Willy Wilkinson

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Photograph of Willy Wilkinson

Willy Wilkinson is a writer, public health consultant, and queer activist. He was born and raised in San Mateo, California as the youngest of four children. His mother is Chinese and hails from Hawaii. His father is Caucasian, Scottish, English, and Irish.

Willy studied Women’s Studies in UC Santa Cruz, where he first became politicized as a feminist. He started organizing Asian lesbians in Santa Cruz and continued that work in Boston, New York, and eventually the Bay Area. Willy has been involved in several of the first conferences for lesbians of color, an international conference for gays and lesbians of color, the first retreat for Asian lesbians in Northern California, and the gay and lesbian march on Washington. He was also the editor of Phoenix Rising, a newsletter for Asian lesbians in the Bay Area. Since receiving his Masters of Public Health from UC Berkeley, Willy’s work has been focused on cultural competency training for health care providers serving the transgender community. His book, Born on the Edge of Race and Gender, is a memoir reflecting on his “intersectional experience with race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, and parenthood, within a larger cultural competency, public health and political advocacy framework”.

I think we have come a long way as a community in that the coping methods that people use in the 70s and 80s were centered around bar culture, a lot of alcohol, a lot of drug use. And that has changed, you know we are congregating at alcohol free spaces, LGBT centers and events.

Yeah, I remember when Trinity Ordona and Desiree Thompson got married, at the time, that was way before anyone was ever imagining marriage equality and this was 1988.