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SpeakOut: Stories of Pride with VideoOut & The Stonewall Inn Gives Back (NYC)

SpeakOut: Stories of Pride with VideoOut & The Stonewall Inn Gives Back (NYC)

SpeakOut: Stories of Pride with VideoOut and The Stonewall Inn Gives Back celebrates inclusivity, storytelling, and our new Pride collaboration, The Stonewall Inn Wit, a special tangerine peel wheat beer we brewed in honor of the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

Our friends at VideoOut have put together a special roster of storytellers in the style of their lauded video series. These guests will take the stage to share their stories of coming out, living and fighting for LGBTQ equality in their own lives. VideoOut will also present selected stories from their digital library, and give you the opportunity to record your own account of Pride. One part Moth, one part digital shorts, and one part beer, the evening promises to be moving, celebratory, and optimistic.

Featured speakers for the evening will include:

+ Eric Marcus, author and host of Making Gay History - The Podcast 
+ Melissa Sklarz, the first Trans person elected to public office in New York
+ Michelle Lopez, AIDS activist
+ Cesar Francia, LGBTQ rights attorney

Tickets for the evening are $15, and include your first Stonewall Inn Wit. All guests must be 21 or over to enter. Proceeds from the evening go to support the work of The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative and VideoOut. Enjoy a night full of joy, introspection, and beer, and most importantly, letting your Pride flag fly.

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative is an exciting new nonprofit dedicated to helping some of the most under-served and marginalized members of the LGBTQ community by building awareness, raising funds, engaging in candid dialogue, and spearheading powerful campaigns for social change. The Initiative will directly focus on helping people that live in areas that are less accepting of the LGBTQ culture and therefore face intensive social stigma, daily discrimination, and harassment, which subsequently results in dramatically higher rates of suicide, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative’s ultimate goal is to provide support systems and to spread the message of love and equality in every community that has suffered from a lack of recognition and resources.

VideoOut’s mission is to amplify the voice of the LGBTQ community, regardless of identity, gender, orientation, age, race, ethnicity, HIV/AIDS, or socioeconomic background by building the world's largest library of coming out and ally support stories.

More on our speakers:

Host Laura Goehrke is an improviser, storyteller, and producer, living in Brooklyn. She can be seen performing at the People’s Improv Theater every Monday night, and has participated in Moth StorySLAM’s around NYC. She recently co-created and starred in a short film, Lenses, that is currently premiering in several film festivals in cities throughout the country. She’s proud to be a member of the LGBTQ community and believes in the power of storytelling and vulnerability.

Eric Marcus is the creator and host of the Making Gay History podcast, which mines Eric's decades old audio archive of rare interviews — conducted for his award-winning oral history book about the LGBTQ civil rights movement — to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.  He is also the author of a dozen books, including Making Gay HistoryIs It A Choice?, and Why Suicide?  And he is co-author of Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis. 

Melissa Sklarz is the Director of Development at Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) and is the former Board Co-Chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the LGBT state wide political lobbying group based in New York and in Albany.

She became the first transgender person elected to office in New York in 1999 when she was elected Judicial Delegate from the 66th Assembly District. In 2004, Melissa became the first transgender person from New York to be part of the state delegation at the Democratic National Convention, by being appointed to the Credentials Committee in 2004 and again in 2012. In 2016, Melissa became the first trans delegate to the DNC from New York and was also the first transgender member of the Electoral College.

She helped bring civil rights to transgender people in New York City when INT 24 became law in 2002, served on the Working Group with the New York Human Rights Commission to flesh out the law, and has been a lobbying leader for GENDA (Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act) since the bill was developed in 2002. Melissa helped negotiate the change of the NYPD Patrol Guide for transgender identities and the police. Melissa was part of the team that changed transgender birth certificate policy in New York City. 

Michelle Lopez is the Campaign Coordinator for NY HIV Treatments Work, the Director Of HIV Programs at Brooklyn Multi-Specialty Group, and the co-chair for the Consumer Advisory Committee at New York State Department of Health.

Energetic and effusive, Michelle Lopez has a lot to say for herself as a mother, a lesbian, a trauma survivor, and a woman living with HIV. Michelle emigrated from Trinidad at the age of sixteen, and has made her home in New York City ever since. Diagnosed with HIV after the birth of her second child, Michelle fought loneliness and isolation to become not only an advocate for herself and her daughter, but for other immigrants, women and African Americans living with HIV. Her work has been featured in Poz magazine, She magazine, HIV Plus, Marie Claire, on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Ricki Lake Show, CNN and many other media.

She is the proud mother of two children, Raven and Rondell. 

Cesar Francia is a former-Brooklynite, a food enthusiast, globe trotter, salsa dancer, immigrant, and people lover. He is currently an Associate at Arent Fox LLP, focusing on anti-corruption compliance and immigration law. His pro-bono practice includes representing LGBT asylum seekers, and same-sex couples in the fight for marriage equality in Latin America courts and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Born and raised in Venezuela, Cesar has traveled to over 70 countries. He is a graduate of New York University and NYU School of Law, and is the recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, the Derrick Bell Scholarship for Public Service, and the Catherine B. Reynolds Scholarship in Social Entrepreneurship.

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