Hello SAGA community!
My name is AJ Tiedeman and I am honored to take on the challenging role of SAGA’s new Program Manager. I want to extend my gratitude to those who have already given me a warm welcome, and I look forward to getting to know those I have not yet met.
I hope that my tumultuous and joyful experiences as a queer, gender queer, physically transitioning trans masc, Asian American will aide in nurturing and facilitating a dynamic community committed towards true social change for all trans people. I have been analyzing and challenging the white cis heteropatriarchal hegemony since my first memories as a four year-old! I believe that it is crucial that we, as a trans community, move away from centering the white, middle-class “American Dream,” and re-direct our focus on our underserved, stigmatized, and abused trans and queer siblings. In order to do this, we must implement anti-racist, anti-classist, and anti-(dis)able bodied frameworks. These include, and most certainly are not limited to, Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) identifying only support groups, drastically increasing our budget to start a fund for trans BIPOC individuals seeking financial assistance in transitioning, organized channels for sharing grievances, multilingual resource materials, public and loud support for our undocumented community, and connecting with lawyers specializing in the needs of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. With all of this in mind, I look forward to growing alongside SAGA and learning from my colleagues as we work together in this time of structural transition and transformation.
A little more about myself: I grew up in New York City, which formed the roots of my passion for social justice work. I then traveled to Richmond, Indiana where I graduated from Earlham College in December 2017 with a BA in Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies. During my time at Earlham I completed an off-campus semester program in Tucson called the Border Studies Program (BSP). BSP is what hooked me to Tucson. Other than the killer sunsets, I met so many incredible people and told myself I had to come back. Shortly after the big move, I started working with No Mas Muertes/No More Deaths. I am thrilled to continue making a community here in Southern Arizona through SAGA. When I am not at SAGA’s office, you can find me biking around town, hiking among the gorgeous cacti, or attempting to try new crafts like weaving on a piece of cardboard.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns, exciting news, or jokes! I want to hear from everybody. I want to hear what you think would make a better SAGA.
Pronouns: They, Them, Theirs