Community Forum | Fighting Back: Race & The LGBTQ Community     

Tuesday, November 28th 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco

Admission: Free | $5.00 donation welcome

March from the Castro to the Mission following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (June 18, 2016). Photo by Terry Beswick.

The latest in the GLBT Historical Society’s monthly “Fighting Back” series exploring contemporary queer-community issues in a historical context, “Race and the LGBTQ Community” will offer a multigenerational conversation about race relations among LGBTQ people. A panel of historians, educators, artists and veteran organizers and younger activists will discuss the how the LGBTQ community has dealt with issues of race over time and how this history of challenges and successes can help inform today’s intersectional resistance movements.


Valentin Aguirre (moderator) came to the Bay Area in the 1980s to study — and in the process found a vibrant gay Latino community mobilizing against AIDS. He has fundraised for over 20 years for organizations that focus on health and the arts. He has worked with Mission Neighborhood Health Center’s Clinica Esperanza, Community United in Response to AIDS/SIDA, the NAMES Project, LYRIC and the Queer Latina/o Artists Coalition. Since August 2012, he has served as the senior grant writer at Shanti, raising money for cancer and HIV programs. Aguirre also is a poet, film director and opera producer. He holds a BA in communication from Stanford University. He serves as co-chair of the board of directors of the GLBT Historical Society.

Jennifer DeVere Brody did her graduate work in English and American Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, which awarded her the Thurgood Marshall Prize for Academics and Community Service. Her scholarly essays have appeared in Theatre Journal, Signs, Genders and other journals and in numerous edited volumes. Her books, Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture (1998) and Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play (2008) discuss relations among and between sexuality, gender, racailization, visual studies and performance. Her research and teaching focus on performance, aesthetics, politics and subjectivity as well as feminist theory, queer studies and contemporary cultural studies.

Dazié Grego-Sykes is a poet, performance artist and activist. He received his BA in queer performance and activism at the Experimental Performance Institute at New College San Francisco. He has developed and produced several solo plays including 3, Where Is Adam and I Am A Man. Currently, Grego-Sykes is studying to receive his MFA in creative inquiry at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Rigoberto Marquéz is director of community engaged learning in identity at the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. For over 15 years, his community work and engaged scholarship has focused on identifying community-based solutions and best practices to address the inequities encountered by queer youth of color. His work has been published in the Journal of HomosexualityCurriculum Inquiry and Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies and in the book Critical Concepts in Queer Studies and Education (2016). Marquéz earned his PhD in education from the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Honey Mahogany gained worldwide fame as a cast member on Season 5 of the reality TV cult phenomenon RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since Drag Race, Honey has been hard at work producing music and making notable appearances on the theatrical stage and in films. She was named San Francisco’s Best Drag Cabaret performer by the Bay Area Reporter in 2016 and has become a sought-after performer and emcee across the country. Honey is currently co-owner of The Stud Bar; serves as district manager for the Compton’s Transgender Cultural District; and produces the monthly variety show Black Fridays, a POC-centered event every fourth Friday at The Stud.

Sammie Ablaza Wills is a queer, nonbinary Pilipinx organizer who is currently the director of APIENC (API Equality — Northern California), which works to build LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander power. Wills started with the organization as a summer intern in 2012, then worked APIENC’s organizing curriculum, oral history project and Trans Justice initiative. During their time as a student, Wills led initiatives to create peer-based community organizing courses and pushed school administrations to support ethnic studies and increase the diversity of tenured professors. Wills also works with and learns from social justice groups such as Movement Generation and Asians4BlackLives.