Samantha SmootInterim Executive Director • EmailSamantha brings 20 years of experience leading citizen advocacy campaigns to the Equality Texas organization. She has served as Political Director of both the Planned Parenthood Federation for America and the Human Rights Campaign, as well as Executive Director for Texas Freedom Network. More recently, she has fought to support citizen groups and political leaders as they build more inclusive democracies through her work in the Middle East and North Africa, West Africa, and Eurasia with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
Rebecca RobertsonChief Program Officer • EmailRebecca previously served as the Legal & Policy Director of the ACLU of Texas, where she led a diverse team of advocacy professionals—including lawyers, policy strategists, and community organizers—in developing innovative programs for advancing civil liberties in an often-hostile environment. Robertson received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1995 and was elected executive editor of the Harvard Law Review. She graduated from Rice University, magna cum laude, in 1991.
Rachel GonzalesEducation and Resource Coordinator • EmailEducation and Resource Coordinator Rachel Gonzales has testified several times at the Texas Capitol, spoken at rallies and protests, and has maintained a local to national media presence in the fight for equality for transgender Texans. As the mother of a transgender child, equality for LGBTQ youth is her passion. She is delighted to be able to combine her passion with her background in cultural applied anthropology to advocate for the equal treatment of LGBTQ youth, providing support for families to be their own best advocates. She is an active member of Dallas-Fort Worth Trans Kids and Families (DFWTKF) and a member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) National Parents for Transgender Equality Council.
Javier OsorioFinance and Administrative Coordinator • EmailAs a first generation immigrant from Peru, Finance and Administrative Coordinator Javier Osorio earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Accounting from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He joined the Equality Texas staff in August 2017, after the 85th Special Legislative Session ended. As a talented financial accountant specializing in financial planning, reporting and analysis, Javier is excited to also provide a positive, can-do attitude to the team.
Robert SalcidoStatewide Field Coordinator • EmailRobert is committed to civic engagement and is active in various capacities in the LGBT community. He’s been involved with Pride Center San Antonio since 2011 and was elected as the board chair in May 2015. He is a founding member and current president of Orgullo de San Antonio LGBT League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 22198, where he works to build bridges between the LGBT & Latino communities. Robert was awarded the statewide 2016 Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers of Texas. Raised in Amarillo, San Antonio has been his home since 2001.
Kimberly ShappleyFaith Outreach Coordinator • EmailFaith Outreach Coordinator Kimberly Shappley is a registered nurse, an international board certified lactation consultant, ordained minister, and mom of a whole bunch of amazing people, including a transgender daughter who has turned Kimberly into an accidental advocate. Kimberly is a nationally recognized sought-after speaker as a Southern Conservative Christian parent of a transgender child. Her family’s story has appeared on The TODAY Show, Vice HBO, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, and several national women’s magazines. Her recent work includes cultural diversity training for college faculty, as well as speaking at medical and mental health conferences, Christian congregations and women’s retreats.
Lou WeaverTransgender Programs Coordinator • EmailLou is a queer transgender man and a leader in Houston’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. Lou works on elevating the voices of transgender Texans, including the Texas TransVisible Project public education campaign. Trans healthcare is a key component of his advocacy portfolio, as is providing guidance to local law enforcement offices. He shares his home a mouthy 13-year-old cat Cosmo.
Kim DelinskiDevelopment Director • EmailKim has over 10 years of fund raising experience and a proven track record of building and maintaining meaningful relationships that work together to create positive change.
TreShaun PateNorth Texas Field Coordinator • EmailTreShaun is a veteran, a community leader, an avid camper, and a passionate advocate for the empowerment of transgender people of color. As chair of the annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference, TreShaun spreads the profound joy he felt when he attended his first conference and realized that he’d found the place he belonged. TreShaun oversees grassroots organizing efforts for Equality Texas in the DFW area, focusing on building community power and increasing support for LGBTQ equality.
Debi JacksonDigital Communications Coordinator • EmailDebi has a degree in Journalism and spent 20 years working in corporate communications, advertising, and marketing. She became an advocate for transgender rights in 2014 when her speech about her daughter's transition at the age of 4 went viral. She has been interviewed by media across the US, the UK, France, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Colombia and Brazil. She was awarded the 2016 NEA GLBT Caucus Role Model Award for her contributions to education about the LGBTQ+ community. She will lead digital communications for Equality Texas.