Alexia Jasmene is a trans actress/musician/comedian who is a recent transplant from mainland China after living there for 3 1/2 years. She was recently in Kinfolk (The New Colony),Wanderers (Northwestern Playwright Festival), Cathedrals (The Living Canvas), Temperance vs Tolerance (Step Up Productions), and several film projects around the city. Mary Shelley Sees The Future (Runaways Lab) is her upcoming play that takes a light and serious look at what “progress” means and challenges us to see what we can do better and how some things seem to be eternal. She can be seen playing open mics and cabarets around the city and looks forward to continue winning the hearts and minds of Chicago audiences.
Andrea Hawkins-Kamper currently lives in Woodstock with her wife, two cats, and a Chihuahua mix who thinks she’s a cat. She is an accomplished author, poet, visual artist, and storyteller currently pursuing her Masters of Divinity at Meadville-Lombard Theological School. A repeat performer at Sappho’s Salon, her work was featured at the Elgin Literature Festival, Side Street Studio’s “Something Wicked” exhibitions, and more coffee houses than she can remember. You can find more of her work on her website, www.ourladynhytefall.com.
Jake Smucker grew up in a Mennonite family surrounded by four-part a cappella singing, a tradition that sparked their love of music. After several years of piano lessons and singing in choirs, Smucker began composing. While studying with Dr. Jorge Muñiz as an undergraduate student, Smucker had music debuted by the Euclid Quartet and the Goshen College Women’s World Music Choir. Most recently, Smucker’s music was featured on the soundtrack for the documentary Goshen Monologues: The Storytellers. They received their B.A. in music from Goshen College in 2015, and are currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at the University of Missouri.
After spending 30 years as a male, climbing the corporate ladder in public and trying to come to terms with her gender in private, Vivian Riona transitioned starting at the end of 2009. After her 15 minutes of fame she left her corporate career and moved to Seattle, Washington. She is a writer, producer, performer and photographer in and around Seattle’s theater arts scene.
Alison Rumfitt is an 18 year-old transgender writer who lives in the South of England and studies at the University of Sussex. She loves mythology, folklore, gothic romance and neon-lit cinema. Her poetry has previously been published in Persephone’s Daughters, TAME zine and Cahoodaloodaling.
Splitting her time between San Francisco and NYC, Mya Byrne is an award-winning songwriter, poet, actor, and trans/queer activist. She’s opened for many of her heroes, including Rae Spoon, Steve Forbert, and Levon Helm. She’s received airplay across America and internationally, was a 2015 Emerging Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, won the first-place Americana award in the 2015 Great American Song contest, and was a 2013-2015 Folk Alliance showcase artist. She made her stage debut at NYC’s Dixon Place in 2014. Her music, poetry, and opinions have been featured in outlets including SingOut!,The Advocate, Village Voice, New York Magazine, The Aquarian, Time Out, MSNBC, NPR, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, ABC, People, and CBS/Radio.com, with public speaking engagements at institutions including SUNY, University of California, and the UU. In 2016, she showcased at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, her poetry was selected for Trans Women Across Genres (to be published in early 2017 by Lambda Literary Award-winning Eoagh: A Journal of the Arts), and a short story of hers was published in The James Franco Review. Follow her at @myadriene, and listen at www.myabyrne.bandcamp.com.
N.D. LaChance identifies as a non-binary, queer individual. Usually quiet, but no one’s bitch. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago. Currently, residing on the north side. Lover of tattoos, elephants, cats, writing, researching, and reading. Some of the issues they care about include: issues that affect LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities (especially as it relates to people of color), inner city poverty, inner city violence, issues that affect persons with disabilities, and people battling mental illness. They utilize writing as a coping mechanism to deal with day to day life as an outsider. They’re currently working two jobs to make ends meet. However, they plan on being an actor and/or professional writer, so they don’t have to stress over working so hard for pennies. N.D. earned their B.A. in 2012, majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies, with a minor in Criminology, Law, and Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2014, they earned their Master’s degree in Criminology, Law, and Justice – focusing on the newly developing field of Queer Criminology. They are an avid Chicago Cubs fan and are enjoying watching their team make a run for it all!
Shozzett Silva is a Chicago-based expressionist, actress, performer, activist. She strongly believes veganism is the foundation of a cruel-free and equal society that treats all living beings with dignity and respect. At a young age, Shozzett began creating imaginative, effective ways to communicate. This later helped her define a singular life mission to “Speak for the Voiceless,” three groups most needing of passionate defenders to speak out on their behalves: animals, children and the elderly. A survivor of sexual assault, Shozzett hopes to bring attention to a continually overlooked subject. Creating these mixed media works has helped her cope, seek help and assist others in their journey. Shozzett especially wants to assist in the male identified world. Men need to learn that they too have & deserve resources in learning to cope with sexual trauma.
“For those who can relate to the work, I hope to give them support in facilitating their healing. For those who can’t relate personally, I hope to start discussions around an uncomfortable, complex, previously overlooked subject” – Shozzett Silva