Equality Utah - Issues

Sarah Bell

Membership Manager

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Sarah Bell has a deep passion for the nonprofit sector and has spent many years working in development and fundraising with local nonprofits in Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies, with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Upon graduating, she has worked and volunteered with the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, the Humane Society of Utah, the Rape Recovery Center, American Cancer Society, and Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault board of directors and has worked in inventory management and accounting part-time with a local bookstore for the past eight years. She worked with Equality Utah in 2017 and is glad to be back with the team.

Susana Williams Keeshin is originally from La Paz, Bolivia and has spent the majority of her time in the U.S. living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine in the division of Infectious Disease at the University of Utah. She cares for adult and pediatric patients living with HIV in Clinic 1a and at Primary Children’s Hospital. In 2018 she co-founded the PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) Community Clinic, which offers PrEP services, STI testing, and treatment free of charge for people without insurance. She works closely with many LGBTQ+ local and national organizations as a health expert to improve health care access and reduce health disparities. 

She completed her B.S. in Biology, B.A. in Sociology and Spanish at the University of Utah, M.D. at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency at the University of Utah and Infectious Disease Fellowship at the University of Cincinnati. 

Paul C. Burke is a shareholder, director, and the general counsel of Ray Quinney & Nebeker P.C. The Utah State Bar named him as the 2019 Lawyer of the Year and previously recognized him as the 2012 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. Burke was also honored at the 2015 Utah Pride Festival as a “Utah Hero” for his public advocacy on behalf of Utah’s LGBT citizens.

Burke represented the Utah Pride Center, Equality Utah, and the Equality Federation at the U.S. Supreme Court in the cases resulting in the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act and California Proposition No. 8. His work defending the rights of an abused lesbian teenager was chronicled in both the book “Saving Alex” and a forthcoming Lifetime movie based on that title. Burke and his colleagues have been frequent contributors to the Salt Lake Tribune of columns on LGBT equality, and correctly predicted the arrival of marriage equality in Utah.

Burke was inducted into the Utah Youth Soccer Hall of Fame in 2016, having served as the president of the Utah Youth Soccer Association from 2003 to 2005 and as the Chairman of the Rules Committee for the U.S. Soccer Federation from 2006 to 2018.

A native Utahn, Burke was raised in Salt Lake City and graduated from Judge Memorial High School. He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and Mansfield College at Oxford University. He is a graduate of the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. 

Joshua Davidson is an accomplished attorney with extensive experience in federal and state trial and appellate courts. He presently serves as Assistant Solicitor General for Civil Appeals in the Utah Attorney General’s Office and as Chair-elect of the Utah State Bar’s Appellate Practice Section. Josh returned to Utah after living in Chicago, Illinois for 24 years. There, he worked in a boutique litigation firm, focusing on governmental, commercial, and consumer financial services litigation and counseling, and as a constitutional and appellate attorney for the City of Chicago, where he defended constitutional challenges to the City’s human rights and gun registration ordinances. 

Josh earned a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Utah and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law. He is admitted to the State Bar of Illinois, New York, and Utah, and to the Bars of the Supreme Court of the United States and numerous federal appellate and district courts.

Josh lives in Salt Lake with his husband and partner of 20 years and their beautiful daughter. For fun, he participates in local politics, bakes (poorly), and binge-watches international TV shows. He is an avid skier and an enthusiastic U of U sports fan. Look for him on the slopes or in the nosebleed seats at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

As co-founder and CEO of Method Communications, David Parkinson has built one of the fastest-growing tech PR and marketing agencies in the country with offices in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and New York City. In addition to spearheading the growth and expansion of Method, David provides strategic direction for many of Method’s clients. 

Prior to launching Method, David served for eight years as the vice president of communications for the billionaire Sorenson family and their 30-plus companies, where he orchestrated several successful public relations campaigns for new companies, product launches and company acquisitions. Prior to Sorenson, David worked in Silicon Valley and held positions at Keynote Systems, Adobe, and Edelman Public Relations Worldwide. 

David has received a number of awards for his leadership. He was named by Utah Business Magazine as a “40 Under 40” in 2008 and “CEO of the Year” in 2015, and a 2016 finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award program. David holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. 

Austin Miles

Programs & Communications Coordinator 

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Austin Miles has lived in Utah for nine years, moving from California when he was ten. He has always had a passion for communications, marketing, and design. Because of these interests he became a self taught graphic designer, doing contract work for several companies including New Charter University, JBB Equity, and Letter23 Creative. Equality Utah is his first move to the non-profit sector, where he applies his skills as the Programs and Communications Coordinator. He serves as the resident on-call graphic designer, social media manager, and “passive aggressive emailer” for the office. Austin is currently pursuing a degree in Communications at the University of Utah. When he’s not working you can find him playing with is dog Seeley, avoiding social interaction, or catching up on all the latest shows on Hulu.

Thursday, 18 October 2018 11:16

Blog: The Gay Little Gray

GAY LITTLE GRAY

By Kayden Maxwell

 

Growing up in American Fork,  the only minority group less represented than non-mormons were racial minorities. Classmates, teachers, friends, coworkers and politicians seemed to have the same and strict unwritten expectations: we were mormon, we were white and we were straight. 

I attended my first Affirmation Conference in 2014. That experience was life changing as I was inspired to no longer fear who I was allowing me to see more possible outcomes for my life. It was my first taste of empowerment. In addition to the support and unconditional love of my parents,  I learned that no matter what I decided for my life I would always have a new and extended family that would care for me too.

Shortly after the conference, my english teacher assigned us to write about our biggest life struggle. My family and close friends knew I was gay. However, aside from my pretty face and slight gay mannerisms I did nothing to advertise my sexual orientation. I was terrified to take the irreversible step and set myself apart from the Utah County norm but I knew it was inevitable. So, I embraced my vulnerability and wrote. Then I stood with shaking hands and in a quivering voice I delivered words to my classmates describing how little I fit into the mold of our culture. 

Initially, the outpouring of love from my peers was overwhelming. As I got further from the "ideal" mormon guy I became frowned upon. Comments like "you're just going through a hard time," and "Jesus is waiting for you to come back," became daily assaults. Acknowledging my differences in that environment cost me dearly. But the benefits I gained from becoming a sincere, authentic and interesting person are infinitely worth it.

So then, who am I? In relation to religion and sexual orientation, my two greatest conflicting forces, I am a shade of gray between both. While I am no longer LDS, I value family, spirituality, love and forgiveness. And while I don't fancy gay clubs or certain apps, I look forward to falling in love.

I was most powerless when I stopped believing in my potential. I allowed the norms of my culture to tell me I didn't belong or have worth and my greatest mistake is that I ever believed them. Embrace your differences. Hold tight to the pieces of yourself that don't fit in this black and white world. Because the world needs more gay little grays.

 

Affirmation is an organization to support LGBTQ Mormons, families and friends. https://affirmation.org

 

Susan Ann Robbins (Sue)

Sue Robbins is a woman who is Transgender, Pansexual, and Intersex and uses the pronouns She, Her, and Hers. She is currently serving as Chair of Transgender Education Advocates (TEA) of Utah, having been with this organization since 2016, and also serves on Equality Utah’s Transgender Advisory Council. She is a Past Chair of the Utah Pride Center, holding that position for two of the almost four years she served on the Board of Directors and is a founding member and inaugural President of Phi Delta, Utah’s chapter of Tri-Ess.  Sue has been recognized with the 2018 Transgender Advocacy TEAM Award and the 2019 Dr Kristen Reis Community Service award.  

Sue is an Electrical Engineer currently employed with a government contractor. She is a proud veteran with 20 years of service in the US Army working first as a Tank Crewmember and later in Satellite Communications. Sue lives in Woods Cross with her loving and amazing wife Theresa and has four children and 10 grandchildren.

 

Candice Metzler, MS, CSW

Candice is a doctoral candidate from the University of Utah and expects to complete her degree in the spring of 2019. Her doctoral research examines the role of language in clinical practice with gender nonconforming clients. Candice is a therapist and sees clients through the Utah Pride Center and University of Utah Bridge Training Clinic. She has more than 6 years’ experience working with LGBTQI populations and primarily works with transgender and gender nonconforming youth and young adults. She is the Executive Director of Transgender Education Advocates (TEA) of Utah. She is also a member of the Reconciliation and Growth Project and serves on the Leadership Committee for the LGBTQ Affirmative Psychotherapist Guild. Candice served as a volunteer trainer through the Department of Justice where she conducted trainings with Utah law enforcement from 2013 to 2016. She has worked with many local, state, and federal organizations providing education, consultation, and trainings, which continues to date.

 

Lucas Fowler

Lucas Fowler is a 41 year old activist, and a proud trans man. He has raised two sons, and is now helping raise his granddaughter. His activism began with politics, but eventually shifted to concentrate on queer and trans issues. He has served on the steering committee for the Utah Pride Festival, and currently serves on the board of Transgender Education Advocates (TEA) of Utah.

 

Neca Allgood

Neca  attended BYU and Princeton, where she earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. She and her husband, David Moore, are parents of three sons. Her middle child, Grayson Moore, is transgender. Since Grayson transitioned (in 2011) at age 16, he and Neca have been actively working to extend legal protections in Utah to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Neca is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She and her husband own a small engineering consulting firm. Neca is past-president of the Mama Dragons, and currently serves on the board of Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormons, Families, and Friends.

 

Olivia Jaramillo

Olivia Jaramillo was born and raised in Mexico. She immigrated when she was 14. During her 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, she served tours in Iraq and humanitarian missions to Nigeria, South Africa, and Mozambique. In 2016, Olivia was one of the first transgender women to officially change her name and gender marker while on Active Duty status. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Psychology. 

Olivia is the Legislative Chair, District 14 for the Utah Democratic Party. She is board member on the Equality Utah Transgender Advisory Council, the Ogden Pride council, and is the Mentorship Chair for the Utah Pride Center’s TransAction program. She aspires to bring change to Utah by empowering minorities towards positive lives.

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