Menu

POC Advisory Council

MISSION: The mission of the POC Advisory Council is to provide a continuum of safe space within Gender Odyssey for trans and gender-diverse People of Color (POC) that honors the intersectionality of gender and race identities.

VISION: To eradicate transphobia in communities of color and racism in the greater trans and gender-diverse community. Trans and gender-diverse POC face both racism in the LGBTQ community and transphobia in communities of color. Living at the intersections of different communities presents unique challenges that white trans and gender-diverse people virtually do not experience.

GOAL: To develop workshops and events that are designed for trans and gender-diverse POC and allow for deeper exploration of specific issues and experiences.

“POC-ONLY” SPACES AND EVENTS: “POC-only” spaces and activities at Gender Odyssey are intended for individuals who identify as trans or gender-diverse and as a Person of Color. POC need to be more visible and empowered in the greater LGBTQ movement and communities of color. All Gender Odyssey participants are asked to respect the intentions and purpose of this space.

NOTE: POC (people of color) is a term with many different interpretations. We do not want to impose our own ideas of race on individuals’ identity.

To contact the POC Advisory Council, please write to info@genderodyssey.org.


2017 Gender Odyssey People of Color Council

The POC Council members participate in the planning and organizing of Gender Odyssey programming and activities, championing the inclusion of intersectionality within all aspects of the conference and serving as ambassadors and hosts at conference events.

Members of the council are self-nominated. If you are interested in contributing to the work of this council and expanding conference access to communities of color, please contact the conference director or write to info@genderodyssey.org.

Jeanette Borunda, LCSW. As a queer woman of color, Jeanette focuses her activism and her work around issues dear to her heart. She believes in anti-oppressive spaces in order to create safe learning environments for staff, clients, patients, and friends. As a social worker, trainer, and therapist, Jeanette advocates for gender warriors, intersections of identities, military veterans, and healing trauma work.


Nazia Junejo
Nazia is a thoughtful and compassionate person who is also the mother of three beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is trans and her youngest was born with a heart condition. Nazia is an equity advocate for social justice and trans rights. Her passion for changing hearts and minds began within her own family and continues to spread to the communities around her.  She works in the Edmonds School District, volunteers as a Community Advisory Board member for Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic and will soon start her graduate program in education.  Nazia was born in Pakistan and she has strong connections to her Muslim community in the "North End."  She has lived in Seattle since her family moved here in the 1980s. 


Aleksa Manila is Seattle’s Sweetheart of Drag! Drug counselor by day, drag diva by night, she holds many prestigious drag titles like Miss Gay Filipino, Miss Gay Seattle, and Empress of Seattle. She is a favorite emcee for various charitable events in the northwest, a host at queer shows at colleges and universities, a panelist at various LGB and Trans* events, and a speaker on LGB and Trans* issues. When not “in-face,” s/he is pursuing their MSW at UW and is the addiction supervisor at Seattle Counseling Service, an LGBTQ behavioral institution that offers mental health therapy and addiction treatment, including case management and group counseling.


Kory Martin-Damon is a dual-language adjudicator for the State of Washington Employment Security Department. She enjoys volunteering for Gender Odyssey and has done so every year since its inception. She is currently writing a fantasy novel about dual-sexed beings in a galaxy far, far away.

Michael Peña

Bio coming soon!


Mateo Luis Ruiz-Williams

Bio coming soon!


Naveed Sarikhan

Bio coming soon!


Lydia Valentine

Bio coming soon!


Tai Vo is a trans, disabled person of colour who migrated to Canada as a refugee during their childhood. Tai supervises Griffin Centre’s reachOUT program, an accessible program in Toronto, Canada, that centers the needs of trans, gender-nonconforming, two-spirit, and gender non-binary and queer youth, with a focus on newcomers, disabled folks, and people of colour. Tai also directed and produced the documentary Our Compass, which was co-written by queer and trans youth labelled with intellectual disabilities.