About Us

The Trans Youth Justice is a community-academic collaboration between Diverse & Resilient (Milwaukee, WI), the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Black and white photo of Chris outside in front of trees. They are looking toward the camera wearing glasses and a shirt with tiny birds printed on it.

Chris Barcelos

co-facilitator, curriculum author, program evaluator

Dr. Chris Barcelos is an Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where they are also affiliated with the Critical Ethnic and Community Studies and Latino Studies programs. Chris is a feminist scholar-educator-activist whose work combines critical race theory and critical sexualities studies with community-based research. Their first book, Distributing Condoms and Hope: The Racialized Politics of Youth Sexual Health, was published in 2020 by the University of California Press. As an educator, Chris uses an “engaged pedagogy” that is dialogic, emphasizes mutual responsibility, and values each person’s contribution to the learning process. Chris lives in Boston with their partner and a collection of fluffy cats.

Picture of J. Nyla in front of a purple background tilting their head to the left and looking at the viewer. They are wearing purple lipstick and a mutlicolored top with three starts on the left collar.

J. Nyla McNeil

co-facilitator, research assistant

J. Nyla McNeill is a polymath and scholar. They are a researcher, poet, musician, earth, light, and cultural worker. They are an educator, as well as a community organizer. Their work centers the empowerment of Black and brown, queer, gender-varient, and transgender folk, and focusses on obliterating the system of cissexism (i.e., the institutionalized system which posits that those who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth are more “normal” or “right” than those who do not). J. Nyla is a Heart and Humanities director @cali303_community, a helping organization for creators and cultural workers; an ambassador and content creator for @black_girls_skate; cofounder of @nonbinaryco; and the owner of @mx.lifestyling.

Yante is smiling and holding a kitten up to his face. He wears glasses and an olive green head wrap.

Yanté Turner


With his background in community care and trans liberation work, Yanté serves to uplift, support, and advocate for the diaspora of Black Trans people. In addition to his work as the Inclusion and Equity Coordinator at Diverse & Resilient, his many hats include working as a Full Spectrum Doula for queer and Trans BIPOC, providing labor support care, abortion advocacy, community defense and Safety task force curator, and a facilitator of all the things Trans, Black, Healing, joyful and challenging! Creating affirming spaces that also foster continuous learning are important factors in Yanté’s work, as the fight to decolonize, strip white supremacy from our communities, and love radically stand at the forefront of his work and life. You can also find him nose deep in a book or a garden bed, traveling and experiencing the world, eating food he has no business eating, and caring for his zoo of animals! He has an Aries Sun, Gemini Moon, and a Virgo Rising!

Stephanie Budge

research collaborator

Dr. Stephanie Budge is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Stephanie’s work focuses on centering trans and nonbinary people’s voices in mental health care and research. She is the director of the Trans CARE Lab and a proud community partner with Diverse & Resilient, the Native Justice Coalition, and the Wisconsin Transgender Health Coalition. She loves going on hikes with her wife and toddler and doting on her three cats. 

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