May 2021 • 8th Annual Conference and the Queer & Trans Affirming Professional Certification Program
Ricardo Martinez, CEO, Equality Texas
Ricardo (he/him) is a first generation immigrant from Mexico who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He was honored by the Obama Administration as an emerging LGBTQ Leader in 2012 and recently awarded the Stony Brook University’s 40 Under 40 award for the impact he has had in Civil Service and Activism. Ricardo has also received an award from One N Ten, a Phoenix-based organization that helps LGBTQ youth with self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development, and healthy life choices, after dancing in the 2019 Dancing with One N Ten event. Ricardo amassed seventeen years of experience with organizations like PENCIL, Summer Search, GLSEN, and Stand for Children.
Traci Medeiros-Bagan, LMFT
Traci (she/they) identifies as a queer vegetarian femme-inist of color, and sometimesas a closeted introverted activist. She has aa Bachelor of Arts in Critical Gender Studies with a Focus in Sexuality from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University, Orange County. Traci is a CA Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Co-Director and Owner of Gather & Grow OC; a group practice offering counseling, education, and wellness services. Along with her clinical training in Mental Health, she is also a trauma informed and therapeutically focused Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher.
Erin Ebert, LCSW
Erin (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, Texas. She received her Masters of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is currently pursing a Graduate Certificate in LGBT Health Policy & Practice at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. In Erin's professional life, she maintains a private therapy practice in Austin, Texas, working with folx with experiencing eating disorders, body image distress, as well as working with the LGBTQ+ community. Erin is committed to providing workshops and continuing education to her peers--especially about Health at Every Size, and size diversity. She is excited to be a part of the QTAP instructor and consultant team, and can't wait to see what this adventure will bring. In her downtime, she loves spending time with her partner, pups, and on her peloton.
Faith Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN
Faith (she/her) is a bad-ass, funny lady with a PhD. She’s a licensed professional counselor, board supervisor, certified sexologist, and applied clinical nutritionist with a private practice and consulting business in San Antonio, TX. She has been an adjunct professor and a TEDx presenter, and proudly identifies as a woman of color and uppity intersectional feminist. She is the author of the book Unf*ck Your Brain and many other popular zines and books on subjects such as anxiety, depression, and grief. She is available as a public speaker and for corporate and clinical trainings.
Rev. Christina Wisdom, JD, MSF
Christina (she/her) is a spiritual director/companion in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After practicing corporate law for over a decade, she enrolled in seminary so she could wrestle with God and her notion of God in a guided space. During her time at seminary, Christina fell in love with the mystics and other faith traditions that expanded her view of who God is in her life and in the world. An active member of 12-step recovery for over 10 years, Christina particularly enjoys working with women, helping them find healing in their lives. She spent three years as a volunteer facilitator with Truth-Be-Told, a non-profit that works with incarcerated women teaching them how to write and tell their own stories. Christina holds a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation from the Seminary of the Southwest and a law degree from the University of Texas. She is an ordained minister at Journey Imperfect Faith Community in Austin, Texas. Christina is married to Rick Diamond. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, fishing, reading, working with textiles, and spending time with Emmy the cat and Heidi the dog.
Kristel (she/they) is an award-winning marketer with over 15 years of success working with a diverse selection of brands, including digital influencers, sexuality educators, therapists, and multimillion dollar corporations. As the 2021 XBIZ Industry Exec “Community Figure of the Year” Award winner, Why also runs boutique Marketing and PR firm, Ikigai Marketing, where she helps companies identify and cultivate their own unique “ikigai” (translation: reason for being) to create a framework for sustainable success. Why has spoken at numerous conferences across the country and currently does a popular workshop helping sex workers find competent and affirming therapists. As an MA in Psychology student, Why understands the unique ethical responsibilities mental health professionals must uphold in the current digital landscape. She uses her professional experience and academic background to help therapists target their ideal client base, produce authentic content for brand recognition, and ethically navigate the responsibilities of being a public figure in a multicultural world. In 2020, Why started Sad But Rad Club, a digital project to change the narrative of mental health where she creates viral content on Tiktok. For more information, visit KristelWhy.com or SadButRadClub.com.
Ty David Lerman, LPC-S, CST
Ty (he/him) is a current PhD candidate in Clinical Sexology, with specialty in non-traditional (open, polyam, kink) relationships at the International Institute of Clinical Sexology. With experience in both private practice and agency work, he has an expansive clinical practice, with an emphasis on Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities (GSRMs) and anxiety. Ty is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, a Certified Sex Therapist (IICS) and hypnotherapist. He serves as Director of Instruction for the Queer and Transgender Affirming Professionals (QTAP) certification offered by The Conference On Contemporary Relationships, where he also sits on the advisory board. His public speaking engagements include the Washington Post, Refinery29, the Fulbright Commission in Cairo, Egypt; The Jung Center (Houston, TX); multiple college institutes, high schools and community centers. He has made multiple appearances on the “Great Day Houston” show with Deborah Duncan, news spots on ABC, NBC, and KHOU TV stations, and numerous shows on the KPFT 90.1 radio station. He was awarded “Best Male Mental Health Therapist” by OutSmart Magazine’s Readers Choice Awards in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Ty is married and father of three Australian Shepherds, holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, has sung and stage managed professionally, and is proud to have referred to as “the orchid whisperer”.
Christopher Scott, PhD
Christopher (he/him) is a counseling psychologist in private practice in the Houston area. His practice focuses primarily on helping people improve their relationships and works with a diverse clientele. Dr. Scott became a Certified Gottman Therapist in 2019 and currently enrolled in the AASECT sex therapy certification program through the Sexual Health Alliance. Dr. Scott was licensed as a psychologist in North Carolina in 2007 (license retired) and in Texas since 2009.
Amy (she/her/they) is a queer christian living and working in Austin, TX. She is passionate about how empathy, the body, and faith intersect to bring about healing in the world. As a current covenant member and former staff member at her church, Vox Veniae, Amy helped to inform the community's process of discernment around hospitality and sexual diversity. She is the current Board Vice President and Secretary of The Human Empathy Project and works in Human Resources at the University of Texas at Austin.
Lauren Spalding, LMFT, LPC-I
Lauren (she/her/hers) is an LGBTQIA+ ally and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counseling Intern practicing in Austin, Texas. She lives in Leander, TX with her husband, daughter, and aussiedoodles. Lauren earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Counseling at St. Edward’s University. She enjoys working with people who are overcoming trauma (IFS and EMDR Trained), and has a passion for helping those who have suffered from spiritual trauma including those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and Christian. She is currently serving on the Board of The Human Empathy Project (http://www.thehumanempathyproject.com/), a nonprofit in Austin, Texas dedicated to fostering empathetic connection around matters of Christian faith, gender, and sexual diversity through confidential consultations and resources.
Jeff Lutes, LPC
Jeff (he/him) has been in private practice for 32 years and is the founder and Executive Director of The Conference On Contemporary Relationships, which hosts the annual conference as well as the Queer and Trans Affirming Professional (QTAP) Certification Program. He produced the Q Marriage Mentors podcast, featuring conversations with remarkable LGBTQ couples. He is the co-author of two chapters in Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQI+ People (American Counseling Association, 2017), a chapter in the Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy (Routledge 2012), and author of Okin the Panda Bear Finds His Family - a children's book about family diversity (Creative House Press, 2011). His articles about LGBTQ relationships and families have appeared on The Bilerico Project and Therapy Matters. He has presented at the conferences of the American Family Therapy Academy, the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, the American Counseling Association, and the Texas Psychological Association. The former Executive Director of Soulforce; Jeff has spoken at universities, churches, and rallies around the country, and his social justice efforts have been covered by numerous media outlets, including NPR and CNN.
Marisa Cohen, PhD
Marisa (she/her) is a relationship researcher and coach, and teaches college-level psychology courses. She is the author of From First Kiss to Forever: A Scientific Approach to Love, a book that relates relationship science research to everyday experiences and real relationship issues confronted by couples. She is also the author of Finding Love: The Scientific Take, a Psychology Today blog and Love Lessons, a Long Island Weekly newspaper column. She is passionate about discovering and sharing important research from the field, and has given guest lectures at the 92nd Street Y, Strand Bookstore, New York Hall of Science, and many other locations. She has also appeared in segments for Newsweek and is the subject of a piece focusing on her work, which aired on BRIC TV. For more information about Dr. Cohen and her work, please visit www.marisatcohen.com.
Alan Johnson, PsyD
Alan (he/him) is a clinical psychologist employed at the Weight Wellness program at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He earned his doctorate from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Illinois and completed his internship and fellowship at Santé Center for Healing, a residential treatment center in Denton, Texas. He has trained and been employed in varied settings, which include outpatient substance abuse programs, college counseling centers, nursing homes, and private practice. While employed in private practice, Dr. Johnson prioritized providing services to the LGBTQ+ community, nonmonogamous clients, and the kink community. Dr. Johnson’s personal interests include baking, traveling, and watching horror films.
Andrea Washington, LCSW-S, CSAT, CDWF
Andrea (she/her) provides therapeutic counseling to individuals with substance use or mental health disorders and their families. Her specialization as a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) allows her to work with people struggling with problematic or compulsive sexual behavior. Her work focuses on family of origin issues and the part they play in other relationships throughout life. Andrea has been a presenter at SAMHSA’s national conferences. She was also sole clinical/practice consultant to CSWE and SAMHSA in the development of an integrated primary care behavioral health practicum curriculum used by many graduate social work programs. Outside of work, Andrea enjoys attending festivals, the zoo, and museums. She loves poetry readings, books, volunteering, creating zentangles, and spending time with friends and family.
Rev. Rick Diamond, D.Min
Rick (he/him) holds a B.A. and M. A. in English from Baylor University. He was an award-winning Instructor of English for ten years before being ordained a United Methodist minister in 1996. He earned his Doctor of Ministry from Drew University in 2001. Dr. Diamond served as a pastor at traditional churches in East Texas and Austin, Texas, and then became the founding pastor of Journey Imperfect Faith Community in Austin, an emergent experiment in radically inclusive and open-source post-religious church, where he served for 16 years. He has led hundreds of workshops, retreats, seminars, and classes, with expertise in men’s spirituality, 21st century church models, spiritual formation, and more. Dr. Diamond serves as an adjunct faculty member in Drew University’s Theological School and Austin Presbyterian Theological School; he is also a professor at Northwind Seminary. His book Wrestling With God was first on the Borders Books’ Best of 2004 Religion and Spirituality list. He is also the host of the podcast Rick and Jesus Knock Shit Over. He is married to Christina Wisdom; they live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Rick likes to read, fish, hike, draw, daydream, and cause good trouble.
Susan Kaye, PhD
Susan (she/her) is a sexual wellbeing specialist with a PhD in Human Sexuality, and she has 30 years of experience as a somatic practitioner. She has expertise as a tantra teacher, bodywork practitioner, massage therapist, and yoga instructor. She also has 20 years of working in the sexual health field as a Sexologist, Sex Coach and Sex Educator. These combined years of bringing body and sex positive teachings to all diversities, has required multiple leaps of faith, explanations at family dinners and yes, hopping on many lily pads to become both a trained bodywork therapist as well as a clinical counselor and coach. She believes in offering clients total mind body wellness by connecting them with talk therapists as well as somatic experts to help them embody the healing they are seeking.
Rae, Stegall, BS, Certified Sex Coach
Rae (they/them) is a trans-non-binary Transformational Guide and Certified Sex Coach™ @Golden RAE Coaching, located in Austin Texas. Rae has been a successful Scientific Evidence Specialist for a decade with prominent corporate medical device companies. After graduating from Texas A&M as a marine biologist, they expanded into the biomedical realm of neural stem cell research and then infectious disease & vaccine R&D. Currently specializing in GSRD -gender, sexuality, and relationship diversity- LGBTQ+ and finding the Authenticity in relationship with Yourself first, so then you can be truly closer with others and your soul's purpose. Golden-Rae.com And Team Member of Integrative Mind-Body Therapies: imbtinternational.com
Caleb Matthews, LPC, LMFT
Caleb (he/him) is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in Austin, Texas. He is also the current Board President of The Human Empathy Project (http://www.thehumanempathyproject.com/), a nonprofit in Austin, Texas dedicated to fostering empathetic connection around matters of Christian faith, gender, and sexual diversity through confidential consultations and resources. Caleb earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Texas A&M University and his Master of Arts in Counseling at St. Edward’s University. He specializes in counseling work related to the LGBTQIA community, trauma (EMDR Certified), and couples/families.
Brenna Ansley, LMFT-A, LPC-I
Brenna (she/her) is a sex, trauma and relationship therapist based in the Austin area. Brenna is passionate about working with clients that are LGBTQ+, in more than monogamous relationships and practice alternative sexuality and lifestyles. She is currently working towards AASECT and EMDR certification.
Julie Burke, LPC
Julie (she/her) is a therapist based in Austin, Texas. Julie helps people explore authenticity, vulnerability, and connection. She has extensive experience in working with youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Starting as a tutor for an adolescent with autism in her Sophomore year in college sparked a passion that led Julie to work in-home with special needs adults and graduate school where she achieved her Master's Degree in mental health counseling and becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Texas.
Joseph (he/him) is a peer recovery coach and certified sex educator as well as a person in long term recovery. He works at RecoveryATX, a peer support organization providing assistance with a focus on person-centered recovery, openness to multiple pathways, and harm reduction. RecoveryATX serves central Texas, including Austin, San Antonio, and the hill country. Joe is an author, political researcher, screenwriter, and playwright. More information can be found at joegreenjfk.com.
Vagdevi Meunier, PsyD
Vagdevi (she/her) is a licensed psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at The University of Texas. She has a private clinical and consulting practice in Austin where she specializes in relationship therapy, intensives, and retreats, professional training and supervision, and organizational consultation. Vagdevi has extensive experience with multicultural psychology, especially eastern influences on psychological practice, and cross-cultural research on relationships. She has over 30 years of experience as a therapist, consultant, and educator. Vagdevi has been a certified Gottman Couples Therapist and workshop leader since 2006. As a Master professional trainer for the Gottman Institute, Vagdevi has presented workshops and retreats to professional and lay audiences in the US and abroad. Vagdevi incorporates mindfulness, relational neuroscience, and positive psychology into her presentations on relationships, and has published several book chapters and articles on the Gottman method of couples therapy. She is passionate about helping individuals, partners, teams, and organizations develop flourishing and authentic relationships to self and others. She is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Relationships (http://www.thecenter4relationships.com) as well as the founder and President of Sukha International, Inc, (http://www.sukhainternational.com).