Trans Lifeline Staff
Sam Ames is the Interim Executive Director of Trans Lifeline, as well as a civil rights attorney and national advocate with a decade of experience fighting for LGBTQ rights. Sam grew up in Los Angeles and received their B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008 and their J.D. from George Washington University in 2012.
Sam spent the early years of their legal career as a policy clerk and staff attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights working on constitutional law cases involving marriage equality, employment discrimination, and family law. At NCLR, Sam went on to found the BornPerfect Campaign – a national effort to end conversion therapy through legislation, litigation, and public education. In 2016, Sam left NCLR to pursue a Master of Divinity at Harvard University, where they studied religious trauma and alternative ministry with populations excluded from traditionally religious spaces, and worked as a hospital chaplain on an inpatient psychiatric unit in San Francisco.
Sam has testified before state legislatures, Congressional representatives, and the United Nations Committee Against Torture. Sam is also a consultant on LGBTQ issues nationwide, an avid AIDS LifeCycle rider, and a die-hard Harry Potter fan.
Elena Rose Vera
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, a Filipina-Ashkenazi trans woman originally from rural Oregon, joined Trans Lifeline’s executive team in May 2018. A longtime organizer, educator, and performing artist, she holds an M.Div. focused on social justice and community care work and was ordained as a minister by the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, a historic civil-rights church in San Francisco. Rev. Vera is proud to bring her deep commitment to love, support, and liberation for trans people everywhere to her work with Trans Lifeline.
Stella is a Midwestern trans woman transplanted to the Bay Area. She began working with Trans Lifeline in 2017, and her current work involves managing Trans Lifeline’s communications strategy. With a B.A. in Journalism and History from Indiana University, Stella is passionate about building social structures that better serve trans people. When she isn’t at work, she’s practicing hot yoga, getting comfortable with drawing and painting, or facedown in a bowl of noodles.
Bunny joined Trans Lifeline in 2017 following her work as the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Trans Assistance Project. She is a trans woman and a veteran, holding an M.A. from Indiana University, and she brings a decade of experience in education, leadership, and nonprofit management to the position. She is passionate about serving her community with integrity and is committed to establishing Trans Lifeline as a sustainable resource for all trans folks.
IV is a Russian Rrom immigrant currently living in New England. They first joined Trans Lifeline to volunteer as an operator, and currently manage the hotline program, including helping train volunteers, creating new programming for operators and speaking publicly to help communities learn about our work. IV holds a B.S. in forensic psychology from the University of New Haven. IV is an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, focusing on antiwar and anti-racism work, immigrant and labor rights, healthcare access and LGBTQI+ rights. They represented Trans Lifeline at the 2017 national People’s Congress of Resistance summit and were invited to be a delegate to the Roma LGBTQ International Conference.
Jaden is a trans man currently based in San Francisco Bay Area. He joined Trans Lifeline in December 2014 as a volunteer while doing a variety of other social-justice related work centering school-aged LGBTQ+ youth and anti-bullying efforts. Currently, he’s attending school part-time with the goal of obtaining a B.A in Communications. During his free time, you can find him writing and performing poetry, practicing yoga, and playing roller derby!
Oliver was born and raised in Washington, DC but currently resides in NY. Working in neuropsychology research, Oliver is passionate about the mental health of those within marginalized communities. Come fall, Oliver will be providing advice, advocacy, and representation to low income New Yorkers on a range of civil legal matters. When he's not learning some obscure skill or a new language, you can find Oliver making terrible (amazing) puns about literally anything and everything.
Board Of Directors
Elliot joined the board in 2018. He lives in rural CT, where he focuses on community organizing and social justice education. He supports organizational community and culture at 350.org, and is in preparation for the ministry with the United Church of Christ. He brings his commitment to healthy communities, healthy conflict, and deep, lived commitment to one another to this his work with Trans Lifeline.
Olivia is a trans woman, Volunteer Operator for Trans Lifeline since 2014, and a Family Medicine doctor in training in Corvallis, Oregon, where she provides informed-consent HRT prescribing. Other specialty interests include reproductive health. Olivia joined the Board of Directors in October 2016 and became Board Secretary December 2017. Her past experience includes street medicine, HIV test counseling, and research in molecular biology.
Dusty Weber LaMay, J.D.
Dusty joined the Board of TLL in August of 2017 after his work with the Trans Assistance Project. Dusty is trans and is deeply committed to trans liberation in all he does. Dusty brings 15 years of social justice, legal activist and non profit experience to his service on the TLL Board. Dusty earned a J.D. specializing in public interest and non-profit law. Dusty was asked to serve as Interim Board Chair for 2018.
Bianca joined the Trans Lifeline Board of Directors in 2018. She is a Nurse Practitioner at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’s Center for Transyouth Health and Development, the world’s largest pediatric program. She provides competent care for youth and young adults using an informed consent model. She also provides primary care and sexual health care, like PrEP and PEP. Bianca also has experience working with young people affected by HIV, homelessness and mental health disorders.
Leila Haile is a cripple Afro-queer artist and & community organizer based in Portland, OR. Having served on the board of Q Center for 3 years, they now Co-Direct Ori Gallery serving Queer/Trans/ Artists of Color in addition to facilitating Equity and Organizer trainings to groups locally and Nationally.
Jess joined the Trans Lifeline Board of Directors in 2018. They are a Vice President with Innocent Technologies, LLC®, a business that helps providers to build authentic and individual relationships with the people they serve in order to end disparities in education, funding and grant-making, healthcare and the workplace. Jess was a keynote for the 2017 Because Conference for Bi+ Communities, a member of The CeCe Support Committee and the (former) Twin Cities Avengers queer direct action group.
Tonei is an Alaskan social justice educator and nonprofit operations manager currently based in Mexico City. They currently work as Director of Operations for the Dangerous Speech Project and as a program facilitator for the Civic Education Project, a service learning program for students in grades 7-12 based at Northwestern University. Tonei also has experience working with several national LGBTQ advocacy organizations, including GLSEN and the National Center for Transgender Equality, and is currently studying to become an Enrolled Agent with the Internal Revenue Service.
Sarah Elspeth Patterson is an organizer, facilitator, and nonprofit leader with over a decade of experience working for LGBTQ, racial, and economic justice. Sarah has been involved with the founding of multiple nonprofits; she was one of the founders and former Director of Persist Health Project, the first health advocacy organization for people with experiences in the sex trades in New York City. Sarah is also one of the founders of Trans Assistance Project, now Trans Lifeline’s Microgrants program. Sarah came onto the Trans Lifeline team as the Board Secretary from May 2017 to May 2018. This role with Trans Assistance Project and Trans Lifeline has been some of the most personally significant and meaningful work for Sarah in her career.
She is currently the Development Director at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, where she oversees both fundraising and communications efforts, aimed at bringing resources to farm worker communities impacted by environmental racism.