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’40 Years of Pride:’ More Speakers Announced

Organizers of 40 Years of Pride, the first Global Conference for LGBTQ Leaders, have announced a second round of influential voices in their field to speak at the Tel Aviv conference, to be held June 9-11. Speakers include notable transgender activist Dana Beyer from Gender Equality Maryland, Mark Segal from Philadelphia Gay News, Surat-Shaan Knan from Liberal Judaism UK, and key personalities from the LGBT community in Israel.

Selected speakers (from left to right): Mark Segal, Dr. Dana Beyer, Surat-Shaan Knan.

Mark Segal serves as the president of the National Gay Newspaper Guild, and is the founder and publisher of Philadelphia Gay News. Segal has been an activist for gay rights since the early 1970s. In 1972, after being thrown out of a dance competition for dancing with a male lover, Segal crashed the evening news broadcast of WPVI-TV, an act that became known as a “zap” and that he helped popularize. He repeated the action during many other television broadcasts. Three years later, he went on a hunger strike on behalf of the passage of a law to guarantee equal rights for homosexuals. In 1988, he had a televised debate with a Philadelphia city councilman, Francis Rafferty, about Gay Pride Month. Since then he has become one of Philadelphia’s most awarded opinion writers and has been recognized by the National Newspaper Association, Pennsylvania News-media Association, Suburban Newspapers of America and the Society of Professional Journalists, among others.

Transgender activist Surat-Shaan Knan announced his attendance at the conference in an op-ed on Transgender Day of Remembrance that took place earlier this week. “After being nominated as new Jewish LGBT pioneer by Haaretz on the occasion of Tel Aviv Pride 2014, I feel honored to have been invited by A Wider Bridge to participate and share my views,” Knan wrote.

Previously an eye doctor, Dana Beyer was on the board of directors of Equality Maryland before she became the executive director of Gender Rights Maryland. As of 2014, she sits on the board of directors for LGBT employment equality advocacy group Freedom to Work. She’s on the board of the national Jewish LGBT organization Keshet and on the advisory board of A Wider Bridge. She blogs about transgender topics at huffingtonpost.com.

The speakers at the conference will be divided into panels that will be spread throughout the days of the conference, dedicated to various subjects- from Global Issues to Media, Youth, Faith, Transgender Issues, Minorities and Culture.
Israeli speakers include: Chen Arieli, chair of the Aguda, The National Israeli LGBT Task Force, Mandy Michaeli- co-CEO of IGY, Israel Gay Youth, Elisha Alexander from Ma’avarim (Israel Transgender Rights Organization), Yaniv J from KALA – Ethiopian Israeli LGBT Organization, and notable transgender Jewish educator Yiscah Smith, whose inspiring life story received a lot of press around the world following the release of her autobiography “Forty Years in the Wilderness: My Journey to Authentic Living.”.

View the full list of speakers on the official website of 40 years of Pride