Two organizations, one mission: to improve the physical, mental and emotional health of the greater LGBTQI2S community. Separate from Sacred Vessel Natural Medicine, The Equi Institute offers social justice and advocacy programming to support the mental and emotional components to LGBTQI2S health.

Big Others

Big Others, a developing mentorship program, pairs seasoned trans or gender nonconforming individuals with trans or gender nonconforming individuals who are just starting their journey. Mentors will be available to provide emotional support, accompany mentees to doctor visits and answer questions as they come up.

We are currently accepting both mentor and mentee applications! Apply below!

racial justice & civic engagement

Developed by our Racial Justice Intern, our pilot Racial Justice & Civic Engagement program started in June of 2017. This program aims to survey and conduct focus groups to determine the specific health needs of the QTPOC/BIPOC community that are not currently being met by our existing health care institution. The Racial Justice program is conducting a QTPOC Health survey to evaluate the health status of those communities.

queer Professional development

This program focuses on providing trans/non-binary/intersex/queer individuals with on-the-job training and experience in the form of an internship with either Equi or Sacred Vessel. Valuable skills are learned or honed by creating a customized internship. Supervisors will provide assistance with training, resumes and letters of recommendation. 

Internships are available, but limited at this time. Please inquire for details.


The Equi Institute Board

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Alexxis woods | she/her
Board chair

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Jersey deutsch | he/they



Tess Raunig | They/Them/Theirs

Tess Raunig is a disabled genderqueer, singer/songwriter and activist.  They are originally from Missoula Montana.  They have a Bachelors of Music in vocal performance from the University of Montana.  They are one half of the Portland based folk pop duo, Tess & Linus.  In addition to music, they are committed to practicing intersectional social justice, and smashing systemic oppression.  Previously, they served as a board member for the Imperial Sovereign Court of The State of Montana, where they assisted with planning drag shows to fundraise for state and local charities, and scholarships for LGBTIQ2SA college students.  

Currently, they work with Glitter Squadron, an organization committed to creating support systems for the larger disability community.  Tess was drawn to work with The Marie Equi Institute because they want all trans and queer people to have barrier free access to quality healthcare. They believe, ensuring that our community has their health needs met and exceeded, is the first step in building a thriving, inclusive community.  Tess’s top three skills are writing, singing, and finding creative solutions to accessibility barriers.  When they are not organizing or doing music, they enjoy swimming in lakes, cuddling their adorable cat Sasha, and drinking good tea.  Tess is inspired by the wisdom of bell hooks: “When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us.”


Jackson Roux | They/Them/Theirs


Shiva Markendeya | They/she

Shiva works as a Recovery Mentor at Empowerment Clinic, an African-American operated 501(c)3 certified non-profit agency located in Northeast Portland. Shiva focuses on the LGBTQ+ Community and the issues they face with addiction. They are also in the Drug and Alcohol Program, Student Government and the African American Mentorship Program at PCC. Shiva aims to promote the benefits of energetic, esoteric and individual healing to marginalized communities in order to support various types of recovery. They are aspiring to work with traumatized individuals at a Masters Level. In their spare time, they are studying the Ways of Kemet and the mysteries of Hermetics. Shiva also organizes a monthly Recovery Open Mics series as well.


Are You Interested in Volunteering?

If you are interested in volunteering with either The Equi Institute or Sacred Vessel Natural Medicine, please click below to fill out a volunteer application and someone will be in touch with you within one business day.

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