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Second Tuesday Presents: Raquel Willis

February 20 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

$10 Suggested Donation

The Center is proud to bring in the new year with a new Second Tuesday Lecture Series featuring the trail-blazing activist and author Raquel Willis. Willis will sit in conversation with Jordyn Jay to discuss her groundbreaking memoir The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation.

This event will be held at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, the independent all-volunteer queer bookstore in room 210 of The LGBT Community Center. Copies of Raquel Willis's The Risk It Takes to Bloom (St. Martin's Press, 2023, hardcover, $29) will be available for purchase. To reserve a copy, please write to contact@bgsqd.com with "please reserve a copy of The Risk It Takes to Bloom" in the subject line.


Raquel Willis is an award-winning activist, journalist, and media strategist dedicated to collective liberation, especially for Black trans folks. She is an executive producer with iHeartMedia’s first-ever LGBTQ+ podcast network, Outspoken, and the host of Afterlives, a podcast centering the lives and legacies of trans folks lost too soon to violence. She is also the author of The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation.

Raquel has held groundbreaking posts, including director of communications for Ms. Foundation for Women, executive editor of Out magazine, and national organizer for Transgender Law Center. She co-founded Transgender Week of Visibility and Action with civil rights attorney Chase Strangio. She is the president of the Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative’s executive board and serves on the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art board.

She published the GLAAD Media Award-winning “Trans Obituaries Project,” in 2022, she executive-produced and hosted “The Trans Youth Town Hall” with Logo. The work was nominated for the GLAAD Awards and won Gold distinction in the Shorty Awards. She was also honored as a 2023 ADCOLOR Advocate. For a full bio please visit: raquelwillis.com


Born in Augusta, Georgia, to Black Catholic parents, Raquel spent years feeling isolated, even within a loving, close-knit family. There was little access to understanding what it meant to be queer and transgender. It wasn’t until she went to the University of Georgia that she found the LGBTQ+ community, fell in love, and explored her gender for the first time. But the unexpected death of her father forced her to examine her relationship with herself and those she loved. These years of grief, misunderstanding, and hard-won epiphanies seeped into the soil of her life, serving as fertilizer for growth and allowing her to bloom within.

Upon graduation, Raquel entered a career in journalism against the backdrop of the burgeoning Movement for Black Lives, intersectional feminism going mainstream, and unprecedented visibility of the trans community. After hiding her identity as a newspaper reporter, her increasing awareness of the epidemic of violence plaguing trans women of color and the heightened suicide of trans teens inspired her to come out publicly. Within just a few short years of community organizing in Atlanta, Oakland, and New York, Raquel emerged as one of the most formidable Black trans activists in history.

In The Risk It Takes to Bloom, Raquel Willis recounts with passion and candor her experiences straddling the Obama and Trump eras, the possibility of transformation after tragedy, and how complex moments can push us all to take necessary risks and bloom toward collective liberation. For more info visit: raquelwillis.com


Registration Required:
Youth Only:
Gender Identity, Gender Identity
February 20
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


Custom Sources
The LGBT Community Center
Event Language
Event Topic
Gender Identity
Registration Required
Youth Only