SpeakFire! Panel Series

The SpeakFire! Panel Series is a brave space for Black LGBTQ folks and allies to reflect on our histories of great resistance and love.

The Center for Black Equity-Baltimore, STAR TRACK Adolescent Health Program at University of Maryland, GLSEN Baltimore, Black Trans*Advocacy, Sistas of the “T”, and FreeState Legal Project have  partnered together to host these panels with the understanding that all black lives matter.

This page will be updated frequently. 


Rising to Liberation in the Black LGBTQ Community. 

2015 to 2016 Panel Series

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We live in a time of uprisings, police brutality and daily violence. These panels seek to explore and celebrate how the Black LGBTQ Community in Baltimore defines and works toward freedom in our everyday lives.

Dreaming Radical Resistance: Defining Black LGBTQ Liberation

October 6, 2015 at 6 PM 

Hotel Indigo (24 West Franklin)

Marriage Equality is now law of the land. Yet 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, 17 trans* women of color have been murdered in 2015 alone, and reports of police brutality are rising. As we continue to fight for social justice, this panel will ask how can build a definition of freedom that truly leaves no one in our community behind.

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Naming Our Own Gods: Spirituality as a Means of Freedom

January 14

Traditional religious institutions have often been a source of trauma and pain for Black LGBTQ community members. Indeed, the stories of Black LGBTQ folks’ spiritual journeys have often been pushed to the side. We will explore the role spirituality plays in igniting passion for liberation in our communities, and how it can be a source of healing in traditional and non-traditional settings.

Audre, Marsha, and Barbara: Black LGBTQ Women Mapping the Road to Freedom

March 10, 2016 at 6 PM

Chase Brexton (1111 North Charles Street)

We cannot talk about freedom without talking about the proud road blazed by Black LGBTQ women. Whether Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, the Black Queer women who founded the Black Lives Matter movement, or our own Monica Yorkman and Bryanna Jenkins-founders of the Baltimore Trans*Uprising, Black LGBTQ women have been dreaming and fighting the road to freedom. This panel will be a discussion, a  reflection and most importantly a celebration.

The Erotic as Power: The Body, Pleasure and Freedom

July 21

In May 2015, Michael Johnson, also known as “Tiger Mandingo” was sentenced to 30 years in prison for “recklessly exposing”  partners to the HIV virus. This is not the first time that Black LGBTQ bodies have been criminalized for sexual behaviors. We live in a time where Monica Jones, a Black trans* woman in Arizona just successfully overturned a conviction for “walking while trans*”, where she was charged for sex work for simply identifying as a trans* woman.  Audre Lorde urges us to reclaim our bodies as a source of power, pleasure and liberation-despite our complicated histories of trauma and oppression. This panel will be a conversation on how we do just that.


Questions? Contact Saida at sagostini@freestatelegal.org or 410.625.5428

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