Board of Directors

Sheldon Applewhite, Ph.D. is a tenured Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) with the City University of New York for seven years. He received his Ph.D. from Howard University in Sociology in 2006 with specializations in medical and urban sociology.  His research interests include HIV prevention, urban studies, education, men’s health, and race, class, and gender inequality.  He was named one of ten LGBTQ New Yorkers making a difference in their community by City & State Magazine.  Dr. Applewhite has published research in public health journals about health issues for college students including stress, and HIV prevention for Black college students.  His current research focuses on HIV prevention among Black gay male romantic couples.

Rodrigo Brandao studied Film and Art History at Ithaca College and has over 15 years of experience in the art house, film distribution business. He handled the marketing and PR campaign for the Academy Award-nominated documentary 5 BROKEN CAMERAS and several other award-winning documentaries. He taught workshops on film marketing and distribution for the Tribeca Film Institute in São Paulo, the Brazilian Film Festival in Miami, and the Finger Lakes Film Festival, among others. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brandão now lives in Queens, NY.


Diana Cage is an award-winning writer whose work examines desire, sexuality, and power within the context of queer and trans experiences of sex and relationships. She is the author of five books, most recently Mind Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide (Seal Press, 2012) and The Lesbian Sex Bible (Quiver, 2014). Her areas of interest include trans* studies, queer theory, the history of sexuality and the sociology of gender, pornography, and the medicalization of sex and sexuality. @dianacage,,,


Alexis Clements is an award-winning writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently working on a documentary film focused on the physical spaces where LGBTQ women gather titledAll We’ve Got. She co-edited the two-volume anthology of plays, Out of Time & Place, which includes her performance work, Conversation. She guest edited a volume of Sinister Wisdom titled “Variations.” Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Review of Books,The Guardian, Bitch Magazine, American Theatre, and Nature, among others. She is a regular contributor to Hyperallergic. Alexis has a M.Sc. in Philosophy & History of Science from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in Theater Studies from Emerson College. Learn more about her work at 

Jaime Shearn Coan is a writer and PhD Candidate in English at The CUNY Graduate Center, whose research explores practices of collectivity in queer performance during the early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York City. He currently serves as a Mellon Digital Publics Fellow at The Center for the Humanities, and previously served as the 2016-2017 Curatorial Fellow at Danspace Project. Jaime’s writing has appeared in publications including TDR: The Drama Review, Critical Correspondence, Drain Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket2, and Women & Performance. Jaime is a co-editor of the 2016 Danspace Project catalogue: Lost and Found: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now.


Debanuj Dasgupta, Board Co-Chair is Assistant Professor of Geography and Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. Debanuj’s research and teaching focuses on racialized regulation of space, and the global governance of migration, sexuality, and HIV. Prior to his doctoral degree, Debanuj worked for over sixteen years within several international development agencies, HIV/AIDS, LGBT rights and immigrant rights organizations in India and the US. In 1994, Debanuj founded the first HIV prevention program for men who have sex with men and gay men in Kolkata, and since relocating to the United States has organized LGBT immigrants & asylum seekers in the New York tri state area. Debanuj serves on the political geography editorial board of the Geography Compass.  He is the recipient of the Ford Foundation funded New Voices Fellowship, American Association of Geographers and National Science Foundation funded T. J. Reynolds National Award in Disability Studies, and the Emerging Activist Award from the International AIDS Society. His scholarly work has been published in journals such as Disability Studies Quarterly, Contemporary South Asia, SEXUALITIES, Gender, Place & Culture, and the Scholar and the Feminist (S&F online). He is the co-editor of Friendship As Social Justice Activism: Critical Solidarities in Global Perspective (forthcoming from Seagull Press/University of Chicago Press), and Queering Digital India: Activisms, Identities and Subjectivities (forthcoming from the University of Edinburgh Press/Oxford University Press).

Sean F Edgecomb is Assistant Professor of Theatre in the Department of Performing and Creative Arts at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.  His articles and have appeared in journals such as Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, Popular Entertainment Studies and The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide.  His book on Charles Ludlam and queer legacy is forthcoming from the Triangulations Series at University of Michigan Press.  He is also an active director, serving as most recently having presented Machinal at The University of Queensland, Australia in 2013.


Allisonjoy Faelnar has almost 20 years of experience in grassroots organizing, anti-oppression facilitation, social justice theater & performance, creating spaces for holistic healing accessibility, educational human-animal interactions, and expanding the dialogue of intersectionality while challenging us all to manifest our conversations & study into sustainable daily practice. Allisonjoy has been the National Recruiter & Campaign Coordinator for ACORN, Co-Founder of national media justice coalition R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop, National Organizer & touring member of We Got Issues! (a women’s empowerment & leadership organization that combined community organizing skills with multi-disciplinary cultural work & performance), East Coast Coordinator / Road Manager and performer for Mango Tribe, the country’s first & only APIA women & genderqueer interdisciplinary social justice performance ensemble. Her work has been published and performed nationally and internationally. Allisonjoy has led anti-bullying workshops in schools for youth and teachers in NY and NJ. She has organized, created events, facilitated leadership & empowerment trainings and anti-oppression workshops with youth, women, the LGBT community, and people of color. She also administers treatments to animals, some of whom she considers her greatest teachers. Allisonjoy has offered her care all across the United States, and as far away as the Philippines.

Monique Guishard is a participatory action researcher, a de-colonial ethicist with expertise in using Brown feminist (Black, Latina, & indigenous feminist epistemologies) to theorize back to conventional research ethics frameworks. Monique is a community college professor committed to student-centered, culturally relevant, blended learning andragogy. Guishard is a member of the Bronx Community Research Review Board (BxCRRB) and a founding member of the Public Science Project.



Alexander Hardy is a New York City-based food-lover, writer, mental health advocate, dancer, teacher, lupus survivor, and co-host of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. He has written for Ebony Magazine,[], Esquire, Gawker, Courvoisier, The Huffington Post, Saint Heron, and Very Smart Brothas, and is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor. Alexander is a board member of the Center for LGBTQ Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and Founder and Creative Director of GetSomeJoy, a multimedia campaign and event series promoting mental and emotional wellness among Black and brown folks. Alexander does not believe in snow or Delaware.


Hsu_StephanieStephanie Hsu is an Associate Professor of English and Women’s & Gender Studies at Pace University. She is a founding member of Q-WAVE, a grassroots organization for queer women and trans/gender variant people of Asian/South Asian/Pacific Islander descent in the tri-state area. She received her doctorate in English at New York University in 2009. Stephanie’s teaching and writing are in the fields of Asian American Studies, Trans Studies, and Disability Studies.



Sel J. Hwahng, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department and Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College—CUNY and is affiliated with National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. Sel has received grants, awards, and fellowships from organizations/institutions such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institutes of Health, the American Public Health Association, the International AIDS Society, and the Association for Women in Psychology. Publications include 30 articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. Sel is the editor of the Global LGBTQ Health book series (Springer Nature).


Shereen Inayatulla, Board Co-Chair (pronouns: they/she) is an Associate Professor of English at York College, CUNY in Jamaica, Queens. Her areas of research include Literacy Studies, Autoethnography, and Gender and Queer Theory. She is an active member of the York College Alliance for Gender and Sexual Equality as well as the LGBTQ Task Force and serves as the Writing Program Director. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Journal of Basic Writing, Changing English, and the Journal of Lesbian Studies.


George Lam  is an assistant professor of music at York College, where he teaches courses in music theory and composition. George studied music at Boston University, the Peabody Conservatory, and Duke University, where he received his PhD. George is interested in works that intersect music, theater, and the documentary process, and is currently working on The Emigrants, a documentary work for the cello-percussion duo New Morse Code. George Lam is the 2018 composer-in-residence at the Chautauqua Opera Company, and also serves as a co-artistic director of Rhymes With Opera, an NYC-based ensemble that commissions and produces new operas.


Helen Deborah Lewis is Assistant Professor of Theater at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she teaches queer and gender studies, drag performance, theatre history, and dramatic theory. She has presented at numerous national academic conferences, including the American Society for Theatre Research, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, the Canadian Association for Theatre Research, and the Popular Culture Association. She recently published a chapter in Twenty-First Century Musicals: From Stage to Screen, (London: Routledge, 2017). Last April, she was a featured speaker on drag pedagogy at the TedX-Berklee Conference in Valencia, Spain. Lewis holds a Ph.D.  from Tufts University.


Nadine Licoste’s range of experience in the film and television industry spans nearly 30 years and a variety of disciplines. With a passion for theatre, film, television and digital media, she has produced projects with some of the top talent in the industry. Nadine co-founded Red Thread, a creative company, with offices in New York City and projects around the globe, in 1999. As a director and producer, Nadine is focused on creating stories that resonate politically and socially while also attaining entertainment value. Film and television projects include directing The Last One (Showtime), The Good Mother of Abangoh (Independent Documentary).


Velina Manolova is a doctoral candidate in English at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, focusing on queer interventions in racial liberalism in the works of Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, and Lillian Smith. Her essay, “The Tragic ‘Complexity of Manhood’: Masculinity Formations and Performances in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room” appears in Contemporary Masculinities in the UK and US: Between Bodies and Systems, part of Palgrave’s Global Masculinities series, edited by Michael Kimmel. Manolova teaches critical theory and writing at the Pratt Institute and has previously taught at Baruch College, the City College of New York, and the University of Florida. She is also a founding member of the New-York-based Balkan Queer Initiative.

Lisa Merrill (Ph.D., New York University) is Professor of Rhetoric & Performance Studies, at Hofstra University. Prof. Merrill’s research and publications are in the fields of performance studies, American studies, critical race and cultural studies, theatre history, and women’s and gay and lesbian history in the United States and Britain. Professor Merrill’s critical study of 19th-century breeches performer Charlotte Cushman, When Romeo was a Woman: Charlotte Cushman and Her Circle of Female Spectators (University of Michigan Press), was awarded the 2000 Joe A. Callaway Prize for Best Book in Theatre or Drama by an American author and was the subject of a Folger Library podcast on cross dressing, titled “I will Assume Thy Part in Some Disguise” in 2014. In Britain, Professor Merrill has published in the Slavery and Abolition Journal and delivered invited lectures sponsored by the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, Liverpool, and the Institute for Black Atlantic Research, UCLAN. Professor Merrill was awarded the Eccles Centre Visiting Professorship in North American Studies at the British Library for her current book project: “Performing Race and Reading Antebellum American Bodies.”

Nomvuyo Nolutshungu is an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College, City University of New York in the Women and Gender Studies program. Currently a PhD candidate in political science at the CUNY Graduate Center, her interests include transitional justice, human rights, and transnational sexuality and gender studies. She has worked international organization research and programming at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, and Security Council Report. She has been an instructor at Hunter, John Jay and Baruch Colleges of the City University of New York.


William Orchard is Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department at Queens College, where he teaches classes in Latinx literature, queer studies, and visual culture.  He has co-edited two books, The Plays of Josefina Niggli  (U of Wisconsin Press, 2007) and Bridges, Borders, and Breaks: History, Narrative, and Nation in 21st-Century Chicana/o Literary Criticism (U of Pittsburgh Press, 2017). He is currently finishing a book about Latinx graphic novels titled Drawn Together: Pictures, Pedagogy, and Politics in the Latinx Graphic Novel. He is also the co-organizer of CUNY’s Colloquium for the Study of Latina, Latino, and Latinx Culture and Theory, and is the current chair of CLAGS’s Fellowships Committee.


Lavelle Porter is an Assistant Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center, and a B.A. in history from Morehouse College. He has previously worked for CLAGS as Membership and Fellowships Coordinator. His writing has appeared in venues such as The New Inquiry, Poetry Foundation, Warscapes, Callaloo, and Black Perspectives. His research interests include African-American literature,  gender and sexuality, New York City, higher education, and science fiction.


Simon Reader  is an Assistant Professor of English at the College of Staten Island (CUNY). His work lies at the intersection of book history, queer theory, and literature. He currently has two book projects underway. The first, Notework: The Labor of Nonlinear Style and #barthes: Mythologies of the Fragment , argues for the coherence of the Victorian writers’ notebook as a genre, focusing on the unpublished material of multiple authors. The second project, #barthes: Mythologies of the Fragment, considers Roland Barthes’s enchantment with writing in fragments in terms of the aesthetics and ethics of social media.


Dr. David P. Rivera is an associate professor of counselor education at Queens College-City University of New York.  He holds degrees from Teachers College-Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Wyoming. A counseling psychologist by training, his research and practical work focuses on cultural competency development and issues impacting the marginalization and wellbeing of low-income/first-generation college students, people of color, and oppressed sexual orientation and gender identity groups, with a focus on microaggressions.  Dr. Rivera is adviser to The Steve Fund, director of the City University of New York’s LGBTQI Student Leadership Program, faculty with the Council for Opportunity in Education, on the executive board of the Society for the Psychological study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, lead coordinator of the 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit, and on the American Psychological Association’s Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.  He has received multiple recognitions for his work from the American Psychological Association, the American College Counseling Association, and the American College Personnel Association.

Maria Scharron del Rio_2015María R. Scharrón-del Río, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and the Program Coordinator of the School Counseling Program in the Department of School Psychology, Counseling, and Leadership (SPCL) at Brooklyn College (CUNY). A predoctoral Ford Foundation and American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) fellow, they received their Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, and completed their clinical internship at the Cambridge Hospital with the Harvard Medical School in Boston. After moving to New York City, they worked as an assistant child psychologist at the Washington Heights Family Health Center, a primary-care clinic that serves a predominantly Latino/a immigrant community. They are an active leader in GLARE (GLBTQ Advocacy in Research and Education) since joining the Brooklyn College faculty in 2006. They are committed to the development of multicultural competencies in counselors, psychologists, and educators using experiential and affective educational approaches.  Their research, scholarship, and advocacy focus on ethnic and cultural minority psychology and education, including mental health disparities, multicultural competencies, intersectionality, LGBTQ issues, gender variance, spirituality, resilience, and well-being.

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is an Assistant Professor and Head of Reference at the Graduate Center Library of the City University of New York. She is a Coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, Chair of the Archives committee on the CLAGS Board, and Advisory Board member to a GALE LGBTQ archival database. Shawn’s focus is telling the stories of Black lesbian through oral histories, archiving, and the blurred lines of fiction. She presented her work on archiving Black lesbians as Keynote to the International LGBTQ ALMS (Archivists, Librarians, Museum Curators, & Special Libraries) Conference: Shawn has a BS in Queer Women’s Studies from CUNY, an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction, and an MLS with a focus on Archiving and Records Management, both from Queens College. Her current project is curating the narrative of the Salsa Soul Sisters, the first Black lesbian organization in the country, through a zine and traveling exhibit with the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, Lesbian Herstory Archives, and members of Salsa Soul Sisters. Learn more about Shawn here:

Janet Werther (MFA Sarah Lawrence College; PhD Candidate, The Graduate Center, CUNY) is a scholar, artist, and educator. Janet has performed with the Ballez Company in NYC and creates solo work. Their dissertation theorizes ambivalent queer longings for home in LGBTQ+ performance. Janet has published in Studies in Musical Theatre and PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. She teaches theatre at Baruch and Marymount Manhattan colleges, focusing on theatre/performance as a lens through which to address representation and social (in)justice. Janet is a fellow at the CUNY Center for Humanities and maintains a youth dance teaching practice developed through a long term relationship with the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX).


Board of Directors 2014-15