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Meet Troy Blackwell

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Class of 2023 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40

Pronouns: He, Him

Age: 31


Who or what inspires your leadership purpose? And why?

My leadership purpose is deeply inspired by LGBTQ youth and the desire to protect LGBTQ+ rights globally, including LGBTQ refugees, de-criminalization, hate-motivated violence, HIV/aids education, and homelessness. As a formerly at-risk LGBTQ youth in New York City, I have a first-hand account of the challenges and disparities that our youth experience. This is why I have dedicated my entire career in public service to uplifting the LGBTQ community, including championing the right to a free press through my work in communications. A free press is inclusive of the global stories about the legislation and social structures impacting the LGBTQ community ~ Troy Blackwell

Troy Blackwell is a proud Afro-Puerto Rican originally from the Bronx, NY, with a master’s degree from Columbia University. Troy hopes for a future that includes more LGBTQ+/SGL individuals elected to public office and leaders in business. Unfortunately, Troy has had first-hand experience with the violence and hate directed at many in the LGBTQ+/SGL community. He knows using his voice and being visible is a meaningful way he can make a difference. 


As a Biden Administration appointee, Troy uses his voice and visibility around the world as the Head of Press Relations and Chief Spokesperson for the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps is an independent agency and program of the United States government that trains and deploys volunteers to provide international development assistance. In his role, Troy serves as the principal point of contact for news media and the public, both domestically and in more than 64 countries. He is part of a select group of LGBTQ+ individuals to serve as an on-the-record spokesperson for a U.S. federal government agency. 


Since joining the Peace Corps, Troy’s notable responsibilities include managing the media relations surrounding 1) the safe return of our volunteers to over 64 countries;2)  the agency’s global climate initiative that was announced at Global Citizen; 3) the agency’s diverse brand refresh and recruitment advertisement, 4) U.S. Senate confirmation of the agency’s CEO; and a 5) significant milestone for bilateral relations between the United States and Viet Nam. For his role at the Peace Corps, Troy was recently recognized on AM New York’s December list of Power Players Rising. Troy has also been recognized by CRAIN’S NY Notable LGBTQ Executives, Gay City News Impact Awards, PR Week’s Pride in PR and Blavity.


In addition to his work responsibilities, Troy is the Chairman of the Big Apple Performing Arts, a  multimillion-dollar nonprofit managing the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Youth Pride Chorus (partnership with NYC LGBTQ Center), and Tonewall, a super-charismatic queer a cappella band of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. As Chairman, the choruses have returned to performing after a 2-year hiatus due to COVID at prestigious venues, institutions and events, including Lincoln Center, Broadway, and the 2022 Tony Awards. 


Troy Blackwell recently joined the Board of Directors of the Diversity Action Alliance, a coalition of Public Relations and communications leaders joining forces to accelerate progress in attaining meaningful and tangible results in diversity, equity and inclusion across the profession, including LGBTQ industry representation. Before the Peace Corps, Blackwell was the founder and CEO of Ready for Change, a political action committee dedicated to get-out-the-vote activities in underrepresented areas across New York State.

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