The results of the election for the next president of Affirmation were recently certified by the board of directors. Nathan Kitchen, who joined the board early this year, ran unopposed for president. He will serve a two-year term beginning on January 1st, 2019.
Prior to his election as president, Nathan served a member of Affirmation’s board of directors and is the co-founder of Fathers in Affirmation, the organization’s GBT+ group for fathers. Last year, he took on a leading role in helping to develop Affirmation’s suicide prevention initiative, becoming a QPR Gatekeeper Trainer and providing this life-saving training to attendees at the 2018 Affirmation International Conference.
“It is humbling to follow in the footsteps of so many who have built and worked in Affirmation over the years. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve,” Nathan shared following the certification of the election results. “Affirmation is a remarkable organization filled with remarkable people. It is a life-saving organization. We are at a juncture of change as we enter this next era of Affirmation with our new inclusive charter and bylaws. We face explosive worldwide growth and an expanding budget.”
“Despite the administrative tasks required of me, I want to convey that my first love is to you, the individual member of Affirmation,” continued Kitchen. “Affirmation exists for you. This space of love will be home base for me as president as we create together safe and supportive communities among friends.”
When Nathan was seventeen, he came out to his bishop and was counseled to ignore is sexuality and marry a woman. He served a mission in Alabama, married, and had five children. He served within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in several areas, including twice as a counselor in ward bishoprics, as stake young men’s president, and on the high council. After twenty-three years of marriage, he finally came out to himself and those around him.
Nathan holds a Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University Provo and a Doctor of Dental Medicine from Southern Illinois University. He has a private dental practice in Mesa, Arizona.
Affirmation Board Approves Laurie Lee Hall and Jairo Gonzalez Diaz to Serve as Senior Vice President and Vice President
The position of president is the only elected position in Affirmation. The president appoints two vice presidents and these three people form an executive committee that conducts the business of Affirmation along with the board of directors and a large expanded team of volunteers. The person elected as president greatly influences the performance of Affirmation in conjunction with the board of directors. The board of directors has approved Laurie Lee Hall and Jairo Gonzalez Diaz to serve respectively as senior vice president and vice president. Both are current members of the Affirmation board of directors.
Laurie Lee Hall, Senior Vice President
Prior to being approved as the next senior vice president of Affirmation, Laurie Lee Hall served as the organization’s vice president and as a member of Affirmation’s board of directors.
An architect, Laurie Lee’s career includes managing worldwide construction programs which include some of the largest projects for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to her professional work in connection with the church, she served in several prominent ecclesiastical leadership roles but was excommunicated from the church in 2017,
As a transgender woman, her experience and voice have been vital in Affirmation’s efforts. She has worked with many other transgender youth and adults to navigate the challenges and triumphs of living authentically. She has blogged and written extensively on the subjects of gender variance and marriage and the intersection of gender and faith traditions.
“I began working with Nathan earlier this year as fellow members of Affirmation’s board of directors,” shared Laurie Lee. “Nathan joined the Board at a dynamic and tumultuous juncture and the impact of his calm voice and clear leadership was immediately apparent. I am continually impressed by his mature, stable, even unflappable nature, and I have grown to constantly rely upon his insights and experience within Affirmation.”
“Even more importantly I have discovered the great breadth of his heart, and his deep love for all members of Affirmation and indeed all of those at the intersection of Mormonism and LGBTQ issues,” Laurie Lee continued. “Nathan has a profound desire to save many lives and to improve all lives. His passion has driven him to become the first certified QPR Gatekeeper Trainer in Affirmation, leading the organization with regard to suicide prevention.”
“I am honored and overjoyed to work with Nathan R. Kitchen as his Senior Vice President over these next two years,” said Laurie Lee. “I have pledged my devotion and capacity to him to help Affirmation develop safe and supportive communities throughout the world! I invite you to get to know this wonderful man much better, and to join us in our efforts.”
Laurie Lee Hall was raised in New England and was trained in architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York. She is the parent of five children and 11 grandchildren.
Jairo Fernando González Díaz, Vice President
Jairo Fernando González Díaz was among the first LDS converts in Colombia, hence the unusual trajectory of an active Mormon since boyhood in a conservative and Catholic society where Mormonism was barely known. The mission he served in different cities of Colombia, accentuated his leadership skills and his religious convictions. His professional training included a professional degree from the Colombian Polytechnic, as well as the development of his expertise as an auditor in renowned law firms such as Price Waterhouse Coopers and Nexia International.
Working Together to Develop Affirmation’s Communities
About his choices for his senior vice president and vice president, Nathan shared, “I am continually impressed by Laurie Lee and Jairo. They both bring qualities and talents to the executive committee vital to supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and families throughout the world.”
“Both Laurie Lee and Jairo have my utmost confidence as we move forward as Affirmation’s next executive committee,” Nathan continued. “Both have a great love for people and I look forward with excitement to work with them in developing Affirmation’s safe and supportive communities wherever our LGBTQ+ siblings are found.”