Moderator: Doctor Jon Paul

Dr. Jonathan P. Higgins (DoctorJonPaul) is a professor national speaker, freelance journalist, thought leader, and media critic who examines the intersections of identity, gender, and race in entertainment. Named Business Equality Magazine’s “Top 40 LGBTQ People Under 40”, their work has been featured on sites like NBC News, Vox, VICE, MTV News, Essence, Out Magazine, TedX, and more. They have worked on several inclusion projects with top brands like Apple, Disney, Instagram, and the NFL and currently teach about diversity and inclusion at the University of Redlands. They hold a doctorate in educational justice and often write and lecture about what liberation means for queer Black people and how we can help them not just survive, but thrive

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Panelist: Dr. James Q. Simmons, NP

“James Q. Simmons, the proudly Black, queer, and doctorally prepared nurse shares healthcare information on radio, TV, and in lively, humor-filled videos on social media. In his “Ask the NP” series (@AskTheNP), he refers to his followers as “the family” or “the fam” and answers questions about topics such as the risk of strokes with COVID-19, going to the ER for back pain, and the symptoms of Lyme disease. His audience has now grown to more than 60,000 across social media platforms. Simmons creates videos with partner healthcare organizations, contributes to a coronavirus segment on a Los Angeles-area CBS affiliate, and guest hosts a daily radio show on Channel Q called “Drop the Subject,” which is broadcast in 36 markets and on He also works as a hospitalist at UCLA Health.”

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Panelist: Antonia E. “Toni” D’orsay, PhD, MS, MA

Antonia E. “Toni” D’orsay, PhD, MS, MA is the Director of Transgender Services, focusing on developing the strategic programs within specialty services, beginning with services to and for the transgender community.

She is a recognized expert on the Trans Lives, is of mixed race, a veteran of the US Army, a sociologist, and psychologist, and has worked at local, state, regional, national, and international levels in human rights, infrastructure development, predictive modeling systems, and Transgender Rights and Latinx rights in particular.

She holds a doctorate in Sociology, and master’s degrees in Religion and Psychology (clinical and research). Toni is also the creator and founder of The Trans 100, the former Executive Director of This Is HOW, which she grew from a small housing and substance abuse charity into the largest trans organization in Arizona; was the principal organizer for the State and National fight against several anti-trans bills in Arizona, and has worked with both the Obama administration White House and the World Health Organization.

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Panelist: Rafael Gonzalez

Rafael Gonzalez is Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance’s Community Outreach Coordinator. He has worked in the field of HIV education and prevention for the past sixteen years. Ten of those years at Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs; managing the Community Health Education department and overseeing; community education, community HIV testing, linkage to care and the PrEP navigation program. Rafael is also part of the support staff that oversees the Inland Empire HIV Planning Council, a member of the California Planning Group, and a founding board member with the Riverside Pride organization.

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Panelist: Curtis Smith

Curtis Smith "Fierce" Advocate of people living with HIV. Curtis is a 34 Year HIV/AIDS Survivor from Los Angeles Calif. Moved to the Inland Empire with his family who is diagnosed with HIV as well in 1990. Curtis was not able to find adequate resources for his family so he became a resource by establishing the Non-Profit Families Living with AIDS Care Center in 2004 based in the Rural Region of Mid-Riverside County in the City of Hemet, Ca. Curtis also joined the

Inland Empire HIV Planning Council in 2014 to be a voice for his family and the community he serves. Curtis is currently the Community Co-Chair of IEHPC.

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