Acting Clinical Director
Li Brookens (they/them/theirs) is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and certified group psychotherapist (CGP) with over 14 years of experience in mental health, and with non-profit and community based organizations. This long history of success has included work and consultation with Project WISE, Out Boulder County, the University of Colorado’s Wardenburg’s Psychological Health and Psychiatry, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Li is also the founder and owner of their own group psychotherapy practice in Boulder, Umbrella Collective. Li will partner with the Gender Identity Center Board of Directors on organizational planning and the permanent Clinical Director search. They will also oversee staff operations. Our commitment is to maintain our high standards during the transition and continue to offer the organization a promising future.
Interim Administrative Manager
Whit Ryan (he, him, his) was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended an all-girls school. As a semi-out, queer student in a conservative environment, Whit struggled but found a path by embracing academics and sports as ports in the storm. Whit holds an MA in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver and is pursuing his doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
Medical Program Lead
Dr. Ben Kirkley (he, him, his) grew up in North Carolina and graduated from medical school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He moved to Denver to continue his medical training with a family medicine residency at Rose Hospital through the University of Colorado. While in residency he helped to create an LGBT competency curriculum for the residents and established a protocol for prescribing hormones for gender affirming care. He has been prescribing hormones for gender affirming care since 2014 and currently works at Salud Family Health Centers in Commerce City, CO as a primary care provider seeing all people for all different medical conditions. He also see patients at the Gender Identity Center every first Thursday for hormone therapy. Dr. Kirkly lives in Denver with my wife, son, and dog and loves everything to do with bicycles and being outdoors. He looks forward to meeting you!
Research Director: Dr. Lindsay Edwards
Lindsay Edwards (she, her, hers) earned her Ph.D. in Couples and Family Therapy through the University of Connecticut. As the research program director, Lindsay’s work focuses on studying the effects of discrimination on individuals in the transgender and gender non-conforming communities. Lindsay is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and teaches in the Couples and Family Therapy program at Regis University. Before completing her degree on the East Coast, Lindsay completed her MS in Couples and Family Therapy at Kansas State University and her BS in Family Studies at the University of Arizona. Lindsay loves being outside in her garden and in and around water whenever possible.
Scotty Hanley (she, her, hers) is originally from Sparks, Maryland, she has three older brothers and grew up playing sports and trying to keep up with her siblings. She completed her undergraduate degree at Amherst College where she double majored in psychology and history and she played lacrosse and squash there as well. After a few years sailing in the Caribbean and a few years teaching in Baltimore she pursued her master’s degree in Sport and Performance Psychology at the University of Denver. Scotty first became involved at the Gender Identity Center as a volunteer in May 2013, then became an independent intern the following year, and since her graduation in June 2015 has become a pro bono clinician. When not working Scotty is volunteering for Colorado Adaptive Sports, exploring Colorado, cooking, or reading.
Melissa Chollar (she, her, hers) spent most of her life in the tech industry, including 17 years at Ultimate Electronics helping to construct and administer company-wide IT networks. Most of her other tech experience involved professional audio systems. This job lead to some very interesting experiences, such as setting up and running the audio for the White House Communications Agency at the airport arrival of the president for a campaign swing through the area, being sent to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch to learn the THX theater sound system from its developer, and a stint in both commercial and public radio broadcasting. The radio broadcasting job also led to meeting and sometimes interviewing famous people. Lastly, she moved to home theater/home automation and other systems. This also brought her close to people (athletes, former presidential cabinet members, celebrities in general) because she was working in their homes for days.
Melissa is most grateful to have found the GIC, and is constantly amazed by the kindness and support that she and others find here, and the selflessness of the staff. Melissa wants to do whatever she can to help it flourish.
Karl Kline (They/Them/He/Him/His) is originally from Northwest Colorado and will be representing GIC as the Workforce Liaison. They have a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management and have in the past worked for the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and been a recruiter for companies both locally and internationally. Karl currently is working on the Denver Workforce Services contract through a company called ResCare. Their mission is to help promote local employment through a variety of career services programs focused on the Manufacturing, Construction, Transportation, Healthcare, Retail/Hospitality, IT, and Financial Services industries. Karl is supervising a federal grant program called WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) that can help individuals get classroom training for career focused occupations or into apprenticeships and on-the-job training to gain work experience.
Karl primarily works at 1200 Federal Blvd in West Denver, but is offering office hours at GIC on some Saturdays and as needed to meet with the local LGBTQ community to provide resume creation and professional development along with Career Pathway discussions. They can be reached at email@example.com or 720-408-1226.
Lucas Jordan Thacker (He, Him, His) attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. While there he also worked to create the university’s first Gay-Straight Alliance and make the campus a safe place for LGBTQ people. Originally from Alabama, he developed a passion for social justice and advocacy early on and has worked as a tutor for low-income families and in refugee services. He also organizes a queer social meetup group. When he is not working, he also enjoys trying craft beers, performing improv comedy, and enjoying various types of comic book based entertainment.