As of March 2013, LGBT-FAN established a formal membership model and elected a Steering Committee. If you wish to become a Network member, as an individual or representative of an organization, please visit this page.
National Coordinator: Greyson Conant Brooks
Grey is a queer cisman who lives with his husband in Brooklyn, New York. Grey loves riding his bike, cooking, hiking, camping, swimming, and gardening. Grey is a sociocultural anthropologist who specializes in international development; much of his fieldwork has been with disenfranchised/vulnerable populations in northeast US and with NGOs in East Africa. Grey is Co-Founder, Lead Researcher and Project Manager of Better Together NYC, a regional coalition to improve the quality of and access to services to the LGBTIQ asylum community in New York City.
Secretary: Emanuel (Mani) Mejia Lopez
Emanuel is a Mexican queer living in North Carolina after winning asylum status in 2015. Emanuel, has been a volunteer for many years and is always looking for more opportunities to better advocate and serve the LGBT as well as the immigrant community in general. Emanuel co-founded The Red Ribbon Society, social group which provides a safe space for HIV positive individuals. Emanuel will be enrolling at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Fall 2016 to major in Biology and is seeking to pursue the healthcare field.
Communications Director: Brie Scolaro
Brieanna Scolaro, LMSW is committed to advancing mental health and human rights priorities through community building and intentional communication. Her background in program management includes both for and non-profit settings, such as LGBT advocacy in the United Nations community. She received her graduate degree from Columbia University and BA in Psychology from the University of Delaware. In addition to her role at LGBT-FAN, she is the Assistant Director of Community Relations at Behavioral Associates, an outpatient mental health facility in New York City.
Treasurer: Eric Scharf
Eric is President of Kelsey Consulting, focused on assisting nonprofit organizations with issues of business process improvement and governance. He has more than thirty years of experience in association management and a background in health policy and human rights advocacy. Eric serves as Vice Chair of Center Global, a program of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, that provides a variety of services to LGBT asylum seekers who have arrived in the Washington, DC area.
Member at Large: Rochelle A. Fortier Nwadibia
Rochelle is an International Human Rights Attorney, representing asylum seekers and migrants before US appellate courts and the Department of Homeland Security. She has experience advising higher education leadership on governance and policy, and litigating equal pay, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination cases. Rochelle also litigated Mohammed v. Gonzales, an asylum case that has been recognized by the US Congressional Research Service as the leading case in the US on Female Genital Mutilation. She has served on a number of boards and steering committees, including the Missouri Commission for Human Rights, No Bully, the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco, the AIDS Legal Referral Panel of San Francisco and the First Unitarian Universalist Association of San Francisco, Guardian Group. Rochelle is a graduate of Washington University School of Law, Columbia University School of International Affairs, California State University East Bay and Skyline College.
Member at Large: Thomas “TJ” Rogers
TJ started at Freedom House Detroit in 2011 and presently serves as Program Manager, where he is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the organization. Specific duties include administrative tasks, program development, case management and event planning. Passionate about advocacy and with over four years of firsthand experience providing direct services to asylum seekers, TJ works to generate awareness about the plight and courage of asylum seekers while encouraging individuals and organizations to increase their support. In Spring 2015, TJ was featured as one of five LGBT Detroiters in Pride Source, Michigan’s LGBT Magazine, for his efforts to bridge the gap between the U.S. LGBT community and LGBT asylum seeker/asylee community. He is also a proud member of Amnesty International.
Member At Large: Ana Volkova
Ana Volkova holds a masters degree in economics and worked in her home country, Russia, until 2013, when the anti-propaganda law was passed. In the U.S., Anastasia worked for twelve-hour days in the service industry during the eighteen months it took for her asylum application to be processed. Now an asylee, she is one of the authors of LGBT-FAN’s best practice and resource guide, “Stronger Together;” her work focused on layout and design. Ana is now in marketing again and step-by-step she rebuilds her life.
Member At Large: Dennis Akpona Ojiyoma
Dennis is a LGBTQ activist originally from Nigeria. He was granted asylum in 2014, after he fled persecution faced as a gay man. After receiving his bachelor degree from Lagos State University, Dennis worked for seven years in the Nigerian nonprofit sector for organizations including Journalists Against AIDS, Initiative for Equal Rights and Population Council. Since arriving in the U.S., Dennis has continued working for, and on behalf of LGBTQ individuals. He volunteered and worked for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and was a co-founder of Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program (CLASP). Knowing first-hand the difficulty arriving asylum seekers face and the lack of resources available to them, Dennis co-founded CLASP to assist LGBT asylum seekers while they await the long and complicated process of applying for asylum. He is currently pursuing a second degree, in Social Work, at the Northeastern Illinois University, and works for the Reconciling Ministry Network. As RMN African Central Conferences Coordinator, his main responsibility is bridging the gap between LGBTQI people and religious leaders in Africa.
Member At Large: Siobhan McGuirk
Siobhan is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at American University where she also works as an Instructor and Research Assistant. She has worked with people seeking asylum since 2008, both in the US and in the UK and carried out extensive ethnographic research with LGBTQ asylum seekers and asylees across the US. During this time she has worked with numerous NGOs to provide and strengthen services to asylum seekers and with various grassroots activist groups seeking to correct the pernicious border enforcement, detention, and deportation regimes of North America and Europe. Siobhan also works as a Commissioning Editor for Red Pepper magazine (UK) and as a freelance filmmaker.
Member At Large: John Ademola Adewoye
John is a Nigerian/American LGBTI activist and the founder of Center for Integration and Courageous Living (CiCLIV). He secured his legal stay in USA through asylum in 2008. Since then, he has dedicated his life to welcoming LGBTI asylum seekers to Chicago area. He has maintained a steady flow of at least three asylum seekers annually in his house. John is the Chairman of Board of Directors of Queer Alliance, a member of Solidarity Alliance (a coalition of Nigerian gay organizations and activists working to repeal the same-sex marriage prohibition law in Nigeria.) John graduated from SS. Peter and Paul Major Seminary Bodija Ibadan in 1987 and received his Master of Social Work from Chicago State University, May 2006. John lives in Riverdale, Illinois with his husband, John Adebayo.
Non-Steering Committee Roles
Steering Committee Coordinator Emeritus and Advisor: Max Niedzwiecki (non-voting)
Max Niedzwiecki is the Principal of Daylight Consulting Group, which provides writing, fundraising, research, and other services to nonprofit organizations and foundations. Much of his work has focused on refugees, asylum seekers, and LGBT people, and he was one of the co-founders of the LGBT Freedom and Asylum Network and the Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program (CLASP). He holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Boston University, and lives in New Orleans.
Social Media Coordinator: Ernesto Zelayandia
Ernesto is a Salvadoran Lawyer and human rights advocate. He earned a Bachelor´s Degree of Law from the Jose Simeon Canas University of Central America in 2011. After graduation, he volunteered with El Salvador’s first LGBT legal “ALDES” clinic which inspired him to pursue a career in Human Rights advocacy. Ernesto has over four years of experience in the nonprofit sector both nationally and internationally. In 2015, he was selected a fellow for the prestigious Atlas Corps Program for emerging global leaders and served for a year at The Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBT equality in the United States. Ernesto currently lives in El Salvador and wants to pursue a career in international human rights law.
Web Manager: JJ Hartmann
JJ Hartmann is a web developer and designer in New York City. JJ currently works as the Web Manager at Lambda Legal, a LGBT nonprofit, and in the past has worked as a web designer for a renewable energy solutions provider. When he isn’t trying to make the internet a more beautiful place, JJ is playing volleyball, brewing beer, or visiting a National Park.
Affiliated Groups and Members
Note: While decision-makers representing the organizations listed below have engaged with the Network, only those starred are formal members of LGBT-FAN.
Grassroots faith and community groups such as the the Center Clobal at the DC Center for the LGBT Community*, Freedom House Detroit*, the LGBT Asylum Support Task Force in Worcester, MA, the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, the Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church in New York City, Better Together NYC*, First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, Guardian Group, Lambda Legal*, Sex Workers Project – Urban Justice*, The Center for Courageous and Integrated Living, and the Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program (CLASP)*.
National faith networks with a special interest in LGBT populations such as Believe Out Loud (interdenominational Christian), Dignity USA (Roman Catholic Church), the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, the Freedom Center for Social Justice, the Global Justice Institute of Metropolitan Community Churches, the Interfaith Working Group, Keshet, the Queer Muslim Working Group, ReconcilingWorks (Lutheran churches), St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, Transfaith Online, the Unitarian Universalist Association United Nations Office, and the United Church of Christ (UCC) Coalition for LGBT Concerns
National and international immigration policy and service organizations with a focus on LGBT people and faith including the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM), Heartland Alliance International and the Rainbow Welcome Initiative, The Center for American Progress*, The Human Rights Campaign, The National LGBT Taskforce, and Alturi
National LGBT rights organizations with a focus on faith, such as GLAAD’s Religion, Faith and Values Program, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Religion and Faith Program, and the Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)