Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, San Francisco, California

June 1 and 2 2019, 9 am to 6 pm

This 2-day conference is part of Chacruna’s Women, Gender Diversity, and Sexual Minorities speaker series. It highlights the voices of queer visionaries within the psychedelic community as well as examines the history of psychedelics from queer and non-binary perspectives. As the so-called psychedelic renaissance reaches a pivotal moment of mainstream interest and regulatory legitimacy, it is vital that traditionally under-represented communities share a seat at the table and have their voices heard so as to ensure access to all the benefits that psychedelics and plant medicine offer. Additionally, it is vital that queer spaces be established for exploring the unique needs, gifts, and strengths that LGBTQI communities bring to psychedelics and psychedelic medicine. 

Presented by: Chacruna 

Sponsors: MAPS, Soltara, Temple of the Way of the Light, Psychedelic Society of Minneapolis, Rainforest Healing Center and DoubleBlind

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Press Release


– 2 Day Full Conference Ticket: $165
– 1 Day Pass (Saturday or Sunday) Ticket: $90
– Student Discount Ticket: $80
– Continuing education credits: TBA
– Scholarship Tickets Available – Please apply!

Registration & Tickets: Here

Scholarship Tickets:

Chacruna reserves a selection of scholarship tickets for those with limited financial means. For Queering Psychedelics, priority is being given to queer people of color, however everyone is encouraged to apply.  If you would like to apply for a scholarship ticket, please send us a brief statement (250 words max) describing your interest in attending the conference and why you should receive a scholarship ticket. We will begin reviewing all applications after the deadline on April 15th and will notify those who have been awarded scholarship tickets on May 1st. 

Deadline To Apply: April 15th, 2019
Notification of Award: May 1st, 2019

Please email your application statement to: Cristie Strongman at: by April 15th, 2019. Please write “Scholarship Request Queering Psychedelics” in the subject line.

Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals (CE hours TBA): 

– CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
– The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
– LCSWs, MFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board for approval.
– SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California.
– For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact Alexander Theberge at: For questions about CE, visit or contact David Lukoff, PhD at:

For general inquiries, please e-mail Alex Theberge at:


Friday, May 31st, 2019 – Manny’s Cafe

8:00  10:00pm – Pre Conference Happy Hour 

Manny’s Cafe on 16th and Valencia Street  – Free/no registration required

Saturday, June 1st, 2019 – Brava Theater Center

9:00 9:45am – Registration and open doors

9:45 10:00am  Bia Labate – Opening Remarks

10:00 10:50am  Kanyon Sayers-Roods – Queering the Landscape: Indigenous Perspectives on the Spiritual Ecology of Kinship, Land, and Responsibility 

I am from the Indian Canyon band of Mutsun-Ohlone peoples and I am a spokesperson for the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone people, the lineal descendants of Yelamu (now San Francisco), the original people before contact. I offer an opening song and reminder of the importance of land acknowledgments and inclusion of Indigenous peoples in regard to futures decisions impacting our communities, the environment, and our future. I offer an indigenous, two-spirit perspective on the ecology of the land we stand on. As stewards of the land, we have a responsibility to our environment, always thinking ahead seven generations. I will talk about traditional ecological knowledge and respect for the plants and their abilities and the importance of recognizing native communities and seeking their blessing. The focus of my work is on offering opportunities to share indigenous perspectives and making a difference in the lives of others by sharing my life experiences and knowledge about California’s Native Americans, today’s common practices, and sacred site protections. 

10:50 11:40am Erik Davis – A Brief History of Queer Psychedelia

Psychedelic experience in the modern era has always been queer—not just in the sense of being enchanted, wayward, and weird, but in the more concrete sense that queerfolk have fundamentally shaped the substance, style, and spirituality of the psychedelic underground. Since at least the work of Havelock Ellis at the end of the last century, interest in psychedelic experience and non-heteronormative sexuality have been intertwined. Important progenitors of the psychedelic underground—including Aldous Huxley’s mentor Gerald Heard, the Beat writers  Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, and the Harvard researcher-cum-Hindu guru Richard Alpert/Ram Das—were queer. The mass arc of the counterculture, from the sixties to today, is inconceivable without all manner of psychedelicized style queens, love-bomb DJs, and Dionysian mystics, including Hibiscus and the SF group the Cockettes, Loft party progenitor David Mancuso, the Radical Faeries, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who helped establish the social mores of Burning Man. While sketching an overview of this vast and colorful history, this presentation will also interrogate the continuing radical potential of queer psychedelia in today’s era of assimilation and increasingly codified and discursively managed identities. 

11:40 12:10pm – Break

12:10 1:00pm  Clancy Cavnar – “It’s Cool to Be Gay”: Psychedelics, Sexuality and Self-Acceptance

This presentation will explore the capacity of psychedelics to help people accept themselves, with a focus on acceptance of sexual orientation and gender. The tendency for psychedelics to reinforce positive qualities associated with mental health and spiritual attainment will be reviewed and the ways these qualities influence self-acceptance will be explored. Psychedelics are once again being used in psychiatric settings for various mental health indications, including to alleviate end-of-life anxiety, to combat depression and PTSD and to treat addiction; I suggest that psychedelics may be of use in helping gay, lesbian, and transgender people accept themselves in face of cultural resistance and judgment and thus live happier, more fulfilling lives. Using psychedelics to help deconstruct negative introjects absorbed from moribund cultural frameworks can be a way to utilize these substances to heal an oppressed population. 

1:00 2:00pm Lunch

2:00 2:50pm Claudia J. Ford – Gendered Knowledge and the Decolonization of Entheogenic Plant Medicines

At the core of psychedelic plant medicine research and practice is the struggle to improve health while embracing both global and local health justice challenges. To engage this struggle between plant medicine and health justice it is necessary to understand the various ways that the histories and herstories of medicine and herbalism have enacted and exalted an oppressive colonization of plants and people that results in erasure, destruction, and appropriation of the lived, traditional knowledge of indigenous communities, especially the knowledge and practices of women. I will look at remembrances of lived, marginalized, gendered plant medicine history, as well as methods for ensuring that erasure and appropriation are decreased within the entheogenic plant medicine field.

2:50 3:40pm  Alexander Belser – A Queer Critique of the Psychedelic “Mystical Experience” 

How do psychedelics work? Current research consistently suggests that a “complete mystical experience” is the mechanism of action that leads to symptom reductions. However, the standard measure privileges a certain type of mysticism (a monistic experience of the Void which is formless, shapeless, colorless, odorless, and soundless) and ignores other spiritual experiences. This narrow definition of mysticism was advanced by mid-twentieth century White heterosexual cisgender male researchers. I offer a series of critiques, drawing on qualitative research findings in two studies of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy at New York University. (1) The current psychedelic research paradigm systemically undervalues the types of spiritual experiences reported by queer folks, women, indigenous people, and other marginalized groups. (2) Current research does not measure common mystical experiences, such as voices and visionary experience, pain and suffering, ecstasies, creative expression, spiritual longing and devotion, friendship and compassion. (3) Relational-mysticism, or experiences of the Real in relationships with other people, has been neglected in psychedelic research. (4) Mystical treatments which deny these experiences propagate heteronormative structures. Interviews with participants who have taken psilocybin suggest that mysticism is not one, but many. Findings from qualitative research suggest that we should pay attention to spiritual experiences that are embodied, envisioned, in relationship, and in nature — that psychedelic awakening is queerer than we thought.

3:40 4:10pm  Break

4:10 5:00pm  Jae Sevelius – Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy with Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has demonstrated tremendous promise in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are tremendous disparities in rates of PTSD in the general population, with people of color and transgender (‘trans’) and gender diverse people experiencing extremely high rates compared to white and cisgender people. However, more than 80% of the participants in clinical trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD have been white, and the number of trans and gender diverse participants remains unknown, because this information has not been collected and/or reported. Further, the type of trauma that affects people of color and trans and gender diverse people is not adequately characterized by the PTSD diagnosis, since racism and transphobia are experienced on an ongoing basis rather than as a discrete traumatic event that happened in the past. This presentation will explore the following questions: 1) How might psychedelic-assisted therapy help trans and gender diverse individuals strengthen their resilience to better thrive within a social context that is continuously traumatizing? 2) What additional training do psychedelic-assisted therapists need in order to better serve trans and gender diverse clients? 3) What might a conceptual framework for psychedelic-assisted therapy for trans and gender diverse clients look like?

5:00 5:50pm  Bett Williams – Sovereign Queer; Growing Psilocybin Mushrooms at Home

The Wild Kindnessis a memoir about seven years of growing psilocybin mushrooms in New Mexico. I write about teaching myself, via the internet, the PFTek method, the simplest and easiest way to grow mushrooms using ball jars, Tupperware containers, a few simple ingredients, and mushroom spores purchased online. As psychedelics burst forth into the mainstream, and everyone from Big Pharm to the latest quack spiritual guru lays claim on this new territory, the psilocybin mushroom, the one psychedelic that can easily be made at home, is “the medicine of the people.” “There is no psychedelic without culture,” Kathleen Harrison has said, and what better way to ensure a sovereign, unpolluted relationship with this ancient sacred sacrament than building a relationship with them by growing them yourself, apart from the burden of commerce, responsibly, and at your own risk. In this way, we can cultivate the only psychedelic experience that really matters – the one that is our own. As queer people, maintaining independence from systems that have been parasitical or harmful to our well-being is paramount. I draw on my experience walking the line between high ceremony and secular art making, presenting a vision of a psychedelic life that is grounded and politically and culturally engaged. This presentation will give a basic introduction to the PFTek method, sharing the often-hilarious triumphs and pitfalls of living as a humble ambassador to the magic mushroom. 

5:50 6:20pm  Break

6:20 7:00pm  Break out sessions

Session 1, facilitated by Gregory Wells and Dee Adams: How can the contributions of queer therapists, advocates, and researchers become more visible in the field of psychedelics?

Session 2, facilitated by Jeanna Eichenbaum and Terence Ching: What are the unique issues queer people bring to psychedelics and psychedelic therapy for healing?

Session 3, facilitated by Adam Knowles and Alex Theberge: In what ways are psychedelics queer?

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 – Brava Theater Center

9:00 10:00am  Doors open

10:00 10:50am Kevon Simpson – How to Cure HIV: Cultural Blind Spots That Psychedelics Can Help Us All Address

With current antiretroviral medication being so successful at suppressing and stopping the spread of the HIV virus, less cultural compassion has been the result for those who are newly diagnosed in a world far removed from the 1980s. That lack of humanity at the core of why the HIV virus even exists, is still being directed at LGBTQ people, and is revealing itself to be as disastrous as the current opiod crisis by the self-medicating that is happening in our community’s underbelly to heal from it. A place where “slamming” (injecting crystal meth) is becoming normalized; a place where older white males with money, offer younger POC an opportunity at a substance that will pause the shame for a little while, until they waste away. As an individual working up close and personal with such populations, this presentation offers a fresh, and sobering perspective told through the art, the music, and the experience of ritual that people of color have used to survive, before anyone realized we were left out of clinical research.

10:50 11:40am Ariel Vegosen – Creating Pathways of Queer, Trans, and Non-Binary Liberation in This Time of Psychedelic Privilege 

This talk will examine how societal privilege plays out in the psychedelic movement and what that specifically means for queer, trans, and non-binary community. Key topics covered will be the unique needs of marginalized community in a therapeutic setting; challenges of psychedelic use in a social setting; access to psychedelic healing; the impact of racism, classism, and colonization on psychedelic use; higher rates of misuse and abuse of substance in queer and trans community; and the emerging vision and implementation of Queer Zendo. Bringing 18 years of experience in inclusion, diversity, and experiential learning this presentation will provide ideas and tools for creating engaging pathways of inclusion and representation for queer, trans, and marginalized community in the current psychedelic movement.  

11:40 12:10pm  Break

12:10 1: 00pm  Chris Stauffer – Examining the Queer Communities’ Healing Edge Through a Clinical Trial of Oxytocin-Enhanced Group Therapy for Methamphetamine Users

The queer community suffers from elevated health-related risks, such as depression, suicide, homelessness, targeted violence, HIV, and substance use disorders. This may be partially explained by the effects of societal scapegoating as a form of individual and collective developmental trauma. Oxytocin, an endogenous neuropeptide associated with the therapeutic effects of MDMA, plays a prominent role in social attachment dynamics. Oxytocinergic systems can become dysregulated as a result of developmental and relational trauma. Evidence exists suggesting that administration of oxytocin can enhance social salience, modulate stress reactivity, and promote unique anti-addiction effects. Results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of oxytocin-enhanced group therapy for methamphetamine-using men who have sex with men will be presented. Linguistic and thematic analyses will be deconstructed to reveal important blind spots within the queer community where unresolved trauma is being unconsciously reenacted. For example, “identification with the aggressor” or perpetuated cycles of scapegoating can trap some LGBTQ individuals and subpopulations as holders of community shame. Finally, the potential of psychedelics in expanding queer consciousness, breaking down barriers and building bridges, and healing the queer community’s most vulnerable members will be considered.

1:00 2:00pm – Lunch

2:00 2:50pm Tony Moss – Music and the Psychedelic Experience: A Queer View on Its Evolution and Pivotal Role in Shamanic, Psychedelic, and Therapeutic Practice

Music can heal, especially when intentionally shared and directed in a psychedelic, ceremonial, and/or therapeutic context. This musically-enhanced talk will explore the science and spirit of music used as a traditional and contemporary healing modality. The presentation will more specifically discuss music in consort with ayahuasca, and how it informed my study and understanding of the intersections of epigenetics, neuroplasticity, and Eastern mysticism. It’s now widely accepted that the trauma of our ancestors is stored in our DNA, with myriad scientific studies demonstrating that ancestors of traumatized populations experience greater physical and mental health challenges. While the scientific language around the phenomenon remains largely undeveloped, there is growing evidence that ayahuasca can heal trauma embedded into one’s epigenetics, getting to the root of deep and lingering issues often resistant to more traditional therapies. This neuroplasticity engendered by ayahuasca presents incredible potential for healing individuals and populations burdened with the collective traumas of history, a group that of course includes LGBTQI communities worldwide. In this talk, I will share how confronting my own ancestral and identity-related trauma resulted in a journey of transformation that challenged and “healed” all notions of cultural and sexual identity. I will also discuss the transformations I have witnessed during my 25 years of work in the ayahuasca space. I believe the incorporation of music in ceremonial contexts is crucial to this healing process, and this talk will present both my evidence for this assumption along with the music itself.

2:50 3:40pm Brian T. Anderson – Psilocybin-assisted Group Therapy for Demoralization in Long-term HIV/AIDS Survivors

Long-term AIDS survivors are people living with HIV (PLWH) who were diagnosed early in the AIDS epidemic, when HIV was still considered a terminal diagnosis. Today, PLWH are living longer than ever expected, and 75% of PLWH are expected to be >50 years old by the year 2020. Like “cancer survivors,” long-term AIDS survivors experience increased rates of psychological distress (e.g., demoralization, complicated grief, depression) even long after their disease is controlled. Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy is a promising experimental treatment for psychological distress among the medically ill. Clinical evidence and reports from traditional ceremonial usage of plant medicines suggest that a group therapy setting may enhance the safety and efficacy of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. In this talk we present preliminary findings from our clinical trial, which is the first modern study of psilocybin-assisted group therapy, and the only clinical trial of this novel intervention specifically for PLWH. 

3:40 4:10pm – Break

4:10 5:00pm  Steve Silberman – Coming Out as Queer in Jamband Communities

The communities of fans that grew up around improvising bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish evolved their own rituals and structures for shared psychedelic experience. Because these communities developed out of a heteronormative society that feared and stigmatized non-mainstream gender identities and romantic attachments, however, LGTBQ+ fans found themselves to be outsiders even in their own chosen tribes. As the first gay Deadhead to come out publicly in the 1980s, I will talk about the overlooked gay contributions to the psychedelic culture of the Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, the roles of gay mentors to the hippie movement like Allen Ginsberg and Ram Dass, the challenges queer fans faced in a subculture that exalted traditional gender roles and explicitly homophobic groups like the Hells Angels, and the emergence of proudly out LGTBQ+ people in jamband fandoms in the 21st Century facilitated by the rise of social media. 

5:00 7:00pm  Group Panel – Final Panel With All the Speakers


Dee Adams holds a Masters of Science in Public Health. She is an HIV researcher, global difference maker, shamanic advisor, ceremony facilitator, and a transgender woman. She makes her home in the USA and South Africa.

Alexander Belser, Ph.D. is a Clinical Research Fellow at Yale University, where he works to develop affirmative psychotherapies for LGBTQ people.  His research with sexual minority people has focused on preventing suicide among adolescents and on the protective role of gay-straight alliances for students. Dr. Belser was a founding member of the Psychedelic Research Group at NYU in 2006 and is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at NYU’s master’s program in Counseling. He has been involved in a number of different psychedelic studies on depression, anxiety, OCD, addiction, trauma, and among religious leaders.  He also serves as a study therapist for the MAPS study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. He serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Psychopharmacology, and has published peer-reviewed articles on topics such as psychedelic mysticism, altruism, patient experiences in psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, cancer and psychedelic therapy, case studies, and psilocybin treatment. His writing is available at, and his private practice site is

Beatriz Caiuby Labate has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Executive Director of Chacruna ( She is Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, and Visiting Professor at the Center for Research and Post Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Guadalajara. She is also Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is co-founder of the Drugs, Politics, and Culture Collective, in Mexico (, and co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil, as well as editor of NEIP’s website ( She is author, co-author, and co-editor of eighteen books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles (

Clancy Cavnar has a doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. She currently works in private practice in San Francisco, and is an Associate Director at Chacruna ( She is also a research associate of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP). She combines an eclectic array of interests and activities as clinical psychologist, artist, and researcher. She has a master of fine arts in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, a master’s in counseling from San Francisco State University, and she completed the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is author and co-author of articles in several peer-reviewed journals and co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of eight books. For more information see:

Terence Ching is a US-based Chinese Singaporean currently completing his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Connecticut (UConn). As a function of his clinical and research training, as well as his personal lived experiences, Terence has academic and clinical interests in the intersections between: (1) obsessive-compulsive disorder; (2) stress, trauma, and posttraumatic stress disorder; (3) cultural diversity based in race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc.; and (4) psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (see his published research at: Terence has also assumed a sub-investigator/co-therapist role in a prior trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, in which he infused the research process with culturally informed recruitment and assessment procedures. Terence is currently working on his doctoral dissertation on a mixed-methods case study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in a participant of color, with an emphasis on uncovering novel mechanisms of therapeutic change via qualitative analysis.

Erik Davis is an author, podcaster, award-winning journalist, and independent scholar based in San Francisco. His wide-ranging work focuses on the intersection of alternative religion, media, an the popular imagination. He is the author, most recently, of Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica. He also wrote The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape, a short critical volume on Led Zeppelin, and the celebrated TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information. His work has been translated into a dozen languages. Erik’s scholarly and popular essays on music, technoculture, and spirituality have appeared in scores of books, magazines, and journals, and his writing has been translated into a dozen languages. He explores the “cultures of consciousness” on his long-running weekly podcast Expanding Mind, on the Progressive Radio Network. Davis been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, public radio, and the New York Times. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale University, and earned his PhD in religious studies at Rice University. His next book, High Weirdness: Drugs, Visions, and Esoterica in the Seventies, will be out in the Spring of 2019 through MIT Press and Strange Attractor.

Jeanna Eichenbaum, LCSW is a psychotherapist with a private practice in San Francisco, specializing in sexuality and relationship concerns and trauma informed treatment, with an emphasis on serving the queer community.She graduated from the Masters of Social Welfare Program at the University of California-Berkeley with Honors, and was the Director of the Transgender Recovery Project at Walden House, the first residential drug treatment program in the country serving the transgender community. She completed the certificate program in Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy at CIIS, and has a strong interest in the use of these medicines for healing. 

Claudia J. Ford has enjoyed a career in international management, development, and women’s health spanning three decades and all continents. Claudia holds a PhD in Environmental Studies and is on the faculty of Rhode Island School of Design. She teaches ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, gender studies, international business, environmental justice, and environmental literature in classrooms and workshops. Claudia is a visual artist and writer, and she serves on the boards of directors of the Soul Fire Farm Institute – committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system; the Biodynamic Association – transforming the practice and culture of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth, the integrity of our food, and the health and wholeness of our communities; and the Orion Society, a community that publishes Orion literary magazine – exploring the connection between nature and culture, and inspiring new thinking about how humanity might live on Earth justly, sustainably, and joyously. Claudia is a midwife, and has shared decades of global work and travel with her four children.

Adam Knowles PgDip is a member of Chacruna’s Women, Gender Diversity, and Sexual Minorities Working Group and contributes articles to the website. He is a London-based existential psychotherapist trained at Regent’s University London (UK) and maintains a small private psychotherapy practice after a 20+ year career leading teams in technology. He is a member of professional bodies the BACP and the SEA. Adam has published articles in the Reflections Journal about psychotherapy training and the Hermeneutic Circular on developments in Clinical Psychology. Past interests include campaigns to promote LGBT humanism. Current interests are crypto/blockchain and psychedelics, particularly ayahuasca, and the intersection of these developing technologies with psychotherapy.

Tony Moss is a visual and recording artist, music and event producer, public speaker and founder of I.AM.LIFE, a Los Angeles-based non-profit event production company focused on interconnectivity. Moss’ work focuses on the spirit, experience and science of interconnectivity, which he believes is fundamental to a sustainable path forward for humanity. He produces projects and events that bring together modern and indigenous wisdom and knowledge, with an emphasis on the evolution of human consciousness fostering greater understanding of and reverence for nature. With over 20 years experience in the study of the psycho-spiritual use of ayahuasca and traditional and neo-shamanic technologies of healing and transformation, he is a public advocate for the legalization and responsible use of all plant medicines. Moss has spoken at numerous conferences in the United States and abroad, has been a featured guest on the Discovery Channel’s “Expedition Unknown”, several podcast including Zach Leary’s “It’s All Happening”, and is featured in several upcoming documentaries including “The Song That Calls You Home,” premiering at the 2019 World Ayahuasca Conference in Spain. His music is distributed internationally and will be featured in a variety of upcoming documentaries and media projects. For more information, see:

Kanyon Sayers-Roods is Costanoan Ohlone-Mutsun and Chumash; she also goes by her given Native name, “Coyote Woman”. She is proud of her heritage and her native name (though it comes with its own back story), and is very active in the Native Community. She is an Artist, Poet, Published Author, Activist, Student and Teacher. The daughter of Ann-Marie Sayers, she was raised in Indian Canyon, trust land of her family, which currently is one of the few spaces in Central California available for the Indigenous community for ceremony. Kanyon’s art has been featured at the De Young Museum, The Somarts Gallery, Gathering Tribes, Snag Magazine, and numerous Powwows and Indigenous Gatherings. She is a recent graduate of the Art Institute of California, Sunnyvale, obtaining her Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Web Design and Interactive Media. She is motivated to learn, teach, start conversations around decolonization and reinidgenization, permaculture and to continue doing what she loves, Art. Kanyon is also the Founder of Indian Canyon Two-Spirit Society, Cultural Director and COO of Costanoan Indian Research and Cultural Representative and Native Monitor for Indian Canyon Mutsun Band of Costanoan Ohlone People.

Jae Sevelius, PhD is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. At the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, Dr. Sevelius’ community-led research is focused on leveraging data to develop and evaluate transgender–specific, trauma-informed interventions to promote holistic health and wellness among transgender people, with an emphasis on serving transgender women of color and those affected by HIV in California and São Paulo, Brazil. Dr. Sevelius holds a Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Dr. Sevelius’ research and clinical interests lie at the intersections of social justice, sexuality, health, and identity.

Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New YorkerNatureSalonShambhala Sun, and many other publications. He is the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (Avery 2015), which Oliver Sacks called a “sweeping and penetrating history…presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity.” The book became a widely-praised bestseller in the United States and the United Kingdom and won the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction. Silberman also won a gold record from the Recording Industry Association of America for co-producing the Grateful Dead’s career-spanning box set So Many Roads (1965-1995), which was Rolling Stone’s box set of the year. As a young man, he was Allen Ginsberg’s teaching assistant at Naropa University. He lives with his husband Keith in San Francisco.

Kevon Simpson is an international healer who uses mindfulness and shamanism to help people create positive changes in their lives. He is from a Jamaican lineage of spiritual healers, and has over 15 years of healing experience in various modalities including movement, word, and sound. He specializes in cathartic poems and prayers for deep ceremonial soul retrieval sessions, while playing a hang drum, and other instruments. Trained in both Shipibo, and Quechua medicine lineages, hearing icaros or medicine songs can be expected in his company. Kevon cherishes ancient indigenous wisdom in regards to the use of plant medicines and their ability to heal, and awaken. He believes it to be a most promising route to building a better world for our future generations, and works to raise awareness in that regard through his group The Entheogen Integration Circle that primarily serves POC and their allies in NYC. He is currently working with Integration Retreats to create safe spaces in Jamaica for members of the African diaspora to heal with plant medicines, and is a proud member of the Artist Of Color Council of Movement Research (NYC). 

Chris Stauffer is dual board-certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and the recipient of a Veterans Affairs Career Development Award. Clinically, he specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. His research combines social psychopharmacology – such as oxytocin, MDMA, and psilocybin – with psychotherapy as treatments for PTSD and substance use disorders. Relevant project roles include: Principal Investigator of a UCSF-sponsored clinical trial of oxytocin-enhanced group therapy for methamphetamine-using men who have sex with men, sub-investigator and lead therapist at the UCSF site for MAPS-sponsored trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for severe PTSD, and co-investigator and therapist for UCSF’s trial of psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralization in longterm AIDS survivors.

Brian T. Anderson is a psychiatrist and postdoctoral fellow at the San Francisco VA and the University of California San Francisco where he is the study lead for the university’s first clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. Brian has also been a member of the Núcleo de Estudos Interdisciplinares sobre Psicoativos (NEIP) since 2006 and currently is Associate Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. Over the past decade he has conducted ethnographic research with ayahuasca religions, 12-Step recovery groups, and other communities of substance users in North America, South America and Europe.

Alex Theberge, MFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based out of San Francisco specializing in psychedelic integration and support. He has been exploring psychedelics for 25 years, has spent several years living in the Peruvian Amazon studying ayahuasca shamanism and facilitating plant medicine ceremonies, and continues to lead plant medicine retreats to Peru. Previously, Alex worked at the University of California San Francisco’s Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute where he was a staff therapist and Program Manager in the Partial Hospitalization Program.  Alex has a 15 year history of working in diverse clinical and healing settings including community mental health, residential treatment, and hospice care.

Ariel Vegosen is a gender and diversity inclusion expert, professional facilitator, trainer, educator, writer, consultant, coach,  performance artist, liberation advocate, public speaker, healer, and lover of life. Ariel is the founder and director of Gender Illumination ( and CEO of Shine ( For the past 18 years Ariel has facilitated trainings, workshops, retreats, and written curriculum and policy for organizations, corporations, non-profits, schools, health care providers, universities, and faith based groups all over the U.S. and internationally. Ariel has facilitated Gender Inclusivity and Diversity Trainings for major tech companies, policy institutions, healing centers, and communities. Ariel is the creator and facilitator of Drugs: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – a workshop designed to address both the benefits of psychedelic healing as well as the challenges of drug misuse, addiction, and overdose. Ariel is committed to creating a Queer Zendo and training psychedelic therapists in the specific needs of LGBTQ and all marginalized communities. Ariel is a ritualist, ordained Kohenet Priestess, and graduate from the Pacific School of Religion Changemaker Fellowship with a Certificate of Spirituality and Social Change. Along with gender justice, Ariel’s work focuses on intersectionality, consent, commitment to working from an anti-oppression lens, and creating communities across diverse cultural backgrounds. Ariel loves to play with pronouns, bring joy into all aspects of life, and creatively spark conversations and connections. Ariel is available for trainings, workshops, teaching, consulting, healing, ritual sessions, performing, and speaking engagements. 

Gregory Wells, PhD is a a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently works as a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. He is is also a clinical researcher as part of the MAPS-sponsored research trial of MDMA assisted psychotherapy for PTSD where he is in the roles of co-principal investigator and co-therapist. He is also a co-founder of Polaris Insight Center ( where he provides ketamine assisted psychotherapy and conducts research on the efficacy of ketamine to treat depression and other issues. Other interests include travel, traditional shamanic healing practices, and plant medicines.

Bett Williams is the author of The Wrestling Party and Girl Walking Backwards, recently named by Vogue Magazine as one of the top ten queer young adult books. Her recently completed memoir, The Wild Kindness, is about her 7-year experience of growing psilocybin mushrooms in New Mexico. She was a featured speaker at the Horizons Perspectives on Psychedelics Conference 2018 in NYC.  On her radio show Planet Juniper (KMRD Madrid Community Radio,) she interviewed poets she has hosted at her desert retreat, such as Ariana Reines, CA Conrad and others. With Beth Hill, she continues to support artists and writers through hosting retreats and events in keeping with the metaphor of the mycelium, the mushroom’s interconnected web that bears the fruit of a mutually shared vision.

Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Sponsorship helps Chacruna to make this conference affordable and accessible to the public and ensures a diversity of speakers and voices are heard. We have intentionally kept ticket prices low given the high costs of organizing an event in San Francisco.

Sponsors receive recognition for their support of Queering Psychedelics at the event, on our social media channels, on our conference website, and in the video recordings of the event.

All sponsorship donations are tax-deductible as a donation through our fiscal sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization.

Please email Alex Theberge at: with inquiries regarding sponsorships.

Let’s explore the intersection between queer culture and psychedelics! Join us!

LSD blotter Pink Flamingos: “This print depicts 40 hits that were originally issued circa 1987. A celebration of 10 different personality types on these magnificent four-ways.”  (Mark McCloud, in