Meet Our Presenters
Jeff Lutes, LPC, QTAP
Jeff (he/him) has been in private practice for 34 years and is the Executive Director of The Conference on Contemporary Relationships, which hosts the annual conference and the Queer and Trans Affirming Professional (QTAP) certification program. He is the author of a chapter in the Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy (2nd Edition, Routledge, 2022; 1st Edition, Routledge 2012), two chapters in Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQI+ People (American Counseling Association, 2017), and 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. His new book, Trailblazers In Love, is set for publication later this year and will feature conversations with queer couples together 20+ years. www.jefflutespsychotherapy.com
Shemeka Thorpe, PhD
Shemeka (she/her) is an award-winning sexuality educator and researcher. In 2022, she was listed as one of the top 20 Black sexologists you should follow and was voted #11 sexpert in the nation in 2021 according to PleaseMe. Her research focuses on the sexual well-being of Black women using sex-positive and intimate justice frameworks. She strives to make sex research relevant to Black communities by translating sex science in meaningful and tangible ways.
Nicholas Maio-Aether, MAMFT, MSPSY, LBA, CSC, BCBA
St. Louis, Missouri
Nicholas (he/him) owns Empowered: A Center for Sexuality in St Louis, where he and his occasional teams of partnered Universities' students work to assist humans with and without disabilities achieve sexual access, sexual freedom, gender affirmation, and self-control of compulsive behaviors. Nicholas and his team have worked throughout the US training BCBAs/Behavior Analysts so persons in Individualized Supportive Living (ISL) programs gain access to applicable and generalizable comprehensive sex ed and sexual opportunities. Nicholas provides Sexual Behavior Analysis, and has assisted polycules, kinksters, gay couples, trans and nonbinary humans, among others, on their journeys. Trained by GLSEN in 2003, Nicholas started Gay-Straight Alliances across Alaska while in high school, and provided them sex ed materials and trainings. Nicholas spent five years managing Hustler Hollywood in St Louis before moving into Behavior Analysis, and joined AASECT, where he sits on two committees and is the current Bylaws Chair. He then completed a Sex Therapy practicum under Linda Weiner in 2019 before getting a second Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy, and meeting those hour requirements under Angela Skurtu, along with his LGBTQIA+ Family Systems Specialist certificate in 2021. Nicholas is now Co-Director and Founder of the Certified Behavioral Sexologist (CBS/CBS-C) program.
Ty Lerman, MA, LPC-S, CST, QTAP, CHt
Ty (he/him) began his clinical practice in 2009 after completing his master’s degree at University of Houston Clear Lake. With both private practice and agency experience, he has a breadth of clinical experience in numerous treatment topics, with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ issues, non-traditional relationships (open, polyamorous, and kinky), and anxiety. Ty is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and is certified as a Sex Therapist (CST), a Queer and Transgender Affirming Professional (QTAP), and as a clinical hypnotherapist (CHt). He serves on the board of directors for the QTAP certification, the Contemporary Relationships Conference, and Houston Group Psychotherapy Society (HGPS). His expertise has been sought out by publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health Magazine, and seen on TV on “Great Day Houston” with Deborah Duncan, and various news spots on ABC, NBC, and KHOU. He is honored to be recognized as the “Best Male Mental Health Therapist” by OutSmart Magazine, 2018-2022. Ty is a current PhD candidate in Clinical Sexology at the International Institute of Clinical Sexology. Outside the clinical world, Ty is grateful to have two amazing partners, is father to three Australian Shepherds, and proudly wears the badge, “the orchid whisperer”.
Hannah Wilson, LCPC
Hannah (she/her) began her career working with underserved vulnerable clients in the heart of Seattle. Advocating for harm reduction approaches to addressing addiction, mental health and homelessness through housing first programming. After returning home to big sky country (Montana), she worked as a sex educator from the local Title V clinic. In 2016 began pursuing her clinical work at a Community Health Clinic with an integrative behavioral health model. For the last few years focusing on her private practice, Prickly Peach Sex Therapy, she is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Supervisor and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and trained as a gender and trans affirming therapist with WPATH. Also a partner of Oh Hi Collective that is motivated to offer continuing education for organizations, community and individuals around sexual health. Currently working on her PhD in Clinical Sexology, with a specialty in Kink Conscious Counseling at the International Institute of Clinical Sexology. In her down time you will find her enjoying cake, spending time with her other half, and laughing at her adorable rescue bulldog, Dax. www.ohhicollective.com
Naomi Brown LCSW
San Antonio, Texas
Naomi (she, they) is Chair of the Center-Pride Center San Antonio, Director of Clinical Services and a therapist in private practice. A Licensed Clinical Social worker with years of experience working with marginalized and oppressed queer folx. Rev Naomi is Community Outreach Minister at Metropolitan Community Church , a member of the Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and the Faith and Domestic Violence Coalition. She has recently presented at National Association of Social Workers Conference emphasizing how Covid effected the LGBTQ and Black Community.. Extensive training in Anti Racism, she holds Certification in Diversity Equity and Inclusion from the University of Miami, Naomi is a National Recognized Presenter and Trainer on “Creating Safe Zones for LGBTQI folx”. “Using Cis Privilege to be a Trans Ally’ and Trauma Informed Care for BIPOC folx Naomi has taught Safe Zone training to over 3,000 participants including quarterly training with the San Antonio Police Department. Naomi worked at Nationally Recognized (SAGE) trainer and is a Alzheimer Caregiver Support Group Facilitator specializing in LGBTQ audiences. Naomi has a passion for Spoken Word sheCo-Founded the Pride Center’s Queer Voices. She runs groups on Spoken Word is a Yoga & Meditation Teacher . A published Poet married to her College sweetheart.
Eli Trumpy, LISW, LCSW
Mx Eli (they/them), is a non-binary Queer Leather switch. For the last decade they have volunteered as an educator, public speaker, emcee, and passionate advocate for wholehearted living in alternative sexuality communities across the country. They graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Plan II Honors, University of Texas at Austin (2005) and a Master of Science in Social Work, University of Texas at Austin (2009). They are a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (2020) and earned a certificate of specialization in gerontology through Johns Hopkins University (2008). Their therapeutic areas of specialization include anxiety, depression, grief and loss, PTSD, LGBTQIA+ related, chronic illness, and relationships. After living in Central Texas for the last 20 years, Eli recently moved to Des Moines, Iowa where they have now opened a private counseling practice serving both Iowans and Texans via telehealth. More information about their work can be found at www.elitrumpycounseling.com.
Rahim Thawer, MSW
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Rahim (he/him) works as a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, facilitator and public speaker, sessional lecturer, writer, and community organizer. He has had a strong presence in Canada’s LGBTQ community since he began working in the HIV/AIDS sector in 2008. Rahim strives to operate from a harm reduction, sex- positive, anti-oppressive and trauma-informed approach. He was welcomed as an International Visiting Scholar with the South African College for Applied Psychology (SACAP) for the 2021-2022 academic year, and has supervised post-graduate counselling students and taught as a lecturer at multiple universities in Canada. He’s an appointed Fellow at the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto for his contributions to the field of sexuality. Rahim was a co-founder of Ismaili Queers and has dedicated almost 10 years to community organizing with Salaam Canada, a national volunteer-run LGBTQ Muslim organization. He was also a co-editor and contributor in an anthology entitled Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer (shortlisted for the 2017 Toronto Book Awards). He's currently working on a book called SEEKING: Stories from a gay therapist making sense of connection and relationships to be published by Thornapple Press, and hosts a video podcast called The CBT Dive.
José Avilés-Acosta, PsyD
José (they/them) is a non-binary licensed Clinical Psychologist in Ohio who works at University of Cincinnati Counseling and Psychological Services. They hold a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Albizu University of Puerto Rico and additional trainings in Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy, Liberation Psychology, Psychodrama, Art Therapy Techniques, and the Gottman Method Couple’s Therapy. Their approach to therapy is grounded in mutuality and collaboration with students. They take a contextual approach informed by Pluralistic approaches and Liberation Psychology with a focus on increasing moments of well-being. They often integrate client’s resources, goals, and knowledge in the therapeutic process. They have interest and have worked with LGBTQIA+ folx, polyamorous folx, mood disorders, anxiety, transitions, relational concerns, boundaries, lifestyle management, sleep hygiene, financial management, emotional regulation, and struggles with connection, among others. Additionally, they have published three collections of poetry, were employed as a hairstylist and beauty advisor for Sally Beauty before becoming a psychologist, and enjoy mopping and cooking. They are from Puerto Rico and have been described as being very energetic, warm, and kind by others. They live with their partner at the moment and wake up before 6 am every day!
Jeni Wahlig, PhD, LMFT
Jeni (she/they) is a transformational relationship coach, licensed couple & family therapist, teacher, author, & public speaker. She identifies as graysexual queer, genderqueer-femme, polyamorous, white, able-bodied, & a parent. Self-proclaimed “relationship nerd,” Jeni has dedicated her career to studying relationships & supporting couples, particularly within the Queer & Trans communities. In partnership with her soulmate, Calvin Osili, Jeni offers critically conscious relationship education & coaching through their business, PowerfuLove. Their mission is to empower couples with the knowledge and skills they need to move beyond struggles & consciously create an extraordinary relationship.
Marla Schreiber - MSW, RSW
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Marla (they/them) is a queer, gender-defiant counsellor and educator who has been practicing polyamory since 2005. They have been providing consensual non-monogamy (CNM) workshops and consulting in academic and professional settings as of 2009. Starting in 2017, their private therapy practice with individuals, couples, and constellations (partnerships of more than two) has centred the experiences of 2SLGBTQIA+ and CNM identities.Much of Marla’s efforts have gone to supporting those directly involved in CNM. In 2018-19, they spearheaded LovePlus Collective, a monthly queer-centred peer support group for those practicing or curious about CNM in Toronto, Canada. Since 2020, much of their efforts have moved online where they offer CNM education as @polyamarla on various social media platforms. Moving forward, as CNM identities and relationships gain attention and popularity, it has become clear that professional awareness and training to work sensitively with these communities is essential for their well-being. Marla aims to provide accessible, compassionate, relational CNM sensitivity training to mental health professionals, educators, and service providers so that members of non-monogamous communities can access the affirming support they need to thrive.
Javier Robledo Rivera, PsyD
Javier (he/they) is a queer Boricua who is the Assistant Training Director at University of Cincinnati’s Counseling and Psychological Services. They hold a degree in Clinical Psychology from Albizu University of Puerto Rico and additional training in Gottman Method Couple’s Therapy, Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy, and Gender, Kink and Polyamory Affirming Care. Javier utilizes a relational and constructivist approach to therapy incorporating feminist, emotion focused, affirmative, and social justice practices to accompany students. Their areas of interest are gender identity, racial trauma, mood instability, polyamory, kinks, relational concerns, and identity exploration. They actively bring their whole complex self into the therapy session to maintain awareness of their positions and the systems we live in. Outside of work, they enjoy listening to music and communicating through it, open world games, reading poetry, exploring nature, drag shows, and traveling. They are from Puerto Rico and have lived in New York and Miami, and constantly travel to Berkeley, California to visit a special piece of their heart. The rest and majority of the time is spent enjoying time with their nesting partner here at Cincinnati.
Monica Ross, LPC
Monica (she/her) is a licensed professional counselor in the following states CA, TX, NV, IA, and OK. Monica focuses her therapeutic work on trauma and digital health. She is passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives and addressing stigma in all its many forms. Monica and her partner love traveling and exploring new places. They moved to Tulsa, OK this past fall as members of the Tulsa Remote program. Monica has a BA in Psychology and Sociology from The University of Texas in Austin, TX, an MA in Counseling Psychology from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX, and a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.
Emily Stone, PhD, LMFT-S
Emily (she/her) is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 20 years of experience working with adults, couples, families, children, and adolescents. She is the owner of Unstuck Therapy Group. Her reputation as a therapist, supervisor, and professor is one of being open, courageous in dialogue, curious, and respectful of each individual. Emily has taught college and graduate school in the areas of psychology and counseling for almost 20 years and is currently on faculty for the Psychology Department at Keiser University and for the Queer and Trans Affirming Professional (QTAP) certification program. Emily lives in Austin, Texas with her wife, Kelly, and their full house of six kids in their lively, loving blended family that includes a very doodly golden doodle, Comet.
Aaron Brown, PhD, LCSW
Aaron (he/him) is an assistant professor of social work at the University of Kentucky. He currently has 20 publications to his name and his research interests include behavioral and pharmacological treatments, harm reduction strategies, and implementation of evidence-based practice in rural settings. Much of his work has been focused on developing and implementing text-messaging interventions related to harm reduction for substance use disorders. Dr. Brown has extensive clinical experience providing individual, relationship and group therapy in community mental health as well as in private practice. Dr. Brown grew up in East Tennessee where he did his PhD at the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife, Rebecca, and daughter, Nora.
Rev. Alison Young, M.Div.
Meadows Place, Texas
Alison (she/her) grew up amongst great racial, cultural, and economic diversity, and knew early on that she had a call to help people of all backgrounds live as their truest and best selves. Ever since then, she has been exploring, refining, and embodying the wisdom, tools, and paradoxes inherent to such a calling. In her professional tenure, she has developed and shared this breadth of knowledge as the Director of Development at an exponentially growing nonprofit, a Preacher/Pastor for rural, LGBTQ+, and inner-city congregations, a Graduate Research Assistant for socio-political and educational initiatives, and a Chaplain in a Children’s hospital. A lifelong learner, Alison was part of the Advancing Pastoral Leadership Cohort for promising young clergy in the UMC, has studied the Enneagram extensively, is currently a student of the Nine Gates Mystery School, and has been a yoga practitioner for over a decade. Rev. Young was ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 2012, graduated from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University with a Masters in Divinity in 2010, and graduated from Texas A&M University in 2003 with a Bachelors of Science in Political Science.
Tania Andrews, MA, LMFT-A
Tania (she/her) is a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an educator, a nurturer, a crocheter, a lover of word games, and a therapist. She has spent most of her life in Houston, Texas but spent time in Florida, Wisconsin, and Colorado. as well. She was raised in a blended family and is currently raising one of her own. Her desire to help others connect to themselves in order to connect to others is what drives her and studying systems and families is how she began that journey.
Casey Bayer BSN, RN
Casey (they/she) is a registered nurse employed with Memorial Hermann Health Systems in their Forensic Department as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). After nine years in the Emergency Department, she begin working PRN in forensics then transitioned to part-time while currently finishing school. Their work experience has lead to extensive acute trauma work including physical, mental and psychological. Casey is currently enrolled in Texas A&M University to receive a Master's in Nursing Forensics. They obtained their Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2014. They are passionate about expanding the field of forensics and increasing inclusivity within. Most of her graduate projects focus on LGBT+ topics and the unique challenges they face.
Lauren Bayer MS, LPC
Lauren (she/her) is Licensed Professional Counselor. She owns and practices through Work In Progress Counseling in Carrollton, Texas. She received her MS in Community Counseling from Texas A&M University Commerce where most of her research focused on the LGBTQIA+ community. She completed her graduate internship working with families affected by domestic violence, providing individual and group counseling to both survivors and perpetrators. After graduating she moved into private practice in order to focus on working with the LGBTQIA+ community and works with clients who are neurodivergent, have experienced trauma or are working through identity questions. She is passionate about providing affirming care that is based on a combination of education and lived experience.
Alexis Le Grand, MS
Alexis (she/he/they) earned her Master of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. They are a Social Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky. Alexis’ main research interests focus on experimental methodology, diversity, and intersectionality with respect to identity, victimization, confessions, and legal decision-making.
Joe Nelson, CSW, CSAT, CDA-PD-S. CFDM, CSID
Joe is an illustrious, knowledgeable and well-respected professional with a degree in social work and counseling. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Louisville and is currently a doctorate student at the University of Kentucky. His expertise spans across disciplines and issues of people from all walks of life, providing the leadership, education and therapy service most suited to their needs. He dispenses wisdom through his many roles, one as an esteemed instructor of aspiring social workers at the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Community and Technological College. He is a mediator for divorce cases at the JClinic LLC he is the Founder of the organization. As a professional with vast experiences in various fields and affiliations with different organizations, he earned the highest honors especially in leadership, His most recent award was the Town of Corydon TOP Emerging Business of the Year. As a lifelong learner, and dedicated professional, his objective in life is to be a dedicated, hard-working, people-focused individual who seeks to serve and advocate for vulnerable individuals, families and communities. So far, he has achieved his objectives phenomenally, however, refuses to stop, and is relentless in furthering his objectives to higher heights.
Kyle May, M.Ed, LPCC-S
Kyle (he/him) identifies as an openly gay man. He has a Masters of Education in Counseling from Lindsey Wilson College and has been practicing as a therapist since 2011. He is the founder of the Big Sandy LGBT+ Safe Zone in the Big Sandy region of Kentucky. He is also the owner of Open Doors Counseling Center in Lexington. The core values for ODCC are Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity, and Excellence (PRIDE). Kyle specializes in working with LGBTQ+ people and allies. ODCC provides Identity Counseling, Trauma and Grief Counseling, Mood and Anxiety Counseling and more. We foster a safe space for people who identify as LGBTQ+, LGBTQ+ allies, and people who are seeking behavioral health services. This type of environment allows people to explore their gender identity, sexual identity, affectional identity, and other aspects of identity without fear of judgment. Kyle was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky but moved to Lexington, KY in 2019 which helps him have a clear and unique understanding about how to best support LGBTQ+ people in a variety of communities and spaces.
Corabelle (she/they) identifies as an individual who is gender-fluid. She has a Masters in Psychology from Regent University. She works at Open Doors Counseling Center in Lexington, KY as a Targeted Case Manager and Adult Peer Support Specialist. She can relate to LGBTQ+ people because of the adversity she has experienced as someone who identifies as gender-fluid. She have a history of advocacy for mental health and LGBTQ+ issues and wants people to feel inspired by her training to also help advocate for LGBTQ+ people and show them that love and hope exist. She is a drag queen at a historic bar in Lexington, KY. This has created a platform in which she has been able to express herself and discover her authentic self. She has a passion to help others live as their genuine self too.
Lex Loro MS MFT
Lex (they/she) is a queer justice activist, community health educator, and mental health professional whose work focuses primarily on improving access to care for LGBTQ+ individuals. Lex has more than ten years of experience working in sexual and mental health education and advocacy, curriculum development, and training facilitation aimed at supporting queer and disabled youth, adults, and families. Lex received their BA from American University with a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and their MS in Psychology- Marriage and Family Therapy from Our Lady of the Lake University. Lex spent a year as a Public Policy and Government Affairs Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force where they worked to disseminate the findings of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. As a graduate student, Lex interned at the Alamo Area Rape Crisis Center, providing trauma-informed therapy services to couples, families, children, and teens with a specialization in LGBTQ+ affirming care. They currently serve as the Community Health Manager at Pride Center San Antonio. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Lex lives in Austin, TX. She enjoys cheering on the Spurs, supporting local bookstores, and uplifting the voices of her queer and trans sisters, brothers, and siblings.
Emily P. Lapidus
Emily is a current Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky specializing in Developmental psychology. Her primary research interests focus on how and to what extent childhood development is influenced by public policy. Emily’s developmental research interests include adoption into same-gender households as it is still considered controversial.
Nicole Stalnaker, MA
Nicole (she/her) completed her master’s degree at Radford University with a major in both Psychology & Criminal Justice. Her master’s thesis, entitled Police Officer Suicide: Frequency and Officer Profiles was presented at the Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA and subsequently published by US Dept. of Justice in the book Suicide and Law Enforcement. She began her career working at MHMR of the Brazos Valley as a children’s therapist then switched careers to become a police officer. Nicole was promoted to detective and was the sole sex crimes detective for the Bryan Police Department where she served as liaison to Scotty’s House, a child advocacy center. She taught sex crimes investigation at the TEEX police academy which trains police recruits from across Southeast Texas. Currently Nicole is a professor of Psychology at Lone Star College – University Park for the past 6 years. She teaches Introduction to Psychology, LifeSpan Development, and her favorite course, Human Sexuality. She is the co-creator of the Adjunct Certification Program (ACP) curriculum, both for online & face-to-face teaching. She lives in Houston with her partner, teenage daughter & has a son attending the University of Houston for graphic design.
Konrad Bresin, PhD
Konrad (he/him) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville appointed with a join appointment in the Counseling and Human Development Department and the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department. He is a licensed psychologist in Kentucky. His research seeks to identify mechanisms that are involved in the maintenance of behaviors such as problem drinking and self-injury. He also supervises PhD students in Dialectal Behavior Therapy at the UofL Psychological services center.
Jonathan M.Golding, PhD
Jonathan received his doctorate from the University of Denver in 1986. He joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky in 1988 and is currently a full professor in this department. His primary research interests include jurors’ reactions to cases of victimization (e.g., child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, and domestic violence). He has investigated various types of evidence: repressed memory, DNA evidence, hear-say testimony, witness demeanor, type of crime, and expert testimony
Rowan (she/they) is a fourth year graduate student in the clinical psychology PhD program at the University of Louisville. Their research is focused on the role of emotion regulation in eating disorders and self-injury.
Michalea (she/her) is a first year graduate student in the clinical psychology PhD program at the University of Louisville. Her research is focused on the role that identity-based self-criticism plays in self-injury among LGBTQ+ individuals.
Mackenzie (she/her) is a third year graduate student in the clinical psychology PhD program at the University of Louisville. Her research is focused on applying complex systems theory to the study of mental disorders.
Ani (she/her) is a fourth year graduate student in the clinical psychology PhD program at the University of Louisville. Her research is focused on the role that motivation plays in treatment outcomes for eating disorders.