Are you looking for a dynamic speaker or trainer on intersectional disability justice, ableism, or autism and neurodiversity?
I am an autistic, queer and genderqueer, east asian adoptee activist, writer, and public speaker with experience in disability public policy, legislative advocacy, grassroots disability rights organizing, social media campaigns, radical disability justice theory and praxis, and critical disability studies. I have mostly focused on violence impacting multiply marginalized disabled people (including via institutions and commitment, police brutality, and prisoner abuse), but have also done significant work related to access and inclusion in higher education, scholarship, and the academy, as well as Medicaid Home and Community-Based Settings (HCBS) regulations and implementation.
Right now, I am a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and Founder and Co-Director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment. I am a board member of the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network, founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports, past chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, co-founder of the Disability Justice Caucus at my law school, and co-founder of the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective based in Washington, D.C. Recently, I graduated from Northeastern University School of Law, and taught as a visiting lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College. You can check out my full biography or curriculum vitae.
I have experience with many types of presentations, including the following:
- Keynote speeches for rallies, conferences, and special events
- Plenary, featured, concurrent, and breakout sessions at conferences of all sizes (as few attendees as 50 and as many as 1000+) for affinity groups, professional associations, scholarly societies, and community members,
- Public talks at community centers, colleges, and universities,
- Moderating and participating in panels,
- Guest lecturing in college and university classes in multiple disciplines (including sociology, political science, anthropology, education, disability studies, public health, cultural studies, human sexuality, social work, English, gender studies, freshmen seminars, and special education),
- Interactive workshops for self-advocates, community organizers, and writers, and
- Professional development training for teachers, service providers, nonprofit professionals, attorneys, mental health professionals, and independent living professionals.
I also frequently propose papers, presentations, and panels successfully to refereed conferences, and have been featured at meetings in various fields/communities, including American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Association on Higher Education and Disability, Autreat, Creating Change, D.C. Queer Studies Symposium, National Communication Association, Netroots Nation, Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, Rebellious Lawyering (RebLaw), Science Writers, and TASH, among many others.
My usual topics include violence against disabled people, rhetoric/discourse on disability, autistic culture and community, disability representation, ableism in society, asexuality and disability, queerness and disability, and disability rights advocacy. If you’re interested in a different topic, let me know! I am happy to customize presentations and talks for host organizations around a particular theme. I require any host to pay up-front for all transportation and lodging arrangements. Honoraria/speaker’s fees are open for negotiation from my standard fees; my most important consideration is fair pay compared to what you offer other speakers for similar events. Please email me at email@example.com for more information.
Here’s what some folks have said about my speaking in the past:
“Lydia has been a featured speaker several times at Bellevue College, including “Smashing the Pathology Paradigm! Disability Justice in Liberation Work” and a keynote presentation “Where Do We Go From Here? Disability Justice and Intersectional Neurodiversity” for our Autistics Present 2017 conference. Lydia’s presentations are engaging, thought-provoking, and accessible. It’s clear that Lydia puts a great deal of thought into creating a message that will resonate with a broad audience, and leave the listener with a greater understanding and passion for the subject matter. I highly recommend Lydia for workshops, presentations, and keynote addresses.”
— Sara Sanders Gardner, Program Director, Autism Spectrum Navigators, Bellevue College
“Lydia Brown recently gave an outstanding panel presentation for one of our Center’s learning and reflection forums entitled “Exploring Intersectionality and Multiple Cultural Identities within Developmental and other Disabilities.” Lydia shared powerful insights and personal experiences about intersectionality and multiple cultural identities — those that are both self-defined and imposed by society. As an East Asian and queer autistic person, Lydia’s presentation: (1) challenged stereotypes and shed light on the intersecting identities that are neither acknowledge nor affirmed by many within the disabilities community; and (2) offered wise guidance and recommendations to interdisciplinary professionals.”
— Tawara D. Goode, Director, National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
“Lydia is a phenomenal public speaker and thought provoker. I had the opportunity to work with Lydia while hosting a conference for 600+ general and special education teachers at a Summit focusing on “Reaching All Learners.” Lydia was our keynote speaker at the beginning of the event where we also had organizations such as the Universal Design for Learning Implementation and Research Network, Yes! For Schools, Understood.org, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), and many other organizations involved in facilitating learning sessions. Lydia opened up the conference sharing both personal and research-based anecdotes and data that provoked everyone to think about how ableism, privilege and race play into our school system and personal biases. Participants from the conference continue to site how powerful Lydia was as a speaker and thought provoker now — 2 years after the event!”
— Rachel Brody, Global Director, ReImagining Education, Teach for All
Articles about Past Events
The Tufts Daily, a newspaper at Tufts University, covered the November 2016 panel discussion with Hannah McGregor and Marcelle Kosman from “Witch, Please!” on queerness, disability, and race in the Harry Potter Universe.
The National Association of Science Writers covered the October 2016 panel I participated on for the annual Science Writers Conference, on “Against Ableism: Writing about Disability.” Diana Crow also wrote about the disability panel as part of a larger post on lessons learned from the conference overall.
The Gatepost, a newspaper at Framingham State University, covered my October 2016 talk for the Arts and Ideas Lecture Series, on “Redesign and Rebuild it: Disability Justice, Radical Access, and the Academy.”
UDaily, a newspaper at the University of Delaware, covered my April 2016 keynote, on “Tear Down These Walls: Demand Disability Justice as/in Liberation.”
AC Voice, a newspaper at Amherst College, covered my June 2015 talk for the Inclusive Astronomy Conference, on “Beyond the Imagined Normal: Disability Justice and Radical Inclusion.”
The Cavalier Daily, University of Virginia’s newspaper, covered my April 2015 roundtable for Humanities Week, on autism acceptance and self-advocacy.
Scarlet & Black, Grinnell College’s newspaper, covered my November 2014 talk for Queer Cultures Week, on “The Ableism Crisis: Violence, Marginality, & Disability Justice.”
The Watchdog, Bellevue College’s newspaper, covered my October 2014 talk for Disability Awareness Month, on “Beyond the Imagined Normal: Disability, Pride & Culture.”
Broad Recognition, Yale University’s feminist magazine, and Yale Daily News, Yale University’s student newspaper, both covered “Ableism and the Violent History of Disabled Oppression,” my November 2013 Master’s Tea at Saybrook College.
The blog SpaceRobot Crew covered my April 2013 talk at the University of Washington, Seattle, on “Deconstructing Rhetoric on Disabled (A)Sexuality.”
The Flat Hat, the student newspaper of the College of William and Mary, covered my April 2013 talk, “Politicized Disability and the Crisis of Disabled Oppression.”
The Hoya, the student newspaper of Georgetown University, covered the November 2012 panel that I moderated on “Disability and Inclusion in the Humanities.”
If You Can’t Book Me…
If your event is about disability, you should probably be inviting disabled people / people with disabilities as your speaker(s), whether me or someone else or multiple someones else. Here’s my sarcastic but hopefully informative article on How Not to Plan Disability Conferences. Nothing About Us Without Us!
Other speakers on disability justice whom I strongly recommend
(This list is occasionally updated and should be considered a work in progress; there are many amazing speakers who might not be listed here.)
Najma (Stephanie D. Johnson) / Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha / Vilissa K. Thompson / Alice Wong / Talila Lewis (TL) / Mickey Valentine / Mia Mingus / Aurora Levins Morales / Kay Ulanday Barrett / Haben Girma / Mimi Khúc / Eddie Ndopu / Leroy F. Moore, Jr. / Dior Vargas / Cyrée Jarelle Johnson / Akemi Nishida / Kassiane A. Sibley / Alexis Toliver / Finn Gardiner / Lee Lyubov / Sonya Renee Taylor / Shain M. Neumeier / Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán / Patricia (Patty) Berne / Johanna Hedva (warning: site has rapidly animated images) / s.e. smith / comrades like Conchita Hernandez Legorreta and Nai Damato (no websites but I can connect you with them)