Why should you love activist Guy Anthony? The organizer, community leader and author has already done more to educate LGBTQ people about HIV/AIDS and issues facing the black community than most people could hope to accomplish in an entire lifetime.
Guy Anthony Is Giving Back
But one gets the impression that Guy feels he’s giving back to a community from which he’s received much. “Toni Morrison once wrote: ‘She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.’ And that’s exactly what my community does for me; they take my broken pieces and help make them beautiful. At times, the relationship isn’t reciprocal, but the love has never been unrequited. I found my ‘tribe’ years ago, and they have saved my life in ways they may never understand. I have a chosen family that allows me to feel wanted and valued,” Anthony explains.
Guy Anthony Is Promoting Mobility
What is Anthony aiming for? “Each initiative I’ve ever been apart of has promoted forward mobility; both emotional and financial. Creating and supporting institutions that allow me to help, in any way, is what I hope to continue to do. There is much esteem in the connectedness one feels when they are a part of tribe that loves and accepts them fully.” One of these institutions is called Black, Gifted & Whole. “We believe that black gay men are multifaceted and deserve a multi-pronged approach when being engaged. [And] we believe that sexual health + higher education + access to resources can drastically affect the trajectory of their lives. We gain access to young black queer men while in high school or college, assess their needs, aspirations and sexual health awareness in order to connect them to reputable community resources.” These include healthcare, college scholarships, internships, university/college LGBTQ Resources, etc.
Growing up, attending college wasn’t an option in my home. It was mandatory. Paying for it, however, was something my parents couldn’t afford to do, if I were not provided with some form of financial assistance. I was forced to drop-out of my ideal school, Michigan State University, because I couldn’t afford to stay. At that moment, I made a vow to myself that if I were ever blessed enough to give back, the one thing I would focus on is providing financial assistance to young Black boys help them stay in school. Four years and over $40K later, I’ve made good on my promise to myself!”
Guy Anthony Values Those Who’ve Allowed Him to Learn
Anthony seems genuinely grateful to those who’ve given him opportunities to learn. He offers an example: “My mentor, Brandon Mascata is the warm, gorgeous and connected Italian big brother I never knew I needed! From the moment we met, he’s been in my corner and advocating for me in spaces I never even knew existed. He is the CEO of the ADAP Advocacy Association – a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to promote and enhance the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) and improve access to care for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
“Since we’ve been connected, I’ve learned how to advocate for people living with HIV on Capitol Hill. [And I’ve learned] why it’s important not only to be a face of a disease, but the heart of it too.” What would Guy Anthony most want people to learn from his efforts? “I need readers to understand that although people living with HIV/AIDS are living longer and more fulfilling lives with the right treatment and care, there are still people dying and suffering in silence. In the last three to four years, I’ve lost over eight friends and clients to complications from HIV. Worldwide, there were about 1.8 million new cases of HIV in 2017. About 36.9 million people were living with HIV around the world in 2017, and 21.7 million of them were receiving medicines to treat HIV, called antiretroviral therapy (ART). An estimated 940,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2017.” It may be a heavy message, but Guy Anthony is carrying it with grace.
You can learn more about Guy Anthony at blackgiftedwhole.org.
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Last modified: December 24, 2019