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Our Leading Pride Month Speakers for 2024

We’re proud to present a selection of our most inspirational LGBT+ speakers we have to offer at Evolve for Pride month.

Benny Lawrence
2 May 2024
Awareness Days

Pride month is celebrated in June as that was when the Stonewall riots took place in 1969 – these were protests in the US which ultimately changed gay rights, both in America and globally. The celebration marks for remembering how damaging homophobia both was and still is, and advocates people coming together to show their love and acceptance for all. It celebrates how far LGBTQ+ rights have come and educates people that there is still a need for the improvement of equality.

We’ve taken a look at some of our top Pride speakers who have all shone in the face of adversity. These people have struggled both mentally and sometimes also physically to be where they are today and are exceptional role models for the community.

Nigel Owens MBE

Nigel Owens MBE Headshot

Nigel Owens is one of the world’s most famous rugby union referees. His career spanned almost 20 years and during this time he officiated some of the biggest matches in the world, including at the World Cup, Six Nations, and Heineken Cup finals. Nigel has also earned a reputation as one of the most influential LGBT personalities in sport as he opened up about his sexuality in 2007.

Nigel gained respect from both players and fans due to his strict but fair style of officiating. When he made headlines in 2007 as he publicly came out as gay, whilst the response was largely positive and supportive, he was also met with homophobic abuse both online and from fans during games. The support for him however rallied and in 2015, he won both the World Rugby Referee Award and was named ‘Gay Personality of the Decade’ by Stonewall.

Throughout Nigel’s career, he struggled largely with his sexuality and as a result, mental health. Failing to supress his attraction to men from his later teenage years, he became depressed, overweight and at 26, attempted suicide. Nigel’s hatred for his appearance led him to suffer with bulimia, causing him to lose a lot of weight and due to this, go to the gym and take steroids, causing a toxic cycle. He now speaks openly about his experiences in an aid to help others facing similar struggles.

Nigel retired from international refereeing in 2020, after becoming the most-capped official of all time. He now works as a pundit and officiates in the Pro14 and at club level in Wales and has become a popular Welsh TV personality, hosting primetime shows.

Having struggled with his mental health and sexuality for most of his life, Nigel understands the importance of acceptance for all. He promotes Pride and the need for acceptance for all in his speaking, educating on the minorities, and how we should all be treated as equals.

Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes is a retired British middle-distance athlete who specialised in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres events. Dame Kelly Holmes main achievements included winning two gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Dame Kelly is best known for her athletic career and now helping the next generation of athletes. She has become known as a strong LGBTQ+ advocate since revealing to the world that she is gay.

Dame Kelly  is a great speaker for your next pride month event because she has spoken at many conferences on a wide range of topics such as empowerment and pivot change. She is also gay herself so understands the struggles with sexual identify, which can emotionally influence the audience but also provide useful insights to overcome these struggles.

Gareth Thomas CBE

Gareth Thomas Headshot

Gareth Thomas is a former international rugby legend turned inspirational mental health campaigner. He publicly announced he was gay in 2009 and was the first British rugby player to ever do this.

Gareth was one of Wales’ greatest ever rugby stars and he represented his country on 100 occasions, scoring 200 points. In 2007, he broke Gareth Llewellyn’s record and became Wales’ most capped ever player. Throughout his life Gareth struggled with his sexuality and hid it from the wider world. In 2001, he even married a woman to keep his true self a secret.

He battled with his mental health for many years, and this has resulted in him also being an incredibly sought-after mental health and wellness speaker. In 2010, he was voted the most influential gay person in the UK by The Independent and also received a Stonewall’s ‘Hero of the Year’ award.

In 2019, Gareth announced that he had been diagnosed with HIV, with undetectable status. Since then, he has campaigned for more awareness of the condition and vowed to break the stigma of the illness.

Gareth is a strong and inspirational advocate for the Pride community. He uses his experiences to discuss an array of topics including the importance of Pride, diversity, inclusion and mental health.

Matt Lindley

Matt Lindley Headshot

One of the first-ever openly gay pilots in the UK armed forces, Matt Lindley has become one of the most inspirational diversity and Pride speakers in the industry.

Whilst Matt was serving in the forces, there was a ban on gay personnel, and a prison sentence for anyone who was ‘out’ while serving. Matt bravely hid his sexuality to achieve his dream of flying planes, which he did go onto accomplish. Matt completed death-defying missions in hostile locations including Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, and was also granted the privilege of flying the royal family and government officials to events all over the world.

His career in the clouds is often a popular topic, however he is also in high demand to speak about the struggles he faced in the military. As he had to suppress who he really was, the non-inclusive culture that he experienced in the RAF has had a lasting effect.

Matt can now candidly talk about his sexuality and as a result, help those who have been facing similar struggles. He both supports those hiding it to open up and educates others on the importance of inclusion in all manners of society.

Mark Foster

Mark Foster Headshot

Mark Foster is one of Britain’s greatest swimmers. He has won countless World Championship medals, and since his retirement from professional sport, has been a popular broadcaster and pundit for some of the sport’s biggest events. Being a familiar face in both British TV and the sporting world, when he publicly came out as gay in 2017, it is no surprise he made headlines.

Mark’s international career started in 1985 at age 15 when he was selected to represent Great Britain. In 1990, he went onto win a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, and quicky established himself as one of the most successful British swimmers of his generation. He won six World Championship titles; 11 European Championship titles and two Commonwealth titles.

When Mark made this announcement in 2017, whilst the reception from the public was mostly of love and support for him, there were inevitably the exceptions. As these played on his mind, he can discuss the emotions he felt before he made this brave decision in his speaking work.

Mark has also become a popular TV personality, appearing on the likes of Strictly Come Dancing, Through the Keyhole and Celebrity Juice. As he overcame his fear of speaking out about his sexuality, partially as he did not know how it would be received, he is an excellent Pride speaker. Mark can share his experiences both before and after he announced his sexuality.

Dr Christian Jessen

Dr Christian Jessen Headshot

Dr Christian Jessen is a popular health campaigner, medical professional, and media personality. He combines his medical career with a successful media career to make health accessible to everyone. As an openly gay doctor, he understands the difficulties people face in the modern-day.

With a motto of “clarity, confidence and control over health,” Christian’s campaign work has had great success. He has worked with several charities to help raise awareness, and also writes regular health columns. Christian is the author of several books including, Dr Christian’s Guide to Growing up Online, and Dr Christian’s Guide to the Tricky Stuff.

He is arguably most-recognised for presenting Dr Christian Will See You Now, and Dr Christian: 12 Hours to Cure Your Street, as well as appearing on the multi-award-winning shows Embarrassing Bodies, and Supersize vs Superskinny.

Combining knowledge with reality, Christian is a perfect Pride speaker. He can not only use his experience to help others, but also demonstrate what people can go through, and the importance of supporting others.

Nicola Adams OBE

Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams is a former British professional boxer who competed from 2017 to 2019.

Her main achievements include winning the World Boxing Organisation female flyweight title in 2019 and retiring with an undefeated boxing record.

Adams is best known as Britin’s most successful female boxer of all time and because she is openly gay and therefore widely known by the LGBTQ+ community.

She has experience as speaker as she has become a television personality, a pundit at boxing events, and spoken at many after-dinner events.

Nicola Adams is an exceptional speaker for pride month because she is considered one of the most influential LGBT+ sportspeople to come out of the UK who has a unique ability to inspire and entertain audiences.

Sue Perkins

Sue-Perkins-hosts-the-Health-Investor-Awards

Sue Perkins is an English actress, broadcaster, comedian, presenter, and writer.

She is best known as a radio broadcaster and television presenter on BBC radio 4 starring in shows like Just a Minute, which was given a five-star review by The Telegraph, and shows like The Great British Bake Off.

As you see, Sue Perkins has a lot of speaking experience but what separates her from the rest is her distinguished spirit and gift for comedy making her an exceptional speaker for your next event. She is also gay and has contributed to promoting acceptance and love in a world full of judgement making her a reminder that people should be true to themselves.

Martina Navratilova

Martina Headshot

Martina Navratilova is a Czech American former professional tennis player.

She is considered one of the greatest tennis players in the sport who dominated the women’s tennis throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

She has won 59 major titles consisting of 31 major women’s doubles titles, 18 major singles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles, which is the most in the Open Era.

Navratilova is a keynote speaker and a regular commentator for the BBC and Tennis Channel at Wimbledon so is well versed in the art of public speaking at events.

Martina Navratilova is a great speaker for Pride month because she has dedicated much of time in the public eye to supporting gay rights charities, pushing for equal rights, and providing representation to an underrepresented group, which has attracted a lot of attention to LGBT+ rights and greater inclusivity in sports.

Paul Burrell RVM

Paul Burrell is a former servant of the British Royal Household and butler to Diana, Princess of Wales.

His main success includes upgrading from a member of the Royal household to the personal attendant to the Queen of England in 21 years, which is extremely difficult to do within such a short period.

Burrell is best known for his London and New York Times number 1 best seller book, which is an autobiography titled “A Royal Duty” providing a detailed understanding of his Royal Service and close friendship with the late Princess Diana.

Paul Burrell is a representative of the LGBTQ+ community sharing his experience about self-discovery and authenticity, which resonates and empowers audiences, especially those who may not feel comfortable with coming out as gay. We strongly recommend Paul Burrell as a speaker to celebrate Pride month.

Anna Richardson

Anna Richardson

Anna Richardson is an English television presenter, journalist, and writer.

She is best known for early appearances on the Big Breakfast, which is Channel 4’s most successful breakfast show. She is also known as a mental health advocate becoming the co-founder of Mindbox, a 24-hour online therapy centre to help people suffering from anxiety and stress.

Anna’s successful accomplishments include hosting popular shows such as Love Bites for Channel 4 and Naked Attraction. Additionally, she has written and produced You Are What You Eat, a Channel 4 series.

She is a television presenter so has a wealth of experience speaking, which means she brings confidence and clarity when she speaks at events.

Anna Richardson was in a same-sex relationship for seven years and strongly believes that everyone should be able to be themself without the judgement of society, which inspires many people at the events she speaks at making her a must-have for your next event about Pride month.

Katie Neeves

Katie Neeves

Katie Neeves has been a professional filmmaker and photographer for the past 34 years. She was originally born as a male but always felt more comfortable as a female before eventually coming out as transgender after living for 48 years as a man.

She is best recognised as an influential LGBT+ role model who has used her platform as a transgender woman to inspire others to live authentically as themselves.

Neeves has been on many primetime TV shows for BBC and ITV to educate audiences on transgender issues providing awareness. She has also been awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce in 2021.

She provides inspirational talks about her transgender journey using a lot of humour and entertainment to inform within her presentations.

Katie Neeves created Cool2BTrans, an organisation that helps individuals who struggle with accepting and feeling confident about their identity, while also educating others on the issues faced by transgender people. This makes her the go-to for any event that celebrates Pride month.

Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE

Kate Richardson Walsh

Kate Richardson-Walsh is an Olympic Gold and Bronze Medal winning English field hockey player.

Kate began her hockey journey at the age of 11 when she joined Didsbury Greys Hockey Club in Manchester and then was selected to play for the under 16 Great Britain team when she was 14.

Kate is best known as the most-capped female hockey player in her country’s history making 375 appearances for her country.

She has been recognised as GB Hockey’s Athlete of the Year, and twice won the Hockey Writer’s Player of the Year. In 2017, she was also given an OBE for her services to hockey.

She has retired from hockey and has become an experienced motivational speaker encouraging and coaching the next generation of female athletes.

Kate Richardson-Walsh has broken down barriers for the LGBT+ community through her marriage to teammate Helen. As a speaker, she provides audiences with her experience as a gay sportswoman and how corporate companies can support their LGBT+ employees. This is why Kate has made our list of the best pride month speakers.

Anita Asante

Anita Asante

Anita Asante is an English football coach and former player who is the first-team coach at Bristol City. She is also a passionate advocate for leadership, diversity, and equality.

Aside from being a professional football player, she is known as a passionate ambassador for Show Racism the Red Card, an anti-racism charity located in the UK, and an advocate for gender and racial equality.

Asante’s main accomplishments include playing professional football for England and competing for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics – she earned an impressive 71 international caps.

She has a natural ability when it comes to public speaking, talking at various private and corporate events about leadership, adversity, and equality.

Anita Asante has regularly spoken at Sky Sports and the FA about the importance of LGBT+ inclusion in sports. She is a big advocate for the next generation of LGBT+ advocates making her speeches insightful and practical, which is why she is speaker you should consider for your next event about pride month.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a speaker for your next Pride event who can show empathy, understanding and support, look no further than the speakers we have at Evolve. With a diverse range of personalities and stories, we can help you find the perfect person to suit your next event.

For more information about any of the above speakers, or for more suggestions, contact info@evolve-agency.co.uk – we’re more than happy to help!


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