Welcoming our new board members for 2019-2020

Louisiana Trans Advocates is proud to announce the incoming at-large members of our Board of Directors. After a search and recruitment period of several weeks, we are excited to introduce you to the seven incoming Directors, each of whom bring vision, talent, and passion for serving transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming Louisianans.

Congratulations to Elliot Leaux, Malaysia Walker, Toni Duplechain-Jones, Rafael Brown Sampayo, Jane Mitchell, Ari Murphy, and Simone Golder!

These appointed board members join our current membership-elected board members to form the Board of Directors for Louisiana Trans Advocates through the summer of 2020. You can read more about each of our board members here.

Meet our incoming Board members:

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Elliot Leaux

Elliot Leaux is continuing as an at-large member of the Board of Directors after serving this past year as media liaison and Chair of the LTA Trans People of Color Empowerment Committee. Elliot was born and raised in Cecilia, Louisiana. He is a student at University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and works as a columnist for The Vermillion, where he writes about racial justice. Elliot has been involved with the work of Louisiana Trans Advocates since he was 17 and a high school student in Acadiana. He has experience as an on-the-record spokesperson and works to ensure that trans people are represented fairly in the media. He is passionate about outreach to rural areas. Elliot was chosen to participate in the 2019 Rise Up Youth Champions Initiative to foster innovation and quality in sexual and reproductive rights and health worldwide. He is one of 22 young visionary leaders working with Rise Up to advance SRHRJ in India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and the U.S. South.


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Malaysia Walker

Malaysia Walker was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, now resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is very familiar with many obstacles faced by the transgender communities in the South. Her passion for equality, respect, and acknowledgement of the issues faced in the transgender/gender non-conforming community is the driving force behind her advocacy. “The only way to truly understand the struggle is to hear from those who are struggling.” She currently works with CrescentCare as a Retention Specialist with their T.W.E.E.T. (Transgender Women’s Engagement & Entry into Care) Program, where she maintains the responsibility of healthcare access among transfeminine persons who may have either fallen out of care or need motivation to maintain adequate healthcare. You can find her story in publications such as: Fast Company, The Clarion Ledger, and Freedom for All Americans, just to name a few. You can also listen to her radio show live on 102.3 WHIVFM New Orleans, S.U.H.U. (See Us Hear Us), which gives marginalized communities of transgender people the opportunity to tell their own stories, changing the trans narrative. Malaysia believes that power lies within the transgender communities of color, and is determined to empower those communities with dedication, wisdom, and determination to ensure that all marginalized transgender communities can live without fear, and use their voices and experiences as weapons against discrimination and injustice and enjoys empowering others to, not only embrace, but, stand strong and proud in their authenticity.


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Rafael Brown Sampayo

Rafael (Rafa) Brown Sampayo is a transmasculine, nonbinary, Latinx educator. Originally from the Bronx, Rafa has lived in New Orleans for the past seven years. While an undergraduate student at Rutgers University, Rafa was the co-president of LLEGO, the LGBTQIA People of Color Association. In 2012, Rafa moved to New Orleans to become a special education teacher. Over his career, Rafa has advocated for more trauma responsive, restorative approaches to teaching children with disabilities. Rafa is married to his longterm partner and is a cat dad of two fur babies.


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Jane Mitchell

Jane Mitchell (she/her) is a trans femme from Monroe, Louisiana who is committed to improving the quality of life of all trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming Louisianans. She has experience in public accounting, finance, marketing, strategic planning and mental health. Jane has a degree in Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and another in Accounting from Louisiana State University. She's passionate about Microsoft Excel but when she's not making spreadsheets, she enjoys kayaking, camping and cycling. She lives in Baton Rouge with her partner and children who are embarrassed by the old pickup truck she loves to drive.


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Toni Duplechain-Jones

Toni Duplechain-Jones is a New Orleans native, who is proud to call the South her home. She unapologetically believes in the rights of trans people to self determination and works towards the goal of liberation within her lifetime. She has a hobbyist interest in visual art, is a Leo, and works as a hotel desk agent in the French Quarter.


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Simone Golder

Simone Golder is a non-binary activist based out of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Simone has been involved with LTA for several years now, most recently as Chapter President at their alma mater Louisiana State University. As a board member Simone hopes to strengthen community ties within Louisiana’s transgender community with an increase in social events, by and for, trans people; and hopes to create spaces for trans artists.

Working with this organization has always been a source of pride for Simone, and they are excited to offer their particular talents to LTA during this upcoming year. 


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Ari Murphy

Ari Murphy is a rising-Senior Communications student at Centenary College of Louisiana. They are passionate about improving the world around them and desire to use their knowledge and skills to positively impact the lives of those whom society has failed. Ari's disability has informed many of their views, values, and life-choices in positive ways and continues to shape the way they approach life. Ari hopes to do communications and public relations work in the nonprofit sector after their graduation.