Founding Board Members

 

Tristan Byrnes (he, him, his) Board President, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida and the brainchild of The Trans Hub. Tristan  has extensive education, training, and experience in the field of Gender Therapy with an emphasis on transgender care.  Aside from counseling the transgender community, he is passionate about increasing education, advocacy and resources for the community working with Metro Wellness Community Center and TransAction Florida. The Trans Hub represents to him a place that fills the need for a one stop shop for resources, events, calls to action and community ties.

 

Brandi Branson (she, her, hers)  is a trans woman and a strong proponent of transgender rights. She is committed to the efforts of the Trans Hub to bring added connectivity to the transgender community. Ms. Branson works closely with Project No Labels, providing community outreach and lending a hand wherever she is needed.

 

 

Grant Drain (he, him, his)  is a Tampa Bay native and advocate for transgender rights across the state. He serves as Director of Communications for Florida Transgender Alliance and serves on the advisory board for TransAction Florida., graduated from St. Petersburg College, and has served as a member of the Tampa Bay business community as a retail manager for over ten years. Grant transitioned from female to male in his teens.

 

 

Claire Eli (she, her, hers) wants to live in a world where love isn’t a cliché, equality is embraced and diversity is standard practice.  As an entrepreneur with a relentless passion to empower the LGBTQ+ Community, she’s worked with organizations that invests in the greater community – Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay, Meals on Wheels, Metro Wellness and Community Centers, TransAction Florida / Equality Florida. Claire is the founder of the non-profit Project No Labels, which seeks to unite LGBTQ+. When she’s not training volunteers or actively volunteering, she is cruising the beach, enjoying the peacefulness and drawing energy from her connection with nature, or running around barefoot with her dogs.

 

Toli Gintoli (she, her, hers) is a Lead Advocate at CASA, a local Domestic Violence (DV) center. She leads support groups in the community for LGBTQIA survivors of DV, serves on county-wide initiatives in preventing sexual assaults and DV, and also conducts presentations around DV in the community, specifically bringing awareness to the LGBTQIA community. Toli has a Masters of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she conducted her thesis on Meeting the Needs of Transgender College Students. She is currently a Master’s candidate in Social Work from Florida State University. Upon completion, Toli wants to work directly with LGBTQIA survivors of DV and sexual assault. She’s an avid animal lover, especially for cats, and enjoys live music and spending time with loved ones.

Karlana June (she, her, hers) is Research Associate, Project Manager and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Journalism and Digital Communication at USF St. Petersburg. Karlana has an MA in Journalism Media Studies and BA in Mass Communications, from USFSP. Her master’s thesis, Representations of Transgender Murder Victims in Digital U.S. News Media: A framing analysisis a content and framing analysis of print and prominent online news media and how they report transgender murders. Her research concentration is on the impact of media to the transgender population, media studies and representations of marginalized populations, feminist and gender/queer studies and ethics. She is actively involved in her local community providing outreach and advocacy for Metro Wellness and Community Center, RAINN Speakers Bureau, and PACE Center for Girls. Karlana is a proud dog mom to Promise, a hound-boxer rescue.

Reverend Jake Kopmeier (Deceased 2017) was the minister for transgender and social justice concerns at King of Peace, MCC of St. Petersburg. Rev. Jake was a longtime advocate for the rights and inclusion of transgender people.

 

 

 

Rachael Reynolds (she, her, hers) has proudly lived her authentic self since 1977. She was a member of Starburst for eight years and leader for six. She has been a member of Tri-Beta (now Trans Support Network of West Central Florida (TSN)) for past seven years and currently sits on the TSN Board. Served on the Tri-Beta Board for six years and president for three. For the past 17 years, Rachael has attended and volunteered at the Southern Comfort Conference.  She is also a member of King of Peace MCC, active on the Transformative Committee there.