Who We Are

The Seattle LGBTQ Commission consists of 21 representative residents of Seattle appointed to serve in an advisory capacity to the Mayor, City Council, Seattle Office for Civil Rights, and other Seattle City departments. Eight commissioners are appointed by the Mayor, eight appointments are made by the City Council, and the Commission appoints four members. Commissioners are appointed to a two year term of office and serve without pay. The 21st member joins the Commission each year through Get Engaged, a leadership development program for 18-29 year olds.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights provides staff and support to the Commission.


Meet Our Commissioners

Photo by Nate Gowdy

Chris Brown

Member
Appointed by: Mayor

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Currently my work is concentrated on Diversity Equity and Inclusion in the private and government sectors. In addition I work with Finance companies managing their books of business. A large portion of my day is committed to concentrating on internal processes around client retention and acquisition. 

Previously I was with American Express helping to lead their quality assurance teams. My professional history also includes Director level positions with iHeartRadio and Intercontinental Hotels Group. My banking and finance background includes time with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and American Express and Prudential. 

In my spare time, I volunteer on the campaign committee of the Pacific Northwest Victory Fund, Fighting for the Majority and am a Commissioner on the LGBTQ Commission for the City of Seattle as a Mayoral Appointee. My partner and I actively support organizations like The GSBA, GLSEN, HRC, Diverse Harmony, Seattle Men's and Women's Chorus among many other LGBTQ+ organizations.

My outside hobbies include traveling throughout North America, playing tennis, jumping in the swimming pool at every opportunity and snowboarding the slopes in Whistler, BC. If I could retire anywhere it would be on a beach sipping an ice cold beverage in Puerto Vallarta.  

Lindsay Church

Lindsay Church

Member
Appointed by: Mayor

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Lindsay is a Navy veteran who served from 2008-2012 as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive (Linguist). During her time in the service, she attended language school at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where she learned Persian-Farsi. After spending two years at a cyber intelligence command, she left the Navy and returned home to Seattle.

Upon returning home, Lindsay attended the University of Washington where she earned her BA in Near Eastern Language and Civilization and Islamic Studies and an MA in International Studies - Middle East. After grad school, Lindsay began to work with veterans, helping them successfully transition to higher education and on to meaningful employment. Through her work, she noticed that there were many people being left out of the narrative of the U.S. military veteran.

In 2017, Lindsay resigned her position as the Commander of an American Legion post to, along with Katherine Pratt, start the Minority Veterans of America to ensure that there is a community of support around the underrepresented veterans so that we may see the true diversity of the U.S. military reflected in our veteran communities.

Ely Hernandez

Member
Appointed by: City Council

Lauren Boling

Member
Appointed by: Commission

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Lauren is inquisitive by nature, always asking questions and constantly saying, 'Let's Google it'. That curiosity led her from a small town in Southwest Virginia to Seattle, Washington. Through studies and travel, Lauren became enamored with the complexity of planning and developing cities. In her career she works to engage diverse audiences, and is a passionate advocate for individuals having a sustained impact on their local community.

Lauren embraces being an out and proud queer woman and strives to leverage her privilege to engage diverse audiences in decision-making processes. She loves living in a large progressive city, but recognizes the fight for justice here in Seattle is not nearly complete. Lauren resides in Capitol Hill with her partner, and in her downtime can be found napping in her hammock or at the dog park with her dogs Oliver and Gertrude. 

Michael Garrett

Michael Garrett

Member
Appointed by: Council

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Michael Garrett is a lifelong Washingtonian who has lived in the Eastlake District of Seattle since 1980. Michael has expertise in healthcare quality, care management, health and disability benefits, and care delivery models. He has worked in the healthcare field his entire career by working with a broad range of health and disability benefit programs with providers and payers in both private and public sectors. With a lesbian couple, Michael co-parented an adult child who identifies as LGBTQ. Michael hopes to provide insights and representation of LGBTQ parents and elders through his work with the Seattle LGBTQ Commission. He also hopes to promote improvements for the LGBTQ community in the access to and experience of healthcare. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Gonzaga University and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from the University of Idaho. He is board certified in case management, vocational evaluation, and patient advocacy.

Byram Simpson

Co-Chair
Appointed by: City Council

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Byram identifies as a queer non-binary trans British expatriate, holding Permanent Residency in the United States. They recognize the European, white privilege that created their pathway for residency and hope to use their voice wisely to elevate rather than speak over the voices of other marginalized people.

They have been an LGBTQ activist/advocate for 15 years, beginning in middle school as a Gay Straight Alliance member in a Midwest school district. Byram's advocacy focus broadened throughout school to include all marginalized peoples, across cultures and borders.

They obtained their Bachelor of Social Work degree from Grand Valley State University, where they focused on multicultural affairs and interpersonal relationships. They served as Education Chair and President of one of the school's queer organizations, and through that role facilitated training opportunities within queer and non-queer communities with a particular focus on preparing service professionals for interacting with LGBTQ students, patients and clients in an affirming and non-harmful way.

Through this role, they were able to connect with other cultural student groups such as the Black Student Union, Latino Student Union and Muslim Student Association to build alliances around different but intersecting experiences of oppression. Here, they also participated in action against police brutality, war, and the race-based discrimination of Latinx immigrants in the US.

After school they began their career at the Eating Recovery Center of Washington, where they worked for 4 years and began to incorporate disability justice, body positivity and bodily autonomy/consent into their activist framework and study the generational and ongoing trauma of marginalization.In their professional life, they have worked to create opportunities with individual clients, staff and groups to connect personal experiences to systemic barriers and marginalization and to understand the impact of power and privilege on everyday life.

They currently work as a Program Manager within YouthCare to meet the needs of vulnerable youth experiencing homelessness, which disproportionately impacts people of color and queer people, with an agency wide goal of eliminating the institutional causes of youth homelessness in King County and beyond.   As a member of the LGBTQ Commission, they hope to continue building alliances with folks impacted by different oppressions in order to present a united front and build a community and government which works for and with the people most impacted by its policies.    

portrait of Sabel in short cropped hair and smiling

Sabel Roizen

Member
Appointed by: LGBTQ Commission

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Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sabel comes to Seattle via a brief residency in Edinburgh, Scotland. As an artist, they are inexorably fascinated by the way photographic technologies allow humans to visualize what the organic eye cannot synthesize on its own; as a queer and non-binary person who loves art that pushes limits, they have been involved in the technical production of drag shows since 2013. Sabel hopes to improve recognition and representation of non-binary and trans individuals with their photography and videography skills. You can often find them at dog parks throughout the city with Fievol, their seventy-pound retriever mix.

Latosha Correll

Latosha Correll

Member
Appointed by: Mayor

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Latosha (or "Tosha", as her friends call her) is passionate about building community through the arts as well as creating and supporting sustainable, positive and innovative solutions to issues facing LGBTQ+ community members and their families.

Prior to moving to Seattle, Latosha grew up in a military family and traveled the country meeting and learning from people all over the world. Born in Philadelphia, she settled in Seattle as a young adult, calling it her forever home after feeling embraced by its LGBTQ+ community.

Over the decades, Latosha has advocated for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility by walking in the Pride Parade with various organizations she has worked with such as Verizon Wireless and volunteering her time with non-profits such as Equal Rights Washington, Seattle AIDS Support Group and Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

In 2016, Latosha co-founded Mistresspiece Theater, a LGBTQ-centered community performing arts organization focused on supporting women and the LGBTQ community with opportunities in all theater disciplines. 

Deepa

Deepa Sivarajan

Member
Appointed by: City Council

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Deepa is queer South Asian-American woman, born and raised in West Seattle. She currently works for EnviroIssues, specializing in public outreach and communications consulting for local governments. Deepa has a Master's in climate change studies, and she has previously worked as an organizer for electoral and environmental campaigns in the Puget Sound region. She is passionate about environmental justice, which aims to address the disproportionate effect of environmental degradation on communities of color and low-income communities. Deepa envisions a bigger role for environmental justice advocacy in queer and trans activist spaces, centering the voices and needs of QTPOC. She hopes that her work with the commission will further her interest in integrating EJ perspectives into policy, particularly in making recommendations on homelessness, displacement, and LGBTQ community spaces.

Kari A. Lerum

Member
Appointed by: Commission

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Kari A. Lerum, Ph.D, is Associate Professor at the University of Washington Bothell. Kari's research, scholarship, and teaching focuses on social inequality through the lens of sexuality, gender, race, culture, and power. Her work has included a coalition of sex work and human rights activists who influenced the Obama-run state department to recognize a UN recommendation to address violence against LGBTQ individuals and individuals in the sex trade. In her professional writing and speaking she has advocated for social justice approaches to both sex work and human trafficking policies, highlighting linkages between sexual, gender, racial, immigration, and economic rights and justice. She also examines the role of media in the production of social inequality and justice, particularly in the area of sexuality. At UWB and UWS she has also been active in efforts to provide more comprehensive anti-sexual and gender violence training as well as better support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Jessi Murray

Jessi Murray

Co-Chair
Appointed by: Commission

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Jessi Murray has been a community activist, leader, and volunteer for more than half of her life, particularly in the realms of reproductive justice and LGBTQ advocacy. She works as a technical program manager and UX designer on open-source software for accelerating cancer and HIV research. Overall, she strives to make the world a better place to live for everyone, through technology, advocacy, and community.

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Julia Ikaura Ricciardi

Member
Appointed by: City Council

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Julia is an educator, artist and queer womxn. She's committed to creating a world that works for everyone. Currently, she works as the Program Manager for Highest Awards at Girl Scouts of Western Washington, empowering teens to design and implement sustainable community projects. She has lived and worked all across the country--including New Jersey, Hawai'i, Illinois, Iowa and a number of other places. She attended high school in the Central District at an alternative school called The Nova Project. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Knox College, focused in education and studio art. In her professional roles, she has focused a lot of energy on developing curriculum and facilitating conversations about social justice and inclusion for both youth and adults. Through her varied experiences, she's developed a passion for solving old problems in new ways.

Katrina Sanford

Co-Chair
Appointed by: Mayor

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Dr. Katrina Sanford is a Psychotherapist with a PsyD in Clinical Psychology and a specialization in Sex Therapy. As a trauma informed therapist, she uses her knowledge in psychology to challenge social injustice for her clients and community, particularly racially induced inequities. In her private practice, Katrina treats couples and individuals with sexual health difficulties, relationship issues, life transitions, alternative lifestyles/relationships (polyamory/non-monogamy,) members of the LGBTQ community, anxiety, mood disorders, womyn's issues, gender identity struggles, and trauma, including different forms of abuse. Katrina is also the Executive Director of Earth Pearl Collective, a queer black womyn nonprofit organization dedicated to healing their community through creative collaborations and she Sapphic Roots, providing womyn who love womyn workshops and retreats to increase healthy relationship dynamics.

Joseph Suttner

Member
Appointed by: City Council

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Joseph Suttner is a lifelong Washingtonian who has lived in Seattle since 2013. He is a proud Gonzaga alum and currently works as a producer at KING5's talk show New Day Northwest. Through his experience growing up gay and multiracial, Joseph learned to strongly value and embrace diversity. As a journalist, he's worked to tell the stories of people from all walks of life in our community. Joseph hopes to expand the reach and visibility of the Seattle LGBTQ Commission's important work with his communication and social media skills. He lives with his boyfriend and cat in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Manuel Venegas

Manuel Venegas

Member
Appointed by: Mayor

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Manuel Venegas is an HIV-positive, first generation Mexican-American, gay community advocate in the HIV & AIDS field. Ranging from local community-level work to national-level ambassadorship in the field, he is a member of the defeat HIV Community Advisory Board at Fred Hutch. He educates the community about the HIV cure research at Fred Hutch, raises awareness of HIV criminalization, and elder needs for healthcare reform. He also advocates for youth in San Francisco as a Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholar at the National AIDS Memorial Grove.

Manuel has been active in advocacy at the collegiate level for the last three years, primarily advocating on Trans rights issues pertaining to safety as well as creating safe places for LGBTQ student advocates to move administration to address issues on student government bodies. Manuel is a Washingtonian, who was born and raised in Moses Lake and enjoys track and field, tennis, and sailing the waters of the Puget Sound.