Julie Walsh, MSW, LSW
Founder, Executive Director

Julie Walsh is the Founder and Executive Director of GenderNexus, the only organization in Indiana dedicated solely to transgender and nonbinary communities. She experienced the AIDS crisis firsthand, having grown up within the home of a gay, activist parent. In her lifelong work as an international consultant and trainer, Julie has been committed to advancing social justice by dismantling cis-, het-, and mono-normative narratives. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Butler University, a master’s degree in social work with a dual concentration in leadership and mental health/addictions from Indiana University (IU), and is completing her PhD in social work with a focus in nonprofit management from IU. Her research interests center on trans and queer communities in multi-partner relationships, generational gender cohorts, and nonprofit language and culture, with publications also venturing into social work education within a political context, social policy analysis frameworks, and embryo disposition following in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

In addition to her work at GenderNexus, Julie is a field instructor and on the associate faculty at Indiana University. She also serves on the board of directors for the IU School of Social Work Alumni Association; the advisory committee for Opportunity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Central Indiana Community Foundation; the LGBTQIA task force for the Indiana Protection of Abused and Trafficked Humans; the sexual orientation and gender identity committee for the National Association of Social Workers; and maintains active membership in numerous professional associations including the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, the International Association for Relationship Research, the Society for Social Work and Research, the Network for Social Work Management, the Association for Community Organization & Social Administration, and Influencing Social Policy, Inc.

Clearly, Julie is a professional plate spinner, living and working within queer community. In her “spare” time, Julie is an active musician in local and national Pride bands, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis, and the Indiana Wind Symphony. She also enjoys sampling clever titles for her doctoral dissertation.

Marissa Heinz
Care Coordination Director
She/Her, They/Them

Marissa earned their bachelor’s degree in psychology from Smith College and their master of social work degree with a concentration in children, youth, and families from Indiana University. Their background includes supporting children and families experiencing homelessness. They are especially interested in exploring how to best foster agency and resiliency in young people, so they are excited to work with clients along every part of their gender journey. Marissa’s goal is to create safe spaces that are inclusive for all members of the community and to support individuals in thriving as their most authentic selves.

Rae Andresen, BA
Peer Counselor

Rae earned his BA from Indiana University in Indianapolis with a concentration in sociology and is currently a master of social work student with a focus in mental health/addictions. Rae comes with experience in HIV care coordination and trans health case management. Much of his work focuses on addressing the intersections of gender, ability, chronic illness, multi-partner relationships, and the BDSM/kink communities.

Lane Banister
Group Facilitator

Niki Beyda
Care Coordination Intern

Niki is an MSW student in the organizational and community leadership concentration at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She received her Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Creative Writing from American University in Washington, DC, where her studies and writing focused on the social construction and intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, and ability. Niki is fascinated by the power and limitations of language in the exploration, formation, and affirmation of self- and social- identities. She is passionate about empowering individuals to construct and voice their own narratives.

Jody Sparks Mugele
Group Facilitator

Jody earned a BA in humanities from Milligan College and worked in marketing writing for many years. She still dabbles, now focusing on writing that advocates for LGBTQ+ youth, which has been featured on multiple city moms’ blogs and by PFLAG National. She found PFLAG Indianapolis in 2016 when her then 17-year-old came out as trans. She now serves as president of the board of PFLAG Indianapolis and loves building community with other parents in the unique position of raising LGBTQ+ kids.

Brent Walsh, MDiv
Religion and Spirituality Consultant

Brent was raised in a conservative Christian family in central Illinois. He attended Northland Baptist Bible College in Dunbar, Wisconsin, then later, Bryan College in Dayton, Tennesee. Brent identified as lesbian throughout most of his life and for years struggled with the religious ramifications that came with being gay in a faith tradition that considers homosexuality a sin. After several failed attempts to “go straight,” he did some deep soul-searching and realized that sexuality need not conflict with faith.

In 1998, Brent began writing essays explaining why being gay and Christian are not mutually exclusive. Eventually he acknowledged that he had always identified as male, even if not always on a conscious level, and in 2005 underwent his transition from female to male. Since that time he has helped others find confidence in their own decision to transition. This includes travel to several African countries where he had the opportunity to share his story.

Brent received his master of divinity Degree at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana. He is a prolific writer and is sought-after to preach about transgender issues at churches nationwide, to serve as a guest speaker and panelist in discussion forums, and to offer advice and support to gender diverse individuals around the globe.