Kai Custodio, Programming and Events Coordinator (2021)
Kai Custodio is a 2nd generation Andean and Borikén musician and artist. Their work is an exploration of identity and self-expression in healing a legacy of oppression and fragment the ideas of social construct, patriarchy, latin tradition and colonial ideals — questioning what it means to be queer and trans in latin culture and euro-centric society. Kai’s creative work encompasses 15+ years of collaborative work, touring, performing and composing music and art. They were an organizer and curator of an arts and music festival celebrating Indigenous People’s Day.
Ariel G. Mekler, Development and Strategic Planning Intern – 2019-2021
Ariel G. Mekler is completing her doctorate in political science and women and gender studies. Her research interests include queer transnational scholarship, LGBTIQ rights, and international institutions. Before pursuing her PhD, Ariel worked as a graduate researcher with the inaugural LGBT policy unit at USAID. Since joining The Graduate Center, she has worked as an editorial assistant for philoSOPHIA: A journal of transContinental feminism and presented her research at the New York State Political Science Association and International Studies Association. Her most recent publication is in the Routledge Handbook of Queer Development Studies.
Syd Baloue, Events & Programming Coordinator (2018-20)
Syd Baloue graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 with a B.A. in Political Science and pursued public policy research as a German Academic Exchange (DAAD) Scholar and Transatlantic Fellow in Berlin, Germany from 2011-2014 before completing a dual-degree masters in Urban Policy at the Paris Institute for Political Studies and the London School of Economics from 2015-2016. Syd’s background in social, racial and eco-justice policy-based work laid a foundational bedrock for his creative interests. A voracious traveler and active member of the Ballroom Community who is fluent in French and German, writing is the through-line of all his work.
After trying to bridge his work in an academic setting and as a cultural producer, Syd left his PhD in Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 as he realized that storytelling through film and television was the best medium to share stories and connect people across continents, cultures and time. As someone rooted in diaspora and interested in traversing its intersecting lines, Syd is excited to create space for the compelling beauty and complexity of different life perspectives in events and programming at CLAGS.
Yana Calou, Events & Programs Manager (2014-18)
Yana Calou is a genderqueer Brazilian-American writer, artist, and media activist on economic, racial and gender justice issues. Yana is Lambda and VONA Voices fellow, and has performed at the Pop-up Museum of Queer History, La MaMa, Dixon Place, and BAX. They study queer theory and literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, and have led communications and programming for the Retail Action Project, Queer Survival Economies, the Utah Pride Center, GLAAD, Planned Parenthood, and the Women’s Media Center.
Isaiah DuPree, Memberships & Fellowships Director (2016-18)
Isaiah DuPree is a graduate from Eugene Lang College of The New School. While he is experienced as a provider of direct services and English language training to refugee, asylee and immigrant communities, Isaiah has also worked with grassroots LGBTQ advocacy groups from New York to Rwanda. With a strong commitment to social justice and youth empowerment initiatives, he is very excited to join the staff at CLAGS.
Noam Parness, Memberships & Fellowships Director (2014- 2016)
Noam Parness is a gender-queer art lover and intellectually curious human. They received their B.A. in Philosophy and Jewish Studies from CUNY Queens College. Most of Noam’s research interests lie at the intersections of history, art, and activism. Since leaving CLAGS, Noam joined the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art as an Exhibitions Assistant. They have volunteered with a number of arts organizations, such as MIX NYC and the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History.