LGBTQ+ Leadership Council

Compassion & Choices is committed to raising awareness around the healthcare disparities and barriers that the LGBTQ+ community faces. We created the LGBTQ+ Leadership Council to build partnerships with LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations to help educate and empower LGBTQ+ Americans to chart their own end-of-life care journey.

Current Members

Florrie Burke (She/Her)

Florrie Burke is a consultant on gender violence, worker exploitation and human trafficking. She and her late spouse were strong advocates for medical aid in dying in New York. Her artist partner of 31 years suffered unnecessarily because NY State does not have a law. They made a plea on television and in an award-winning video by C&C. Burke now resides in California and will continue her advocacy.

Stella Dawson (She/Her)

Stella Dawson is a journalist, whose work focuses on poverty, economics, corruption and human rights. Her wife Mary Klein was instrumental in passage of medical aid-in-dying legislation in Washington, D.C. Stella has worked with C&C for over five years.

Phil Duran (He/Him)

Phil Duran, Senior Advocate for Aging & Gender Care Access, oversees Rainbow Health Minnesota’s advocacy and research programs, including its Aging Initiative and community research. As an experienced attorney and civil rights advocate, Phil also assists our legal team with cases in the areas of trans health and human rights. He has been a member of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and Transgender Issues Workgroup, and of Governor Mark Dayton’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying. He was a founding board member of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association and served as the first out president of the Minnesota State Bar Association, where he remains a member of its Health Law Section.

Carrie Framsted (She/Her)

My name is Carrie Framsted. I live in Grand Marais, MN. I lost my wife on 2/15/20 to Pancreatic Cancer. She lived only eight months after diagnosis after which I became involved with C&C. I am now a co-leader for the Arrowhead Action Team to educate our community and legislators about MN’s end-of-life options. I am now aware that family, friends and our community need to understand what happens when one is dying. To have the language to discuss it, support to help along the way and normalize options like palliative care and hospice to aid in a good death.

Jim Kelly (He/Him)

Jim Kelly was born in 1947 and grew up in a very small Minnesota farming town.  Post-college, he had a long career with Peace Corps, first as a Volunteer and twenty-five years with a training company with contracts to operate training centers for incoming PCVs in several Central and South America.  He’s lived in Oak Park, IL since 1987.  In 1989, he and his husband Bruce Broerman, together for 35 years, were among the founders of the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association – then the largest queer organization in IL with bylaws stipulating parity among men and women in membership and leadership (LGBTQ+ came later).  It’s still a thriving organization.  Jim has been in treatment for prostate cancer since 2009.  Jim’s father died of prostate cancer after a long and difficult struggle.  Jim is fighting for better options at the end of his illness.  He is an active member of End of Life Options in Oak Park, one of several C&C chapters in IL.

Blake Oshiro (He/Him)

Blake Oshiro served in the Hawai‘i House of Representatives from 2000-2011 where he was Majority Leader for three years. From 2011–2014, he served as the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff with a specific oversight of all matters pertaining to policy and the state executive budget. He was the Governors’s lead person in dealing with the state legislature, the county governments and the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation. Blake currently works in government relations and advocacy with Capitol Consultants of Hawai‘i.

Kelly Rice (They/Them)

With over 20 years of experience within health care and social service settings, Kelly is a frequent speaker on topics of LGBTQ aging, advance care planning, end of life, and workforce development. They have presented at the American Society on Aging, National LGBTQ Health, UIC Minority Health, DePaul University Health Disparities & Social Justice, and AllianceChicago conferences, among others. Kelly has contributed to the body of literature focusing on LGBTQ aging issues, including publication in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, as well as, a chapter in the book, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Health and Aging.

Kelly is an active member in the Chicago LGBTQ community and serves on several committees and boards, including the Chicago LGBT Aging Network, Chicago Bisexual Health Taskforce, and the American Society on Aging (ASA) LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) Council. Kelly received their Master’s in Public Health and Bachelor’s of Arts in Women’s Studies and Sociology at DePaul University.

Deb Robertson (She/Her)

Deb Robertson is a retired alcohol and drug counselor, teacher, and social worker. She has worked with DCFS, HHS, DHS and HUD receiving grant funding to create programs for homeless youth ages 13-21 in the Chicagoland area. She developed the first program outside of Chicago serving homeless LGBTQ youth 18-21 specifically. She also developed programs for LGBTQ youth and their families.

Debs’ wife Kate is a paralegal and currently works at the Oak Brook Police Dept. Deb and Kate have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Deb was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer (neuroendocrine carcinoma) in January 2022.She is currently on a heavy-duty chemo regime to combat the cancer. She has been advocating for medical aid and dying in Illinois since her diagnosis. Deb and Kate worked with Compassion and Choices creating a video advocating for the passage of medical aid and dying in Illinois. Deb plans to speak directly to legislators (health permitting) in Springfield when the law is ready to be reviewed by congress in late 2023 or early 2024.

Barb Timper (She/Her)

Barb lives in Oregon and has been a supporter and volunteer with Compassion & Choices for over 10 years. I was more than proud and happy to vote for death-with-dignity legislation when given the multiple opportunities to do so in her home state early in the efforts. She lives with her wife and our current menagerie of dogs and a cat.

Honoring Those We’ve Lost

Allyne Hammer (She/Her/Ella

Allyne Hammer will be remembered as a joyful force to be reckoned with. Dedicated as a long time Labor, LGBTQ+ and Women's Rights Activist. She lived as a fierce advocate for patient-directed care and medical aid in dying. Involved in the Death with Dignity movement for more than 40 years. She led the Compassion & Choices Santa Cruz Action Team, sat on the LGBTQ+ Leadership Council, and facilitated Death Cafes for Hospice of Santa Cruz County. In a meeting with Compassion and Choices LGBTQ+ staff she said through tears and smiles that “It helps to know that people coming up behind me are doing the work so that I know when it’s time for me to die that the struggle continues.” Allyne gave us a tremendous gift in this movement and by her friendship. 

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