"So inspiring and moving: A wordsmith with courage and passion."
"A true visionary."
Melanie has spoken at events around the world including Pride main stages, galas, conferences, colleges, schools, and corporate events inspiring activism and fueling awareness of the issues that impact local and global LGBTI communities.
Melanie is the consummate wordsmith, with depth and passion, a story teller, whose anecdotes are spell binding:
Before Immigrating to the United States, Melanie Nathan practiced law in Apartheid-era South Africa. Born to a family of Pogrom refugees given refuge in South Africa, Melanie now directs African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC) which provides humanitarian and advocacy services for LGBTQI+ people in forced displacement in and from African countries. She is a country conditions expert witness, testifying globally for LGBTQI+ asylum seekers from 18 African countries.
An acclaimed award-winning global equality and human rights advocate, Melanie speaks and writes on issues impacting LGBTQI+ communities around the world, with a focus on the U.S.A. and Africa.
In 2021 Melanie was on the organizing committee for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva (UNHCR) 2021 UNHCR-UN IE SOGI Global Roundtable on Protection and Solutions for LGBTQI+ People in Forced Displacement. She led a thematic working table at the Conference on Reception and Self-disclosure of LGBTQI+ Displaced and Stateless People, providing recommendations to UNHCR, Civil Societies, NGOs, Governments, Ministries, and Contractors as presented at the Closing Plenary on June 29, 2021. She presented the keynote closing address to The International Human Rights Conference: Summit on LGBTQI Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Copenhagen 2021 WORLD PRIDE, Malmö, Sweden.
Melanie’s advocacy highlights include the introduction by Senator Dianne Feinstein of a rare private bill into Congress, on behalf of a lesbian mom about to be deported. In South Africa she obtained a last-minute stay of execution for two young men, on death row, hours before their scheduled hanging. She is renowned for her work on hate crimes relating to sexual assault of LGBTQI+ people in South Africa where she was invited by the Minister of Justice to launch a Task Team to address legislative reform. She has provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on proposed UAFA legislation, as well as for Resolutions in the California State Assembly and Senate.
Melanie publishes a popular advocacy blog, O-blog-Dee-O-blog-Da, which has more than one million views. She has written for Huffington Post, The Advocate, LGBTQ Nation and MS Magazine.
Melanie has spoken as a keynote speaker on global Pride main stages, conferences and distinguished panels around the world and has been interviewed and quoted extensively in media to include, MSNBC, NBC, BBC, VICE, The Guardian, Harpers, Longread, Bay Area Reporter, New York Times, SF Chronicle, Pacific Sun, KOFY TV, CBS TV, NPR, APF (Francais), Carte Blanche, PE Herald. Melanie was also featured in the award-winning documentary UNSETTLED.
Melanie is a former Marin County Human Rights Commissioner, former VP on the Board of Bay Area Housing Advocates and has served on several other boards, including formerly serving as elected VP to the Board of San Francisco Pride. She is a former volunteer judge on the Marin Restorative Youth Court. She currently sits on the Board of the New Conservatory Theatre Center, San Francisco.
Honors include: The Women’s Freedom Award 2022, by L-Project and City of West Hollywood Pride, Grand Marshal of Cape Town Pride 2011, Community Grand Marshal for San Francisco Pride 2014, Fair Housing Hero Award in Marin County 2011, and the 2016 Marin County Human Rights Commission’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award for outstanding effort and advocacy in the furtherance of human rights.