05.22.2024 Diversity in Speakers Author: Kelly Campbell
lgbtq speakers

12 LGBTQ+ Speakers for Year-Round Commitment to Equity

According to a wide review of research from 2021–2023 collected by Catalyst, 23% of LGBTQ+ employees in the United States experienced discrimination at the workplace, but transgender employees specifically reported higher proportions of discrimination (31%). About half (50.4%) of LGBTQ+ workers in the U.S. are not out to their supervisors, and one-quarter (25.8%) are not out to anyone at work.

Openly LGBTQ+ corporate leadership is rare—just 25 of the 5,670 (0.4%) board seats in the Fortune 500 are held by openly LGBTQ+ directors. Of those 25 seats, only two are held by LGBTQ+ people of color.

While gains have been made on a state-by-state basis, fear of visibility and discrimination still prevents LGBTQ+ employees from a genuine sense of inclusion and belonging at work—and unsupportive work cultures push LGBTQ+ employees to leave. With such underrepresentation in positions of influence, organizations in every sector can improve by including more LGBTQ+ leaders in decision-making processes. Better understanding of each other’s lived experiences and promoting more underrepresented people to positions of power, we equalize LGBTQ+ people in the workplace.

Below is our list of 12 LGBTQ+ public speakers your organization should consider hiring as part of a year-round commitment to transformative and lasting change.

A.C. Fowlkes—First transgender man to run a psychiatric hospital

Guided by his principle that “It’s hard to hate up close,” Dr. A.C. Fowlkes empowers organizations to create inclusive spaces for everyone, promoting understanding and respect through his keen insights and knowledge. Dr. Fowlkes’ consulting and workshop facilitation practices focus on diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion, blazing a new trail of love and acceptance and leading others on it. Read more about A.C. Fowlkes »

Dara Barlin—Creating unity, building trust through change strategy

Dara Barlin (she/they) is a speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, consultant, and best-selling author of A New Kind of Power: Using Human-Centered Leadership to Drive Innovation, Equity and Belonging in Government Institutions. With 20+ years experience facilitating trust-building conversations, transforming policy, and leading grassroots campaigns, Dara’s research has been featured in the United Nations, U.S. Congress, Institute for Public Policy Research, and Harvard Education Spotlight Series. Read more about Dara Barlin »

Sebastian Dziuk—Transgender Army veteran inspiring everyone to thrive

Sebastian Dziuk (he/him) is a queer, transgender military veteran and keynote speaker focused on helping audiences examine what it means to thrive and how organizations can have a deep impact on trans inclusion and belonging. Having served during the trans ban under former President Trump, Sebastian speaks from his personal experience on allyship, the importance of community and support, and how tuning into what we truly desire and why we deserve leads to living a thriving life. Read more about Sebastian Dziuk »

Candis Fox—Financial wellness, accessibility, and sovereignty

Candis Fox (she/her, he/him, they/them) is a financial wellness coach, money and equity consultant, and keynote speaker on relationship to Money, Power, Desire, and Difference. Combining a decade in cognitive and behavioral science with a Masters degree in education, Candis helps people navigate their worth authentically within unbalanced systems, and guides leaders to understand the nuances of neurodiversity in people across differing identities. Read more about Candis Fox »

Bhavik R. Shah—Focusing on the intersections of mental health & DEIB

An award-winning activist, speaker, writer, and consultant, Bhavik R. Shah (he/him) is an expert in forging transformative global culture change strategies that foster inclusion and dismantle systemic workplace inequities. Emphasizing the urgent need for consistent support in the face of rising anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and rising hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Bhavik works to empower all communities to feel psychologically safe and advocate for themselves. Read more about Bhavik R. Shah »

Bernadette Smith—LGBTQ+ workplace empowerment

A diversity and inclusion keynote speaker, and award-winning author of four books, Bernadette Smith (she/her) illustrates key principles of inclusive leadership through a queer lens. Bernadette takes away overwhelm and fear of judgment about diversity and uses relatability and humor to inspire action — even among the skeptics. Her critical, must-know practices for leaders to minimize hidden bias, empower under-represented team members, and create a profitable culture of inclusion, helps LGBTQ+ employees feel empowered to fulfill their potential. Read more about Bernadette Smith »

Glodean Champion—Black, female, queer, military veteran leading with love

Glodean Champion (she/her) is an author and transformational leadership speaker who exists at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. She works with individuals and organizations to get to the root cause of culturally-based challenges by transforming beliefs, behaviors, and assumptions. Glodean’s unique life experiences and perspective have shaped her guiding principles of “L.O.V.E. in Action” – Learning, Open-mindedness, Vulnerability, and Empathy. Read more about Glodean Champion »

Arielle Rebekah—Increasing transgender access, resources, and opportunities

Arielle Rebekah (they/them) is a transgender workplace trainer and speaker who helps audiences release guilt and shame in order to be effective accomplices in the liberation of marginalized people. From teaching “Trans 101” language and key concepts, to deepening understanding of the differences between being an ally and being an accomplice in liberation, Arielle explores what it means to navigate generative conflict, and guides organizations with supportive HR policy strategy. Read more about Arielle Rebekah »

Sean Coleman—First African American of Transgender Experience to operate an LGBTQ+ Center in NYC

Sean Coleman (he/him) is a top consultant and expert on gender, diversity, equity, and inclusion, who focuses on Economic Empowerment through equity consciousness. Sean presents on building sustainable Black and Brown nonprofit organizations, creating financial stability within communities that are under-banked, and the best strategies for brands and companies to engage members of the Transgender and Gender non-conforming community. Read more about Sean Coleman »

Dorie Clark—Business leadership and communications specialist

Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The Long Game, Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You, and Stand Out, Dorie Clark (she/her) is a business leadership keynote speaker, award-winning communication coach, and expert on personal branding. Dorie helps leaders build the careers they want, through professional reinvention, reputation cultivation, and long-term strategy to ensure that their unique skills, abilities, and voices are heard. Read more about Dorie Clark »

Jen O’Ryan—Why inclusion and diversity is not an HR policy 

Dr. Jen O’Ryan (she/her) is a diversity and inclusion strategist focused on helping people build authentically inclusive and welcoming companies. She brings a unique perspective to organizational change, combining a Ph.D. in Human Behavior with over 20 years of experience in leading global launches of new consumer experiences, products and policy. Jen makes “awkward” questions and topics more accessible, and outlines why good DEI initiatives can sputter out or fail. Read more about Jen O’Ryan »

James-Olivia Hillman—Relational skills for navigating difference and tension

James-Olivia Hillman (she/they) is a relational leadership speaker, a nurturer of disobedience and regard, and a facilitator of exquisitely uncomfortable conversations. She brings relentless compassion, an unusual perspective, and an eclectic variety of tools for expanding our lives and leadership beyond personal development—including exploration of the ways we perpetuate supremacy culture in our most important relationships. Read more about James-Olivia Hillman »

Many of these LGBTQ+ speakers—and others represented by Consciousness Leaders—do have availability for engagements. View all of our LGBTQIA+ speakers here or contact us for more information about our experts for Pride in June, or any month throughout the year.

About the author

Kelly Campbell is the founder of Consciousness Leaders and Trauma-Informed Conscious Leadership Coach to self-aware visionaries. She writes for Entrepreneur and has written for Forbes. They are the author of "Heal to Lead" (Wiley, 2024), a new book on transforming past trauma in order to uncover our innate leadership power.