The 4th Annual North Dakota LGBTQ+ Summit will take place on a virtual platform over four days, from Monday, January 24 to Thursday, January 27 of 2022. Participants are welcome to join for as few or as many sessions as they prefer. All sessions will be on zoom. Registered participants will be emailed zoom links before each session.
Session descriptions will be updated as they are finalized.
(all sessions given in Central time)
Monday, Jan. 24, 12:00 Noon - 1:30 PM
Native and Indigenous Two-Spirit and LGBTQ
Speakers: Cheryl Ann Kary, Tracey L. Wilkie
Monday, Jan. 24, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
(discussion group for youth up to and including high school)
Facilitators: Zayden Bartosh, Alyssa Kloss
Monday, Jan. 24, 6:00 PM - 7:30PM
How to Grow your LGBTQ+ Center or Organization
Speakers: Julia Landis, Denise Spivak
Tuesday, Jan. 25, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
LGBTQ+ Youth Panel
Facilitators: Zayden Bartosh, Alyssa Kloss
Tuesday, Jan. 25, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Legislative Advocacy and Update
Speakers: Rep. Joshua Boschee, Tanya Tassi
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 12:00 Noon - 1:30 PM
LGBTQ+ Employee Rights
Speakers: Erica Thunder, Nanisa Pareles, Julie Wilensky
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
LGBTQ+ Student Rights
Speakers: Keygan Miller, Asaf Orr, Ann Cook-Graver
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Queerness, Community, & Philanthropy
Speaker: Aaron Zimmerman
Thursday, Jan. 27, 12:00 Noon - 1:30 PM
ND LGBTQ+ School Climate Report
Speakers: Faye Seidler, Euan Hwang
Thursday, Jan. 27, 3:30 PM - 5:00PM
Protecting LGBTQ+ North Dakotans from "Conversion Therapy"
Speakers: Mathew Shurka, Troy Stevenson, Shannon Minter
Thursday, Jan. 27, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Speakers: Karen Ehren, Cody Schuler, Christina Feldmann
Session descriptions will be updated as they are finalized.
While we will miss being together in person, we hope that the virtual format will protect the health of our community, and also allow our summit to be accessible to our community throughout the state who might not otherwise be able to travel to attend.
Cheryl Ann Kary
Sacred Pipe Resource Center
Cheryl Ann Kary (Hunkuotawin) is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She founded and is the Executive Director of the Sacred Pipe Resource Center (SPRC), a non-profit organization serving the American Indian population in Bismarck-Mandan.
Kary has previously served as the Curriculum Development Specialist at the Native American Training Institute, the Research Director at United Tribes Technical College, the Executive Director for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a Grants Management Specialist at the N.D. Department of Health. She has worked in and with Tribal communities and populations for the majority of her career and, in addition to professional responsibilities, Kary advocates for Native people and Tribes in a variety of volunteer efforts. Kary was named an OTA Builder in 2014, recognized for seeking creative ways to build civic and community engagement for American Indians in the Bismarck-Mandan area. In 2016, she was recognized as a Leading Lady by the Center for Technology in Business and she received the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition’s Arc of Justice Award for her work in civil and human rights.
The Trevor Project
Senior Campaign Manager
Troy Stevenson serves as Senior Campaign Manager for Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. Troy previously served as executive director of both Garden State Equality (New Jersey) and Freedom Oklahoma, both statewide LGBTQ rights organizations, and Equality Federation affiliates. Troy served as a field director on the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns working extensively in Pennsylvania and primary states across the nation. Troy has also served on the boards of directors for numerous local and national organizations. Troy is an Oklahoma native and an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in political science. He also earned a law degree from the University of Westminster in London.
Activist, Educator, Community Organizer
Faye Seidler is an award winning activist, educator, and community organizer who specializes in improving equitable outcomes for LGBTQ+ individuals. She has been providing queer focused professional development training to organizations throughout North Dakota and Minnesota for the last six years with an emphasis on evidence-based research, overcoming cultural barriers, and providing tools for process improvement. She currently serves as the LGBTQ+ Care Coordinator for Canopy Medical Clinic, Project Manager for Community Uplift Program, and Co-Chaired for ND Department of Health's LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.
The Trevor Project
Keygan Miller is an Advocacy Manager for The Trevor Project, the nation’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. Keygan is responsible for the research, advocacy, and legislative agenda for The Trevor Project in the area of school suicide prevention policy. In addition, they oversee the day to day operations of the advocacy team. Keygan previously served as a Special Education Teacher for Cincinnati Public Schools where they taught math and science, led as school wide testing coordinator, and advised the student council. Keygan graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Master of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction as well as from George Washington University with a Master of Education and Human Development in Education Policy.
North Dakota House of Representatives
Representative Josh Boschee was first elected to the ND House of Representatives in 2012 and re-elected for his second term in November 2016. Josh spent most of the last year running to be North Dakota’s 15th Secretary of State. This past December, he was elected by his fellow caucus members to serve as the House Minority Leader.
Representative Boschee's legislative focus has been on passing a fully inclusive, statewide nondiscrimination statute, increasing opportunities for North Dakota small businesses, enhancing early childhood education and childcare services throughout the state, campaign finance reform, expanding access to local foods and developing a statewide commitment to moving North Dakotans out of poverty.
When he's not representing his north Fargo constituents in Bismarck, Josh serves as the Sales Manager for Hatch Realty, leading a team of 20 real estate agents. Before he jumped into real estate, Josh worked in Student Affairs for eight years at NDSU and MSUM, where he found his passion for helping people establish, implement and achieve their goals.
New Story Counseling Services
Naomi Tabassum, MS, LPCC is a mental health counselor in Fargo, ND. She owns and practices at New Story Counseling Services, which specializes in treatment for gender diverse clients. Naomi also specializes in trauma therapy, and works primarily with adolescents and adults.
She moved to the F/M area from St. Paul, MN in 2010 for graduate school at NDSU and has been working to improve mental health care and resources for under-served populations since.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Office of Field Programs/Field Management Programs
Nanisa S. Pereles is a Program Analyst at EEOC. During her tenure with EEOC, Ms. Pereles has served as Supervisory Investigator coaching teams of investigators involved in all types of employment discrimination cases. She has trained and mentored EEO Investigators from coast to coast. In addition, she has been selected to train both internal and external customers on EEOC’s statutes, and she and has been part of national development teams for investigative training and compliance materials. She has led teams of investigators for over a decade with a focus on partnership, empathy, and efficiency. Those efforts have led to strong results including millions of dollars in relief for affected parties. Ms. Pereles is a Partnership for Public Service 2021 Leadership Cohort graduate.
Prior to Ms. Pereles’ work at EEOC, she was an Immigration Officer and a High School Teacher. She received a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a Master of Arts in Communications from Oklahoma State University.
Mathew Shurka is a conversion therapy survivor and Co-Founder of Born Perfect, a campaign created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights that has spearheaded a movement to end conversion therapy. Since 2012, Born Perfect has worked with legislatures and policy makers across the US and abroad to help implement laws protecting LGBTQ people from so-called “conversion therapy.” Today 20 States and over 100 cities have pass laws banning conversion therapy.
Mathew leads the campaign alongside a team of lawyers, advocates, and other conversion therapy survivors committed to protect LGBTQ+ people through legislation, litigation, and public education. He has consulted on numerous films such as Boy Erased, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Pray Away, and Cured. Mathew and his partner live in New York.
Tracey L. Wilkie
North Dakota Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
Tracey L. Wilkie Waabishki Giiwedin Ikwe (White North Wind Woman) is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa North Dakota. Tracey was raised in North Dakota. She currently is in the role of Parent Coordinator for the North Dakota Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. NDFFCMH works to develop and implement policies, legislation, funding mechanisms, and service systems that utilize the strengths of families.
Tracey spent most of her adult career working within juvenile justice reform and child protection services within progressive agencies. She has been part of policy making including decision making for LBGTQ+ youth. Tracey served as a AFSCME Local 88 member and steward for 20 years. She knows the importance of having a voice where decisions are made, and is planning her second campaign running for a ND House Representative seat starting in February 2022..
Tracey serves as the Chair for Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory board, a state wide organization. She serves on the North Dakota Women's Network board and HeartSprings Community Healing board of directors.
Tracey earned a Police Science Certificate at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck and studied criminal justice and social work at Minot State University.
Zayden Q Bartosh
North Dakota Human Rights Coalition
Zayden Q Bartosh (they/them) is a lifetime resident of Bismarck for 36 years. For 19 years they suffered from the disease of alcoholism as a queer person in unwelcoming environments. Since getting and staying sober, Zayden has worked hard to give back to the community. They served on the board for Dakota Outright for 3 years, helped start and still facilitates the only LGBTQ+ youth support group in central Dakota, spoke at the Women's March this year, and spoken at other events about recovery and human rights. Zayden has fought at the capitol by providing testimony and educating legislators which helped to uphold the governor's veto on the anti-trans youth athlete bill. They are also invovled in the faith community following their motto that Love is Always the Answer. Zayden is currently a full-time student at Minot State University to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor and works as Regional Organizer for North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.
Aaron Zimmerman, CFRE, M.A. (He/Him) is the Executive Director of PFund Foundation. He is a career fundraiser and non-profit executive who has supported social justice nonprofits in the Upper Midwest through comprehensive communications, strategic planning, and development. As a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), he utilizes best practices to support missions important to him and the community.
Previously, he served as PFund Foundation’s Interim Executive Director and before as Director of Development; as a Major and Planned Giving Officer at Twin Cities PBS (TPT); and as the Director of Development and Communications at Domestic Abuse Project, a Minneapolis-based domestic violence therapy and advocacy program. Aaron has also worked at Family Tree Clinic, OutFront Minnesota, and the Red Ribbon Ride.
He has his Master of Arts degree in Philanthropy and Development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He focused his capstone on the history and practice of white supremacy in philanthropy in the United States. Additionally, he has presented on topics for non-profit professionals and corporations, including corporate charitable engagement, white supremacy in fundraising and philanthropy, website best practices for fundraising, and successful online campaigns.
He grew up in Western Wisconsin with his parents and five sisters. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Language and Political Science. In his free time, Aaron volunteers on the boards of Quorum, Minnesota’s LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce, CloseKnit, in support of systems approach to ending youth homelessness, and on the governance committee of RECLAIM!, a queer and trans youth therapy provider.
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Senior Staff Attorney
Julie Wilensky is a senior staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where her work focuses on litigation and advocacy to ensure the equal treatment of LGBTQ+ people. She also serves as an appointed councilmember on the California Fair Employment and Housing Council.
Before joining NCLR, Julie was a deputy county counsel at the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, where she was a member of the Social Justice & Impact Litigation team. Previously, she was director of the California office of the Civil Rights Education & Enforcement Center and a shareholder at an employment and civil rights law firm in Oakland. She served as a law clerk to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Julie graduated from Yale Law School and Yale College.
Christina Feldmann is a cis-hetero mom, wife, sister, aunt, and friend, to several members of the LGBTQ+ community. She advocates for the recognition of their humanity on a daily basis through conversation with acquaintances, co-workers, strangers, and to anyone willing to listen and grow. After losing her daughter, Haley, her writing has helped to raise awareness through organizations such as the Trans Lifeline and has encouraged support for The Jim Collins Foundation. She and her husband have spoken about the harmful effects that anti-trans legislation and policies have on transgender people and their families. She has been interviewed by The Daily Beast and several other media outlets have picked up her daughter's story.
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Shannon Minter is the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
Minter was lead counsel for same-sex couples in the landmark California marriage equality case which held that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are inherently discriminatory and subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny.
Minter was also NCLR’s lead attorney in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding student group policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and rejecting the argument that such policies violated a student group’s rights to freedom of speech, religion, and association.
Minter serves on the boards of Faith in America and the Transgender Law & Policy Institute. He has previously served on the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Minter received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1993. He is originally from Texas.
North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights
Erica Thunder was appointed North Dakota Labor Commissioner by Gov. Doug Burgum, effective June 3, 2019. As Labor Commissioner, Thunder leads the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights, which is responsible for enforcing the state’s labor and human rights laws and for educating the public about the laws. The department also licenses employment agencies operating in the state and can verify the status of independent contractor relationships.
Euan Hwang (he/him) is the YouthLink Manager at CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers.
Euan is a veteran in youth programming with over 10 years of experience. Since 2011, he has managed and coordinated various youth programs to improve the well-being of youth, equip the youth with leadership and life skills, and build safer spaces for a diverse group of youth. He is especially interested in listening and responding to the needs of queer and trans immigrant youth of color & bridging the gap between the youth and their parents/families/culture.
Born in South Korea, Euan immigrated to Canada when he was young and spent 20 years in the Great White North. He now resides in the US with his spouse. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Animation from Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and a Social Service Worker Diploma from George Brown College. He is also bilingual in English and Korean.
Karen Ehrens is a public health and nutrition consultant, registered dietitian, and policy advocate.
She currently serves as a public health consultant on food and nutrition security and maternal and child health projects, and just completed 12 years as the facilitator for the Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota Coalition. Ehrens serves on governing and advisory boards and the ND Health Equity Committee.
Karen was an intern for then-U.S. Representative Byron Dorgan. In 2016, she was a candidate for the North Dakota House of Representatives. She has provided testimony to the city commission, the state legislature and the US Senate on proposed legislation impacting health and nutrition.
Karen is past chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Legislative and Public Policy Committee and served the North Dakota affiliate as Public Policy Chair.
A North Dakota native, Karen holds a Certificate in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, and obtained undergraduate degrees from ND State University and Minot State University. She and her husband, Duane live in Bismarck with their daughter.
FM Coalition to End Homelessness
Cody Schuler (he/him) is Executive Director of the FM Coalition to End Homelessness, an advocacy, education, and collaboration nonprofit with a mission to prevent and end homelessness in the Fargo metro area. He sees his work personally and professionally as a piece of a larger puzzle of ending homelessness by organizing people to come together to change systems and advocate for social justice. Cody is a Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority Commissioner and serves on the boards of directors for the Fargo Downtown Neighborhood Association and The Human Family.
Alyssa(she/her) was born and raised in Minot by a conservative air-force family. Growing up in a place where being queer was seen as something you did not share or take pride in, Alyssa took to art instead as a way to share her queerness- whether it was by submitting art into the local gallery or by putting her skills to the test with large public chalk murals outside the local record store.
At 17, Alyssa started her work with children in a local after school program. After four years of working in Minot, she moved to Bismarck and began a job as a paraprofessional with one of the local middle schools where she has been working since 2019. Also in 2019, she began co-facilitating QSPACE, one of the only queer youth support groups in North Dakota. Having come from a background of generational trauma and center-right leaning military parents, Alyssa has used her life experience as a queer person to help LGBTQ+ kids find their voice.
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Civil Rights
Supervisory Civil Rights Attorney
Ann Cook-Graver is a Supervisory Civil Rights Attorney with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Chicago Enforcement Office. Ann oversees a team of first-rate, dedicated attorneys and investigators who work on complaints alleging discrimination based on sex, disability, age, national origin, color, and race. Ann specializes in sex discrimination in athletics, discrimination based on LGBTQ identities, and issues affecting people with disabilities. Ann served as the Disability Rights Bureau Chief at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General before taking her position with OCR.
Before initiating a legal career, Ann worked as an Intelligence Analyst at the National Security Agency, Ft. Meade, Maryland, where she applied her Russian Language skills to follow the movements of the military of the former Soviet Union. Ann received an undergraduate degree from Marquette University and a law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law. Ann is also a group fitness instructor and teaches several Spin cycling classes each week. She lives in Orland Park, Illinois, with her wife, son and dog, Holly, Mitch and Jake, in that order.
Tanya Tassi works as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for ActionLink: The Center Action Network. Prior to joining CenterLink, Tanya worked for the Los Angeles LGBT Center, serving as Residential Services Coordinator at Triangle Square - the nation's first and largest LGBTQ low-income senior housing facility. She was instrumental in developing and expanding their programming and advocacy services.
Tanya began volunteering with Wisconsin AIDS Resource Center at the age of 17, and continued to volunteer during her career, first at Nashville AIDS Project and then at PFLAG of Temecula, CA. She is the founder and director of the Los Angeles Senior Mobilization Squad; a group of older adult advocates who are dedicated to protecting and expanding the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Tanya is a volunteer educator for the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, a member of the Palm Springs Police Department's LGBTQ Outreach Committee and is involved in disaster preparedness as part of her local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). She is a graduate of the University of Southern California's Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and East Los Angeles College.
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Director of Operations and Member Relations
Julia Landis joined the CenterLink team after working in the private sector for over 25 years. She has extensive experience both in retail and call-center management most recently working in social paper i.e. creating, printing and assembling invitations for every event imaginable. Prior to joining CenterLink Julia was a store manager in a neighborhood invitation store. Previously she spent over 9 years working for a major telecommunications company as both a manager and on-line representative in a customer service call center. Julia is a former board member and current volunteer for Women In Network, Broward county's lesbian social and networking organization handling membership and heading up WIN's new Extreme Couponing program. Julia is a graduate of the University of South Alabama where she received her B.S. in Business Management.
Denise Spivak is the CEO of CenterLink – the association of LGBTQ community centers, where she has spent the past nine years working with center leaders.
Denise joined CenterLink after working in the private sector for over twenty years in both broadcasting and management. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College where she received her B.A. in Psychology.
Denise holds a certification from BoardSource for nonprofit governance training and is a Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultant.
Denise was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. After living in the mid-Atlantic for 30 years, she and her wife moved to Florida where they currently reside.
Join Dakota OutRight, North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, Red River Rainbow Seniors, Pride Collective, Williston Rainbow Rendezvous, the Equality Federation, the Human Rights and American Campaign, PFund Foundation, Centerlink, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU, and The Trevor Project for the 4th annual North Dakota LGBTQ+ Summit.
Registration is free for students and youth 18 and under, as well as their chaperones. Registration is $10 for everybody else. However, we do not want price to be an obstacle to anybody joining. If the registration fee is a hardship, please contact Sean Coffman - Sean@Human-Family.org to register and have the fee waived.
Though we wish we were meeting in person, we are taking an opportunity to take this summit virtual this year!
All sessions will be on zoom, and registered participants will receive zoom links before each session.