June 20, 2017 was SpeakOut: Stories of Pride with Brooklyn Brewery and The Stonewall Inn Gives Back. It was an evening of storytelling that amplified coming-out experiences and the fight for full equality.

The night also featured a complimentary beer, brewed in honor of Stonewall Inn, the iconic location of some of the gay liberation movement's most important moments.



Eric Marcus is the creator and host of the Making Gay History podcast, which mines Eric's decades old audio archive of rare interviews — conducted for his award-winning oral history book about the LGBTQ civil rights movement — to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.  He is also the author of a dozen books, including Making Gay HistoryIs It A Choice?, and Why Suicide?  And he is co-author of Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis. 


Melissa Sklarz is the Director of Development at Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF). She has been an LGBT activist and advocate for over 20 years, by educating the political system on trans issues and working at the city, state and federal level helping to create inclusive LGBT public policy. She is the first trans person elected to office in New York. She has been involved in the last 4 Democratic conventions and is the first trans delegate from New York, and is the first trans member of the Electoral College. She helped bring trans rights to New York City and worked with the Governor on his trans inclusive Executive action in 2015. She has worked with NY City Council, NYPD, Hetrick Martin, and SAGE to make those groups more trans inclusive.


Cesar is a former-Brooklynite, a food enthusiast, globe trotter, salsa dancer, immigrant, and people lover. He is currently an Associate at Arent Fox LLP, focusing on anti-corruption compliance and immigration law. His pro-bono practice includes representing LGBT asylum seekers, and same-sex couples in the fight for marriage equality in Latin America courts and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Born and raised in Venezuela, Cesar has traveled to over 70 countries. He is a graduate of New York University and NYU School of Law, and is the recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, the Derrick Bell Scholarship for Public Service, and the Catherine B. Reynolds Scholarship in Social Entrepreneurship.


Michelle Lopez is the Campaign Coordinator for NY HIV Treatments Work and the co-chair for the Consumer Advisory Committee at New York State Department of Health.

Energetic and effusive, Michelle Lopez has a lot to say for herself as a mother, a lesbian, a trauma survivor, and a woman living with HIV. Michelle emigrated from Trinidad at the age of sixteen, and has made her home in New York City ever since. Diagnosed with HIV after the birth of her second child, Michelle fought loneliness and isolation to become not only an advocate for herself and her daughter, but for other immigrants, women and African Americans living with HIV. Her work has been featured in Poz magazine, She magazine, HIV Plus, Marie Claire, on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Ricki Lake Show, CNN and many other media.

She is the proud mother of two children, Raven and Rondell. 



Laura Goehrke is an improviser, storyteller, and producer, living in Brooklyn. She can be seen performing at the People’s Improv Theater every Monday night, and has participated in Moth StorySLAM’s around NYC. She recently co-created and starred in a short film, Lenses, that is currently premiering in several film festivals in cities throughout the country. She’s proud to be a member of the LGBTQ community and believes in the power of storytelling and vulnerability.




Watch the whole event: