Queer Liberation Rally Speakers
June 30th 2019, 1 p.m., Central Park Great Lawn, New York City
List in alphabetical order.
ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), Larry Kramer (speaker)
Photo and bio coming soon
Amir Ashour (speaker)
Amir Ashour is the founder and executive director of IraQueer; Iraq’s first and only LGBTQIA+ organization. He has ten years of experience working with Iraqi and international organizations focusing on the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people, sex workers, and other marginalized groups. He holds a masters degree in human rights from Columbia University. He’s been nominated for different human rights awards including The Raoul Wallenberg Academy Prize and the David Kato Voice and Vision Award. Amir and IraQueer’s work has been covered by different international outlets including The Washington Post, The Independent, and Openly.
Kevin Aviance (performer)
With four #1 Billboard Dance hits, over 10 groundbreaking music videos and a fan base stretching from New York to Tokyo, Kevin Aviance is a bonafide living legend. A style icon for his gender bending avant-garde fashions, a dance and music icon in the international dance music scene, Kevin's proud presence and his political activism have made him an LGBTQIA+icon. He has performed alongside Whitney Houston, Cher, Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole, Cyndi Lauper, Janet Jackson, Bette Midler, and was featured in Madonna’s “Secret" video. Kevin has also appeared in films such as Freaks Glam Gods and Rock Stars, Naked Fame and Punks.
Kevin brought much needed attention to the epidemic of hate crimes when he himself was the victim of one in 2006, making national news. Kevin was also thrilled and honored to receive his knighthood by the Imperial Court for the 30th anniversary of the Night of a Thousand Gowns. Now hard at work on a new music project called SAMURI Feat.Kevin Aviance, he was recently signed by House Music label Nervous Records.
Black Trans Media, Sasha Alexander and Olympia Perez (speakers)
Sasha Alexander is a queer trans, black/south asian, artist, educator, and healer. A former youth organizer, Sasha has been working at the intersections of LGBTQIA+, youth, media, economic, gender and racial justice movements for almost 20 years. Sasha has worked with various community based organizations as a lead organizer, case manager, summer youth employment supervisor, trans youth specialist, program coordinator, media educator, and facilitator. Sasha was named one of the inaugural trans 100 for their organizing and media based work in trans communities of color.
In 2013 after teaching at the intersections of youth media and social justice for over a decade, and called to action by the murder of 21 year old Islan Nettles, Sasha launched Black Trans Media committed to addressing the intersections of racism and trans-phobia by shifting and re-framing the value and worth of black trans lives #blacktranseverything. Sasha works as the Membership Director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) in NYC a legal and movement based organization working for collective liberation; as the Membership Director and Co-Director of the Movement Building Team Sasha works to strengthen the leadership of trans, gender non conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) people specifically low income people, people of all abilities, formerly incarcerated people, people living with HIV, immigrants, and people of color. Sasha loves time on the land, decolonizing everything, trans reproductive futures, their cat mumia shakur, arts of all mediums, and movement history. Sasha uses the pronouns he/she/they and insists that you mix it up
Olympia Perez is an Afro-Latinx Trans woman, raised in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. She is a poet, writer, healer, rapper, cosmetologist, actress, multimedia artist, and facilitator.
Ms. Perez is devoted to community organizing and her mission is to dismantle all forms of oppression. She uplifts the rights and dignity of transgender and gender nonconforming people of color, particularly black trans people. She has been organizing since 2006 to end the multiple forms of violence that she and members of her community experience. As the content director of Black Trans Media, Ms. Perez works to promote the value of black transgender people through media, education, and community building.
Mx Justin Vivian Bond (performer)
Mx Justin Vivian Bond is a trans-genre artist living in New York City. As a performer both on and Off-Broadway, Mx Bond has received numerous accolades winning an Obie (2001), a Bessie (2004), a Tony nomination (2007), the Ethyl Eichelberger Award (2007), The Peter Reed Foundaton Grant, and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. V authored the Lambda Literary Award winning memoir TANGO: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels (The Feminist Press, 2011). Films include John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus(2006), Sunset Stories (2012), Imaginary Heroes (2004), Fanci's Persuasion (1995), After Louie(2016). Television credits include Difficult People, (2017), High Maintenance, (2016) and The Get Down, (2016).
Lydia X. Z. Brown (speaker)
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They are currently a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law where they represent disabled students in Maryland facing school pushout, disproportionate discipline, and criminalization. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology by autistic people of color and otherwise negatively racialized autistic people, published by the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. Lydia also founded and co-directs the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which provides direct support and mutual aid to individual autistic people of color. Lydia has received numerous awards for their work, including from the White House, American Association of People with Disabilities, and Society for Disability Studies, and written for several community and academic publications. They are out and proud as a queerly asexual, nonbinary trans person living free of gender.
Keinon Carter (speaker)
Keinon 33, was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, attending Jones High School and is a seriously injured Pulse Orlando Survivor. Keinon cherishes spending time with his siblings, Adonius and Diamond. Living through the tragic experience on June 12, 2016 has motivated Keinon and has given him the life experience to advocate for those who are in need after becoming a victim or survivor of other tragedies throughout the United States. Keinon has found motivation and strength to advocate and fight against gun violence and promote gun Safety.
Keinon is elated to be an intricate part of the National Victim Support Network with a personal mission to help, support and guide victims and survivors in need. Keinon intends to bring together communities in hopes of spreading enjoyable events to benefit those in need.
Staceyann Chin (speaker/performer)
Staceyann Chin is a celebrated and brilliant spoken-word poet, playwright, actor and political activist. Author and star of the plays “Motherstruck” and “Border/Clash,” she has also written The Other Side of Paradise—A Memoir and co-wrote and performed in “Def Poetry Jam” on Broadway. But Staceyann is most notorious for her willingness to challenge people in power with her dramatic performances of her political/personal poetry.
Gay Liberation Front, members (speaker)
The Stonewall rebellion of 1969 was the catalyst that sparked the formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). Forty-eight hours after the police raid and resistance, Martha Shelley appealed to the Daughters of Bilitis, and then to the Mattachine Society, to form a protest march. Having participated in civil rights, women's rights and anti-war groups, some march participants came to realize that they could and should at last demand their own rights. More radical in analysis and more experienced in confrontational protest than most members of existing organizations, these activists formed GLF. In a time before anyone used the word "intersectionality," GLF recognized that freedom for any oppressed group should be the concern of all. GLF members were instrumental in organizing the first "pride" march, known as Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, on June 28, 1970. The route of that event, as well as its values, provide the template for the Queer Liberation March of 2019.
Ellen Shumsky and Marc Schnapp, veterans of the open membership Gay Liberation Front, will speak.
Cecilia Gentili (speaker)
Cecilia Gentili started Transgender Equity Consulting after serving as the Director of Policy at GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy from 2016 to 2019.
Originally from Argentina, Cecilia found her passion for advocacy and community service when she started working as an intern at the LGBT Community Center in New York City. From 2012 to 2016, she managed the Transgender Health Program at the Apicha Community Health Center. Cecilia is also contributor to Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community, and a board member for Transcend Legal and Translatina Network. Throughout her career, Cecilia has trained more than 3,000 individuals on a range of issues that include LGBTQIA+ inclusion, immigration, drug use, sexual health, trans sensitivity, and intersectionality.
Cecilia Gentili, is a steering committee member of Decrim NY, a coalition of more than 30 sex worker, legal, harm reduction, LGBTQIA+ and health groups, that recently launched an official campaign for decriminalization and an end to incarceration, entitled: The Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act.
Masha Gessen (speaker)
Masha Gessen is the author of the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia as well as The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. A staff writer at the New Yorker and the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Fellowship, Gessen teaches at Amherst College, and lives in New York City.
Marga Gomez (emcee - performer)
Marga Gomez is a GLAAD Award winner and one of the first out lesbian stand-up comedians in the business, way before Ellen. She can be seen on Netflix Sense 8, LOGO and HBO's Comic Relief. Marga will be performing at Dixon Place in "Hotfest!" July 11th through July 13th. Visit margagomez.com.
Blair Imani (speaker)
Blair Imani is a writer, mental health advocate, and historian living at the intersections of Black, Queer, and Muslim identity. In addition to being a public speaker, Blair is the author of Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History (2018) and Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and The Black American Dream (2020). She is also the official ambassador of Muslims for Progressive Values, one of the oldest progressive Muslim organizations to support the LGBTQIA+ community. Blair has been featured in Essence, Out Magazine, THEM, Broadly, and more.
The House of Xtravaganza (speaker/performer)
Founded 1982, The House of Xtravaganza was the first Latinx house within New York’s ballroom scene. Since it’s establishment it has nurtured and celebrated multiple generations of queer artists and activists in New York City and across the globe. For 35 years, The House of Xtravaganza has served as a beacon of light and a support system for members of the queer community seeking refuge and self love. Its talented members have served as pioneers and icons within the ballroom community, contributing greatly to the culture and nightlife of New York City and beyond. In addition to their artistic contributions, the house maintains a visible role in HIV/AIDS activism. Under the leadership of Jose Xtravaganza and Gizelle Xtravaganza, The House of Xtravaganza continues its legacy as global ambassadors of ballroom culture through their broad work in music, film, television, fashion and popular media.
Regan de Loggans (speaker)
Regan de Loggans (Mississippi Choctaw/ Ki’Che Maya) is a two-spirit activist, art historian, curator, and educator based in Brooklyn on Lenape land. Their work relates to decolonizing, indigenizing, and queering institutions and curatorial practices. They are also one of the founding members of the Indigenous Womxn’s Collective: NYC. The Indigenous Womxn’s Collective:NYC is a direct action group of Native femme non-binary people and womxn, creating an indigenous community in the city. They have staged actions at The Whitney: Biennial, American Museum of Natural History, and on the MTA Subway in response to continued settler colonialism and institutionalized racism and violence.
Edafe Okporo (speaker)
Edafe Okporo is a Nigerian LGBTQIA+ writer and activist who fled his home country in 2016 because of threat to his life for identifying as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2017 Edafe authored a book titled BED26, a memoir of an African man's asylum in the United States. He currently lives in New York City and works as the director of RDJ Refugee Shelter, the only shelter for LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers in New York City.
Pamela Sneed (speaker/performer)
Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, performer and visual artist. She is author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery, KONG and Other Works and her short story book Sweet Dreams was published by Belladonna in 2018. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Out, Bomb, VIBE, and on the cover of New York Magazine. She has appeared in Art Forum, The Huffington Post and Hyperallergic. In 2017, She was a Visiting Critic at Yale and Columbia University and currently is a Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She is online faculty at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute MFA program teaching Human Rights and Writing Art. She has performed at the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Poetry Project, NYU and Pratt Universities, Smack Mellon Gallery, MCA, The High Line, Performa, Danspace, The Bessies, Performance Space, Joes Pub, The Public Theater, SMFA at Tufts, BRIC and was an artist- in- residence at Pratt University, Denniston Hill and Poet-Linc, Lincoln Center Education. In November 2018, Pamela delivered the closing keynote for Artist, Designers, Citizens Conference/a North American component of the Venice Biennale at SAIC. Her work is widely anthologized and appears in Nikki Giovanni’s The 100 Best African American Poems. This year she is a featured poet at the Brooklyn Museum in collaboration with PEN.
Cindy Wiesner (speaker)
Cindy Wiesner is the national coordinator of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and has worked for social justice for 25 years. She co-founded the Climate Justice Alliance, and played a leadership role in the Peoples Climate Movement that organized massive mobilizations in New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, and is an adviser to Groundswell’s new Liberation Fund. Cindy started organizing with HERE Local 2850 in Oakland, became director of organizing for People Organizing to Win Employment Rights in San Francisco, then organized with generation FIVE and Mujeres Unidas y Activas. She worked as Leadership Development Director of the Miami Workers Center and represented them on the U.S. Social Forum National Planning Committee. She’s been active in many movement-building initiatives, including World March of Women, Social Movement Assemblies, International Council of the World Social Forum, Fight Against the FTAA, UNITY, Building Equity and Alignment Initiative and, currently, It Takes Roots and the Majority. She trains organizers in a transformative, radical organizing model and builds counter-hegemonic campaigns that not only fight oppression, but put into practice what needs to be manifested. She is a lesbian of Salvadoran, Colombian and German descent and a grassroots feminist, internationalist, and movement strategist.