Board of Directors
At-Large Board Member
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.
Natalie Fontana is a lady that loves to be of service to the many communities in which she is involved. She was elected to the Board of Directors in 2018 by the Baton Rouge Chapter to serve as their representative through May 2020. As a member of the Poly and BDSM communities in Baton Rouge, she is a consent and healthy relationship educator who brings trauma-informed care and harm reduction perspectives to sexual health education for adults. She was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her goal is to help grow acceptance of transgender people in her hometown.
At-Large Board Member
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.
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 young leaders working with Rise Up to advance SRHRJ in India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and the U.S. South.
Camilla Marchena is currently a Linkage Specialist at CrescentCare serving the trans feminine community in New Orleans to remove barriers to healthcare and other services. As a trans woman, she feels inspired to share her experiences, so others wouldn’t feel alone on their journeys. She feels that it is a privilege to be able to advocate for and to empower others along the way. The work she does is always with the intention to show society that someone’s trans identity shouldn’t affect their employment, housing, health care or the love and respect they deserve.
Peyton Michelle is a 21 year old trans woman born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. She was elected by the Lafayette Chapter to serve as their representative to the Board of Directors from 2018-20. In addition to serving as chapter leader and facilitating the monthly Lafayette meeting, Peyton serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors. She combines her passion for details and the ability to see the big picture to ensure that Louisiana Trans Advocates runs smoothly in its state-level operations. She is a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and plans to attend law school after graduation.
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.
At-Large Board Member
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.
Jesse Roessler is the Board representative for the Southern Transmasculine Alliance. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Louisiana and a semi-native New Orleanian (his grandfather was a brewmaster at Jackson Brewing Company). Jesse is dedicated to providing education about trans issues to the wider community. He has facilitated trainings for a variety of professional audiences, from mental health to medical. Jesse is also a dedicated father to an adorable red-nosed pit bull named Penelope.
Natalie Ross is the Leader of the Monroe Chapter of LTA. She was born and raised in Northeast Louisiana. She has an Associate in Business Technology from Delta Community College and an Associate in Christian Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. She is currently working on a Bachelors in Science in Computer Science and is expected to graduate May 2020. She is passionate about making sure everyone is treated equally. She comes from 3 years of youth ministry in church and left when she came out as trans. Since then she has turned her attention to the LGBT community and increasing the quality of life for the trans community by building relationships in the community and helping anyone when she can. Natalie is a student but also works in the tree industry as well as working college football games in the fall. She has two kids, Caden and Elijah, and two cats, Leopold and Orion.
Rafael Brown Sampayo
At-Large Board Member
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.
Cody Smith is originally from Mississippi, but don't hold that against her. She fled that state for the slightly less oppressive land of New Orleans, LA. Currently she is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in private practice in New Orleans and the only privately practicing counselor of trans experience in the entire state of Louisiana. Her therapy practice is primarily focused on serving the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. She is currently serving as Health Care Policy Advisor and leader of the New Orleans LTA chapter and facilitates two monthly support groups for the transgender and non-binary/gender nonconforming communities. She is a member of LGBTQIA+ healthcare advisory boards for several healthcare agencies in the New Orleans area and facilitates trainings on gender-affirming care for area healthcare and social service agencies. She has spoken regarding transgender healthcare at events for the New Orleans Musician's Clinic and Assistance Foundation, Ochsner, Tulane University Medical Clinics, LSU School of Public Health, CrescentCare, and the Louisiana Counseling Association among others. In addition to these things she is an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, tattoo collector, houseplant aficionado and has been a drummer/percussionist in bands and various other capacities for a little over two decades.
Dylan Waguespack first got involved with Louisiana Trans Advocates as a youth organizer in 2011, when he served as the Board Secretary in the organization’s first year. He has stayed with LTA since then, helping it grow its membership from a few hundred people in Baton Rouge and New Orleans to over 3000 Louisianans across 12 chapters in every part of the state and leading the organization’s legislative agenda. When he’s not volunteering with LTA, he’s working as a lobbyist and political consultant at his firm, Mercury Media. In the fall of 2018, Dylan was the Creative Director for the successful Yes on Amendment 2 campaign in Louisiana to defeat the last Jim Crow law on the books by requiring unanimous juries for felony convictions. He led the digital and media relations components of the 2017 Louisiana Justice Reinvestment effort to successfully pass ten landmark criminal justice reform bills — together, the most progressive package of criminal justice reforms passed by a state legislature in modern US history. Prior to founding Mercury Media, he served as the Executive Director of Louisiana Progress, the organization where he started his career in 2011 as a junior legislative and communications staffer. Dylan is a New Orleans native and graduate of Ben Franklin High School. He’s lived in Rayne, Baton Rouge, and St. Gabriel, Louisiana. In addition to his work in Louisiana, he is a registered federal lobbyist in Washington, D.C., where he lobbies on federal policy issues at the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.
At-Large Board Member
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.
Shreveport Chapter Representative
Zöe Williams is the President of the Shreveport Chapter of LTA and their elected representative to the Board of Directors from 2018-2020. She was born and raised in Northwest Louisiana, and studied biology at Bossier Parish Community College. She is passionate about working to achieve a better quality of life for all trans individuals through community building, social support and activism. Zöe is a food service manager and plays Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and video games. She has one dog named Sergeant Bellpepper, one cat named Colonel Popcorn, two dwarf rabbits, Coffee Bean and Chai Tea, and a leopard gecko named Zuully.