Fearless: Publisher’s Note Winter 2018-19
Ever since she appeared back in March 2017, at Bowling Green in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York, I have been obsessed with Kristen Visbal’s bronze sculpture Fearless Girl. I was especially moved by the plaque below her feet that reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.” Making a difference is exactly what this issue of BEQ Pride is all about.
Kylar Broadus is more than my friend, he’s a kindred spirit. There are those among us who demonstrate fearless leadership with every part of their being. Kylar is just such a person. You may know him as a trans activist, the first openly trans person to testify before the U.S. Senate, or become familiar with him through the documentaries and the many articles focused on his LGBTQ-related work. He sits on a number of nonprofit boards and is the founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC). That’s what most people know.
I’ve only met Kylar over the phone and online. I researched everything I could find about what everyone else has said, written and recorded about him before we decided to do this story. In a series of messages through LinkedIn, Kylar said to me, “Sadly, I get lumped into one box which is LGBTQ. I’ve been a Human Rights Commissioner. I’ve done organizing in African American communities for elections. All of my work doesn’t get displayed because I’m seen as one-dimensional.” His words stuck with me.
Our cover feature of Kylar William Broadus, Esquire, written by our editor, Melissa Lowery with photos by Shane Epping, is different. This article is a tribute to his and all of our need for others to truly see who we say we are. I say this with confidence, Kylar is an important voice in the human rights movement. Silenced as a Black woman for the first 30 years of his life and then marginalized as a Black man for the last 25, he bridges a gap between the civil rights movement of the 1960s, women’s rights and the modern day trans movement. Even his birth date, August 28, 1963, has significance and helps you understand how leaders and leadership happen. Melissa asks, “Is Kylar’s life’s work an ‘accident’ or fate?” I say, you decide.
We are also very happy to reveal our 2019 BEQ Pride Leaders Under 40. This group of young LGBTQ people represents a cross-section of LGBTQ leaders across the country. Although not by design, we are proud that our list is ethnically, politically and racially diverse — with cisgender and non-binary individuals. Among our leaders are Ph.D.s, elected officials, tech leaders, philanthropists, activists and more from across the LGBTQ community. The BEQ Pride 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40 Class of 2019 are changing our world NOW.
After months of masterminding and thoughtful discussion, I’ve collaborated with Ciara Lilly, one of our LGBTQ Leaders Under 40, to decode the supplier diversity ecosystem. Partly out of frustration but mostly out of a passion to help our readers to be even more successful. We realize there is risk involved in putting your thoughts and observations in writing for the world to see but remember, we’re fearless!
In the new year we are starting small and building a dynamic conversation within BEQ Pride magazine, online and through events to engage our audience more fully. We are both looking back and charting a path forward with our:
- Yearlong Stonewall commemoration
- Series on thriving as an LGBTQ business owner
- Moments in Leadership video series
- Inclusive Sourcing 2045
Each of these topics is an opportunity to share the humanity and beauty in the people who have taken it upon themselves to lead—it’s both inspiring and fulfilling. You’ll be invited to join in the conversation online, in social media and of course at events throughout 2019.
But, before you begin reading about the wonderful people we’ve encountered in preparation for this issue, I want to express my sincere gratitude for our amazing editorial and creative team who have worked tirelessly to bring my vision to life in these pages and in all our BEQ Pride issues. I am also thankful for the many collaborative efforts going on behind the scenes resulting in guest contributors and ongoing projects with Higher Ground Consulting and pürEpiphany. Finally, I am truly thankful for our Editor, Melissa Lowery, and our Corporate Sales Executive, Tracy Skinner. I am proud of the work we’ve done together.
As a team, we are lean, mighty and, yes, fearless when it comes to shining a light and a few kind words on your finest moments of making a difference. Thank you to you, our readers and supporters, for being mirrors, windows and door openers to the possibility of Inclusion and Equality for all.
Happy New Year!