Collective Bios

Chicago Community Core

André Pérez founded the Trans Oral History Project in 2008, and has been hooked every since. He created a traveling historical exhibit in 2009. In 2012, Andre spearheaded the development of I Live for Trans Education, a multimedia grassroots curriculum that reached 15,000 people via train-the-trainer sessions, public installations, and online downloads. He recorded over 500 stories as part of StoryCorps including 50 segments featured on NPR and WBEZ. Andre loves decolonizing history, using new technology to build movements, collecting stories, and helping people make their own media.

Melvin Whitehead is a librarian and educator. He has been a speaker and panelist on topics such as race, gender identity, and diversity. In addition to fulfilling his duties as a librarian at a community college, Melvin works to improve the campus climate for all students through his work in developing the Safe Zone Ally program, his role as an advisor for a LGBTQ+ student group, spearheading the development of the college’s Safe Zone Speakers Bureau, and facilitating workshops on sexuality and gender identity.

Jacob Klippenstein is pro-active organizer, dedicated childcare provider, and a budding gardener. Jay currently works with the Chicago Childcare Collective, AREA Chicago, PIC Teaching Collective, and the Trans Oral History Project as an active member. Jake is also interested in organizing to challenge white male (etc.) supremacy. Contact to conspire together.

Carrie Colpitts is an English teacher, avid zine maker, and longtime trans ally. A collective member for five years, she helped write the curriculum for I Live for Trans Education: a youth toolkit. Author of Gender Matters 1 and 2, Carrie started and still runs the TOHP zine distro.

Karari Olvera is a genderqueer latin@ activist, facilitator, and organizer. She led TOHP’s first bilingual workshop at the Creating Change in 2014.


Philadelphia Community Core

Helyx Chase is the Philadelphia Coordinator of the Trans Oral History Project.  In addition to being an independent video artist, Helyx works as a youth video educator.  Helyx is affiliated with the Media Mobilizing Project and Scribe Video Center. Helyx is passionate about storytelling and story preservation as a means to draw connections between folks within communities.  Their video art is built by, about, and for televisions and computers.

Jessica Oros is an activist, musician, artist, web designer, developer, and all around media/tech/IT sorceress. She truly believes in the power of information and technology as an instrument for social, political, and economic change, and is constantly thinking of new ways to use these tools and media as a means to educate, inspire, and just generally make the world a better place. She designed the I Live for Trans Education youth toolkit and this website. When she’s not fighting for the revolution,  she enjoys Tuvan throat singing and pretty manicures.

Josie Deal is an independent filmmaker and Trans Oral History Collective member. She spends her time working on her own films, directing a public access TV show, and volunteering with Sisterly L.O.V.E., a community outreach and advocacy group for trans women in Philadelphia. She uses her filmmaking skills to assist the TOHP in gathering powerful stories.

Our Volunteers

This project would not be possible without the support of our amazing volunteers who have put in dozens of hours transcribing, tabling, editing, coordinating, and everything else. Thank you everyone who has helped make this a reality!

  • Patrick Tyrell
  • Matthew Clark
  • E
  • Sara
  • Alexis Martinez
  • Lupe
  • Mat
  • Debbie Southorn
  • Sasha
  • Van Binfa
  • Belinda Kay Peneloza
  • Elana Riback
  • Janel Bailey
  • Joy Ellison
  • Kia Swando
  • LT
  • Angela DiBattiste
  • Serena Putterman
  • Lucy Boltz
  • Jamie Cohn-Stacey
  • Caroline Pellant
  • Nikk Selikk
  • Joe Parker
  • Caleb Essenthier
  • Sharron Cooks
  • Aimee Moran
  • and so many others.