love is love
love is love
Shannon Brown is an Appalachian OUTreach Board of Directors officer and serves as President. Professionally, she is an LCSW therapist who opened her private practice, Psychotherapy & Forensic Services, in Blount County. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and an MSSA in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University.
She won awards for her work as an advocate and activist: Irene Sogg Gross Humanitarian Award (2007) and Achievement in Direct Practice (2018), and she was inducted into the Mandel School Hall of Achievement (2018).
Shannon has been an advocate and activist for LGBTQ+ rights and justice since the 1990's. She is also committed to conducting business and maintaining partnerships with LGBTQ+ owned and operated businesses.
Gibran Cuevas is an Appalachian OUTreach Board of Directors officer and serves as Vice President, Treasurer, and as Volunteer Coordinator. Professionally, he has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal justice, is a retired police officer, served in the Army and is transgender. His career experience included Special Victims Unit, Narcotics, Human Trafficking, and K9 unit. Gibran activism and advocacy has been geared towards child welfare, women’s issues, and LGBTQ rights. Gibran is currently retired and volunteers as a child advocate in abuse and neglect cases.
Thomas Hatfield is an Appalachian OUTreach Board of Directors officer and serves as Director of Development & Entertainment. Professionally, he is the District Equipment Estimating Team Leader for Trane Commercial HVAC covering Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville area, where he has been employed for over thirty years.
In addition to his standard work responsibilities, he leads the office Culture Committee and Team Building initiatives to promote better office culture and team oriented work environment within the Tennessee District.
He volunteers for local groups such as Knox Pride, Blount Pride, and Appalachian Outreach, and enjoys cooking, camping, and yoga in his spare time.
Thomas is a Maryville native and has three children as well as one daughter in law.
Rhonda Cady is an Appalachian OUTreach Board of Directors officer and serves as Secretary and Administrative Coordinator. Personally, she is a strong ally for the LGBTQ+ community. I have a great deal of motivation to for helping others in the areas of human equality, LGBTQ+ issues, veterans, and homelessness. I was born on a military base in Colorado, but consider Blount County home. I am a domestic goddess extraordinaire who loves all things Betty Boop. I have 3 grown children and 1 grandson. I can usually be found at Southland Books or downstairs at The Bird and The Book.
Lisa Misosky is an Appalachian OUTreach board member. Professionally, she is the owner of Southland Bookstore and The Bird & The Book. Lisa has been a notable symbol of success, empowerment, strength, compassion, and community for Blount and Knox Counties. She has a long history of helping others who have been in need, connecting people with one another, acting as a resource, impacting change and all without apologies for being herself. She is a force to be reckoned with and we all admire her for who she is and what she continues to provide. She is our local LGBTQ+ hero.
The Reverend Heidi Parunak (pronouns she, her, hers) has been advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community since the 1980’s HIV/AIDS pandemic. She has worked in the field of hospice and end of life care since 2010. Identifying as bisexual, her call is to help those who are marginalized, impoverished, disenfranchised and/or homeless. She earned a BS in Psychology from King University, is currently enrolled in seminary, earning a continuing education certification from Princeton Theological seminary, and she is a certified Usui Reiki Master, since 1995. Reverend Parunak is currently a Licensed Local Pastor with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, serving rural churches and chaplaincy.
If you would like to serve as a board member, the responsibilities include:
*Volunteering during events
*Promoting Appalachian OUTreach events
*Attending planning meetings
*Making a tax-deductible financial contribution to Appalachian OUTreach
In December 2015, Shannon Brown founded the Foothills LGBT Center, which was then transformed into Appalachian OUTreach in May 2019. Both the Foothills LGBT Center and Appalachian OUTreach have maintained the same goal: empower and advance our LGBTQ+ communities through programs, education, resources, partnerships, and most importantly, love, kindness and a respect for all.
Shannon is especially grateful for the following badass LGBTQ+ women who influenced, challenged, fought for, and promoted equality and rights for this amazing community: Gladys Bentley, Anne Lister, Ruth Ellis, Roberta Cowell, Audre Lorde, and of course Jane Addams.
Shannon is also very grateful for these influences: The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland https://lgbtcleveland.org/, Jake Nash and Margie's Hope http://margieshope.org/, Case Western Reserve University https://case.edu/lgbt/, the Matthew Shepard Foundation http://www.matthewshepard.org/ and the Southern Poverty Law Center https://www.splcenter.org/
Empower, connect, and support the East Tennessee lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people through the provision of safe and healthy, inclusively welcoming and affirming programs and respect for partnerships, which promote community building, resource development, and education for all.
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