Grayce is a photographer and digital manipulator that enjoys making and experiencing many forms of art. Over the last few years she has been focused on empowering and showing the beauty of people from the local LGBTQIA+ community. Grayce's first experience with SAGA was through its website, finding resources to begin transition. She then found the support groups and used them to strengthen her resolve to transition and also learn more about the local trans community. In the process she found friends and chosen family amongst the people in these groups, gaining a sense of belonging. Grayce endeavors to pay forward what SAGA has done for her by facilitating the Desert Sisters and Gender Outlawz support groups. She tries to make these groups a warm inviting place for people to be their true selves and find acceptance.
Nicky Manlove is a musician and educator whose work is informed by gender-expansiveness, prison and police abolition, and a commitment to community-based praxis. Nicky is the founding director of THEM Youth Ensemble, an LGBTQ+ youth performing arts program in Tucson, where she produced "ROSES: The Past, Present, and Future of Trans Resilience” and “Sacred Resilience” for TDoR 2020 and 2021. She also serves as the director of music and communications at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church As a community-based scholar-practitioner, Nicky is a nationally-recognized authority on educational pedagogies for supporting trans young people. Their podcast “engender: singing and the wisdom of gender diversity” was produced through The Choral Commons, a media platform that provides a space for singing communities to realize the liberatory potential of the ensemble as a site of radical imagining.
Facilitator of SAGA’s TGNC BIPOC support group, Yann is an emergent scholar, amateur musician, and former union representative. A second generation Chinese American, Yann came to Tucson to complete a PhD in Transcultural German Studies at the University of Arizona. After joining SAGA for support in their own transition, Yann volunteered as the first facilitator for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color support group. Yann’s service with SAGA’s BIPOC Support Group is informed by a deep commitment to combating white supremacy and providing a space/time for BIPOC resistance in all aspects of their life. Outside of SAGA, Yann also delivers for Tucson Food Share and sings with Desert Voices.
AJ Tiedeman - Program Manager
AJ has been part of the SAGA fam since January 2020. They are a genderqueer, trans masc Chinese American, who grew up in so-called NYC - Munsee Lenape and Wappinger land - and raised by their adoptive white parents. They received their BA in Gender and Sexuality studies from Earlham College (EC). Through EC they participated in a Border Studies Program in so-called Tucson, AZ - Tohono O’odham and Yaqui land - where they have continued to make a home since August 2018. AJ has experience organizing around TQ liberation and migrant justice and strives to center Land Back and reparations for Black folks. AJ is a core member of the Trans Asylum Support and Seeker Network’s Tucson Chapter, a board member of Mariposas Sin Fronteras, and a co-founder of Thompson House, which is an up and coming host home program for TGNC BIPOC 18-24 years old. When they aren’t organizing with community, they’re chillin in the beautiful desert, going for a bike ride, crafting, cooking, or watching hella Netflix.
Tyrell Blacquemoss - Sustainability Manager and Healing Artist in Residence
He is a fruition birthworker, serial entrepreneur and artist growing financial roots, blossoming dreams, and healing ancestral debts. With a 10+ years thread and an ongoing commitment to land-based Afro-Indigenizing practices, Tyrell supports peacekeepers and leaders through strategic planning to see and step into their inheritance. Together, Tyrell and their clients work to bridge borders of race, class, ability, gender, age, and sexuality. Tyrell has birthed 5 startups since 2016 and is a recipient of The Gibian Rosewater Travel Award, 2018 Artist in Community Award, Cornell Tradition Fellowship, and Pink Door Fellowship. Tyrell resonates with SAGA’s vision for equity for all TGNC folks and centering BiPOC TGNC folks. Tyrell has been in Tucson for 1 year, and desires to grow SAGA’s financial ability to provide direct support to Tucson TGNC folks and build out a Trans Healing Artist-in-Residence mentorship program.
Emmett - Office Administrator
Emmett has been part of the SAGA fam since September 2019. He is an activist, art educator, illustrator, and artist of many mediums. Born and raised in Tucson, Emmett cherishes his close ties to the local Jewish community and is devoted to education, advocacy, and activism in Arizona. He is strongly inspired by the Jewish value of tikkun olam: the imperative to heal the world through social justice. Since joining the SAGA team, his art has been featured in our care packages, presentations, merchandise, and social media posts. His work centers trans folks as magical and ethereal, often using portraiture to celebrate trans beauty and gender euphoria. He has experience as an art educator for people of all ages, specializing with senior community members in assisted living. Emmett is currently an undergraduate at the University of Arizona; he is double majoring in Judaic Studies and Studio Art.