Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Miss Major is a veteran of the historic “Stonewall Rebellion” and a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, an elder, and a community leader and human rights activist. She is simply “Mama” to many in her community. Her personal story and activism for Transgender civil rights intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960’s to today. At the center of her activism is her fierce advocacy for her girls, Trans women of color who have survived police brutality and incarceration in men’s jails and prisons.
Miss Major is formerly the long-time executive director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), which advocates for Trans women of color in and outside of prison. She is the recipient of countless awards, proclamations, certificates, and public accolades for more than 50 years of a legendary and pioneering career in social justice and activism. Most notably, she is also the subject of a new award-winning documentary feature film currently showing around the country and in foreign film markets – “MAJOR!”
Chief Operations/Financial Officer (COO/CFO)
During the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Sharyn worked in various administrative and program management roles with several Bay Area nonprofit CBO’s and ASO’s. She has received numerous awards and special commendations for her pioneering HIV program achievements with many organizations and service providers across the country – particularly for her advocacy and representation on behalf of the MTF and FTM Transgender communities, at large. Prior to embracing an illustrious career in social justice and nonprofit community services (which began in 1985), Sharyn taught Business Education classes at: Valley Trade & Technical School, Fresno; and at both Greater Flint OIC and Charles Stewart Mott College, in Flint, Michigan.
Years later (2006), recognizing the need for an expanded focus on innovative projects and services to support Bay Area Transgender residents, Sharyn reorganized her private company operations – whereby the Alameda County Transgender Steering Committee (ACTSc) operations evolved into “Nonprofit & Consumer Services Network” (NPCSN) – now offering a full range of professional business services and resources that support the economic growth, development and sustainability of community-based/grassroots organizations, nonprofit corporations, and small businesses that positively impact the lives of Transgender persons. She is CEO and Senior Consultant at NPCSNwhere the new home office is now located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sharyn is also part of a small, but growing list of minority Transgender women who own and operate businesses across the country.
Her many professional business affiliations and alliances are extended across the U.S. She is a noted public speaker; skilled trainer/facilitator; seasoned nonprofit business development consultant; a successful grant writer; Transgender advocate; and highly respected ‘elder leader’ among the national LGBTQI neighborhood and healthcare community sectors.
Beck recently moved to Little Rock to help build Miss Major’s dream project here in the South. He comes to House of GG’s after almost ten years of love and devotion to TGI Justice Project in San Francisco. In California, he worked for multiple organizations committed to social change and racial justice including the Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice’s Homeless Release Project and the No-Violence Alliance; LYRIC’s LGBT youth organization; Catalyst’s Anne Braden Anti-racism Training Program, and the San Francisco Needle Exchange. Beck spent the past three years working as a carpenter and is excited to help with both the physical construction of GG’s facilities as well as retreat coordination.
John A. McKinley
Jonathan was born in Tampa, Florida. He attended Florida College of Business, City College of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University. He has a BS in Health Education and an AA in Social and Behavioral Science, Business, and Health Education. He is currently living in Oakland, California.
Born in Pittsburgh, Thom Jeffress, is a certifiable tea junkie, diversity-enthusiast, canine-hobbyist and jack-of-all-trades. No, really – he was once responsible for making the coin slot on ceramic piggy banks and moonlights as a “mobile minister!” He moved to California in 1988 at the age of 23 where he met the man he would raise three children with. Fast forward 30 years and they have 6 grandchildren and counting. Known as “Keeper of the Spare Parts,” Thom is Miss Major’s stand-by organ donor, “she gets first dibs on all my parts.” Topics dear to his heart include social justice, especially for children and animals, gardening and potatoes – any style. You can find him cuddled up with his Mastiff, Repo, under a warm fuzzy blanket, donating his time to A Child’s Dream and House of GG’s, or simply being downright fabulous.
Tracie Jada O’Brien
Since surviving the mean streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District in the 1970s as a young transgender street kid, Tracie Jada O’Brien has persevered and worked tirelessly to become an outstanding role model and a staunch advocate for San Diego’s transgender community. Professionally she has provided decades of life-saving work to the LGBT community as Coordinator of Project S.T.A.R. (Supporting Transgender Access to Resources), as an addictions treatment counselor at Stepping Stone of San Diego — and most recently — as the Transgender Care Coordinator for Family Health Centers of San Diego, Inc.
Always one step ahead of the movement, she participated in the first consultation forum for trans* individuals with the CDC in 2005. She helped create the first HIV Prevention brochure targeting trans* women of color – and even posed as the cover model. She founded San Diego’s Transgender Day of Empowerment that is now in its fourteenth year and the Tracie Jada O’Brien Student Scholarship Program that gave out nine $ 500.00 scholarships to deserving trans* and gender-nonconforming youth this past year.
She has been a speaker for and active with the Transgender Leadership Summit, The California Office of AIDS Transgender HIV Equality and Party Conferences, Transgender Center of Excellence (San Francisco), and the Center of Excellence for Transgender HIV Prevention and many more!
As president of the board of GG’s , it is NOT lost on me that new generations of trans people will have a healthier, happier, and exciting lives that far supersedes anything I could have imagined !
Malachi Garza is the Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), a national network of over 200 organizations working to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and building localized community alternatives to these systems. Malachi is the current co-chair the youth and community organizing table of former President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Malachi also serves on the Board of Directors of the School of Unity and Liberation (S.O.U.L.), the Transgender and Intersexed Justice Project (TGIJP) and the Brown Boi Project. Malachi also serves Southerners On New Ground (SONG), through a board appointment as a National Strategist. Malachi co-founded the Brown Boi Project in 2009 and received the 2015 VotoLatino Innovators Award. Malachi has been working 24/7 to build a liberation focused movement for the past 17 years and believes that we will win.
Alexander Lee currently serves as the Program Director of Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Grantmakers United for Trans Communities initiative. An attorney and Transgender community organizer, Alex is the founding Executive Director of the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a community-based legal services and policy organization, based in San Francisco, California, that works to end the abuse of Transgender people in prison. Prior to joining Funders, Alex was a public interest career counselor for law students at UC Berkeley School of Law. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Astraea Foundation and is currently a Board member for Borealis Philanthropy.
Alex is also a filmmaker, and co-founded the all-queer and Trans filmmakers of color production collective Light Show Pictures in 2014. Alex seeks to use mass media to further his activism by sparking conversations with the larger public on complex issues such as alternatives to the prison industrial complex and a world without borders. Alex is a former Soros Justice Fellow and received his JD from UC Berkeley School of Law.
Since 1985 Guy has worked as an activist, clinician and director of programs providing services for injection drug users, sex workers, incarcerated persons and homeless people living with HIV. He has also has worked as a consultant for HIV care in prisons and jails across the USA, and spent ten years providing training and technical assistance with the rollout of antiretroviral treatment in Eastern and Southern Africa, focusing primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of infants and children. Currently Guy works at UCSF’s HIV Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, Ward 86, where he provides care coordination, triage & urgent care, conducts a monthly Reproductive Health Clinic for individuals and couples affected by HIV, and facilitates the clinic’s Opiate Prescribing & Pain Management Committee