Among those appearing at Unleashed LGBTQ will be, from left, Shangela, Kelly Ann Winget,
Stacey Stevenson and Brian Sims.

Queer Palooza

Unleashed LGBTQ brings famous queer faces to Dallas this fall

RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

This September, Unleashed LGBTQ will bring all the LGBTQ-plusses to the yard. The interactive event is slated to be a monumental one featuring queer celebrities, politicians, influencers and more to Dallas — all in one weekend. Unleashed LGBTQ will be like a circuit party but with guest speakers and panelists that will discuss and advocate for the community’s future.

The event will be held Sept. 22-24 at Gilley’s.

“There are so many amazing LGBTQ+ artists, thought leaders, brands,” Unleashed creator Wesley Smoot said in an email, “[that] we really wanted to make a safe space for all of them to connect.”

The event is open to adults 18 and older, and, throughout its three-day event, guests can not only attend to see names such as Billy Eichner, Indya Moore, Shangela and Brian Sims, but also connect and learn more about community campaigns in technology, fashion, travel, entertainment and more.

“Our first live, in-person, event is going to create a synergy between talent, the business community and the entertainment industry in a way no LGBTQ+ event has ever done before,” Smoot said in a press release.

“Companies sending representatives to our event will be able to take advantage of all opportunities available, whether it’s for educational purposes, networking or entertainment, LGBTQ+ professionals or others focused on allyship, will reap the benefits of our educational and entertainment-based lineup.”

The list of guest speakers is an impressive one, as is the schedule. Live interviews, a cooking demonstration by Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski, brunch, happy hours and a number of paneled discussions. This September will be like a queer Coachella fest only with way less music and no desert sand.

Smoot felt the distinct goal of community was what attracted big named stars to Unleashed.


‘Unleashed LGBTQ’ schedule
Unleashed LGBTQ, a conference of queer celebrities, influencers and more will take place
Sept. 22-24 at Gilley’s in Dallas.
The schedule and guests as of press time include the following:

Friday, Sept. 22
• 2 p.m. NASCAR racer Zach Herrin live interview.
• 3 p.m. Keynote with Stacey Stevenson, Family Equality and “Growing Up LGBTQ+ in the Rural South.”
• 3:30 p.m. Naomi Green, “Fact vs. Fiction: The Truth about the Transgender Community and Why We Need Allies
to Help Tell Our Stories.”
• 4 p.m. Pose star Indya Moore live interview.
• 5 p.m. Live interview with Shangela.
• 6 p.m. Cocktail hour with thought leaders and professionals.
• 7 p.m. Former state Rep. and Managing Director for Out Leadership Brian Sims live interview.
• 8 p.m. Music showcase

Saturday, Sept. 23
• 11 a.m. Live interview with “The Butt Doctor” from TikTok and Instagram, Dr. Carlton.
• Noon: Network lunch
• 1 p.m. “Marketing to the Rainbow” panel discussion with Pink Media founder Matt Skallerud.
• 3 p.m. Live interview with Mean Girls and Looking actor Daniel Franzese.
• 4 p.m. Out Magazine cover conversation with special guests.
• 5 p.m. Cooking demonstration with Queer Eye food and wine expert Antoni Porowski.
• 6 p.m. Unleashed LGBTQ+ Happy Hour.
• 7 p.m. Live interview with Bros and Billy on the Street star Billy Eichner.
• 8 p.m. Musical guest

Sunday, Sept. 24
• Noon: Author Ashley Brundage speaks on impacting change.
• 2 p.m. Black Tie Dinner’s Brad Pritchett discusses BTD’s history and future.
• 3 p.m. “The Pink Dollar: Queer Money” is Powerful panel discussion with Kelly Ann Winget.
• 5 p.m. Live interview with Pose and American Horror Story star Dyllon Burnside.
• 6 p.m. Appearances by Leanne Locken and Steve Kemble.

More events and guests to be announced at


Also set to appear at Unleashed LGBTQ are, from left, Billy Eichner, Indya Moore, Ashlet Brundage and Antoni Porowski.


“I think many of them were taken by the idea of us creating an environment and platform where they can share their latest project, whether film, series, book, album,” he mentioned. “We invite a lot of press, influencers, bloggers to attend. They, in turn, share with their audiences. I know many attendees will be excited to see live interviews with celebrities like Antoni Porowski, Indya Moore and Billy Eichner, but we have also been getting a lot of buzz on the educational topics and networking opportunities Unleashed offers.”

As of press time, the schedule includes 14 headliners events (see current schedule in sidebar). The event will include local luminaries including Dallas Museum of Art’s Brad Pritchett, Readers Voice ally winner Leanne Locken and lifestyle guru Steve Kemble.

With anti-LGBTQ politics moving at breakneck speed, Unleashed LGBTQ is perhaps more significant for not only Dallas, but Texas as well.

“There are some notable speakers and panelists that are part of our programming including, Kelly Ann Winget who gives great insight on what women experience in the finance world; Brian Sims who has been very vocal on LGBTQ+ rights since his days as a Pennsylvania state representative,” Smoot stated. “We have great representation with the trans community that includes Naomi Green and Ashley Brundage who will offer impactful discussions.

“There are two survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shooting that will talk about their experience that night and the work they are doing with One Pulse Foundation. Even a gay Nascar driver — I think we can all imagine how difficult it could be to be a stock car racer in a sport that is so inherently conservative. It’s more important now than ever to have these conversations.”

Smoot is sure to note that Unleashed isn’t just about the famous faces bringing their experiences to Dallas for people to see, but also an opportunity for attendees to take something away from the event.

“We have dedicated an entire area to workshops for attendees to learn new skills from today’s thought leaders, and we’re confident companies sending entire departments to Unleashed LGBTQ 2023 will have a more informed, supercharged team that will be lightyears ahead of other brands,” he said in the release.

For more information or to register, visit