“Queer Me Out,” a global speaker series by W Hotels to celebrate the LGBTQ community, had its second panel discussion at W Fort Lauderdale moderated by YouTuber and social media influencer Tyler Oakley. Titled “Nightlife is Expression,” the panel discussion explored the meaning and importance of nightlife to the LGBTQ community. As someone who rose to fame in the age of social media, Tyler Oakley prompted the panel to discuss the impact of connecting with the LGBTQ community on social media as opposed to experiencing that community in person through nightlife.
The panel consisted of renowned party promoter Susanne Bartsch and the New York City based DJ duo, the Misshapes. Susanne Bartsch said she thinks it is always better to connect with one another in person. “In nightlife, people can be whoever they want to be at that moment,” she said. “Every day is another story. Whatever you want to be, I will accept it within my events.” Leigh Lezark and Geordon Nicol, of the Misshapes, said social media comes in to play when members of the LGBTQ community are unable to experience the nightlife that urban areas offer, or when they are afraid to come out.
The panel members explained their connections with queer identity and what it means to them, as well as how their work enables the LGBTQ community to come together in new ways. The event also showcased a photo exhibition by acclaimed photographer, Danielle Levitt that highlights eight LGBTQ individuals, including transgender model Avie Acosta, Trans Model Agency founder Peche Di, and performer and artist Stephen Galloway.
The speaker series is a part of the Marriot International #LoveTravels campaign, which aims to demonstrate the Marriot’s commitment to ensuring that every guest feels valued. After panel discussion guests mixed, mingled and networked at the hotel’s Living Room bar.