As a Black transgender man living in Louisiana with HIV, Achim Howard knows the importance of building understanding about LGBTQ and marginalized communities, and of finding common ground. For Achim, he advances these goals through his faith. “My faith teaches me that all of us should be loved as we were created, each and every one of us,” he explains.
Achim is a Baptist minister studying to be an elder, and he believes that all people can relate to the Golden Rule of treating others as we would want to be treated. This is especially impactful for people who face multiple layers of discrimination. Achim himself has faced discrimination in the workplace and rarely felt comfortable being his true self at work. In his home state, only 12% of the population lives in a town or city with LGBTQ-inclusive ordinances. That’s why he is a passionate advocate for Congress to pass these protections through a federal law that includes everyone regardless of zip code, alongside enacting policies that allow easier and more equitable access to necessary care for HIV-positive Americans.
“If we want to end the HIV epidemic in the United States, we must seize the high ground and ensure LGBTQ Americans are provided with equal rights, better access to care and secure housing,” says Achim. “It’s time to pass a federal law to help all Americans thrive as our whole selves.”