Who We Are

The Seattle LGBTQ Commission consists of 21 representative residents of Seattle appointed to serve in an advisory capacity to the Mayor, City Council, Seattle Office for Civil Rights, and other Seattle City departments. Eight commissioners are appointed by the Mayor, eight appointments are made by the City Council, and the Commission appoints four members. Commissioners are appointed to a two year term of office and serve without pay. The 21st member joins the Commission each year through Get Engaged, a leadership development program for 18-29 year olds.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights provides staff and support to the Commission.

Meet Our Commissioners

Anabelle Backman

Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 5/1/2020 - 4/30/2022

Bio + -

Annabelle Backman is a queer transgender woman who lives with her wife in Phinney Ridge. A software engineer specializing in digital identity and security, she is a professional problem solver with extensive experience finding flaws and unintended effects within complex systems and educating those with relative privilege on the impact that design decisions or policies can have on those without. Beyond the workplace, she brings these skills to the various industry standards organizations she participates in, and to the 43rd District Democrats, where she is the Chair of the Technology Committee. Annabelle endeavors to leverage her privilege to advocate for equitable solutions to hard problems that include and support LGBTQ people, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and all others.

Photo by Nate Gowdy

Chris Brown

Member
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 11/01/2017 - 10/31/2022

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Currently my work is concentrated on Diversity Equity and Inclusion in the private and government sectors. In addition I work with Finance companies managing their books of business. A large portion of my day is committed to concentrating on internal processes around client retention and acquisition. 

Previously I was with American Express helping to lead their quality assurance teams. My professional history also includes Director level positions with iHeartRadio and Intercontinental Hotels Group. My banking and finance background includes time with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and American Express and Prudential. 

In my spare time, I volunteer on the campaign committee of the Pacific Northwest Victory Fund, Fighting for the Majority and am a Commissioner on the LGBTQ Commission for the City of Seattle as a Mayoral Appointee. My partner and I actively support organizations like The GSBA, GLSEN, HRC, Diverse Harmony, Seattle Men's and Women's Chorus among many other LGBTQ+ organizations.

My outside hobbies include traveling throughout North America, playing tennis, jumping in the swimming pool at every opportunity and snowboarding the slopes in Whistler, BC. If I could retire anywhere it would be on a beach sipping an ice cold beverage in Puerto Vallarta.  

Latosha Correll

Latosha Correll

Member
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 5/01/2019 - 4/30/2023

Bio + -

Latosha (or "Tosha", as her friends call her) is passionate about building community through the arts as well as creating and supporting sustainable, positive and innovative solutions to issues facing LGBTQ+ community members and their families.

Prior to moving to Seattle, Latosha grew up in a military family and traveled the country meeting and learning from people all over the world. Born in Philadelphia, she settled in Seattle as a young adult, calling it her forever home after feeling embraced by its LGBTQ+ community.

Over the decades, Latosha has advocated for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility by walking in the Pride Parade with various organizations she has worked with such as Verizon Wireless and volunteering her time with non-profits such as Equal Rights Washington, Seattle AIDS Support Group and Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

In 2016, Latosha co-founded Mistresspiece Theater, a LGBTQ-centered community performing arts organization focused on supporting women and the LGBTQ community with opportunities in all theater disciplines. 

Headshot for DeAunte Damper.

DeAunte Damper

Co-Chair
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 5/1/2019 - 4/30/2023

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DeAunte' Damper, born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Attended and graduated from Rainier Beach High School in 2004. His focus is serving the local Seattle community. In 2019, he was named the first-ever LGBTQ chair for the NAACP in National History.

Professional History: Previously worked at POCAAN (People of Color, Against Aids Network) Peer Navigation - Nonprofit established in 1987 which focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention and serves marginalized communities in Seattle ● Black Lives Matter at SPS, where he promoted HIV Awareness and LGBTQ Affirming ● Advocate and partner with Seattle Police Department providing education on racial justice and mental health  ● Homeless Ministry Coordinator for New Hope Baptist Church ● Youth Advocate for Restore Community Involvement ● Stabilizing Homeless Felons of Color with Chemical Dependency and Mental Health Challenges ●  BSU advisor for Seattle Public Schools

Nate Higby

Member
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 9/1/2020 - 4/30/2022

Bio + -

Nate Higby (he/him/his) graduated with a degree in Sociology from Whitman College, Washington and works at Virginia Mason Medical Center where he does continuous improvement consulting and is an active member of the LGTQB staff committee. A life-long Pacific Northwesterner, Nate is passionate about social justice, especially dismantling systems of oppression. In particular, Nate has spent time advocating for both Disability and LGTBQrights. In 2018, Nate was able to participate in a civil rights pilgrimage in the South and heard firsthand from footsoldiers about the importance of civic engagement. Since then, Nate has been committed to serving the community by working with a variety of local organizations in Seattle, including Year Up, Common Purpose, Yesler Terrace's Youth Tutoring Program, and United Way. When not working or volunteering, Nate likes to
train for marathons and try new restaurants around Capitol Hill.

Headshot for Victor Loo.

Victor Loo

Co-Chair
Appointed by: Commission
Term: 11/1/2019 - 4/30/2022

Bio + -

Victor Loo (he/him) is the President and CEO of Seattle Counseling Service (SCS). Founded in 1969, SCS is proud to be the oldest LGBTQIA + focused mental health agency. SCS is a valued partner in our community for their dedicated commitment to the King County LBGTQIA+ community and is a long-standing provider of behavioral health care in King County. He has expertise in the provision, supervision, and management of behavioral health services/social services. He is 1 of the 25 national leaders in the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS)'s Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program, and 1 of the 15 national leaders in the National Council for Behavioral Health's Healthy Youth Leadership Institute. He is a member of the King County Integrated Care Network Finance Committee. He is a board member representing the Behavioral Health sector in HealthierHere King County Governing Board, its Co-Chair and also on its Executive Committee. 

Besides the passion to serve Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, immigrants, and refugees, he is also an active community advocate/leader for the LGBTQ community and is Co-Chair with the City of Seattle LGBTQ Commission.

Jessi Murray

Jessi Murray

Co-Chair
Appointed by: Commission
Term: 5/01/2018 - 10/30/2022

Bio + -

Jessi Murray has been a community activist, leader, and volunteer for more than half of her life, particularly in the realms of reproductive justice and LGBTQ advocacy. She works as a technical program manager and UX designer on open-source software for accelerating cancer and HIV research. Overall, she strives to make the world a better place to live for everyone, through technology, advocacy, and community.

Manuel Venegas

Manuel Venegas

Member
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 11/01/2017 - 10/31/2021

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Manuel Venegas is an HIV-positive, first generation Mexican-American, gay community advocate in the HIV & AIDS field. Ranging from local community-level work to national-level ambassadorship in the field, he is a member of the defeat HIV Community Advisory Board at Fred Hutch. He educates the community about the HIV cure research at Fred Hutch, raises awareness of HIV criminalization, and elder needs for healthcare reform. He also advocates for youth in San Francisco as a Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholar at the National AIDS Memorial Grove.

Manuel has been active in advocacy at the collegiate level for the last three years, primarily advocating on Trans rights issues pertaining to safety as well as creating safe places for LGBTQ student advocates to move administration to address issues on student government bodies. Manuel is a Washingtonian, who was born and raised in Moses Lake and enjoys track and field, tennis, and sailing the waters of the Puget Sound. 

Photo of Andrew Ikechukwu Ashiofu.

Andrew Ikechukwu Ashiofu

Member
Appointed by: Commission
Term: 11/1/2020 - 10/31/2022

Bio + -

Andrew Ikechukwu Ashiofu is a second generation Nigerian-American born to Nigerian immigrant parents in Houston, Texas. As a toddler, he moved back to Nigeria where he grew up and after 20 years came back to the USA. He has lived in Seattle since 2016. He has a BSC in Microbiology. 

While in College he represented Nigeria at the Youth Employment Summit (a millennial development growth initiative). In Nigeria, he started a safe spiritual sanctuary called House of Rainbow for the LGBTQ community. Here in the US, he has worked with fellow LGBTQ+ Nigerians in establishing human rights advocacy and asylum aid for LGBTQ+ Immigrants seeking help. He is a member of DPHIU, the first Greek fraternity for gay men of color. Andrew is also a planning council member with the Seattle HIV/AIDS planning council and co-chair of the King County Democrat's DEI committee. He is an avid traveller, has been to 5 continents, and hopes to one day go to Antarctica.

Headshot for Raja Fouad. Raja has a red flower in their hair, a black top, with an ornate white necklace. The wall behind them is floral print.

Raja Fouad

Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 11/1/2020 - 10/31/2022

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Raja Fouad (they/them/theirs) is an asylee from Pakistan who moved to the United States at the age of 17. They lived in Alabama for most of their 20's & moved to Seattle in 2016. They identify as Non-Binary.

During their time in Alabama, they worked with various Civil & Labor Right groups. They were an active part of working on various projects & legislations including but not limited to Rape Prevention & Policy change at University of South Alabama, legislation requiring City of Mobile Police Department to wear body cameras, 15 Now Campaign, the fight against Alabama's Anti-Illegal Immigration bill (Beason-Hammon) HB-56, and the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ couples even after the Marriage Equality Bill was passed. 

In Seattle, they are focused on continuing the work to better the lives of Trans & Immigrant Communities. They have been active in the art scenes & have enjoyed working in spaces like the Seattle Art Museum & McCaw Hall. Currently they are working at Toyota where they are helping pave the way forward to create a welcoming environment in a space not generally welcome to Queer folks. It is part of their focus on moving away from Safe Spaces to a Safe City & providing Equal Opportunities everywhere for Trans & BIPOC communities. 

In their leisure time, they enjoy going to art spaces, thrift stores, various parks & beaches in the region, and going to local Drag shows & Concerts. You can also them exploring the City's International & Local food scene

Headshot for Diondra Braswell. Backdrop is blurred green leaves and branches. Diondra has green sunglasses on top of their head.

Diondra Braswell

Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 5/1/2020 - 4/30/2022

Bio + -

Diondra Braswell (they/them/theirs)  is a black trans non-binary artist who is passionate about the aid and liberation of QTBIPOC folks, especially black trans folks. 

Raised in Northern Arizona and L.A., they moved from Arizona to Washington seven years ago. Since living in Seattle, they have focused on visual art, music, and building community. Being able to dream and create new worlds is something that intersects in all parts of their life including community and activist work. They enjoy spending time in nature, traveling, and going to art and music events.

Brett Pepowski

Member
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 5/1/2020 - 4/30/2022

Steven Pray

Member
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 11/1/2019 - 10/31/2021