Velvetpark's Top 25 Queer Women of 2015

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Velvetpark's Top 25 Queer Women of 2015

When Buzzfeed wanted to get into the podcast business, they turned to Jenna Weiss-Berman who had come up through the ranks at NPR, Facebook, and Simon & Schuster. Projects like The Moth, StoryCorps, The New Yorker, The Organist, and Death Sex & Money fill the lines of her resumé, so she's got some serious game. But, despite that rather high-brow portfolio, Weiss-Berman perfectly threads the Buzzfeed needle of humor and humanity with Lena Dunham's Women of the Hour and Another Round with Heben and Tracy—the only interview Hillary Clinton did prior to the first Democratic debate.

6. "Disorienting the Occident" – Kate Rigg & Lyris Hung, musicians / writers / performers

What do you get when you cross hip hop, rock, spoken word, and electro clash with two street-smart, wise-ass Asian-American chicks? "Slanty Eyed Mama", of course. When violinist/beat master/producer Lyris Hung and actor/writer/comedian Kate Rigg (aka Lady K-Sian) met at the Juilliard School, a collaboration was born. The Slanty Eyed Mama duo has served as artist-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institute, the Perth International Festival, and L.A. Grand Performances, with numerous other raved about appearances on PBS, LOGO, and City TV, as well as women's music festival and Pride events around the world. On the side, Rigg can often be found on a TV show or a comedy stage near you, while Hung is frequently spotted on tour with Indigo Girls. The duo wrapped up their year with a one week run of "Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show" at La Mama Theather in New York.

7. "Queer ingenuity" – Genya Shimkin, organizer

It was 2012 when Genya Shimkin first came up with the Q Card idea. She was working toward a master’s degree in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice at the University of Washington and wanted to “create a simple communication tool that could improve healthcare for queer youth.” As the Q Card evolved, Shimkin involved all stakeholders in the process, placing clear and easy communication between the youth and their caregivers as her top priority. The Q Card was but the latest in a long line of community-oriented public health projects that Shimkin has undertaken, from New York to St. Petersburg, Baltimore to Seattle. She is currently the Team Lead for the Youth Access to Care project of Teen Feed in Seattle.

8. "Form follows function" – YK Hong, author / artist / activist

When your passions run as deep — and as deeply — as YK Hong's do, more than one job title is in order. Author/artist/activist comes close, but speaker/facilitator/organizer also can't be ignored. Hong's work in the areas of anti-oppression, strategic planning, and grassroots fundraising goes back to 1998 and it holds consciousness raising as an equal to organizational development. For Hong, non-attachment, mindfulness, and cross-culturalism are just as important as code, data, and technology. As an artist, the American-born, Korean-raised Hong works across various mediums to create politically provocative pieces that reflect her multi-cultural, sometimes paradoxical, impressions of the world.

9. "Raconteuses " – Amanda Lee Koe, writer

Being chosen as one of Singapore's Rising Stars Under 30 was only the latest notch on Amanda Lee Koe's proverbial belt. Previously, her short story collection, "Ministry of Moral Panic", won the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction and made the long list for the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The stories within its pages take on contemporary Singaporean identity, a topic near and dear to Koe's heart. Before that, Koe served as the 2013 Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She currently splits her time between Singapore and New York City, various editorial gigs (including Esquire Singapore), and Columbia University’s Writing MFA.

10. "Protector-in-Chief" – Linda Capato, environmental activist