and national levels for more than 11 years.