Every June we celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, remembering and honoring the 1969 Stonewall riots. In the early hours of June 28, 1969 the Stonewall Inn – a popular gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village – became the showplace for a violent confrontation between members of the gay community and police. The riots would continue over a few days, and ultimately mark the beginning of the LGBT movement.
Today, as the fight for LGBT rights continues in the U.S. and abroad, our schools, universities and corporations are committed to fostering a culture of meaningful diversity and inclusion. The Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau represents a number of speakers whose lectures facilitate these important discussions.
Jennifer Finney Boylan
Jennifer Finney Boylan is the author of the critically acclaimed breakthrough bestseller She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, one of the first bestselling works by a transgender American. She is a passionate activist for LGBT people, and transgender men and women in particular, through her writing and her involvement on the Board of Directors of GLAAD and the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Boylan frequently speaks to college and university students about the wide range of gender expression and embracing diversity in its many forms. She also speaks to corporations and small businesses about making their place of employment a more open, knowledgeable, and respectful environment for employees of every stripe.
Lori Duron’s memoir, Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son, was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly. Based on her hugely popular blog by the same name, Duron’s memoir chronicles the daily joys, struggles and, sometimes, embarrassments of raising a gender-creative child. From the effects that bullying and society’s often disapproving eye have had on her family, to the constant doubting of her parenting decisions, Duron tells her story bravely and offers parents and educators timely wisdom.
It takes a brave person to be an LGBT activist in Putin’s homophobic Russia, and Masha Gessen is one of them. A Moscow-based journalist and author of several books, Gessen’s most recent book, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, tells the heroic story of Pussy Riot, who in their activism and subsequent arrests resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies. In her lectures, Masha Gessen outlines the current cultural and political climate in Russia, speaking truthfully about human rights violations and gender issues, while also sharing humorous anecdotes.
When nineteen-year old Zach Wahls testified before the Iowa House of Representatives in 2011, he had no idea what was in store. His speech in favor of marriage equality went viral, earning over eighteen million views. A gay rights advocate, he spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. For college audiences, he offers his insight into the challenges facing the LGBT community and explores the nature of family and what it means for the millennial generation. In professional settings, his presentation examines the relationship between the business community and LGBT communities and humanizes an issue too often lost in fogs of rhetoric and preconceived notions. He’s been described as someone “beyond his years” with a distinct grace for “moving others beyond theirs.”