The dedicated work of many individuals
Allyship is a community-driven social and economic justice organization that intentionally works with other marginalized communities to create systemic change that benefits LGBTQ, low-income, immigrants, women, people of color, youth, seniors, people with disabilities and working class individuals.
We have a dedicated board, interns, volunteers and staff that are striving to create structural change to better the lives of the most marginalized in our communities. If you are interested in becoming a leader in our community as a board member please contact executive director, Debbie Carlsen, at Debbie@Allyship.org.
Debbie Carlsen, Executive Director – is the founder and executive director of LGBTQ Allyship. She has been working in the Seattle social justice community for over 15 years. Some of her professional experiences has been as an organizer at Washington State Jobs with Justice, Field Director at King County Labor Council, Union organizer at Unite HERE local 8, development staff at Washington Toxic Coalition and Seattle Counseling Service and Community Relations Lead at Opal Eating Disorder Clinic.
Laurie’s work with social justice began when she moved to Seattle in 2013 for a year long service fellowship with Puget Sound Sage. She has done work around environmental, economic, gender, racial and transformative justice in the community. In her free time she loves to sing, dance, and teach a community self-defense and wellness class for queer and trans people of color with the Bayan Queer Collective. She alo currently serves as the Deputy Secretary General of GABRIELA Seattle, a collective of Pin@ys who do cultural and political education work around labor issues impacting Filipino migrant workers. She is also an active member of Got Green’s Young Workers in the Green Movement.
Isyss Honnen, Administrative Coordinator – identifies as a Trans woman and/or fa’afafine (samoan gender identity translated as “in the manner of a woman”) with pronouns her and she. She is originally from American Samoa. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting with plans to become a CPA. She volunteers as a Board member for UTOPIA Seattle and has been active for the last 5 years. She is dedicated to helping other API Trans women currently in the sex industry and in supporting non-profit organizations that serve the API and LGBTQIA communities of King County. Fun fact: Isyss doesn’t know how to swim even though she was born and raised on an island.
Kelsen Caldwell, Housing and Democracy Justice Organizer – is a white, queer, and trans organizer, educator, and writer who spent formative years bouncing from coast to coast in New Jersey, Washington State, and Massachusetts. They just joined the ranks of queer bus drivers for King County Metro (#queersonthebus) & invite you to join them on Route 257 at 6:30am M-F. They are a lead organizer with the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites, where they organize white folks to show up for racial justice.
Kelsen is excited to bring a healing justice orientation to Allyship, which is informed by their work with Generative Somatics and their training as a martial artist. They love supporting leaders to deepen their sense of dignity and power, and believe that with a leaderful movement, we can transform ourselves, each other, and the world we live in.
Cal Tobias, Community Organizing Intern – is a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, double majoring in Art with a photography emphasis and Community studies with a health justice emphasis. Cal identifies as non-binary with they/them pronouns. They are completing the field study component of their Community studies degree through a six month volunteer internship with LGBTQ Allyship in Seattle. Cal’s interest in the impact of discrimination and homelessness on queer mental and physical health is informed by the intersection of their own mental illnesses and queer identity. Cal participated in a sociological survey of people impacted by Santa Cruz’s housing crisis. They are eager to engage in all aspects of Allyship’s work, especially housing justice. Cal supports community justice as a photojournalist for UCSC’s student newspaper, City on a Hill Press.
Board of Directors
Sara Jaye Sanford, Board Chair, has a background in public health, including LGBTQ community health. She believes that social and economic justice lies at the heart of creating the opportunity for health for everyone. She currently works in a nonprofit health organization.
Sarah Jen, Board Member, has worked with older adults as a volunteer, caregiver, and social worker in long-term care, sub-acute rehab, and hospice care. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington School of Social Work where she works on the Aging with Pride study, the first federally-funded longitudinal study of LGBTQ midlife and older adults. As a bi/queer, mixed femme, Sarah’s individual research particularly focuses on the social networks and lives of older bisexual men and women. Before joining the board, Sarah volunteered with Allyship for two years and was instrumental in hosting the LGBTQ Intergenerational Conference in 2014 as well as being a leader in Allyship’s Leadership Institute from 2015-2016.