Othell Begay (Navajo) is a proud Two-Spirit. Since becoming NE2SS’ web-master, he has spear headed the effort for the re-design and layout of the site. When not working on our site, Othell is a research technician at the Population Council. Currently he is researching the anti-viral properties of commercial sexual lubricants and the anti-HIV activity of the microbicide formulations developed by the Population Council, which one day he hopes will greatly reduce HIV transmission. He received a BA in biology from Columbia University. Othell was raised on the Navajo Nation, and has been living in NYC for 9 years.
Ryan King (Akwesasne Mohawk) is a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, located in Upstate New York, and a member of the Bear Clan. Ryan has worked with the New York State HIV Prevention Planning Group, and is currently working with the Pride Center of Western New York in Buffalo, coordinating the Substance Use Program, educating the LGBT community on harmful effects of Crystal Meth, alcohol, and other substance use, as well as developing a two spirit initiative for Western New York. Ryan is a graduate of Buffalo State College, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Communications and Marketing.
Kristen Meyer (Cherokee) is a member of NE2SS and sits on their Leadership Council. She currently works as a freelancer, specializing in research and social marketing. Kirsten holds a BA in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of CA, Irvine, and a MA in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. Before coming to NY, Kirsten was director of the Native American Language Center at UC Davis, a diversity trainer, and a recruiter for both Cal State University, Fullerton, and UC Irvine. Her significant community involvement includes a number of outreach programs to high school and at-risk kids, grant writing and project management for the cultural nonprofit Payomkawichum Kaamalam, and various student leadership positions, including Chair of the American Indian Student Association at UC Irvine. She currently sits on the (HIV/AIDS) Prevention Planning Group’s Criminal Justice Workgroup on behalf of NE2SS. Kirsten’s maternal line is mixed-blood Cherokee from the Cumberland River Valley on the border of Kentucky-Tennessee.
Harlan Pruden (Cree) is an enrolled member of the Goodfish Lake Band on the Saddle Lake Indian Reservation in Alberta, Canada. He is the Assistant Director of Special Projects at the Empire State Development Corporation. Within his current position, he works to ensure that minority and women’s business enterprises have equal contracting opportunities with the State of New York. In April 2011, Mr. Pruden was appointed to Community Board 12 and is currently the only Native person on any community board in Manhattan.
Sheldon Raymore (Cheyenne River Sioux), while growing up on his reservation, Sheldon was a competitive Grass-dancer on the National pow-wow circuit. Sheldon is wise beyond his years, and has the perspective of someone who was shunned by his people and community when he came out. However, as a result of his participation with the NorthEast Two-Spirit Society, he has not only been able to unify his Native and gay identities into one (Two-Spirit), and now works with his family, community, with the guidance and support spiritual leaders and elders of his Nation to undo the impact of colonization has had on his people and all the indigenous people.