The Elephant in the Room Series | Part One with Mino Likwasi

Episode 36

Published in
5 min readMay 17


The InterPride podcast series, ⁠InterPod⁠, The Global Voices of Pride Podcast, where the world comes together for the LGBTQIA+ community, is proud to launch our 36th episode, The Elephant in the Room Series | Part One with Mino Likwasi, with series host Richard Brethour-Bell, Vice President, Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion | Co-Chair, Human Rights Committee | Coordinator, Racism & Oppression Awareness Program (ROAP) at InterPride.

The LGBTQIA+ community has come a long way in the fight for acceptance. However, our voices matter and will be heard. Many LGBTQIA+ community members have fought for decades for the right to be seen and heard.

About Episode 36

On this IDAHOBIT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia, and Transphobia, we’re proud to feature part one of the “Elephant in the Room” series as part of our Racism & Oppression Awareness Program (ROAP). Let’s address all forms of oppression in our community, including anti-Blackness and racism.

About Our Guest Speaker

Mino Likwasi (they/them)

Mino Likwasi is a Zambian queer activist who co-founded the Women’s Alliance for Equality (WAFE). When Mino and their colleague noticed that visibility and interventions were mostly targeted at gay men, they decided to form WAFE, which aims to create a space for LBQ voices to be amplified within the broader LGBTQIA+ movement in Zambia. Along with being the co-founder of WAFE, Mino is also a trustee of The Other Foundation.

About Our Series Host

Richard Brethour-Bell (he/him)

Richard Brethour-Bell (Vice President, Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion | Co-Chair, Human Rights Committee | Coordinator, Racism & Oppression Awareness Program at InterPride) was raised in South Central Los Angeles, California. At age 12, he became one of the few inner-city students chosen to attend school in the affluent West San Fernando Valley of L.A. County. After graduating high school, Richard could not afford to attend college. However, the dream of becoming a college graduate never left him. After struggling with his sexuality for decades, Richard began to live his authentic life in his 30s. He met his partner James Brethour in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2008, and the two married in James’ native Toronto, Canada, in 2010. They now live in Los Alamos, NM. The moment Richard accepted his truth, he began to fight for equality. He spoke before the New Mexico State Senate, demanding the right to marry after witnessing friends lose their homes and financial security when a partner died. He joined the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance (HRA), the organization that produces Santa Fe Pride and became president. The organization created an LGBT+ Presidential Scholarship for the local community college.

In addition to leading the HRA, Richard has served as Region 3 director, CAPI VP, and WorldPride Co-Chair. Richard and James started a small business, and Richard completed college, earned a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, received a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Disabilities (LEND) fellowship, and is now in the process of completing a Special Education Teaching certification. He currently works for the New Mexico Corrections Department Health Services Bureau. There, Richard provides workshops for inmates and their families on Substance Use Disorders, Opioid Overdose Prevention, Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Cultural Humility, and a variety of other topics in a combined effort with the Department of Health to reduce overdose deaths, and recidivism. Richard’s public speaking extends outside of his secular position. He has given workshops on Implicit Bias Awareness, Rainbow Racism, Misandry and Misogyny, and Autism and the LGBT+ Community to multiple pride organizations, businesses, and schools, domestic and international. As V.P. of Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion, I will continue to promote equality and equity to continue the evolution of InterPride. We’ve made strides, but now is not the time to rest on our laurels and continue striving for growth, inclusion, and accessibility. When InterPride is strong, we’re in a better position to support membership.

News Contributor

Global LGBTQIA+ News Update By Michael K. Lavers, the international news editor of the Washington Blade.

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Michelle Meow, Producer & Host

Michelle Meow is the host and producer of “The Michelle Meow Show.” The program’s tagline is: “Your A-Z, covering the LGBT, LMNOP, and everyone in between.” Michelle’s mission is to construct opportunities for people to listen to deep conversations to develop understanding and empathy. She shares, “We simply don’t have enough opportunities to talk and not enough moments to listen.” Michelle’s show can be heard in San Francisco and nationally on the Progressive Voices Network, and her local TV show can be seen on KBCW TV and Channel 44.

Michelle also produces programs at the iconic Commonwealth Club, where she has also served on their Board of Governors. There, she is dedicated to conversations around social justice with an intersectional lens. She has interviewed notable thought leaders such as Olympic medalist Adam Rippon, NFL’s first out LGBTQ coach Katie Sowers, the first American woman in space, and Sally Ride’s widow, Tam O’Shaughnessy. Since 2006, Michelle has been a co-host of the San Francisco Pride Parade broadcast and was President of their Board of Directors from 2014 to 2018. She is a self-described LGBTQI+ history geek, information sponge, and lover, not a fighter.

Michelle shares, “Exchanging thoughtful dialogue can create change. We are all different, but we find similarities and hope in our differences. Exchanging thoughtful dialogue can create the change we all seek in humanity.”

You can learn more about Michelle and her programming here.

Michael K. Lavers, Global LGBTQIA+ News Contributor

Michael K. Lavers is the award-winning International News Editor for the Washington Blade. He has been with the newspaper since 2012.

Michael has reported from the Deep South, the United Nations, Cuba, Israel, Brazil, and more than a dozen other countries and territories. In addition, he has appeared on Al Jazeera, BBC, Sirius XM, and other English and Spanish-language media outlets to discuss LGBTQ-specific issues.

Michael holds a degree in journalism and Spanish from the University of New Hampshire. He grew up in Manchester, N.H., and currently lives in Dupont Circle with his husband.