Oliver Webb (he/him), Chairperson
This is the second Board he has served on. He was born in Washington and spent most of his life here, with the exception of a few years spent in other West Coast States as a child during the school years (summers spent in Washington). He graduated with honors from North Seattle College (2009) and was offered a partial academic scholarship to Seattle University’s Social Work program. While there he directed and produced the Vagina Monologues using Eve Ensler’s Trans Spotlight piece and had all proceeds go to NW Network. He also founded and ran Domestic Violence Awareness Week, which ran the week of Valentine’s Day. He interned at Roots Young Adult Shelter and as a Jump Start Team Lead while continuing to work full-time. He worked for many years as a Social Worker with both at-risk youth and the homeless population of Seattle before sustaining a workplace disability that ended his career. He has spent more than two decades working in Seattle’s Queer community including volunteering with Lifelong AIDS alliance, Seattle Pride, Gender Justice League, Gender Diversity, Alki Beach Pride, TDOR Seattle, and leading a security team which assists in securing Pride celebrations and other Queer events. He has worked as an Accessibility Coordinator and Advocate and is passionate about the rights of people with disabilities. He is currently helping with the Trans Jail Coalition, to help ensure incarcerated Trans individuals are treated with respect and dignity, as well as, given the proper care they deserve.
MJ Cook (they/he), Vice Chairperson
They were born in New York and raised in Florida for most of their life. They are a recent transplant to Washington State, having fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest while on vacation more than a decade ago. Finally deciding to make their dreams come true they relocated with their two children in the summer of 2021. . Both an advocate for and part of the LGBTQ+ community for over 20 years, they came out as Non-Binary in 2020. After relocating, they began looking for community to find support with and serve. Both social justice and community service are strong passions of theirs, and finding a community with similar goals has always been important to them. They’ve been involved with various organizations and projects throughout the Central Florida area over the past 15 years including Come Out with Pride, The Princess Project, Zebra Coalition, Baby DJ, and Step Out. After rallying community support and organizing memorials after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, they began working with other lgbtq+ organizations in the Central Florida area volunteering time and resources.
Professionally MJ has a background in event logistics and design, having planned and designed a wide range of events from large scale corporate functions for Universal Studios to weddings to corporate retreats. In their spare time they enjoy gardening, being out in nature, and spending time exploring their new home in the PNW with their children. They’ve discovered a safe and welcoming environment within DAPS and look forward to growing in their community outreach work along with the organization.
Skye Locke (she/her), Secretary
She joined the military in 2004 and was medically separated in 2005. Much of her time was spent studying and learning about issues ranging from racism to LGBT issues, despite not identifying with these groups herself at the time. She came out as gay in 2009 and began building skills she would use pursuing her education. She started a GSA at Tulsa C.C, and served as its president. She built networks and fostered connections with the Dennis R. Neil Equality Center in Tulsa, volunteering, and keeping track of programs and resources offered by the Equality Center and its parent organization, Oklahomans for Equality. Those who built the organization and served on it with her rebranded it the Spectrum Alliance shortly after her departure to reflect the organization’s dedication to diversity beyond the simple Gay-Straight dichotomy that was its foundation. Skye transferred her credits to Oklahoma State University where she finished her undergraduate degree in Sociology in 2014. She then began serving in her community by becoming a Social Worker for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. During her time at DHS, she redesigned training material and worked on a multicultural competence and enrichment program to better equip others in the organization to provide assistance to those in need. She left to finish her Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Oklahoma State University and served those with mental illness and houselessness during her internship. She then returned to Washington, where she lived during her stint in the military. During a turbulent and confusing sequence of events, she once again experienced coming out to herself – this time as a trans woman. She became involved with DAPS as she sought support from the community she now endeavors to support, and joined the board in February 2021. She lives on the Eastside, and enjoys spending time walking her dogs.
Astro Pittman (they/them), Member-At-Large
They were born in Italy, raised in Texas, and has called Seattle home for over 13 years. Astro is completing their senior year at Seattle Central College in the Applied Behavioral Science baccalaureate program and has applied to the 2021 Master of Social Work program at University of Washington. Astro works with at-risk youth as a drug and alcohol counselor, focusing on Queer, homeless, and POC youth. Astro is the President of Seattle Central’s LGBTQ+ student club, Queer Cooperative; a fully professed Guard with the Sisters of the Mother House of Washington (Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence); an award-winning journalist and editor-in-chief of Seattle Central’s newspaper, The Seattle Collegian; an advocate for the transgender sex worker and Queer recovery communities; Board Member at Large with Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound (DAPS); and the founder of Transgender Day of Remembrance Seattle (TDORSeattle), the Cis Ally Trio (Cissy), and SeattleTransVisibility.org. They are also a regular guest panelist and speaker for various workshops and events spotlighting LGBTQ+ topics. Astro’s mission is to blend these spheres of service and activism into a collective vehicle for social welfare, anti-oppression, equity, and justice in their communities. Developing research, training, and curriculum specifically tailored to the needs of the LGBTQ+ recovery community is their passion and calling, and they have especially focused on the specific needs and challenges of transgender individuals in their research. Their most closely held dream is to create and run a treatment and recovery center for Queer individuals from all walks of the rainbow; where they receive targeted, trauma-informed, identity-affirming, and community-focused support from excellent clinicians who identify with their struggles through lived experience.
Eli Taylor (he/they) Member-At-Large
Eli was born and raised in Washington state. He graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in nursing. Since then, he has worked in both inpatient psychiatry and palliative/hospice care settings. He became involved in advocacy and community organizing after working intensively with SEIU union organizers to demand better hospital staffing and care.
Eli is currently working in a home hospice RN role, and has helped establish a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee at his workplace. He has experience as a facilitator of trans-led support groups for the local community, and is excited to now be taking on a role with the board of DAPS. In his spare time, Eli enjoys gardening, binge watching sci-fi shows, and working on craft projects with his daughter.
Lillian Riffert (she/her) Member-At-Large
She is a Canadian from Toronto, Ontario and Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound’s first international board member. She has extensive experience in leading and moderating online communities, gaining and managing membership into the thousands for several years. This includes organizing and running events, marketing within these communities, providing support to members and effectively liaising with other associated groups to provide a pleasant and well tailored experience towards all community members. She has been an active member and participant in many LGBTQ organizations across North America and seeks to collaborate with those communities to help facilitate our own growth as a support organization in the future. She hopes to serve our current community to the best of her ability while facilitating its growth and development into the future, through events, participating in community outreach, marketing and social programs. She has a wide variety of tastes and is an enthusiastic part of many fandoms, such as Pokemon, Warhammer 40k, various video, board, and card games as well as culinary pursuits and musical arts. She has a passion for nature, mental health, and social justice and seeks to spread excitement about these topics however she can.