Friday, February 5, 2010

Gay Activist Gary Daffin Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson talks with Gary Daffin, Executive Director of the Multicultural AIDS Coalition, to get his spin on where we are in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. MAC is the largest and oldest agency in New England focused exclusively on HIV in communities of color, working in partnership with a wide range of faith and community based organizations. Daffin who is openly gay and black states that the reason his organization is successful working with the Black Christian faith community is based on mutual respect. When asked how we can find a common thread between the LGBT community and communities of color to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Daffin stated, “I think HIV/AIDS is an area where the community of color and the black community and the gay community work very well together. Particularly, if you take the example of people living with HIV, I think that we would all do better to see how well people who come from very different backgrounds, who are dealing with the disease personally, how well they work together in creating programs and advocating, find it easy to put aside differences...In a way the disease forces us to look at what we have in common. In terms of the black community and gay community specifically you know both have strong civil rights histories that have really changed the country. And I think there are a lot of things that we can learn from each other about points in those movements that we may need support in. I think in the marriage fight we saw the other side who are against gay marriage try to utilize and pit the black community against the gay community. I think this is a mistake for us to fall into that trap. Certainly in every movement of people who are most effective, I see them working together very well and learning from each other.”

Gary Daffin also serves as Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus (MGLPC), the state’s oldest legislative advocacy organization. MGLPC played a key role in the effort to secure marriage equality in the Commonwealth and works continuously on issues such as transgender civil rights, bullying, funding for LGBT youth and elder programs. He is a past recipient of Fenway Community Health’s Gerry Studds Visibility Award and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s William A. Hinton Award for promoting the health of minority communities.
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