Janelle Luster (she/they) is 29 years old and an award winning community organizer and transgender activist native of the San Francisco Bay Area. Janelle has been organizing and advocating for the rights of transgender people, PLWHIV, and sex workers locally and nationally. She strives for the advancement of transgender folks of color, specifically Black transgender women and men.
She currently serves as Program Supervisor of Trans Vision, a specialty clinic within Bay Area Community Health-BACH located in Fremont, CA and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for San Francisco Pride, to bring diversity to a historically white org. Janelle is a member of the DecrimSexWorkCA Coalition Steering Committee where she serves as the Mutual Aid and Fundraising movement team lead, and a co-lead of the Conflict Resolution Committee. She believes that in addition to policy advocacy that mutual aid is a critical tool to address the community’s immediate needs and to help sustain sex workers out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Janelle identifies as a formerly incarcerated Black transwoman who has been impacted by the system due to the intersections of her identities. Because of that she is dedicated to empowering those communities through access to services, resources and social empowerment. Janelle has been coordinating Black Trans Lives Matter Protest & Rallies as well as virtual social spaces of empowerment throughout this pandemic and hosted a Virtual Vigil honoring those lost to hate violence. She attended the 2020 Creating Change Conference where she was able to expand her network and build national solidarity.
Janelle served as Program Associate and Director of Community Engagement for The Transgender District (San Francisco). In addition she co-leads an annual transgender empowerment retreat, TRANScend Retreat. In 2019, TRANScend Retreat facilitated the Malaysia Booker Travel Fund, partnering with Homobils to bring Black trans women from the south and midwest to join the gathering in Northern California. She also served as ambassador for the 2019 National Transgender March on Washington D.C. and under her leadership as President of FLUX Bay Area Chapter, organized Oakland’s first Trans March.