Ricardo Martinez (he/him)
Ricardo joined Equality Texas as its CEO in December of 2019 following a national search. Ricardo is a first generation immigrant from Mexico who grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended public schools through high school. He was the second person of his immediate family to graduate high school and the first to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. Ricardo was called to a career as an advocate for equity and inclusion after participating in a program called Council for Unity in junior high school. Council for Unity focused on leadership development, self-expression, mediation, conflict resolution, mindfulness and advocacy. Ricardo credits his participation with helping him to uncover his passion and life purpose for mission-based work.
After post-secondary education, Ricardo amassed seventeen years of nonprofit fundraising, organizing, advocacy, and leadership experience with organizations like PENCIL, Summer Search, GLSEN, and Stand for Children. Most recently at Stand for Children, Ricardo lead a national organizing and constituent engagement effort for five years. Immediately prior to his tenure at Stand for Children, he spent several years with GLSEN; initially as Senior Manager of Field Services on the national team in NYC and later as the President of the Phoenix Chapter. Under Ricardo’s leadership, GLSEN Phoenix was an instrumental coalition partner in overturning Arizona’s “no promo homo” law, which prohibited K-12 schools from including LGBTQ representation, content, and history in their curriculum.
Ricardo has an undergraduate degree from Stony Brook University, and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from The New School in New York City. He was honored by the Obama Administration as an emerging LGBTQ Leader in 2012 and recently awarded the Stony Brook University’s 40 Under 40 award for the impact he has had in Civil Service and Activism since graduating from the university.
Nickoli Benkert (he/him)
Nickoli is an Equality Fellow living in Austin, Texas. He joined Equality Texas during the 87th Texas Legislative Session and has since assisted with legislative analysis, field outreach, and financial reporting efforts. Nickoli is currently attending The University of Texas at Austin where he is pursuing a degree in Political Communication Studies. Nickoli is passionate about political advocacy to achieve equality and civil protections for all LGBTQ+ Texans.
Caden Campbell (they/them)
Caden is Equality Texas’ Development Associate. They came to Austin by way of Eureka Springs, Arkansas where they served as the stewardship writer for a non-profit big cat rescue and sanctuary.
With a degree in English Language and Literature, Caden’s research interests have included the historical “outsider” in largely cis-heteronormative societies. Their thesis, “A Witch, Who is Not? Gender Instability and the Renaissance Witch,” explored witchcraft as not a religious crime, but the crime of transcending gender in binary England. Their most recent publication was a co-authored chapter in Genny Beeman’s Trans People in Higher Education (SUNY Press, 2019), which explored the personal experiences of a queer librarian and a trans student in a Southern women’s college, calling for more inclusive policies regarding the admittance and retention of trans students.
Today, they live in Austin with animal companions Gumbo and Rigatoni, stage name: Carbarella.
Gordy Carmona (they/them)
Gordy is a former Equality Fellow and joined Equality Texas as Field Coordinator in Collin County in March 2022. They grew up all over Texas but has called Plano home for majority of their adult life.
They began their advocacy journey after joining the board of directors of GALA in 2019 as Community Chair and volunteered with Equality Texas and community partners at Advocacy Day. They are a fierce advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially when engaging trans youth. They has traveled to Austin on many occasions at a moments notice to testify at the Capitol during the 86th & 87th legislative sessions (including all three 2020 special sessions).
Gordy can usually be found volunteering with North Texas nonprofits or organizing educational panel discussions on various topics pertaining to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Jonathan Cruz (he/him)
As someone who grew up in a small border town, Jonathan learned over the years just how special and unique the area, its people, and its culture are to Texas. He believes it’s important to recognize the value of grassroots community organizing and the many benefits of having an empowered group of individuals joining together to protect each other by using their voices to create change where it’s needed. With his background in community engagement and volunteer coordination, he is excited to support Equality Texas and my fellow LGBTQ+ Texans to create lasting, impactful, and meaningful change for the people of the Rio Grande Valley and all across Texas.
Johnathan Gooch (he/him)
Johnathan is a native Texan, whose deep roots drive his passion for growth. He has fought alongside the Chagossians in their quest to return to their homeland and worked with the University of Texas School of Law to hold Russia accountable for its mistreatment of ethnic minorities in Chechnya. Having mobilized his analytical skills at both the New York Department of State and the Texas Supreme Court, he is proud to steer his skillset into the work of bettering the lives of LGBTQ Texans. He joined the Equality Texas team in April 2022 as Communications Director.
Johnathan is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Texas International Law Journal. He studied philosophy and the classics at St. John’s College, and focused on human rights law while at the University of Texas School of Law. Outside Equality Texas Johnathan volunteers with the American Red Cross and the Trevor Project. When he’s not laser-focused on the mission, you might find him hiking through a National Park or shearing alpacas in the Texas Hill Country.
Chloe Goodman (they/them/elle)
Chloe began their queer advocacy in college, leading an underground support group for LGBTQ+ students at their Christian university in Arkansas. They came to Austin to join the fight for sexuality and gender equality and reproductive rights in Texas. After working in reproductive health, labor rights, criminal legal reform, and tacking on a couple of master's degrees, they have found a home at Equality Texas. As Constituent Services Manager, Chloe works to support queer individuals and their supporters and to strengthen Equality Texas’ partnerships across Texas. When not at their desk, they can be found twirling their way around a roller rink.
Jason Guidangen (any/all)
Jason has over two years of experience in government and political affairs, with two state legislative sessions under his belt. Jason devotes his time and effort to supporting our work both in Austin and all over the state. Jason is a lifelong Texan committed to making an impact, serving others, and centering his life around love and compassion. When he’s not reading the news or researching bills, you can find Jason at a coffee shop in the company of good friends.
Angela Hale (she/her)
Angela is a Dallas native, a former Emmy Award-winning TV reporter and veteran journalist at CBS KTVT Channel 11 in Dallas Fort Worth. As the managing partner of Red Media Group, a strategic communications and public affairs company, she works as a Senior Advisor to Equality Texas. She led communications efforts for the legalization of gay marriage for the Akin Gump Law Firm and the Texas plaintiffs and has been leading lobby and communications strategy at Equality Texas since 2015.
Angela has also served in executive leadership for Speaker of the House and for the Office of the Attorney General. She led communications and lobby strategy during the 2017 legislative session for Equality Texas, and the business coalition against LGBTQ discrimination defeated the bathroom bill twice. During the 2019 legislative session, she spearheaded Equality Texas communication and lobby efforts and led the Texas Welcomes All Business Coalition that included Texas Competes, Texas Welcomes All, Tech Net and the North Texas Commission defeating dozens of discriminatory bills. Angela also served as the Equality Texas Interim CEO in the summer and fall of 2019.
Rachel Hill (she/her)
Rachel is the Government Affairs Director for Equality Texas. She’s advocated for Texans for five years, over two Texas legislative sessions, and is committed to increasing understanding of and access to the advocacy process. Prior to joining Equality Texas, she worked with the Dallas Regional Chamber to increase quality of life and opportunity for the Dallas region. She’s a lifelong Texan and when the legislature is not in session, she lives in Dallas where you can usually find her (in non-pandemic times) at a coffee shop laughing with friends.
Steen Major (they/she)
Steen joined Equality Texas as Operations Associate in July 2022. They are passionate about the land and people of central Texas and have called the area home since 1990. During college, Steen became involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy as a member of Trinity Church of Austin, one of the first queer-affirming churches in central Texas. After pursuing graduate work on alternative religious communities, queer studies, and literature at Boston University, Steen taught and wrote as an independent scholar while providing administrative support and consulting for a variety of justice-oriented nonprofits.
They are thrilled to embody their values of inclusion and care for all people by supporting the work of Equality Texas. Steen lives in Pflugerville with their elementary-aged child and a backyard full of rabbits, caterpillars, honeybees, and lizards.
Justin McCormick (he/him)
Justin joined Equality Texas as its Development Director in July of 2022. As a first-generation college student and from rural Arkansas, Justin focused his undergraduate and graduate efforts studying how to give minority students access to positive educational experiences.
Justin's development and event experience began at the University of Missouri, where he advised the Multicultural Greek Council and special programing for the office of fraternity and sorority life. Most recently he served as Director of Alumni Engagement for his international fraternity and owner of one of the few LGBTQ owned event and floral companies in Arkansas.
Justin is passionate about staying involved in social justice driven initiatives in his community, serving on boards to increase awareness for LGBTQ folx and continuing the fight for equality in Texas and the United States.
When not traveling or floating a river, he and his husband, Jerred, is spending time with their son Hayden and dogs Hamish and Fitz.
Javier Osorio (he/him)
As a first generation immigrant from Peru, 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, and is now our Controller. 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.
Brad Pritchett (he/him)
Brad Pritchett joined the staff of Equality Texas in February of 2021 as Field Director. Prior to Equality Texas, Brad was a Policy and Advocacy Strategist with the ACLU of Texas where he focused on electoral strategies and LGBTQ+ issues at the Texas Legislature.
Brad was one of many community organizers who helped lobby Houston City Council to pass nondiscrimination protections for all Houstonians in 2014. Brad served as Political Director of the Houston Unites Campaign to defend the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, where he managed coalition and political relationships for the campaign. Prior to the ACLU he served as Operations and Communications Manager at the Harris County Democratic Party for 5 years.
Brad is heavily involved in Houston’s LGBTQ+ community and lives in the Houston Heights with his husband and their 2 beagles.
Sofia Sepulveda (she/her)
Sofia is a first generation Mexican American Trans-Woman, she grew up in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and came to San Antonio to continue her studies. She has been organizing in San Antonio for the past 8 years on Healthcare and Environmental Justice, she is the lead organizer for the Healthcare for All march in San Antonio, co-founder of Trans Power San Antonio, as well as organized the Women's March in San Antonio for the last 4 years. She was recognized as one of the 25 influential women who run San Antonio in 2019 for her work in healthcare. In 2021 alongside with amazing activists and organizers in Texas she helped to pass legislation that extended Medicaid for new mothers from 2 to 6 months. She also sits in the board oof Healthcare-Now, Transgender Education Network of Texas, and Community Advisory Board for Centro Med in San Antonio.
In her free time she loves doing Yoga, hiking, cooking, and spending time with my two dogs—a Shih Tzu named Maggie and a Pug named Bella!
Matthew Tan (he/they)
Matt is the Digital Communications Associate for Equality Texas. After moving to Texas at a young age, they spent their formative years in a small Texas town called Whitney before they began pursuing an interest in design and communications, which brought them to Austin to study graphic design at Austin Community College. They went on to work as an independent graphic and UX/UI designer in Austin for over a decade while also working various service roles at a number of local businesses before finding their way to Equality Texas.
As a second-generation Cambodian-Chinese person whose chosen family consists primarily of queer and trans folks, they are passionate about putting their skills to good use advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in Texas and across the country.
When they're out of the office, you can find them sipping on a vanilla latte at a local coffee shop, reading in bed, or cuddling up on the couch with their two dogs, Issey and Fyodor, while playing video games with friends.
Miranda Wood (she/her)
Miranda is Equality Texas’ Harris County Field Organizer. A reluctant Michigan native, Miranda spent her first 23 years in the Midwest before moving to Texas. She studied Social Relations and Policy at Michigan State University, where she learned of and experienced the changemaking power of one-on-one conversations. Though she’s worked in people-focused environments for the past decade, she found her stride knocking doors on behalf of the decennial census, where she found fulfillment in educating and empowering her community to be civically engaged. Her vast love for her chosen state and advocacy pushed her to devote her talents to the fight on behalf of the LGBT community, which ultimately brought her to Equality Texas. When she’s not working, you’ll probably run into her at a local music venue or hiking an overambitious trail.