Worldwide LGBTQIA+ Black History
InterPod Episode 7
The LGBTQIA+ community has come a long way in the fight for acceptance. Our voices matter and will be heard. Many of our LGBTQIA+ community members have fought for decades for the right to be seen, and heard. Our history as a community is so important to recognize the struggles of those before us.
Listen in as we discuss the importance of creating safe spaces and safe places for people of color and importance of recognizing black voices!
Program Lineup Includes:
- Richard Brethour-Bell, Vice President, Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion of InterPride as Co-Host for this months episode.
- Natalie Thompson, Vice President of Global Outreach & Partnership of InterPride to share her thoughts on the importance of black women in our movement.
- Dr. Ryan A. Starzyk offers his input on the importance of creating safe spaces and safe places for people of color.
- We hear from Bandy Kiki, a Cameroonian entrepreneur and LGBTIA+ activist.
- We also hear from Carolyn Singer, an activist and educator.
- Music from Angel Bonilla and Lyle Anthony.
Richard Brethour- Bell
InterPride Vice President, Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion
Richard was raised in South 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 a 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 VP 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, but continue to strive for growth, inclusion, and accessibility. When InterPride is strong, we’re in a better position to support membership.
InterPride Vice President of Global Outreach & Partnership
Natalie joined the InterPride Board in 2019. She is the current Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Capital Pride in Washington DC and joined their board in 2016. Professionally, Natalie is the Director, Programs, for a national nonprofit specializing in employment and housing supports. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in Sociology and has dedicated her career to supporting the members of our community who are in greatest need. In her spare time, you can find her volunteering as a leadership coach, hanging with her partner and their two dogs, being crafty, or catching up on her television shows.
Bandy Kiki is a Cameroonian entrepreneur and LGBTIA+ activist. She is the Founder of Kikum Consulting — a marketing and branding consultancy; Rainbow Migration Trustee, Black Beetle Health Trustee and Living Free UK Director.
Carolyn has worked fiercely in the LGBTQ community in a plethora of capacities. As a blogger, she has written timely and insightful articles for blogs such as Autostraddle, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous and Media Diversified. Her first book, Knockturnal Emissions was released in 2013 and has been listed on LGBTQ essential reading lists at several universities. Her work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom Literary Journal as well as anthologies Near Kin and Louisiana in Words. She has served on the Executive Boards of the NIA Gatheringand the BUTCHVoices National Conference as well the steering committee for Black Lesbians United. She is a former Human Rights & Relations Commissioner of the City of Richmond and is serving a 2nd term as a board member of the Lambda Democratic Club of Contra Costa County.
Carolyn is an educator who has taught English Literature as well as ASB Leadership. She was featured on Season 2 of HBO’s “Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas” as well USA Today as part of her work on Civil Rights in tech with social justice organization Color of Change. Many people know her as a very big and very vocal LGBTQ social media personality and the host of The C-Dubb Show. She is serving her third year as Board President of San Francisco Pride.
Dr. Ryan A. Starzyk
InterPride Global Project Manager
Dr. Ryan A. Starzyk (he/him/his) is a US military combat veteran, past candidate for public office, business services consultant to large organizations, and social impact entrepreneur. He is the owner and founder of BlueFire Group, a social purpose business promoting a radical transformation from strict profit motives to community-focused local economic development as a means to create a more sustainable and equitable future. He is also an Executive Advisor at The World’s Best Connectors and Founder of Progressive Nation.
Dr. Starzyk is a proud lifetime member of the LGBTQIA+ community advocating for increased access to mental health services, banning conversion therapy, and equity in healthcare. For over five years, he’s served on the board of directors for his local Pride organization awarding over $1 million in community grants and scholarships. Dr. Starzyk believes it is his moral duty to fight for racial equity worldwide and will always stand in solidarity with our communities of color.
At the age of 6, Angel, who was born a male, could not ignore her feminine soul and strong sense of being a girl. Coming from a conservative Catholic family in the Philippines, transitioning was not easy. During this difficult time, Angel discovered her love of music. By the time she was 16 years old, Angel had transitioned into a beautiful young woman, and her family moved to the United States a few years later. Angel currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is pursuing her dream not only as a singer and Actress, but in her new role as a Producer.
Angel Bonilla, made history when she took the the stage as the NBC’S The Voice first trans contestant to turn a chair, under Team Adam.
In 2020, she played the Phlebotomist on “I Can See Your Voice,” on FOX singing for Music Superstar Pat Monahan of Train, And host Ken Jeong.
You can see Angels journey to recovery from Covid19/ Pandemic in the Documentary “Caretaker” by Chasing the Dream Productions on PBS. Nominated for a GLAAD Award.
Lyle Anthony is an Afro-Pop, Dance Sensation and South Africas very own Angelino who rose to fame when he won the International Reality Singing Show, “Pop Stars” (Pre-cursor to American Idol), which saw the fame of Nicole Scherzinger (Edens Crush), Girls Aloud and more. He was signed to EMI Records before being granted an extraordinary artist O1B visa by the US Government and now lives in Los Angeles. Lyle released his Debut EP/Album and his Afro Pop Letter of Love to the World, titled “The Love Project” in 2021 and continues to wow audiences around the world with his live performance and social media presence. Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Model, Dancer and social media influencer empowers from every angle and has a social media presence and a reach of over 170K on all platforms including a verified Instagram account, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook. Average ages of followers are between 25–44 with top reaching countries being USA (biggest following), South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and England.
He is currently touring around the US, performing at Pride Events around the globe, Corporate shows and has been doing a club tour since the World has opened back up due to the Covid breakout.
The fun-loving, exciting and uplifting Album/EP has 5 tracks that has already touched many hearts, including his debut single and title track, “Love Wins” continues to increase in streams and downloads and has had many listeners loving the song and now the EP. “I Deserve” is the latest single on the album and the album is produced by Carl McGrier and Wiidope who has produced for the likes of Brandy, Ciara, Tamar Braxton, Todrick Hall and many more.
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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 constructing opportunities for people to listen in 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 serves 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, 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 she was the President of their Board of Directors from 2014–2018. She is a self-described LGBTQI+ history geek, information sponge, and a lover not a fighter.
Michelle shares, “Exchanging thoughtful dialogue can create change. We are all different, but in our differences, we find similarities and hope. Exchanging thoughtful dialogue can create change we all seek in humanity.”
You can learn more about Michelle and her programming at here.