Gabby Rivera grew up with superheroes on the block. Her mom, aunties, and the women in her community were the strongest people she knew: seamstresses and paramedics who’d sit around the dining table and tell wild tales about their lives in the Bronx. They taught her how to find her strength—in softness, gentleness, and humor. When Marvel Comics asked Gabby to write the story of America Chavez, their first queer Latina superhero, she proved that heroes could be kind and vulnerable, too. Funny, insightful, and authentic, Gabby inspires young people to live a life that is joyfully open and revolutionary.
“Gabby Rivera's voice is a force—moving, alive, and bursting with feelings”— Britta Lundin, author of Ship It
Charismatic and charming, Gabby Rivera is dedicated to empowering people and improving our marginalized communities. She made major waves for her Marvel series starring America Chavez: a queer, Latinx superhero who’s been written and designed, crucially, by a queer Latinx. And while the series tackles issues like America’s ancestry and ethnicity, it’s also a comic book with wide appeal: committed to snappy one-liners, blowing stuff up, and beating up the bad guys, naturally. Gabby shows how our differences are a gift—one that empowers us to inspire others and tell new and unique stories. No matter who you are or where you’re from, Gabby champions telling your own story as a form of love and revolution.
Gabby’s newest project is b.b. free, an original comic series following 15-year-old b.b. and her blossoming cosmic powers, in a post-apocalyptic world not quite like anything you’ve seen before. Gabby calls b.b. free “a bouncy love letter to queer kids everywhere, especially the chubby Puerto Rican ones.” She’s also the author of Juliet Takes a Breath, a YA novel listed by Mic as one of the 25 essential books to read for Women’s History Month. It’s a critically acclaimed coming-of-age story starring a queer puertorriqueña who leaves her native Bronx behind to intern with one of her literary heroes. “I strongly encourage you to read Juliet Takes a Breath,” writes Roxane Gay. “It’s quite dazzling, funny as hell, poignant, all the things.” Witty, authentic, and humming with the full complexities of modern life and radical politics, it was called the “dopest LGBTQA YA book ever” by Latina magazine and was re-published in September 2019.
Gabby also hosts a podcast titled Joy Uprising, featuring interviews with Gabby’s “favorite revolutionary humans,” many of them queer people of colour, where they share how they find, maintain, and nurture their joy in this chaotic world. As an activist, Gabby also gives back. She worked with Autostraddle.com for over five years as the QTPOC Speakeasy editor and A-Camp staff. A film and multi-media teaching artist, she’s worked with social justice organizations like DreamYard Project, Inc. She’s appeared as a featured panelist and counselor at the annual Autostraddle Queer Women’s Conference, and has presented at the Allied Media and Digital Media and Learning Conferences.
“Gabby was truly sensational. We were stunned by her presentation and overall impact on our community. Students and faculty alike gave her a standing ovation and it was earned in every sense of the word. I have never seen a speaker get that type of reaction. She is stupendous and left the building with an entourage of people following her, crying, asking for her autograph. Everyone should have Gabby come speak. I am so grateful I got to witness her in all her glory.”Newark Academy
“Gabby was inspirational, down-to-earth, and relatable…Her story and presentation were extremely powerful, emotional, and eye-opening. I was personally moved by [her] words. She was very empowering and provided valuable information to understand the LGBTQ community.”Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County
Inspiring Radical Creativity Empowering Diverse Voices to Tell Their Own Stories
To Gabby Rivera, it’s vital to encourage people of all backgrounds to create, daydream, and tell their own stories—and in so doing, open a radical space for creativity. Now, in this affecting talk, Rivera unpacks how she navigates the world as a queer, Latinx, millennial woman; how she incorporates her heritage into her writing; how she strives to be a thoughtful ally for others, and how she celebrates the healing power of community.
This talk about privilege and power asks us: What if this country made everyone—people of all colors, cultures, orientations, abilities, and genders—feel at home? What if the traumas experienced by marginalized peoples could be reconciled and incorporated into a broader, richer definition of America? What if our non-white ancestors weren’t erased, but represented in pop culture and our classrooms? And what if we could show difference as a source of wonder, laughter and celebration, and not as something to fear? With Rivera’s smart, funny talks, we can start making these worlds a reality together.
The Joy Revolution Stepping Into Your Power and Living a Life That Is Fully Yours
What brings you joy? Revolutionary author Gabby Rivera loves to ask this question—to her friends, to her writing workshops, to guests on her podcast Joy Uprising—because the answers are so surprising and beautiful. As a queer Latinx woman, she has personally experienced the healing and revolutionary power that comes with stepping into your joy…and now she wants to spread the word.
Gabby says that joy is about more than just happiness: it’s a living, breathing tool that can help you be completely authentic to who you are, giving you “the power to transform yourself and the world around you.” In this inspiring and deeply honest talk, she shows us that joy is already inside us, and invites us to overcome our fear, tap into our vulnerability, and freely express our joy with others. She also wants us to know that joy isn’t about ignoring or extinguishing pain: it’s a way of seeing and feeling that allows us to reckon with the realities of the world—and to change it into a place of truth and beauty.
Gabby’s presentation cuts through cynicism to open our eyes to our potential and the opportunity we all have to build a community practice of joy.