NASCAR driver Zach Herrin

LGBTQ business, cultural expo offers three days of panels and programs with celebrities, community leaders and influencers

From Staff Reports

Antoni Porowski

Wesley Smoot, creator of Unleashed LGBTQ, has spent the last four years planning for and curating the LGBTQ business and cultural expo he is bringing to Gilley’s Dallas this weekend. And he is proud of the robust cast of “talented, accomplished and empowering voices” coming together to participate, including “A-list actors, athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs, industry experts, thought leaders and more.”

Tickets to the event, which starts at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, are $149 for one day, or $399 for a three-day pass. Tickets are available online at Some of the most recognizable names in the weekend’s lineup include Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye, Dyllón Burnside and Indya Moore from POSE, Billy Eichner from Bros, former Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims, Family Equality CEO Stacey Stevenson and numerous others.

Ashley Brundage

Here is the complete schedule of the expo, so you can plan how to most effectively spend your weekend.

• 2 p.m.: A live interview with NASCAR stock car driver Zach Herrin who lives out and proud while competing in a sport that is inherently conservative.
• 3 p.m.: Family Equality CEO Stacey Stevenson, an award-winning speaker and mother of two, talks about the national LGBTQ organization she leads and about growing up LGBTQ in the rural South in Friday’s keynote address.

Billy Eichner

• 4 p.m.: A live interview with Indya Moore who will discuss how, as a Black, transgender, nonbinary actor, they navigated Hollywood and became a force in the industry through their role on the Emmy Award-winning show POSE and, most recently, the new face of Saint Laurent Cosmetics.
• 5 p.m.: A live interview with Patience Murray and Ricardo Negron-Almodóvar, both of whom were at Pulse Nightclub the night it was attacked by a gunman who killed 49 people, discussing what happened that night and and how they found strength through their community to start the One Pulse Foundation.


• 6 p.m.: Brand expert and podcast host Jayzen Patria discussing the five steps to “lead with your brand” to reach your next career breakthrough by refining your winning, super-premium brand using a real marketer’s toolkit.

Brian Sims

• 7 p.m.: A live interview with former Pennsylvania state representative and now managing director for Out Leadership, Brian Sims, who will discuss his experience working in government as a gay man in a turbulent political climate.
• 8 p.m.: Comedy performance by Sister Helen Holy, an acclaimed character of evangelical satire and brilliant comedic improv. Careful if you’re in the front rows!
• 8:30 p.m.: Drag performer Cassandra Cass.
• 10 p.m.: The Expo closes for the day.

• 10 a.m.: Doors open.
• 11 a.m.: A live interview with Dr. Carlton who will talk about how, as a gastrointestinal doctor and social media sensation, he became a consultant to The White House and The CDC during the Monkey Pox outbreak in 2022.

Daniel Franzese

Noon: Timothy Bardlavens will discuss “Product Equity: Representing The Fullness of the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community in Digital Products,” including strategies to move towards product equity by humanizing the experiences of historically under-invested and marginalized communities, especially the 2SLBGTQIA+ community.”
• 1 p.m.: Matt Skallerud, founder of Pink Media, leads a panel discussion on “Marketing to the Rainbow” through authentic marketing practices corporate allies can use for effective advertising.

Matt Skallerud

• 2 p.m.: Transgender activist, DEI expert and speaker Naomi Green delivers the Saturday keynote address on “Fact vs. Fiction: The Truth about the Transgender Community and Why We Need Allies to Help Tell Our Stories.”

Dr. Carlton

• 3 p.m.: A live interview with actor Daniel Franzase who will discuss playing the iconic openly gay teen Damian in Mean Girls and what that role means to him now, 20 years later.
• 4 p.m.: presents “The Evolving Landscape of LGBTQ+ Media,” with panelists including Michel J. Pelletier/Michael Kelley of Equalpride, Jay Roeker of iHeart Media and Leo Cusimano of Dallas Voice.
• 5 p.m.: Antoni Porowski, the resident food and wine expect on the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series Queer Eye, will conduct a live cooking presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.
• 7 p.m.: A live interview with actor Billy Eichner, star of the big-budget gay rom-come Bros, on his journey from comedian to leading man.

Dyllón Burnside

• 8 p.m.: Musical performance.
• 11 p.m.: The Expo closes for the day.

• 10 a.m.: Doors open
• 11 a.m.: A panel discussion on “How Your LGBTQ+ Business Can Work with Big Companies (Even If You’re Small)” with LaMecia Butler, program manager for Meta Global Supplier Diversity; Graham Nolan, co-chair of Storytelling and Partnerships;’ Do the WeRQ Co-Chair, Logan Wick; and OutBranding CEO Abigail Stason.
• Noon: Ashley Brundage, author of Empowering Differences will discuss the four steps to impact change with an interactive live tech demo to track how empowered people are by their differences.

Indya Moore

• 1 p.m.: Dr. Steve Yacovelli, award-winning author and speaker, shares strategies for being a consciously inclusive leader within any workplace.
• 2 p.m.: Former Black Tie Dinner Co-Chair Brad Pritchett will discuss BTD’s 40-year history providing support to non-profit organizations and its status as the largest LGBTQ+ fundraising event of its kind in the country.
• 3 p.m.: DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS).
• 4 p.m.: Leaders from the Human Rights Campaign talk about why voting in this next election cycle is paramount for equality.
• 5 p.m.: A live interview with actor Dyllón Burnside of POSE and American Horror Story who will tell the story of his journey to stardom.

Jayzen Patria

• 6 p.m.: Dallasites LeeAnne Locken and Steve Kemble discuss the importance of allyship in today’s culture and political climate.
• 7 p.m.: Program to be announced.
• 8 p.m.: Program to be announced.
• 9 p.m.: Program to be announced.