We are excited to announce that activist, actress, international model and performer Carmen Carrera will be a featured speaker at the 2019 Houston Transgender Unity Banquet!
Carmen is a strong advocate for many causes, including Human Rights, HIV Prevention, and Discrimination against Transgender Women.
As a famous transgender model, actress, performer and activist who received her start with RuPaul’s Drag Race. This past winter, Carmen partnered with Christina Aguilera performing at Radio City Music Hall and hosted events at the Sundance Film Festival for AT&T and at NYC Fashion Week for Fashion News Live on Amazon Prime. In April, she spoke at the Iowa Safe Schools Governor’s Conference, which is the largest LGBTQ Youth Conference in the country and in May, was the special celebrity host for the Equality California Awards in San Francisco. This summer be on the lookout for her on the cover of Spirit Magazine.
Carmen is a featured model, including working with PUMA and has walked shows at New York City Fashion Week and Miami Swim Week. Carmen was the first transgender model to ever walk at Miami Swim Week. In a very special project “Show Girl”, Carmen was photographed by the legendary Steven Meisel for a spread in W Magazine. She also did a special project with HBO creating Transgender Awareness in Latin America for the show “Outpost” and was the face of the New York City Health Department’s #PlaySure Campaign.
We are pleased to welcome Lana Blake As our MC for 2019 Houston Transgender Unity Banquet!
Lana has been an Entertainer / Drag impersonator for over 25 years. Lana has performed all over Texas and held several titles including Miss Houston USofA, Miss Southwest Continental and Miss Texas USofA Classic 2015.
We are excited to announce that Cassandro will speaking at the 2019 Houston Transgender Unity Banquet!
World-renowned wrestler and winner of several world titles, Cassandro has toured the world for nearly three decades , but had his start on the U.S/Mexico border. Cassandro was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, but spent much of his time across the border in Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua. At the age of fifteen, Cassandro began training lucha libre in Juárez.
Cassandro has been a circuit speaker on a wide variety of topics including discrimination, spirituality, overcoming adversity, and LGBTQ issues. He has presented his story at high schools, universities, conventions, TED Talk, and other venues. Whether in front of a classroom of 20 students or on stage in front of 8,000 attendees, Cassandro has a way of relating to his audience regardless of their walk of life.
Shane Whalley, LMSW, is a social justice educator and consultant. Ze is the owner of Daring Dialogues Consulting, that offers consultation and workshops on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identities, as well as on sexism, on the concepts of power, privilege and oppression, and cultural humility. Shane received hir’s Master’s degree in Social Work at UT and is a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW). Shane has been an Adjunct Faculty member at the School of Social Work since 2003 and has taught classes on LGBTQIA identities, social justice frameworks, and introductory classes to the field of Social Work. Shane is the 2017 Alum of the Year for the UT School of Social Work and the 2011 recipient of Texas Exes Teaching Excellence award. This year ze spoke on a panel at SXSW Interactive called, “How Gender Fluidity Recasts Brand Engagement.” Shane was the Education Coordinator for the Gender and Sexuality Center at UT for seven years and has worked as a psychotherapist in several non-profits in Austin, working mostly with LGBTQIA clients. Most importantly, in 1994 Shane went to a talk by Leslie Feinberg and hir life was changed forever!
Trudie Jackson a member of the Navajo Nation and identifies as a 5th gender person. Her clans are Bitterwater and Folded Arms People, then the Mexican People and Yucca Strung Out In A Line. Originally from Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, but currently reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a 2nd year doctoral student at the University of New Mexico in American Studies with researching focusing on American Indian Transgender Women in Urban Areas.
Trudie has been a community activist and social justice advocate by standing up for communities of color inclusion in spaces often occupied by non-person of color including American Indians. She founded the Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gatheirng, which is currently in its 8th year in Phoenix, Arizona that addresses health disparities of American Indians that identify as Two Spirit (SLGBTQ). Her tireless advocacy lead to receiving the Marty Prairie Red Ribbon Award from the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center in 2008 for her strong voice, action, and leadership in tribal (urban/rural) communities. In 2017, she was awarded the Equality Arizona Skip Schrader Spirit of Activism Award at the It Gets Better Conference in Tucson, Arizona. Since relocating to Albuquerque, New Mexico, she is a Board member for the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico. Recently presented at TPATH in Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2017 by sharing her experience of utilizing the Indian Health Service as an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe of the US.
Trudie’s educational journey would not have been possible without the financial assistance from the Phoenix Pride Scholarship, Udall Foundation Scholar in 2011, American Indian Services, Office of Navajo Nation Student Financial Assistance (ONNSFA), and Teec Nos Pos Student Chapter Financial Assistance. She is a four time POINT Foundation Semifinalist and continues to apply to one day become a POINT Scholar.
Trudie’s journey as an American Indian transgender women by walking in Two Worlds has been challenging, but has always followed her motto: determination, motivation, perseverance, and resilience.
Trudie is a candidate in the Navajo Nation Presidential election as the first Navajo transgender women running for the highest office of the Navajo Nation. She has continued to break down barriers by being an inspiration to all transgender people.