LGBTQ Commission

The Denver Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Commission (LGBTQ) Commission partners with the community to advance social, economic, and political equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people using its unique position within the City and County of Denver.

Purpose Statements

  • Advise the Human Rights and Community Partnership's Executive Director and the Mayor on the critical issues and opportunities facing the LGBTQ community. 
  • Recommend legislation, policies, programs, procedures, or administrative actions that advance social, economic, and political equality for the LGBTQ community, or oppose those that do not.
  • Support efforts to organize, educate, and mobilize the LGBTQ community through coalition building, and coordination with allied individuals, groups, and organizations.

Read The 2023 LGBTQ Commission-Bylaws(PDF, 202KB)

Commission Members

Kat Ling (they/she) *Chair

 Kat-Ling HeadshotKat Ling (they/she) is the CEO of Moonshot edVentures, a nonprofit that surfaces and supports underrepresented leaders to launch innovative learning environments in Metro Denver. Kat began their career as a 4th grade teacher and later worked in education nonprofits coaching teachers and facilitating diversity, equity & inclusiveness trainings in Arkansas and Mississippi. While in the south, Kat launched the GLSEN-Arkansas chapter and led the chapter to train over 1,000 teachers per year across the Deep South on creating safe and inclusive classrooms. They also served on GLSEN’s National Advisory Council and was a founding member of GLSEN’s Race & Privilege Committee. They currently serve on the Board of Directors for Empower Community High School and Vanguard Charter School, both in Aurora. They are a member of Leadership Denver Class of 2022. Kat served as Chair during 2023.

Chris Zivalich (he/him) *Vice-Chair

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Christopher Zivalich (he/him)is the Senior Manager in State Policy and Training at the National Coalition of STD Directors. In his role, he supports analysis and replication of successful sexual health policies across the U.S. Born and raised in Colorado, Christopher joined the LGBTQ Commission because he is passionate about serving all members of the local queer community to ensure the city is inclusive, safe, and accommodating. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from Ithaca College and an M.A. in Gender Studies with a concentration on Queer Theory from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. In his free time, Christopher volunteers with local HIV advocacy coalitions, snuggles with his kitties, and overanalyzes episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Chris served as Secretary in 2022.



Jack Teter (he/they)

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 Jack Teter (he/they) crafts and passes policies to expand access to abortion and other reproductive health care as the regional director of government affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, Jack worked to pass legislation on education funding equity and school discipline reform, and to elect democrats across the state. An experienced organizer at the intersection of progressive politics and faith communities, Jack was the first transgender staffer at the State Capitol and graduated cum laude from Colorado College with a BA in religion and a minor in feminist and gender studies.

Stacey Beckman (she/her)

Stacey Beckman (she/her) is an attorney and law professor. Her practice emphasizes civil rights and criminal defense litigation. Early in her teaching career she developed the first LGBTQ Rights class approved by the State of Colorado for the curriculum in paralegal education, establishing Colorado as the regional leader in undergraduate curriculum development in this area. Stacey also championed curriculum improvements which elevated both Constitutional Law and Legal Writing into required areas of study for undergraduate legal education. Stacey began her legal career defending AIDS-impacted street activists as legal counsel for ACT UP/Chicago. In that capacity she fought for and won a position as the first ever defense attorney to serve on the Cook County (IL) States Attorney Task Force on Gay and Lesbian issues. Stacey won several early civil rights victories for the LGBTQ and HIV and AIDS impacted communities during the era when cities and counties began to add LGBTQ people as a protected class under their civil rights ordinances. Stacey is a recent past president of the ATL Foundation; she continues to support the philanthropic work of the organization.


Kyle Rojas-Legleiter (he/him)

Kyle-Rojas-Legleiter HeadshotKyle Rojas Legleiter (he/him) is the Senior Director of Policy Advocacy at the Colorado Health Foundation where his work always starts with people. His first experiences in public health were as an undergraduate, where he volunteered with a group of campus student health educators who provided rape crisis counseling and sexual assault prevention education. Since then, he has become invested in the issues that broadly impact health and has worked in public health for the past 20 years. At the Foundation since 2012, Kyle is essentially a problem solver, working with state and local communities to address issues that allow Coloradans to be the healthiest they can be.


Autumn Wright (she/her/hers)

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 Autumn Wright (she/her/hers) is a 9th Grade English Teacher, and taught middle school English for 5 years before this role. She sees herself as an advocate for LGTBQ+ youth in her schools, having co-led her school’s GSA Club, run a book study discussing LGBTQ+ books, and worked with building leadership to design professional development for teachers surrounding supporting LGBTQ+ students. She aspires to move into leadership positions that bring more awareness and acceptance among teachers and students in schools. She spends her free time outdoors - running, skiing, hiking, and cycling.


Lizz Mueller (she/they)

Lizz-Mueller headshot with red backgroundLizz Mueller (she/they) manages community outreach campaigns for local, progressive, political candidates and is also a nanny. She is very passionate about making a positive impact in her community and helping shape future generations to be the best they can be. Lizz has both a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Social Work and believes strongly in the power of grassroots community efforts. They were once a Community Health Volunteer in the Peace Corps and know firsthand that community transformation happens when its people have ownership and a say in how their community is run. Lizz brings an empowerment-informed lens to all the work she does and strives to help people see the best in themselves, so they can make their best contributions to this world. Finally, she is an avid concert-goer who loves live music, tasty food, hiking, and spending quality time with friends and family.


Rex Fuller (he/him)

Rex-Fuller Headshot Rex Fuller (he/him) is the CEO of The Center on Colfax, Denver’s LGBTQ community center. Rex has worked at The Center since 2013. He served as Vice President of Communications and Strategic Partnerships where he worked on producing Denver PrideFest, the largest celebration of LGBTQ pride in the Rocky Mountain West. Before joining the Center, he served in key roles at various performing arts organizations, including Opera Colorado, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Central City Opera and the Boulder Philharmonic. An LGBTQ activist, Fuller was an active member of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) in the 1980s and was an early organizer of Denver PrideFest in the early 1990s. He currently volunteers with the distribution team at Project Angel Heart.


Eric Smith (he/him)

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Eric Smith (he, him) works in real estate and property management and currently manages Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties throughout the Denver metro area. Eric is an LGBTQ advocate as well as local transportation advocate as he currently sits on RTD's Citizen's Advisory Commission (CAC) District A, which is a 17-member committee that advises the agency on RTD’s strategies, initiatives and transportation programs and keeps the region’s citizens informed of RTD programs and initiatives and encourages input from local communities. 

Currently, Eric stays busy by finishing up a double major at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU), and traveling cross country to try the best roller coasters and dinner buffets around.


Martha Lewis (she/her)

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 Martha Lewis (she/her) leads several Financial Crimes Risk Management teams at Charles Schwab Corporation, where she has been employed since 2017. Martha joined the LGBTQ+ Commission in 2022  and previously was a board member of Upward Roots, Inc., a non-profit which creates programs to empower youth to be leaders through youth-led, youth-driven community service. Additionally, she has volunteered her time with the National Center of Lesbian Rights and currently is on the Advisory Board for Peak 9 Confidence, which teaches girls to become powerful, confident women through sport. Martha lives in Denver with her wife, Elaine “EY” Youngs, their dog Honour, and enjoys everything Colorado has to offer from fly fishing to downhill skiing to renovating an old airstream off-the-grid in Ouray County.



Alex Yu (he/him)

Headshot of Alex Yu in blue sweaterAlex Yu (he/him) first got involved in Denver LGBTQ+ issues during his doctoral work with One Colorado, where he focused his research on Increasing Donor Retention for LGBTQ+ Nonprofits. During the last two years, Alex sat on the board for the Alexander Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)3, all-volunteer organization whose sole focus is to give back to the LGBTQ+ community of Colorado, where he served as Vice Chair, Assistance Chair, and Board Member at Large. He is currently the VP of Customer Experience and Operations at Mento, a coaching and mentoring company. In his spare time, Alex has also taught at CU Denver through the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship. Alex joined the commission in July 2023.



Miguel Bañuelos-García (he/him)

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Miguel Banuelos-Garcia (he/him) is a College Advisor with the Denver Scholarship Foundation. Miguel was born and raised in Denver, CO and is a first-generation scholar proud of being a Colorado State University alumni. Passionate about college access and equity, Miguel is dedicated to supporting students in their pursuit of higher education. His journey reflects a commitment to breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for all. Rooted in his Communication Studies and Policy background, Miguel leverages his understanding of framing to advocate for inclusive policies and engage in meaningful public discourse. As a driving force in the quest for a more equitable educational landscape, Miguel inspires graduating students to embrace the transformative power of education and work towards a future where every individual has the opportunity to thrive. Miguel joined the commission in July 2023.

Marcie Smith (she/her)

headshot of Marcie-Smith holding a guitarMarcie Smith  (she/her) is a SEL Counselor for Denver Kids, Denver Kids a partnership with Denver Public Schools. Denver Kids provides academic support, enrichment, social-emotional tools and future planning to unlock full, lifelong success for every student. Marcie has 15+ years experience working in the public school system where she has also been a mindfulness coach for both students and staff to help everyone in school buildings deal with day to day stress. She is an accomplished singer who is a SOFAR Artist and has performed all over Southern California, parts of Nevada, Arizona, and over course here in Colorado. Lastly, Marcie is an LGBTQ advocate in all aspects of her life and believes diversity makes spaces better, everyone deserves to be seen and heard. Marcie joined the commission in July 2023.


Cody Ostenson (he/him)

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 Cody Ostenson (he/him) is an educator turned community organizer with a 10 year track record of working with school staff, parents, students, and community members to advocate for public education at the local and state levels. As the Director of Operations & Data at Denver Families for Public Schools, his work focuses on supporting the organization’s programs and campaigns to be data-informed. Cody’s passion for organizing and advocacy began as a middle school literacy teacher in Denver Public Schools. His classroom teaching experience, and work alongside parents and families in community engagement for DPS, were foundational in shaping his organizing philosophy: "Nothing about us without us." Alongside his service on the LGBTQ Commission, Cody also serves on the boards for New Era Colorado and Great Education Colorado Action. Cody joined the commission in July 2023.

Sam Casanova (she/they)

Sam-Casanova Headshot Sam Casanova (she/they) is a Community Educator and Researcher who facilitates and designs curriculum that centers the needs and experiences of folks on the margins, specifically queer and trans people of color (QTPOCs) by using data and narratives from their Community Ed Interview Series. With over 7 years of teaching experience, they currently works as a sexual health educator discussing reproductive health and intimacy-based topics. They have worked as a Humanities teacher with a focus on storytelling and lived experience. Casanova has a Bachelor's Degree in both English and Theater as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching. They have published works including “Centering Black Bodies, Black History and Black Wellness within Sex Ed” (2023) "Cafe con Leche" (2017) and "I asked out Molly" (2014) as a way to celebrate and uplift QTPOC experiences. As an Afro-Caribena born and raised in Miami, FL, Casanova actively centers pleasure, culture and storytelling in their advocacy and encourages others to do the same. Sam joined the commission in July 2023.


Melinda Higgs (she/her)

Melinda-Higgs HeadshotMelinda Higgs (she/her) joined the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center (CNDC) in September 1999 as the organization's first president and CEO. Before her role at CNDC, Melinda was the executive director of an association of Colorado youth mentoring programs. She has served on several Colorado boards and commissions and currently serves on Denver’s LGBTQ+ Commission and the Colorado Nonprofit Association Policy Committee. She is a founding member of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors and serves on its Steering Committee. Melinda is a graduate of Leadership Denver and of El Pomar Foundation’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program. She is a 2006 recipient of a Livingston Fellowship, an initiative of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, and a 2020 recipient of the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Steve Graham Award for Building Nonprofit Capacity. Away from work, Melinda enjoys spending time with her daughters and friends, traveling, reading, yoga, and engaging in outdoor adventures. Melinda joined the commission in July 2023.


DeVonne Austin

DeVonne Austin headshot

 DeVonne Austin (he/him) is an American bodybuilder advocating for the bisexual community as the official American BiGuy®. He is dedicated to developing and utilizing unconventional methods to bring awareness to the bisexual community and resolving the issues bisexual face in society. He achieved a dual Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice and Public Administration, a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in public management and an ABA approved Juris Doctorate. He is the CEO of Bi Us, a myriad of trademarks dedicated to representing the bisexual community with style and grace. DeVonne joined the commission in July 2023.

Caitlin Long (they/she)

Caitlin-Long HeadshotCaitlin Long (they/she) is an AASECT certified sex educator with over ten years of experience working in gender-specific and social-emotional health education programming. They earned their Masters of Education in Curriculum and Teaching with an emphasis on gender and curriculum from Teachers College, Columbia University. In their ten years of experience, they have learned how to make it easier for people (youth and adults) to engage critically, authentically, and vulnerably with each other about sex, bodies, and relationships. They are a zaza/parent, experienced sexuality educator, adult facilitator, curriculum designer, and public school teacher. Most recently, Caitlin co-founded re|scripted a feminist education consulting practice and has been busy developing pleasure positive, gender inclusive, equity and learner centered sex education curriculum. They also facilitate sex positive education to youth and families through their role as an educator and the Head of Curriculum at Sex Positive Families. Caitlin joined the commission in July 2023.


Patrick Walton (he/him)

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Patrick Walton (he/him) brings thirteen years of experience spanning the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to the City and County of Denver as the Assistant Director of Government & External Affairs with Denver Economic Development & Opportunity. Sitting on the External Affairs team, he leads multiple strategic projects and legislative affairs for the agency. Previously, Patrick worked with Mile High United Way in various roles focused on the economic mobility of families in Colorado including most recently as the Director of Tax Help Colorado. He currently serves on the Board of Environmental Learning for Kids and the Asian Chamber of Commerce. Patrick is an avid traveler and you can often find him hitting the slopes during the winter. Patrick served as the HRCP Delegate and on the Executive Committee in 2023.


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