Alex Fiano, Author & Artist
I am a writer living in New York City. I am also a LGBTQ+, gender equality and poverty awareness advocate. I identify as Pan/Bisexual and on a Transgender spectrum as GenderQueer (GQ); I use the PGP of her/she and Mx. as a title. As I define GQ, that means having both male and female qualities in gender. I am highly supportive of and have worked with LGBTQ+ youth. My sense of social justice developed from a childhood spent moving around the country, in poverty and often homeless, with my mom. I dropped out of school at 13, but I always wrote and pursued artistic expression through difficult times, including dealing with family mental illness, abuse, poverty and violent crime. My late mom spent most of her life in poverty but was a feminist and civil rights supporter, and encouraged me to continue school. While I feel I’m more male than female, I go by female pronouns in tribute to my mom and respect of feminine/feminist empowerment.
I am experienced in public speaking and available for presentations, discussions, and readings–for college groups, book clubs and other occasions in persons or online including through Skype. I’m also interested in connecting with and helping LGBTQ+ organizations in the NYS area and beyond, including international. I can help in the areas of writing and design, helping youth in writing and college prep. Contact me at email@example.com.
Education: I obtained a GED at 17, and later attended CUNY Hunter College and New York University, majoring in film-making. I graduated from SUNY Stony Brook in 2000 with a B.A. and honors in Political Science, with a concentration in Political Psychology. I attended Syracuse University College of Law, and Syracuse University Graduate College of the Arts, graduating with a J.D. and a Masters of Arts in Religion, the first such dual degrees awarded from that institution. I am currently studying graphic design, art history, and art in the CUNY system again at City Tech.
Professional: I worked from 17 on, first in fast food and then waiting tables in various restaurants in Virginia and New York. I also tended bar and worked as a host-cashier. While in graduate school, I started work/study internships with good organizations, including the Library in the Syracuse University College of Law, the local branch of the NYCLU, the Center for Community Alternatives, and the Fair Housing Council in Syracuse, the Federal Public Defender’s Office and law office of Gary Muldoon in Rochester, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York City. My internship with the EEOC (located in the original World Trade Center) was just prior to 9/11, and the tragedy was instrumental in changing my philosophy of living by one’s principles, and working to make the world better.
Following school, I worked as a Sentence Mitigation Specialist at Center for Community Alternatives. At CCA, I prepared sentencing memos advocating for lesser sentences or alternatives to incarceration, and advocating for individuals facing parole revocation hearings, in particular for individuals with serious medical conditions, disabilities, dual diagnoses and mental health issues.
I taught various legal courses in the paralegal program at Bryant & Stratton College, and taught philosophy and world religion courses at Monroe Community College in Rochester. While in the Central/Western New York area, I joined my friend Cheryl Kates in starting and running a nonprofit for prison rights advocacy, The Edge of Justice, where I helped in training interns, and had opportunity to teach HIV/AIDS awareness and critical thinking to Monroe County correctional inmates.
In New York City, I have worked for legal firms in the area of employment discrimination for plaintiffs, and on my own in employment discrimination, and in consultation on domestic violence, criminal, landlord/tenant, first amendment, prison rights advocacy, LGBT and disability issues. I also worked briefly with incarcerated persons applying for medical parole in New York State. I was interviewed about medical parole on the Fancy Broccoli show.
I also started teaching at Kaplan University in the Paralegal Studies program, University of Phoenix, teaching world religion and critical thinking. Other teaching experience includes religion and philosophy courses at Westchester County Community College, and religion, business and adult education courses for the College of New Rochelle.
I worked as a freelance journalist for DOTmed Business News, a national medical and health care industry periodical, including having a legal column. Stories I am particularly proud of include: the Phoenix AZ Crews’n Healthmobile Homeless Youth Program, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on strengthening forensic science, the under-reported medical debt toll, and a report on brain imaging and the law.
In addition, I worked as a communications professional for Legal Momentum, a women’s rights advocacy non-profit, in designing social media outreach and constituent communication.
My history of advocacy includes undergraduate student membership in NYPIRG while at Hunter College, and serving as director of the North Fork AIDS Network. At Syracuse University, I was a member of LAMBDA, President of the Criminal Justice Society, and Treasurer and President of the school ACLU Chapter, and being a member of GLOW (Gays & Lesbians and Others) while at Westchester Community College. I also volunteered to help homeless LGBTQ+ youth at the Ali Forney Center in NYC, and at The Door in NYC.
While at WCC I had opportunities to give presentations at Teach-Ins. My presentations were on religion and discrimination, the state of LGBTQ+ legal rights, and understanding student LGBTQ+ issues. I have had readings of my work at the Rainbook Book Fair and the Bisexual Book Awards.
Some teachers have been strong positive influences on me and encouraging me to reach further for excellence. For that I think Professor Anne Prescott at CUNY Hunter, Professors Leonie Huddy and Mark Setton while at SUNY Stony Brook, Professors Tom French and the late Donna Arzt while at Syracuse University College of Law, and Professors Phillip Arnold and M. Gail Hamner while at Syracuse University Department of Religion. I also am grateful for the mentoring during my internship at the EEOC with Felix Orraca, and at CCA with Alan Rosenthal.
Page updated 4/9/2017