Home > Events > 2024 Dallas LGBTQ+ Global Symposium

  • About the event

    In February of 2020, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosted the inaugural Dallas LGBTQ+ Global Symposium on Equality & Human Rights in partnership with several organizations who serve North Texas. Since the initial gathering, national and state legislation has dramatically shifted and the rights of and protections for LGBTQ+ people – particularly trans individuals – have been brought into question worldwide. What are the implications? What details aren’t visible in sharp, shocking headlines? In what ways can we participate? This event is designed to answer these questions and to serve as a forum for diversity, inclusion, common ground, consideration, and shared stories that validate the human experience.


Zooey Zephyr is a Montana-born trans woman and legislator who has committed her personal life and career to advocating for the rights of queer people.

Zephyr lived the first decade of her life in Billings, Montana before moving to Seattle where she grew up. She earned her bachelors from the University of Washington and returned to Montana for her masters degree at the University of Montana (UM). She began her career at UM, most notably serving as Provost and overseeing the university’s curriculum. Simultaneously, she supported efforts to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion practices into the school’s faculty requirements.

Her activism on campus led her to and prepared her for activism at the state level. She began testifying in defense of LGBTQ rights in 2020 and meeting with policy leaders to affect change. In 2021, Zephyr announced her bid for state representative of Montana’s 100th district. She was elected in 2022 as the first trans woman to Montana’s legislature. Since assuming office in 2023, she has faced several contentious House sessions, standing in fierce opposition of anti-LGBT policy presented at the state level. Her impassioned and unrelenting dissent has earned national headlines and made her a controversial but consequential political figure as states across the nation grapple with similar anti-LGBTQ policies

PANEL 1: Corporate PRIDE Employee Resource Groups

This panel discussion will feature leaders from regional corporate PRIDE Employee Resource Groups in discussion about creating safe spaces and effectively showing support for LGBTQ employees during politically turbulent times.

Ben Pelletier

Ben Pelletier

Partner at Haynes Boone
Leslie Richards-Yellen

Leslie Richards-Yellen

Chief Diversity Officer at Sidley Austin
Jeff Strater

Jeff Strater

Assistant Director of Global Innovation Strategic Programs and Marketing at EY
Greg Petolick headshot


Greg Petolick

Adjuct Professor, SMU Cox School of Business

PANEL 2: LGBTQ Policy – Regional, National, and International Implications

This panel will review key lawmaking decisions from the past year and implications for future legislative cycles and the coming election season.

Callie Butcher headshot

Callie Butcher

Dallas-based attorney
and politician

Shannon Minter

Legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
Ben Jensen Headshot

Bennett Jensen

Legal director of
Egale Canada
Avery Belyeu headshot


Avery Belyeu

CEO, The Montrose Center

PANEL 3: Community Conversation: Local Impact

During the lunch break, panelists will discuss allyship, the creation of Queer spaces – notably for Queer people of color – and maintaining a positive outlook in the face of social and political backlash.

De'Ane Kennedy headshot

De’Ane Kennedy

Founder, Dallas Black Queer Collective
Daniela Ramirez headshot

Daniela Ramirez

Director of DEI and Community Engagement, DRC
Juan Contreras headshot

Juan Contreras

Founder, Texas Latino Pride
Jose Carreon headshot


José Carreon

Stakeholder Relations Manager, North Texas Commission
Co-Founder, C3 Latino Young Professionals
Dallas Voice logo
Southwest Airlines
DHHRM logo
Equality Texas logo
North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce
SMU Cox Business Logo
SMU Dedman Law (NEW)
SMU Human Rights Logo
Women and LGBTQ Center
Cathedral of Hope Logo
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas logo