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Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza

Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza

Transgender Public Scholar, Intellectual Activist, Visiting Professor, Duke Divinity School & Named Faith Leader to Watch by the Center for American Progress


Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza has always been a reluctant leader — knowing that collaboration and togetherness are a way forward but society doesn’t always value these skills. But it has never stopped him from trying. He is passionate about the politics of radical difference and the ways that our collective differences might shed light on how we become a better body together. He is also a teacher at heart and loves being with people and teaching the community. Read More >

These passions are reflected in his career. Dr. Roberto is a transgender scholar-activist and was named Faith Leader to Watch by the Center for American Progress. He is the founder of Our Collective Becoming, a Nashville-based collaborative project that is dedicated to social healing, nurturing radical belonging, conviviality and stewarding ethical futures, and the author of two books: Activist Theology and Body Becoming: A Path to Our Liberation. His next book-length project focuses on belonging and freedom.

As a speaker, Dr. Roberto’s energetic and moving presentations range from overcoming adversity to help change the world to exploring queer justice and anti-racism to rethinking intersectionality to exploring why DEI is not enough. He is passionate about bringing us all together and bridging our differences, no matter who we are, and dismantling and disrupting supremacy cultures.

Dr. Roberto is also on the faculty at Duke Divinity School teaching at the intersections of queer theory and theology/ethics and decolonial theories. He has been featured in fashion magazines and appeared on many different podcasts, including Pete Holmes’ You Made It Weird.

As a public scholar and intellectual activist, Dr. Roberto is committed to translating theory into action, so that our work in the borderlands reflects the deep spiritual work of transforming yourself to transforming the world. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Interview Roberto Che Espinoza

Why the separation of mind & body is dangerous | Roberto Che Espinoza | TEDxNashville

Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza: an eternal search for joyful belonging

Speech Topics

Overcoming Adversity to Help Change the World

To say that Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza had a tough childhood just might be the understatement of the year. A native of Longview, Texas and the child of a Mexican mother and an Anglo father, he was always negotiating the in-between space, navigating being mixed-raced Latinx, queer and gender non-conforming. Add to that, he is autistic, suffered a brain aneurysm at the age of 16 and survived two full craniotomies as an emergency intervention. And yet he not only survived but also thrived. In this inspiring talk, Dr. Roberto shares his story of overcoming adversity and how anyone, despite what they’ve been through, can be an agent of social change.

The History of Pride

In this talk, Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza takes you on a journey of the history of Pride, from its beginnings to what it has become today. He weaves in his personal story as a transgender scholar-activist, as well as how to build relationships and bridges between corporations sponsoring Pride events and the communities where these happenings are being held. You’ll also learn about the future of Pride and what you can do to make these events even more meaningful. Breakout sessions are available, as well.

How Does Tech Steward Ethical Futures

In the last few years, AI (artificial intelligence) has become the buzzword for companies. And there are a lot of benefits to it. It can stimulate the economy, increase productivity and create more jobs. But there is also a dark side to this new tech. It has been proven that AI has a problem with gender and racial bias—affecting marginalized communities the most. Some facial recognition software, for example, doesn’t recognize darker faces. And that’s just the start. In this talk, Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza discusses the racism of AI, how we can stop its destructiveness and how we can help create livable lives for all of us.

DEI Is Not Enough

Incorporating a DEI program at your company is not only the right thing to do but also good business. It has been proven over and over again that it increases employee engagement, as well as productivity and creativity. But launching a program is just the start, says Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza. In this talk, Dr. Roberto, a transgender scholar-activist, gives you the tools to start a successful DEI program and how and why you need buy-in from everyone on the team. He also shares his personal story, why intersectionality is so critical, how to steward equity in corporate culture and build networks of trust that can create conditions for radical belonging thereby extending DEI efforts toward belonging for everyone.

Bridging With Difference

We often think of bridging as the work of unifying, but what if bridging is learning our particular and universal standpoints and beginning to relate with one another in light of our differences, instead of demanding that our differences be silenced or erased? How might bridging our differences help us become a richer, more fluid, robust, and nimble society? How might bridging our differences and generating relationships from the place of our individual and shared differences create conditions for a more livable life? Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza shares how his differences have landed him at dinner with Fundamentalists and Conservatives and how their shared vision of another possible world helped them become friends with each other and welcome each other in generative ways. Bridging with difference is not agreeing to disagree. It is helping each person become restored and live their truth in a radical relationship with difference.