Keynote and plenary speakers

Patrick Farabaugh is locally known for founding and publishing Our Lives magazine. Our Lives lifts up the voices of emerging and established LGBT leaders and helps connect and celebrate the local LGBT community in the Madison area. Before Our Lives, Farabaugh also founded the Madison Gay Hockey Association (MGHA), which quickly rose to become the largest gay hockey league in the nation, and second only to Toronto in the world. He arrived in Madison in 2005 after working at titles like Condé Nast Traveler, OUT magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Seattle magazine, and Boston magazine. He uses that national experience to help shape and communicate a local message of hope and optimism through his work here in Wisconsin.

Nathan Manske is the founder and Executive Director of I’m From Driftwood, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which collects and shares lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories from all walks of life to help deepen our understanding of each other. In 2011, Manske and the IFD team completed a 4-month, 50-state story collection tour, as well as accompanied and collected stories from the riders of AIDS/LifeCycle, the largest fundraiser in the world for HIV/AIDS prevention. In 2010, Manske was one of The Advocate’s “Forty Under 40” for the work he’s accomplished for the LGBTQ community. I’m From Driftwood stories have been adapted for the stage, in a self-published book, and have been seen and heard in podcasts and live reading events around the country.

Workshop speakers

D. Allen, author

Mark Albright draws from his theatre background and his personal life for writing inspiration. He has been involved with LGBT Narratives since the first meeting. He also is involved with Stage Q, a local LGBT theatre group, at the Bartell. He graduated from Beloit College with a self-designed LGBT Studies minor, and he is the first one to do so at Beloit College.

Thomas Armbrecht is an Associate Professor of French at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He specializes in theatre as literature and dramatic art, and in 20th-century French philosophy. Previous publications include a monograph about the relation of literary genre to sexuality in the works of Marguerite Yourcenar and Julien Green, as well as articles about the intersections of art and literature. He is currently writing a book about polymathy and polyphony in the works of French authors Pierre Loti, Jean Cocteau, and Hervé Guibert.

Katy Ballard, artist and educator, Lubbock, TX

Angela Baerwolf has been an intermittent member of LGBTQ Narratives for the past 3 years, having more of a presence since completing her MSW last spring. Angela has been published in Our Lives and has read for QueerSpeak. While interning at Shabazz High School, she organized a collaboration between Narrative members and students in the GSA for a poetry workshop and reading. Angela hopes to continue such work in her position at Janesville School District.

Lewis Bosworth is a Madison poet and retired French/linguistics teacher. He teaches poetry writing to seniors in the PLATO program and sings in the Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus. He is fascinated by words and uses many every day.

Ed Check is an activist teacher artist: gay white profeminist male with Wisconsin working-class roots. His art and writing is about memory. Being on the sides of students is foremost in his pedagogy. He taught elementary art for ten years prior to academic life. Manual work and teaching in public school ground and humble him in his current privileged academic environs. He has finished his 17th year at Texas Tech University.

J.M. Conway has been working as an educator for 8 years, facilitating learning experiences for use within and without classroom walls. As Coordinator of the LGBTQ Office of Culture and Community at Columbia College Chicago, her goals are to: ensure the institution's systems and policies justly serve the LGBTQ student population, encourage the student body in the development of innovative arts and media that privilege Queer theory and narratives, and to be "good company for the journey" as students navigate their own personal development. She earned a Master of Education Degree from Loyola University Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from DePauw University in Sociology and Anthropology.

Lezy Dezy is a Milwaukee-based lesbian musician with a distinctive mix of acoustic alternative rock, hip-hop, and folk. Her loop pedal allows her to amaze her audiences with the sound of a full band. Dezy could hum symphonies before she could walk or talk. A natural born musician, she’s performed at The Rave, Miramar Theater, Walker’s Pint, Summerfest, and headlined Pridefest. Her goal is to share her story (through music) for a greater good.

Grey Doolin, artist and author

Joan Downs, author and editor, published writer whose letters to the editor have been published in Friends Journal, Contexts, the Isthmus, the Capital Times, and the Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, WI

Amney Harper, assistant professor, Dept. of Professional Counseling at UW-Oshkosh and past president of the Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling

Latashia Harris, activist and educator, Maryland

Ames Hawkins is an Associate Professor at Columbia College, Chicago. She is a transgenre writer and art activist, whose most recent publications appear in Interdisciplinary Humanities, Polari, Water~Stone Review, and Resilience: Stories, Poems, Essays, Words for GLBT Teens. She is curator and co-editor of 25 for 25: An Anthology of Works by 25 Outstanding Contemporary LGTB Authors and Those They Inspired. Her essay, Optickal Allusion, was selected by Robert Atwan as a notable essay of 2011.

Alexandra Hawley, artist

Owen Karcher is a 26 year-old, white trans man from Wisconsin. He is an activist, artist, and educator working for social justice by exploring and talking about the intersectionality of social identities, privileges and oppression. He uses the creative process to further dialogue and understanding across difference. For the last 3 years, he has shared his process of transition with people through gallery shows, presentations and workshops, and a live multimedia performance.

Kiki (Kristina) Kosnick, PhD candidate at UW-Madison and founder of LGBTQ Narratives Activist-Writers

Isadora Leidenfrost is trained as a filmmaker, a textile historian, and a feminist folklorist. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to her educational experiences, Dr. Isadora has owned and operated Soulful Media, her film production company, since 2004 and has produced 13 films since she began.

Malena Magnolia is an interdisciplinary, visual artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, and social justice. In 2013, she received her BFA in fine art and art history from the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Magnolia is very involved in her community. From 2012-2013, she focused on the Celebrate Queer Milwaukee series, was the co-founder of the former collective Positive Body Project, and recently co-founded Free Radicals Artists Cooperative.

Allison Eve Mollet recently graduated from Peck School of the Arts at UW-Milwaukee with her BFA in Fine Art. Her artwork focuses primarily on figures and portraits, often discussing sexuality, internal dualities such as joys and fears, and the expression of events within her own life. She currently works as a muralist and is also working on a series of oil on canvas paintings, which celebrate members of the queer community in South Bend, Indiana.

Stephanie Moore is a poet and aspiring author from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She performs her poetry throughout Milwaukee and also collaborates with a guitarist, combining her poetry with music. Stephanie has been writing poetry and prose for 20 years and hopes to one day publish her work. Samples of her poetry can be found on sjm512.blogspot.com and her music can be heard on soundcloud.com/s512moore.

Jennifer Morales is a Milwaukee writer and performance artist who wrestles with questions of gender, power, identity, complicity, belonging, and harm. Jennifer works with young people at that moment they discover how hard life can be because she loves teaching them to fight back with words, to heal themselves and the world. She earned her MFA from Antioch-L.A. and has sometimes been a researcher, a doula, a grantwriter, a Sunday School teacher, and a politician.

Kelly O'Ferrell comes to us by way of a service dog school in California, a horse farm and B&B in Kentucky, a dude ranch in Arizona, and an upbringing in North Carolina. She facilitated LifeMaps and organized readings by local writers in KY. In Madison, she started a Women’s Dance and has held “House Readings” that included reading, singing, and art work. She is the author of “Just The Four of Us – I Remember When” and “Providence Road Does Not Stop”.

John Pruitt is Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Rock County. His primary research focuses on literacy practices taking place outside of the classroom, primarily among the LGBT population. He’s currently completing two projects, one a rhetorical analysis of reviews of LGBT novels, the other on text selection in LGBT literature courses across the country. He also writes a regular column on teaching in a working-class community for Wisconsin English Journal.

Rita Mae Reese has received a Stegner, a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers, and a “Discovery”/The Nation award. Her first book of poetry, The Alphabet Conspiracy, is available from Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press. She is currently working on a collection about Flannery O’Connor entitled The Book of Hulga. You can visit her at ritamaereese.com.

Elizabeth Ridley is the author of four novels, three of which, Throwing Roses, The Remarkable Journey of Tranby Quirke, and Rainey's Lament, deal with LBGTQ characters and themes. Born and raised in Milwaukee, she has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in creative writing from The University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. In 2011 she received a Literary Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Elisa Rivera once spent the summer in a lesbian separatist co-op in Duluth, MN. (Thinking that she was moving into lesbian paradise, she didn't ask questions.) Since then, she has been glad to join queer communities that are increasingly inclusive. A member of LGBT Narratives for 2 years, Elisa has been glad to find space that allows for change, growth, and redefinition of identity while also providing legitimate critiques of the community itself. Co-founder with philanthrophist Edith Nash of the Elisa Derickson Fund for Writing , Elisa is a sporadic poet, writer, and sometimes podcaster.

Allison Schuette (MFA Penn State / Creative Nonfiction) is a writer primarily interested in documenting lives through text and audio in a variety of genres. She currently teaches at Valparaiso University and co-directs the Welcome Project (welcomeproject.valpo.edu), which collects first-person stories of diversity and difference.

Thomas Scofield, professor and community mental health coordinator, Dept of Professional Counseling at UW-Oshkosh

Kestrel Taylor, an artist in Madison, WI, is passionate about sustainable communities and investigating how we can all come together in order to create lasting change in the world. In doing so, Kestrel looks for creative and diverse ideas in those around us, seeking to motivate others to their fullest potential. By doing things that we're actually passionate about, we can get a lot more done — and find out that we ourselves can be our greatest rewards.

Anne Totero is a member of LGBTQ Narratives. Her passions include writing, activism, and psychotherapy. All of these have one thing in common: empowering others. Writing creates a space to express herself as a cisgender female that identifies as fat, femme, and queer. As a psychotherapist, she often uses experiential expression (i.e., writing, drawing, painting, collage, etc.) to create an environment that is safe for her clients. Her specialties in the field include suicidality, family therapy, adolescents, and the LGBTQ community.

Ja'Mel Ware is a 25 year old trans man from Detroit. He has been an activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS since he was an adolescent. Living with HIV and losing both parents to AIDS has scoped the way he views the world. He has overcome disparity through determination and will. He shares his lived experience through poetry and writing.

Stacie Wieland is an activist-writer-musician living in Madison, Wisconsin. “Admiral” Stacie is an established member of the LGBTQ Narratives Group, which believes in the transformative and political power of sharing one's authentic lived experiences with the world. Most recently, she co-wrote, co-produced, and acted in the Conceal & Carry: Queers Exposed monologue project; and helped her band, The Sweetness of Gone, produce their first full-length album, I Have Been.

Brian Wild is Artistic Director and adult mentor of Proud Theater and is a composer and playwright. A strong, active proponent of pride fests and other LGBT events in Wisconsin, Brian has been honored by the Gay-Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, Outreach, Inc., and Broom Street Theater.

Kathlean Wolf, educator, Madison, WI

Liz Wuerffel (MFA Columbia College Chicago / Interdisciplinary Arts and Media) is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in video, photography, digital imagery, and performance. She currently teaches at Valparaiso University and co-directs the Welcome Project (welcomeproject.valpo.edu), which collects first-person stories of diversity and difference.

Carol Yi-Hsuan Lai is a second-year MA student in the English department at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, with a focus on Asian North American literary and cultural criticism. She questions how the literary aesthetic (which she defines as how different stories are narrated and perceived) and the politics (which she defines as a process in which each individual writer conveys certain political commitments and ethical concerns to readers) are interconnected. Most importantly, how does this interconnection bring influence to educational space?