The Gender Diversity Initiative

Kore Press Institute’s Gender Diversity Initiative

The GDI is a gender-based, anti-violence (3-5 year) initiative envisioned and convened by Kore Press Institute. We are committed to a community-based, facilitated process with a true cross sector at the table for deep and rich conversations from multiple perspectives to think through, collaborate, plan, test and implement solutions that will get at root causes and create systems changes that move the needle on classrooms safety and thriving for LGBTQ+ youth in Tucson. Phase I is a 10 month incubation process that runs through end of June, 2019. With the support of our coach, Cynthia Melde, and our facilitator, T Loving, the Leadership Team  and Community Think Tank will work together to innovate collectively for better health outcomes for our most vulnerable youth.

The Gender Diversity Initiative is a recent recipient of Live Well Arizona Incubator Cohort, supported by the Vitalyst Foundation, and recently an Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice Partnership grant designed to support the building of a sustainable collaboration between Kore Press Institute and the University of Arizona College of Public Health.

GDI Leadership team

tanner menard (they/them/theirs) is a Q2S, non-binary poet & composer whose work embodies their Creole/Acadian/NDN lineage. Poems are their method of survival, a linguistic medicine of ambiguity which is certain that love prevails. As a composer of experimental music, menard has been published & anthologized internationally on labels such as Full Spectrum Records, Rural Colours, Tokyo Droning, Install, Slow Flow Rec, H.L.M., Archaic Horizon, Kafua Records & Milieu Music. Their recent album/chapbook collaboration with Andrew Weathers was published on Full Spectrum Records. menard’s poetry & essays have been published in The Squawkback, Rabbit & Rose, Cloudthroat, The University of Arizona Poetry Center Blog, Red Ink Magazine & The Mockingheart Review, American Indian Culture and Research Journal at UCLA & The Wire Magazine. Their poem ‘see eye my memory my’ was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Cloudthroat. menard is a member of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southwest Louisiana & Southeast Texas & resides in Tempe, AZ & is an organizer for Equality, AZ.

Deanna Lewis (she/her/hers) DrPH, MBA, PA-C is passionate about public health, which she attributes to her 20 years in the fire service. At the age of 21, Deanna made history as the first woman firefighter in the history of the Tucson Fire Department. A graduate of Stanford’s Primary Care Associate Program, Deanna has been a physician assistant for 15 years, served seven years in the Navy Reserve as a Hospital Corpsman, has an MBA from the Eller School of Management, completed two years as a UA/NASA Space Grant Fellow, and received her doctor of public health in 2018 from the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Lewis identified and interviewed 35 community experts in the domain and discipline of Trans*gender health and issues affecting Trans*gender people. In addition to being a member of the leadership team for the Kore Press Gender Diversity Initiative, she is also a member of the Resilience Team for the Resilience Project funded by the Haury Foundation ( More information on Deanna can be found on her website: (

Lizette Trujillo
 (she/her/hers) is a Tucson small business owner and community advocate for transgender youth and families. She spends much of her time volunteering for the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, where she and her spouse facilitate a local support group for families of transgender, gender creative/non-conforming youth. Her local efforts have brought her national attention and she now serves as a member of the Human Rights Campaign Parent Trans Equality Council. Lizette is a proud mother to an 11 year old trans child, and enjoys being a mother above all else. She has learned so much through her child’s experience, and is committed to creating awareness and change around trans youth and their needs.


Tina Howard (she/her/hers) grew up in small town Iowa surrounded by strong vocal women. She left for NYC in 1985 to study dance and Theater, later relocating to Chicago. Tina worked in Community Outreach building edible gardens all over the city including Cook County Corrections. She was also part of amazing group of humans who started GirlsRock!Chicago a Rock n’ Roll camp for girls. Tucson became home in 2012 and a deep love of the desert abides. Tina loves the words and music and movement of women. Tina, mother of five, is a community activist with particular interest in Trans and Migrant issues.

Em Bowen (he/him/his, they/them/theirs) is the former Executive Director of the Tucson Poetry Festival, a PhD student at the College of Education at the University of Arizona, a bilingual Waldorf educator, a storyteller, a writer, an essayist, a poet and a person who thrives and is always changing (much as we all are, whether we realize it or not). Their work has been published in the Tucson Weekly, The Atlantic, Zocalo, Wild Gender, The Feminist Wire, and most recently live on the stand-up comic stages of Tucson. Em earned their MFA from Goddard College and is the former producer of the Tucson Gender Identity Project. 


Lisa Bowden (she/her/hers, they/them/theirs) is the co-founder and Executive Director of Kore Press Institute. She has developed Kore’s 26-years long list of titles and award-winning community engagement programming as an activist, art director, writer, editor and intersectional feminist culture worker. She is a recipient of the University of Arizona English Department 2018 Alumni of the Year Award, Maryann Campau Fellowship for poetry from the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and a Woman on the Move Award from the YWCA. Lisa secured and implemented the first Big Read project in Southern Arizona, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, to cultivate community cohesion through a 40-partner literacy project; is responsible for the city-wide, medical humanities project designed to engage cross-sector, public dialog about cultural competency and health disparities; and is the visionary of Kore’s Gender Diversity Initiative.

Rylee Carrillo-Wagoner (they/them/theirs) is a recent graduate from Columbia University, where they received departmental honors for their senior thesis and overall work as a comparative literature major. They are passionate about circulating underrepresented narratives across all genres and art forms as a form of community empowerment and as a way to foster senses of belonging. This transfers over into their work as a theatre-maker, where they seek to bring new Latinx stories to the stage, and as the founder of the zine Nuestrx. Areas of interest include postcolonialism, nationalism, global feminism, marxism, gender, trauma, literary circulation, Latinx literature, Chicanx theatre, and Arab literature and poetry.


Thank You to the the dedicated and passionate members of the Gender Diversity Initiative who are working hard and giving their intellectual and professional capital to the effort in order to create better social & cultural cohesion, safer communities, and social justice to address this Public Health issue in Southern Arizona!