Dr Ray Macfarlane is the Executive Director of Bright Star Foundation and also serves as the Trans and Gender Diversity Program Manager at The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada. They collaborate to develop and carry out Bright Star programs, in collaboration with programs and clients at The Center, especially for youth and those looking for support from jobs and housing programs.
Ray has worked with community partners and student organizations to advocate for the queer community to combat anti-LGBTQIA legislation and policy and to create safe spaces for the past 18 years. They worked to find funding and develop queer youth programs in Cedar City and Ogden, Utah. While working at The Center for Mental Health Services, Research and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago, they volunteered with the Night Ministry, providing community and resources to homeless and other vulnerable populations, particularly displaced queer youth, as well as organizing in community groups.
They worked and volunteered in anti-violence advocacy, escorting victims to court, meeting victims at police interactions, working in shelters, peer and community education, crisis lines, and worked for protections in health and corrections facilities. Ray recently graduated from UNLV with a PhD in sociology. While at UNLV they interned with Gender Justice Nevada, did research for Southern Nevada Strong’s research on developing safety, employment, housing and transportation, as well as teaching courses in social stratification and inequality, gender/sexuality, family, work, and crime.