dominiquecast2.jpg

Dominique Jackson

Dominique Jackson was born on March 20, 1965 in Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago. Although Jackson grew up with her grandmother, she still experienced a traumatic upbringing that included bullying and sexual abuse. She fled to the United States at the age of eighteen due to not being accepted as transgender by her family.

During her time in the United States, Jackson has experienced homelessness and turned to sex work and living off credit cards for survival. It was in 1993, while living in Baltimore, Maryland, that Jackson was introduced to the ballroom scene. She then lived in various "houses" and eventually settled in the House of Sinclair which was stationed in New York City.

Overcoming memories of a dark childhood, Dominique self-published the hurdles, hurts, revelations and triumphs of her journey in an autobiography titled “The Transsexual from Tobago.” Dominique is a LGBT and human rights activist who wants to encourage those who need hope and inspiration.

Jackson has been open about her mental health struggles. After a thirteen-year writing process, she released her autobiography The Transsexual from Tobago. She has also worked for several nonprofit organizations (such as Destination Tomorrow in the Bronx) that provide outreach and services to the LGBTQ community.

Jackson has appeared in Call Me, Christopher Street: The Series, the documentary Visible: The LGBTQ Caribbean Diaspora and the Oxygen reality television series Strut (2016). Her work on Strut earned her a GLAAD Media Award nomination.

In 2018, Jackson began appearing in the leading role of Elektra Abundance on the FX series Pose, which is based on the ballroom subculture in New York City of the late 1980s. The first season boasted the largest cast of transgender actors ever for a scripted network series, with over 50 transgender characters. On July 12, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season, which is set to premiere sometime in 2019.

Dominique recently decided to embrace a new chapter in her life and move to Los Angeles for an exciting opportunity. With vast experience in the industry, Dominique serves as a mentor to the models at Slay.

lala.jpg

LaLa Zannell

LaLa is an dedicated and passionate advocate, and Michigan native now residing in New York. Gifted public speaker, thought leader, and speechwriter who speaks out on issues related to anti-LGBTQ violence, and especially the disproportionate violence that Trans and gender non- conforming people of color face as a tool for her personal healing. LaLa was a member of the National Coalition of Anti violence Program (NCAVP) Movement Building Committee. Professionally LaLa is the Lead Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence project (AVP), LaLa is the face and leads AVP’s public community organizing work, doing advocacy, outreach and networking on behalf of LGBTQ New Yorkers who have experienced violence. LaLa also plays a key role in AVP’s Rapid Incident Response team, which responds whenever incidents of hate violence, sexual violence or intimate partner violence impacting LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers become public and national responses to hate violence.

LaLa spoke at the White House for the first Women’s history month briefing to include transwoman and the last Trans women of color briefing under the Obama administration, testified at the first historic Congressional Forum on violence against transgender people. LaLa continues her part to culture shift as a chair of the policy and working group committee for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) were they recently had a small victory with the passing of Intro 541 which would but an end to unconstitutional searched by the NYPD. Was a member of the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) New York leadership team anchoring their Healing and Restorative Justice Institute and made 2015 Trans 100 list for LaLa’s dedicated work with making the lives of Tran Woman of Color better. Recently LaLa has partnered up with two of her chosen sisters to become business owners will be launching a jewelry company called “Tx3” owner and operated by Trans Women of Color proving again we can create and be successful in anything we put all of our collective power in.

Recently testified to help the passing of the NYC X gender marker on the birth certificate helped push to get TGNC funding pushed to trans led groups through the city council office.

IMG_6782.jpeg

Melissa Sklarz

In 1999, Melissa became the first transgender person elected to office in New York when she was elected a Judicial Delegate from the 66th Assembly District. In 2004, Melissa became the first transgender person from New York to be part of the state delegation at the Democratic National Convention, by being appointed to the Credentials Committee and again on the Rules Committee in 2008. In 2016, Melissa became the first New York trans person elected to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Later that year, Melissa became the first trans American to be selected for the Electoral College.

She helped bring civil rights to transgender people in New York City when INT 24 became law in 2002, served on the Working Group with the New York Human Rights Commission to flesh out the law, and has been a lobbying leader for GENDA (Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act) since the bill was developed in 2002. Melissa was a leader of trans expansive birth certificate at the local and state level for the last 10 years.

Melissa is a past Board Co-Chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and of National Stonewall Democrats. She is a former President of Stonewall Democratic Club of New York and of Gay & Lesbian Ind. Democrats.

In 2008, Melissa was a co-chair for Obama Pride NYC, helping to organize the LGBT community for the campaign and was one of 250 activists invited to the first LGBT Pride in White House in June 2009 to celebrate the Stonewall Rebellion.

In 2010, Melissa was at the side of Governor Paterson when he announced an executive order protecting the rights of transgender people employed by New York State and was with Governor Cuomo when he announced administrative legal amendment protecting trans New Yorkers in 2015. Currently, Melissa is a member of the Failla Unified Court Commission, to ensure the New York Court system is fair for all LGBT New Yorkers. Melissa was the first member appointed.

Melissa worked for two years as Director of Development of Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) resigning in 2018 to run for Assembly.

Melissa moved to Queens in 2005 and has been active in Queens politics, and serving on the executive board of Northern Regular Democrats in North Woodside. She is also a member of Powhatan Democratic Club and Taminent Democratic Club.

Melissa had a featured role in the film Transamerica.