As of January 1, 2015, former Senior Vice President, John Gustav-Wrathall, has joined the Affirmation Board of Directors and Randall Thacker has selected Todd Richardson to serve as his Senior Vice President and Kathy Carlston as the second Vice President.
Randall Thacker will be serving his 3rd consecutive term as Affirmation President. Randall first became involved in Affirmation in 2005 and then began serving when he helped fundraise for the 2007 conference in Washington, DC. He later helped organize local gatherings in the DC area, including LGBT Family Home Evenings and marches in the Washington, DC Pride parade. He served on the Kirtland Conference Committees in 2011, organizing the meetings that took place in the Kirtland Temple, and then as Senior Vice President in 2012. He is passionate about helping LGBT Mormons worldwide know of their inherent value as beautiful children of God. His vision is to see families, friends, and church leaders come together to help their LGBT loved ones live productive and fulfilling lives, independent of the life choices they make.
Randall is looking forward to the continued growth of Affirmation in 2015, especially to the many international LGBT Mormons who are currently lacking the level of support LGBT Mormons find in the United States. He will travel this year to Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and Europe to help build capacity of local support groups.
Todd is incredibly excited to serve in this new capacity as Senior Vice President. He hopes to continue Affirmation’s tradition of providing a safe community for LGBTQ Mormons and allies. Attending the Kirtland Affirmation conference four years ago was a transformational experience in his life and he is proud to be part of a community that affirms him, both as a gay man and as a Mormon.
Todd was raised in a loving Mormon home in Western Colorado. He served a mission in Alaska, an experience that he considers to be the best two years of his life. Upon returning home, Todd graduated from BYU and joined the Americorps, which brought him to Harlem to teach special education. He is currently a full time student and consults for charter schools in New York City. Todd is an active member of the LDS church.
Through the support of friends and family, Todd was able to come out as a gay Mormon. He counts living authentically as a true blessing, remembering all too well the feelings of confusion, pain, and self-hatred during his formative years in the closet. He is grateful to volunteer for an organization that promotes spirituality, continues dialogue with the church, shares resources, and creates safe spaces for his LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Todd served as director of outreach/membership in 2013 and as second Vice President in 2014.
Kathy grew up in the Denver area in a strong LDS home. She reveled in the gospel and was continually inspired to become a better person by her family and the members of the church around her. After graduating with a degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from BYU, she went back to school to study Animation & Visual Effects in the San Francisco Bay Area.
With the help of many friends and family, Kathy has walked a long journey to accept her sexual orientation and has recently married the love of her life, Berta Marquez. Together, they work towards making the world a better place and celebrating their Mormon heritage.
“I’m delighted and honored to serve the LDS LGBT/SSA community on the Executive Board of Affirmation. I look forward to creating resources and being blessed by meeting more fellow travelers. I’m thrilled to work together to build the beloved community where we will be strangers and foreigners no more but where we will live up to the high principles of love and inclusion that are the clarion call of the gospel.”
The Executive Committee will be meeting with the Board of Directors this week to establish their 2015 priorities.