The BECAUSE Planning Committee is both fortunate and grateful to have so many wonderful community members sharing their knowledge and skills with us this year! Presenters are listed in alpha-order
A.L./AL/Amanda Lee Genaro (They/Them/Theirs): A.L. is a Co-Chair this year and on the BOP Board. AL's first BECAUSE was in 2008 while they were closeted in Bible College. BECAUSE was integral to their survival and learning to love themself as a bi+ person. Amanda Lee is a 31 year old, fat, disabled, trans/bigender, queer, poly, partnered, half Native, more Southern, rural, poor (raised & currently), person of faith that has an abnormally large heart and a love of people, words, and stories...
Alexandra Bolles (She/Her/Hers): Alexandra is a Strategist for GLAAD, the leading LGBT media advocacy organization, where she spearheads GLAAD's bi-related advocacy and helps lead the US South and Global programs. With GLAAD, she has enjoyed co-founding #BiWeek, organizing the first GLAAD Southern Stories Summer Tour, managing the widest reaching Spirit Day anti-bullying campaign to date, mobilizing grassroots LGBT advocates to share their stories with national media outlets, and more.
Alexandra Kriz (She/Her/Hers): Alexandra Kriz is a mother of two, and spends her spare time in various crafting and art-related hobbies. She is a latecomer to the concept and identity of asexuality, but finds many aspects of it that fit.
Alexandra Vagac (She/Her/Hers): Alexandra is a young queer organizer and artist who has her roots in Slovakia, Europe. She has worked with youth and students to fight for the world where our dreams of justice become realities for 6 years and she knows that we have the solutions! She currently spends some of her time organizing around issues of class and labor with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), as well as against white supremacy with SURJ-MN.
Andy Adams (She/Her/Hers): Andy is a local educator. She recently finished her Master's Degree at Saint Mary's University and hopes to use her knowledge to become a relationship/sexuality coach. When she's not teaching she's usually snuggling her son, dancing, or reading.
Angela Callais (She/Her/Hers): Angela is a queer, fat, femme, poly, kinky, mama, and lover – in and out of the bedroom. Intuitive, passionate and nurturing when it comes to sex and relationships, she enjoys pushing boundaries of her own and others. She is committed to helping people find their own voice through supported, authentic communication and storytelling. Angela is the co-founder of Mama Luna Care, sex and pleasure educator at the Smitten Kitten and is the co-host of Poly in the Cities, a podcast dedicated to deeper conversations on topics related to non-monogamy.
Anna (She/Her/Hers): Anna’s a biromantic demisexual who’s trying to survive grad school. She likes talking about gender, sexuality, and her cat. She also finds writing in the third person slightly addicting so she’s going to stop here.
Apphia Kumar (She/Her/Hers): Apphia is the Board Chair for SALGA-NYC, New York's largest organization for people of South Asian origin. She is the first known asylee who was granted asylum as an out bisexual and in addition to her work with SALGA-NYC, she is currently working on Immigration Issues through the Bisexual experience. Apphia is a 2016 BECAUSE keynote speaker.
April L. Anderson (They/Them/Theirs): April received their MLIS in 2010 from University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, and will receive a Ph.D. in Higher Education, from Iowa State University, May, 2016. April is an Alpha founding member of Gamma Rho Lambda National Sorority, Omicron chapter at ISU.
Betsy Raasch-Gilman (She/Her/Hers): Betsy keeps pinching herself to see if she's dreaming, because in nearly 40 years of activism she has never seen so many white people who want to undo white supremacy! A life-long revolutionary, Betsy devotes a lot of her time currently to Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ-MN).
Calum Campbell (He/Him/His): Calum has been active in the UK bisexual community since he first attended BiCon in 2004. He's been a lead organizer for the UK national BiCon, was chair of BiScotland for several years, and ran bisexual support and discussion groups. Calum went to his first BECAUSE last year, loved it, and made a point of coming back. Relationship experiences, good and less-good, have led him to highly value good communication and clearly communicated boundaries – and he's done his best to learn good ways of talking about these things.
Camille Holthaus (She/Her/Hers): As a bi+ activist and community organizer, Camille has served in many capacities from chair of Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) and attendee at a White House policy briefing to group discussion leader and BBQ host. Her passion is having conversations with people and she loves presenting. To create stronger communities and organizations for people who are attracted to more than one gender, Camille works to create spaces that push the boundaries of who we think of as "us" and include more of those who are considered "them." Camille lives in Minneapolis with her wife, two sons, and three dogs.
Cheyenne Johnson (She/Her/Hers & They/Them/Theirs): Cheyenne is a queer, full-spectrum doula. Her background includes serving as Education Coordinator for the Minnesota GLBTA Campus Alliance. As a Faculty Presenter at the Creating Change Conference – the largest annual gathering of activists in the GLBTQ movement – she has led day-long Ally Institutes focused on ally identity development for audiences including top-level executives and directors of nonprofits.
Claudia Hall (She/Her/Hers): Claudia has been a minister since 2001, specializing in helping folks hurt by religion find a way to be fully themselves in their faith. Her PhD work was on juggling multiple identities. For Claudia, God is infinite Love, and good religion is about loving self, neighbor, and world.
Dave White (He/Him/His): Dave White teaches reading to first, second and third graders at a local elementary school and used to program computers. His most important relationships are nonsexual friendships, and he has researched the place of nonsexual friendship in different cultures and time periods out of personal interest.
Eli Coffin (He/Him/His): Eli Coffin is a senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, studying Political Science and Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies. He is currently a Sexuality and Gender Ambassador at the LGBTQ Programs Office on campus and also sits on the Board of Directors for OutFront MN, the leading LGBTQ organization in MN.
Elise Matthesen (No pronoun preference): Rabblerouser, whistleblower, and working artist. Has a hearing impairment, fibromyalgia, arthritis, attitude, ingenuity, numerous publication credits, and many pairs of pliers. Genderqueer. Elise is a BECAUSE 2016 keynote speaker and an original founder of BECAUSE.
Emily Keyes (They/Them/Theirs): Emily discovered asexuality six months ago and has defined themself by it since.
Erin Topley (She/Her/Hers): Erin is a public health dentist in the Twin Cities and an active member of the group Minnesota Asexuals.
Eva Wood (She/Her/Hers): Eva is the Anti-Violence Program Director at Outfront Minnesota. There, she develops and provides trainings to MN service providers and businesses on LGBTQ clients, barriers to service, and inclusion in the workplace. Eva provides direct service to survivors, does housing advocacy, and is conducting a community safety assessment with the Battered Women's Justice Project in order to increase access for survivors.
Frankie Jader (She/Her/Hers): Frankie serves as the Office Manager for the GLBTA Programs Office at the U of M and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Diversity Education and Identity Studies. She currently sits on the board of the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection (LGBT archive), is the facilitator of the GLBTA Mentor Program on campus, and is one of the BECAUSE 2016 co-chairs.
Galen Smith (They/Them/Theirs): Galen is white, queer, disabled, fat, and genderqueer. They are an organizer, rabble-rouser and policy wonk who works at the intersections of economic, racial and disability justice. Galen thinks and talks a lot about bodies, trauma, love, justice, art and creating movements that change the systems that hurt all of us.
H. Sharif “Herukhuti” Williams, Ph.D., M.Ed. (He/Him/His): Dr. Herukhuti is founder and chief erotics officer of the Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality and editor-in-chief of sacredsexualities.org. A playwright, poet, clinical sociologist, neotraditional African shaman, sex educator, author and revolutionary scholar. Dr. Herukhuti is a 2016 BECAUSE keynote speaker.
Hanne Jorgensen (She/Her/Hers): Presenting: Putting the Sexy Back in Sex Ed with the Teen Council. Planned Parenthood Peer Educator; Senior - Stewartville HS, Stewartville MN
Harrie Farrow (She/Her/Hers): Harrie has a degree in psychology with a minor in Human Sexual Studies. She blogs, writes articles, and writes a monthly column, about bisexual issues. She also wrote the bisexual themed novel, “Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe.” Harrie’s article, “Solutions to Bisexual Metal Health Issues,” appeared in Bi Women Quarterly.
Heather Stevenson (She/Her/Hers): Heather has been a volunteer, fundraiser, and advocate for the LGBTQ community for 25 years. She currently works as a grant writer for an LGBTQ organization in Santa Barbara, California.
Irene Greene, MSEd (She/Her/Hers): 29+ years as a psychotherapist, activist and trainer. In her private practice in Minneapolis, Irene offers individual and group counseling, relationship counseling (any configurations), uncoupling counseling, professional consultation, education and training. The vast majority of her clients identify as BTLGQQIP2SAA and/or kinky or poly.
JAC Stringer, MSW (He/Him/His): JAC is a trans-genderqueer femme, (dis)abled, Cherokee-white radical activist and artist from Cincinnati, Ohio. JAC is internationally known for his work surrounding genderqueer identities, socially just trans education, and trans artistry. JAC currently works as a free-lance activist, educator, and artist, and maintains a blog at MidwestGenderQueer.com.
Jai Negri (Jai/Jai/Jai's or They/Them/Theirs): Jai is a University of Minnesota alumni with degrees in psychology, family violence prevention, and philosophy. Jai is a parent of 4, a panromantic demisexual relationship anarchist, vegan, Italian-American, queer, and contrary. Jai geeks out about minimalism, traveling, Harry Potter, and all things consent. Jai has attended BOP events for 17 years, has volunteered at BECAUSE for several years, and is a 2016 Co-chair heading this year’s youth track.
James Schwartz (He/Him/His): James is a University of Minnesota-Twin Cities junior studying Forestry and has an on-campus job at the GLBTA Programs Office. His hopes of merging both his job and field of study got him more involved in social and environmental movements in the Twin Cities these past three years. His most recent involvement was with the Students for a Democratic Society when Milo Yiannopoulos was brought to campus.
Jasmine Marshall (She/Her/Hers): Jasmine is the Secretary for Bisexual Queer Alliance of Chicago. She is a graduate school student, soon to be mental health therapist. Previously, Jasmine has worked as an bisexual advocate in the LGBT community as an LGBT community Center board member and LGBT youth group facilitator.
Jess Banks (She/Her/Hers): Jess is a bi, disabled, autistic woman whose favorite pastimes include yelling about politics and parenting, protesting social justice stuff, reading, cooking, and overcommitment. She works in tabletop games. She's also a community organizer with groups like Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, Stonewall DFL, and OutFront MN.
Kim "KJ" Jorgensen (They/Them/Theirs): KJ has a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology and recently moved back to the Twin Cities from the Dallas area. KJ's interests include power and privilege, systems of oppression, and cultural trauma. KJ currently works for Hennepin County Child Protection. In their spare time KJ works on dismantling capitalism and patriarchy.
Kristin Youngblom (She/Her/Hers): Kristin grew up in southern Minnesota and currently lives and works in Minneapolis. In her spare time she enjoys cooking new foods and crocheting. She has identified as asexual since 2014.
Knox Inman (He/Him/His): Knox Inman, DVM is a leader in the Bi+ community for the Washington DC metropolitan area. He currently runs Center Bi, the Bi+ Community Group associated with DC Center (the LGBTQ Community Center for the DC metro area) and participated in the White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing held in 2015. He is honored to be a part of this year's BECAUSE Conference.
Lauren Beach, JD/PhD (She/Her/Hers): Lauren is a proud bisexual advocate and the Director of LGBTI Research in the Program for LGBTI Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Lauren is also a former Chair of BECAUSE and BOP.
Lauren Sekelsky (She/Her/Hers): Lauren is a student at the University of Minnesota, pursuing a concentration in gender and sexuality studies, and co-organizer of Minnesota Asexuals.
Leah Yoemans (She/Her/Hers): Leah identifies as white, cis-female, bisexual, and ethically non-monogamous/polyamorous. She is a mother, an educator, and activist. She loves to play Aussie rules football and hiking.
Liam Gilson (He/Him/His): Liam is the organizer of Minnesota Asexuals, an asexual-spectrum community group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has facilitated workshops on asexuality and asexual community challenges in the United States and Canada.
Lynn Dugan (They/Them/Theirs): Lynn identifies as a panromantic asexual. They fall somewhere on the trans spectrum and prefer going by they/them pronouns. In the past they have been heavily involved in their former school’s LGBTQIAP+ club and through that have had the opportunity to speak on panels to further knowledge about the asexual community.
Maddie Pavek (She/Her/Hers) Maddie is a high school senior and a second year member of Rochester’s Teen Council, a peer education and advocacy group run through Planned Parenthood. She spends her time at political rallies and creating historical documentaries. Her passions include LGBTQ rights, politics, teaching, fighting racism, talking about sex, knitting, baking, and cats. She aspires to do something great in her life, and maybe own a gecko.
Maggie Ewing (She/Her/Hers): Maggie Ewing lives in a collective house in South Minneapolis and teaches math to anyone who'll listen. She is housemates with A.L. and has worked on the Connecting Across Class teaching series with them for over a year now.
Markie L. C. Twist, Ph.D. (She/Her/Hers & They/Them/Theirs): Markie is the Graduate Certificate in Sex Therapy Program Coordinator, and Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Department and Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Dr. Twist is a LMFT (IA, NV) and LMHC (IA), and AASECT-certified sexuality educator.
Martha Hardy (She/Her/Hers): Martha Hardy has served on the Board of the Bisexual Organizing Project Board since 2014. By day, she is a librarian at Metropolitan State University. Martha is also a member of the Advisory Board of The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota Libraries. She lives with her partner, Sarah, and Duncan, the best dog ever.
Mary Gen Davies (She/Her/Hers): Mary is a youth librarian currently in central Iowa. Her passion is serving the queer community both locally as well as nationally. She is currently serving on the American Library Association's Rainbow Book Project (a librarian-curated list of the best books for LGBTQ youth). She loves folkin’ it up with her banjo, cycling the many Iowa trails, and eating mangoes and tortilla chips.
Mary Hoelscher, Ph.D. (They/Them/Their): Mary has been an activist and organizer in queer, non-monogamous, and bi+ communities their entire adult life. They have assisted in the planning of several BECAUSE Conferences and was a Co-Chair of the 8th International Conference on Bisexuality in 2004. Mary was a high school science teacher for 5 years before moving into education research and teacher education. They have been supporting gender and sexual diversity through inclusive curriculum in k-12 education for 7 years. Mary is a white person working from an anti-oppressive framework seeking to conspire with marginalized people in the pursuit of justice. They identify a as white bisexual, non-monogamous, genderqueer person. Mary lives in Minneapolis with their big queer family.
Marsha Partington (She/Her/Hers): Marsha’s been an advocate for the LGBTQ community for over 30 years. While an Addictions Counselor at Pride Institute’s Treatment Program serving an exclusively LGBTQ community, she facilitated the Trans* weekly support group. Marsha is the proud parent of a 25 year old FTM child and often speaks on behalf of PFLAG.
Megan Rae (She/Her/Hers): Megan has been working in relationship violence and trauma for over ten years. She has a BA in Theatre Performance and a MA in Gender and Women's Studies. Rae's pedagogy used interactive theatre to inform her advocacy as a means to highlight marginalized voices and continue to take the first step in change: Education. Rae will be presenting twice during this conference. Please join her for Theatre of the Oppressed: A Means to Create Change as well as Beyond the Binary: Gender-based Violence and LGBTQ Community.
Megan Schulz (She/Her/Hers): Presenting Putting the Sexy Back in Sex Ed with the Teen Council. Planned Parenthood Peer Educator; Sophomore - Mayo HS, Rochester MN
Melissa K. Bergdall, M.S. (She/Her/Hers & They/Them/Theirs): Melissa is a queer/enby therapist at Seasons of Change Therapy in Minneapolis. Trained in relational and sex therapy, Melissa specializes in working with minoritized communities of genders, sexualities, and relational orientations. Melissa is an Adjunct Professor with the University of Wisconsin-Stout teaching Sexual and Gender Diversity.
Michael Holt (He/Him/His): Michael is a long-time member of the Twin Cities kink community. He is a group leader and event organizer and has presented technique workshops within the kink community. He also presented at BECAUSE in 2015 and at the last two Minnesota OUT! Campus Conferences.
Natalie Clark (She/Her/Hers): Natalie is a femme bisexual queer identified speaker, author, and local activist from Duluth, MN. She works predominantly with queer students at small college campuses in the Northern midwest, and her work tends to focus on identity development, labelling and language, and self-care.
Noelle Martinez (They/Them/Theirs): Noelle is a young mixed raced non-binary human. They currently work at the U of M in housing and are working towards their Master of Social Work. Noelle gets the most fulfillment from meeting new folks and sharing authentic stories and they can't wait to enjoy this conference with you.
Patrick Richards Fink (He/Him): Patrick is a counselor (LPC) in private practice focused on lgBT community and issues at Prism Mental Health LLC. He's better known in the bisexual activist community as the author of the Eponymous Fliponymous blog (semiretired) and is on the board of directors of BiNet USA. He lives and works in Saint Cloud.
Rachael Mills (She/Her/Hers): Rachael is a queer white woman who is currently an Assistant Residence Director at the University of Minnesota where she works on student development. Rachael is energized by making connections with folks and growing together through dialogue and community.
Rae Eden (She/Her/Hers & They/Them/Theirs): Rae can be found dancing on the street corner or wandering through the trees. With a self-designed degree in Race, Class and Gender from the University of MN, Rae's divine purpose is rooted in justice. Deeply angered by the injustices of the world, Rae has learned to turn rage and sorrow into action. Rae works as an environment health educator and is training to be a dance movement therapist.
Rebecca Waggoner (She/Her/Hers): Rebecca is in the non-profit world and has a deep commitment to developing and implementing effective organizational and community response strategies in order to improve social, political and economic climates for LGBTQ individuals and organizations. Rebecca was previously the Anti-Violence Program Director at OutFront Minnesota and is currently the Executive Director of Quorum, the Twin Cities LGBTA Chamber of Commerce.
Remy Corso (They/Them/Theirs & He/Him/His): Remy is rooted in intersectional organizing with Twin Cities Avengers, Trans March, Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, and the University of Minnesota Transgender Commission. Following leadership and educational development work for LGBTQ student services, cooperative (student) housing, and transportation access, they are currently recovering from non-profit burnout. Remy’s loves include bicycles, gardens, furry friends, and sci-fi. Riches Jodi (She/Her/Hers): Riches has been active in the alternative sexual expression lifestyle since 2004 and pledged to Sergeant Major since 2005. With his guidance she has grown ever more knowledgeable about Leather, kink, D/s and M/s relationships and is now tasked with sharing her knowledge whenever and wherever possible.
Sam R. Schmitt (They/Them): Sam is a bi and trans identified doctoral candidate at Texas Woman’s University studying women and gender studies. Sam also manages GlitterWurst Zine Distro and coordinates several zine titles including: All In Your Head: Queerness, Neurodivergence, and Disability Zine, The GlitterWurst Queer Coloring Book series, and Fat Ass: A Queer/Feminist Zine on Size and Sexuality.
Sandra Breuer (She/Her/Hers): Sandra discovered asexuality a year ago at the age of 50. She's a heteromantic female. Sandra has had few romantic relationships due to not knowing she was asexual and that it was an option. She is now finally free to explore a romantic relationship that fits her.
Sergeant Major (He/Him/His): A follower of the leather tradition, paying forward to those who want to learn to repay those who took the time to teach him. Dedicated to preserving the traditions of honesty, trust, and loyalty which are the hallmarks of the leather tradition into the 21st Century sharing them with those who want to go beyond the gateway of the lifestyle. Serving the community as a teacher, mentor, worker, and leads by example as a M.
Shane Meyerink (He/Him/His): Shane is a father of four and is a student at the University of Minnesota. He is partnered with Jai Negri and this is his third BECAUSE conference. He likes pizza.
Shawny Sena (She/Her/Hers): Shawny is a kinky, queer writer, educator, and activist. She is a sex educator and pleasure advocate at the Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis, MN and a sexual health educator at the Family Tree Clinic. She is also a freelance presenter, specifically offering workshops on sexual violence in the BDSM community and the using sexuality as part of a creative practice. In all of her work, she advocates for sexual agency, increased personal awareness, and ongoing consent that begins with the self.
Stephen Yoemans (He/Him/His or They/Them/Theirs): Stephen identifies as a white cis-male, demigender, demisexual, bi+, and ethically non-monogamous. He is a father of two, he enjoys singing and spending time with loved ones.
Sydney Loechler (She/Her/Hers): Presenting Putting the Sexy Back in Sex Ed with the Teen Council. Planned Parenthood Peer Educator; Senior - St. Charles HS, St. Charles MN
Tania Israel (She/Her/Hers): Tania is a professor at UCSB. She is a researcher, teacher, advocate, engaged community member, and presenter of a TED talk on bisexuality.
Teen Council: Teen Council is a youth development, peer education program funded by Planned Parenthood. Students in grades 10-12 are trained to deliver professional, age appropriate, medically accurate comprehensive sex education nationwide. They teach in high schools, on college campuses and to youth groups. They advocate for issues that are important to them and serve their community. Minnesota has Teen Councils in Rochester, Duluth and the Twin Cities.
Vera Sky (She/Her/Hers): Vera is a very social person who is connected with many communities. She is often found doing circus arts like hula hooping, acro yoga, or pole dancing. Vera graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with a bachelors of psychology. She was on the board of BOP (Bisexual Organizing Project) for two years and continues to host a monthly discussion group for them. She also hosts polyamorous/open relationship discussion meet ups with another co-host. Vera has identified as poly since 2010.
Victor J. Raymond, PhD (He/Him/His): Victor is a multiracial bisexual Two Spirit activist. A BECAUSE conference co-founder, he has been a National Co-coordinator for BiNet USA, a Creating Change speaker, co-chair of the People of Color Caucus of It’s Time, Minnesota, and a two time guest at LGBT events at the White House. He lives and teaches in Madison, Wisconsin.