"We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.” — Audre Lorde

This Women in Urbanism event is centered on Pride - a celebration that commemorates the gay and gender non-conforming people who fought back against the police who came to arrest them—their existence was criminal.

Queer history is one of identifying, reveling in and fighting for the right to exist as different from a socially constructed norm. Queer Perspectives in Planning brings together queer-identified planners to share their experiences living outside these “norms” and how this experience shaped their career path, the projects they work on and the changes they strive for in the field.

What's covered

How race, class, gender and sexual orientation make each panelist and the communities they love and support more at risk of suicide, criminalization, and/or job discrimination, and how that reality contributes to their work and ambitions.

Until this month’s Supreme Court ruling, ambiguity around the definition of “sex” discrimination under Title VII of the constitution left many LGBTQ vulnerable to being fired if they were “out” - panelists will discuss how and if this lack of protection has played a role in where they choose to live and work.

How queer history(ies) shaped their perspective on community building and planning.


Tamika Butler

Director of Planning, Toole

Tamika L. Butler, Esq. is Toole Design’s Director of Planning for California and the Director of Equity and Inclusion. In addition to her responsibilities on planning projects, Tamika leads Toole Design’s internal efforts to become a more diverse, inclusive workplace that employs people of all backgrounds. Tamika has a unique blend of expertise including law, community organizing and nonprofit leadership. After spending several years as an employment lawyer at Legal Aid at Work in San Francisco, CA (formerly Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center), Tamika became Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, then Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit organization that addresses social and racial equity, and wellness, by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across Greater Los Angeles, before joining Toole as Director of Planning for California. Tamika previously served on the board of the Alliance for Biking and Walking. She also served as the co-chair of the National Center for Lesbian Rights Board of Directors and served on the board of an affordable housing land trust, T.R.U.S.T. South LA . She currently serves on the boards of the New Leaders Council - Los Angeles and Lambda Literary Foundation and is an advisory board member for Legal Aid at Work’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports program. Tamika received her J.D. from Stanford Law School, and received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Sociology in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. She currently lives in Leimert Park with her wife Kelly and son Atei.

Janice Li

Board Director, BART

Janice Li was elected to the BART Board in November 2018 and represents the western half of San Francisco. In March 2020, she was also elected to serve on San Francisco's Democratic County Central Committee. She was born in Hong Kong and moved to the United States at a young age. She is the only known queer Asian woman in elected office in California and is the second youngest person currently elected to office in San Francisco. For the past 10+ years, she has worked in community-based nonprofits and for the past six years, she has served as the Advocacy Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition where she leads campaign, policy and legislative work to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation. On the BART Board, she has fought for affordable fares, better land use policies to build affordable housing, police accountability, and more.

Steph Nelson

GIS Developer/Administrator, SFMTA

Steph A Nelson has over ten years of experience as a transportation professional, including leading the evaluation of a major federal initiative to evaluate the effectiveness of demand responsive parking pricing (SFpark), leading the regional implementation of SB 375 for the Monterey Bay Area, and developing travel demand models that more thoroughly incorporate both active transportation modes as well as urban design interventions. Steph has worked at SFMTA for close to eight years and has held a variety of roles besides SFpark Principal Analyst, including the Data Analytics and Strategy Manager for the Sustainable Streets Division. Steph currently serves as the SFMTA GIS Developer and Administrator, working on initiatives such as the SF Streets Interactive Project Map and GIS infrastructure buildout. Prior to entering the field of transportation planning, Steph worked as a community organizer for educational justice, playing a key role in a successful federal pilot grassroots campaign that resulted in increased state funding to the most under-resourced schools throughout Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman and other key figures. Shortly thereafter, Steph led an award winning district wide Project Safe Zone initiative with the Philadelphia School District to ensure safer schools for LGBTQ students, and was a facilitator of dozens of oppression reduction workshops throughout the Philadelphia region as a part of the National Coalition Building Institute. Steph holds masters degrees in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and Political Science from Lehigh University, and an undergraduate degree in Comparative Religion Studies and Asian Studies from Lehigh University. Steph is queer, white, and raised poor.

Heather Frambach

Value Chain Strategist, Kitchen Table Advisors

Heather Frambach (she/her) is a food systems practitioner with an eclectic background that includes community gardens and urban agriculture policy, farmers markets, community and campus organizing, farm-to-school and farm-to-institution efforts, and sustainable and ethical procurement. After attending the Community & Regional Planning program at UT Austin, she contributed the bulk of the food systems language in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and was a key figure in the City of Austin’s politically stormy update of its urban farm policy. She has since returned to her native Bay Area, where she was a formative leader of the sourcing teams at both Blue Apron and Imperfect Foods. She is currently engaged in regional market access planning for small farmers across Northern California on a USDA-funded project with Kitchen Table Advisors. Heather is a proudly queer mixed-ethnicity Mexican-American who lives in Oakland with her partner.