Photo by Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images for SXSW


Inclusion & Trans Rights Featured Sessions

Dive into discussions from social activists at SXSW 2022

By Julia Pinto


Interactive News



Trans rights and equity activists joined us at SXSW 2022 to discuss the gravity of inclusion and what has been happening across certain U.S. states – especially Texas, following the legislation’s intention to order investigations of gender-affirming healthcare for minors. Preview some of the Featured Sessions below which bring awareness and promote action to protect and lead a brighter future for our youth.

“You shouldn’t have to change who you are to be safe and to be loved.” — JVN

Jonathan Van Ness, an Emmy-nominated television personality, podcast host, activist, author, and hairstylist to the stars sat down with internationally acclaimed writer, performer, and public speaker ALOK to let us know that they’re not resisting the gender binary, but that they’re fighting for the beauty of fluidity.

During Trans Texans Need Us: Hear From the Front Lines, Jessica Shortall, Managing Director of Texas Competes, moderates a panel of local activists fighting against discriminatory laws including Andy Mara, (Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund); Emmett Schelling (Transgender Education Network of Texas); high school senior and activist Charlie Apple; and Diamond Stylz (Black Trans Women Inc). Two additional empty chairs on stage served as “a visual reminder of the silencing that has been added now to the years of trauma that the state is enacting on transgender people,” said Shortall.

United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland sat down with transgender activist and “Charlotte’s Web Thoughts” founder Charlotte Clymer for Auntie Deb’s Guide to Equity & Inclusion. Haaland spotlights her philosophy about why representation matters, how to take it to the next level, and what can be possible when we recognize America’s full history and provide space for all voices to have a seat at the table.

“The challenges our country faces can only be solved if marginalized communities have a voice, are respected, and are included in the solutions.” — Deb Haaland

Learn more about some of the organizations our Featured Speakers are leading and how to get involved: Texas Competes, Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDF), and Black Trans Women Inc (BTWI).

Jonathan Van Ness & ALOK

Jonathan Van Ness and ALOK shine light on the conversation and reality surrounding Trans rights. When state legislations across the country are taking away rights from Trans people, it’s taking away from everyone.

Trans Texans Need Us: Hear From the Front Lines

Join the panel of Texas front line activists as they discuss how gender affirming healthcare is beyond necessary.

“What has happened here in Texas, it’s not rooted in any legal, medical, or scientific basis... The law hasn’t changed. No court in the state of Texas has found that gender affirming care is considered a form of child abuse.” — Andy Marra

Auntie Deb’s Guide to Equity & Inclusion

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland talks on the importance of why representation matters and how anyone has the power to take the steps in the right direction.

Celebrating Pride Month

Watch more sessions in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and the many LGBTQ+ voices we've been honored to spotlight at SXSW over the years.

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Watch SXSW On-Demand Content


Before we see you again next March 10-19 in Austin, TX and online for the 2023 SXSW Conference & Festivals, take a look back at SXSW 2022.

Relive exciting Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Film Festival red carpets and Q&As, select Music Festival showcases, and more on our official YouTube Channel.

Stay tuned for more 2022 recaps as well as information about 2023 registration and participation opportunities coming later this summer.

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