Affirmation Board Adds Four Members, Three Complete Terms

January 14, 2022

January 2022 Board Changes

From Left to Right: Melissa-Malcolm King, Juan Carlos Peralta, Justis Tuia, Francisco Villalobos, Kate Mower, Heidi Ramirez, and Randall Thacker

by Affirmation

As we begin 2022, we are excited to announce the appointment of four new members to the Affirmation Board of Directors, Melissa-Malcolm King, Juan Carlos Peralta Rodríguez, Kate Mower, and Heidi Ramirez. Three members of the board have completed their terms of service or will complete their term at the end of the month, Justis Tuia, Francisco Villalobos, and Randall Thacker.

Together, the board of directors and executive committee constitute the international leadership of Affirmation, responsible for its governance and operations to further our mission to create worldwide communities of safety, love, and hope and promote understanding, acceptance, and self-determination of individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions and affirm the inherent self-worth of LGBTQIA+ individuals as complete, equal, and valuable persons and support them as they define their individual spirituality and intersection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Board members serve three-year terms.

Meet the New Board Members

Melissa-Malcolm King, Juan Carlos Peralta Rodríguez, Kate Mower, and Heidi Ramirez are joining the Affirmation Board of Directors to serve with current members Carlos Castillo Casas, Chelsea Gibbs, Shauna Jones, Mike Klein, Cristina Moraes, and Francisco Ruiz. Biographies and contact information for the board and other Affirmation international leadership and staff can be found on our leadership page.

Melissa-Malcolm King is an author whose current projects include a monthly exhibition for Exponent 2 Magazine, a columnist for Innerversion Magazine, contributor and board member for the West View Media Newspaper eagerly supporting the West Side of Salt Lake in showcasing diversity, intersectionality, and the unique communities evolving there. Utah State Universities Department of Education – Office of disabilities and inclusion has offered Melissa-Malcolm the opportunity to showcase her motivational essays as a monthly correspondent. Melissa-Malcolm has been recently published in two anthologies: New World Coming: Frontline Voices on Pandemics, Uprisings, and Climate Crisis and “I Spoke to you with Silence”: Essays from Queer Mormons of Marginalized Genders. Melissa-Malcolm is the Mid-West Regional President and Director of the People of the Global Majority in Affirmation and President of Asexuals Utah. Melissa-Malcolm runs a non Profit – Project B.E. S.A.F.E. that supports women and gender minorities.

Juan Carlos Peralta is a dancer who studied art, folklore, and dancing. He is currently studying haute couture. He is 38 years old and is gay. He became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2002 and served as a full-time missionary in the Peru Arequipa Mission from 2007 to 2009. Before joining the Affirmation Board of Directors, Juan Carlos served as a leader in Affirmation Peru for six years.

Kate Mower is a nonbinary lesbian from Riverton, Utah. They were raised in a Latter-day Saint household and continue to identify as a Latter-day Saint. They are a PhD candidate at the University of California, Riverside specializing in Romanian and Black Sea history of science. They teach 20th Century World History. Their dissertation focuses on decolonization, critical race theory, and gender. They are currently working on a digital humanities database of sources for ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’ They were a 2016-2017 Fulbright researcher and are now awaiting approval from the US State Department to resume research in Romania. They create educational content on Instagram at @latterdaylez that centers on the intersection of LGBTQIA2S+ and Latter-day Saint identities as well as suicide ideation and sexual assault. They consider California, Utah, and Constanta, Romania to be home.

Heidi Ramírez (she/her) lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband, children, and Goldendoodle. Heidi was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Although she vividly remembers many of the Young Women’s and/or Relief Society lessons that were taught about motherhood and forever families, she was never taught how to best support LGBTQ+ family members and friends. Heidi is grateful for members of Affirmation who have helped her to navigate the intersectionality of being the mother/ally of a gay son and how to seek out alternative expressions of faith/spirituality that include ALL her family members and friends. She is an English for Academic Purposes adjunct professor at Valencia College and Ana G. Mendez University. She also serves on the Mama Dragons volunteer team as a QPR Suicide Prevention instructor. When Heidi is not working or volunteering or cheering her children on at their extracurricular activities, she enjoys traveling the world. Before joining the Affirmation Board of Directors, Heidi served for two years as vice president for the Affirmation Florida Chapter.

Thank You to These Outstanding Leaders

To Justis Tuia, Francisco Villalobos, and Randall Thacker we extend our deep gratitude for their service to Affirmation and wish them all the success possible in their future endeavors and welcome, as always, their contributions to and participation in Affirmation and the LGBTQIA+ Latter-day Saint community, whatever they may be and however they may wish to do so.

Justis Tuia

Francisco Villalobos

Randall Thacker

 

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