Gay Activist & Poet William Brandon Lacy Campos Dies at 35
Gay and left-wing activist and poet William Brandon Lacy Campos died at the age of 35. He was found dead in his home in New York City on Nov. 9.
Fellow writer Darnell Moore told blog site Rod 2.0 that Campos "yearned to be in community with others." Campos had served as co-executive director of Queers for Economic Justice, which may be the most prominent LGBT activist group seeking a radical overhaul of the U.S. economic system. Campos was also a founding member of the Green Party LGBT caucus. Rod 2.0 added that Campos was "a prominent figure within the nation's social activist and 'artivist' communities."
Campos was the author of a collection of poetry called "It Ain't Truth if it Doesn't Hurt" and he contributed to the critically acclaimed 2011 anthology "From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction."
The poet had activism in his blood: His great-great uncle was the black historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the second African American man to earn a doctorate from Harvard University and also the founder of Black History Month.
On Nov. 6, Campos delivered the keynote address at Tuft University's annual Black Solidarity Day, where he talked about race, colorsim, sexuality and gender.
"I am standing in front of you a black, white, Ojibwe, Afro-Boricua, HIV positive, queer man," Campos said in his speech. "And I am just as black as any of you. You are my community, you are my salvation. I am in community with my queer and trans black family and being queer or trans doesn't make you less black than anyone else.
"It's time for us to realize that HIV stopped being a white gay disease a long time ago, it's now a black and Latin[o] disease and it's time to hold up our positive brothers and sisters as our own," he continued. "No more high yellow and midnight blue conversations when talking about skin unless its to talk about how that high yellow or midnight blue person rocked your socks last night."
Chicago-based poet and youth activist Tim'm West told Rod 2.0 that Campos was "a bit unhinged and too daring at times" but that he was "passionately transparent and committed to embodying a freedom most of us only pay lip to service."
Officials from the Queers for Economic Justice's Amber Hollibaugh wrote on the group's Facebook page, "Our community has lost another person we could not afford to lose. There are few details of his death at this moment. But what is clear to me is the ongoing crisis inside our communities because we are living the realities of our oppression."
On the blog site Feministing, "Samhta" wrote, "Brandon was an advocate for justice, but it was his way with words that moved his community the most. He was a bright star, an important voice, an imperfect creature, a beautiful soul, an inappropriate talker, a poet, a seeker and a dreamer."
Campos kept a well-read blog of his own My Feet Only Walk Forward.