Alfredo Brown-Noguera is a queer man who has been living with HIV since 2016. He lives in Massachusetts, where he works as a Housing Case Manager for AIDS Project Worcester. In that role, he works with individuals living with HIV who are struggling to find secure housing. Many of his clients say that they have faced discrimination or have worried about facing discrimination because of their LGBTQ identity.
It’s an experience that Alfredo knows all too well: A few years ago, while struggling with substance abuse disorder, Alfredo checked into a treatment facility to get help – but while there, his “treatment” included hostility and opposition to his sexual orientation. The staffers subjected him to significant anti-LGBTQ stigma and urged him to question his sexuality. He was later asked directly if he is a sex worker, which the staff assumed because he is queer. The facility was a federally-funded institution. Right now, LGBTQ people remain vulnerable to discrimination like this in federally funded programs – but the Equality Act would close that gap and address that injustice.
Alfredo is now in recovery, and he works every day to dismantle anti-LGBTQ stigma and stigma against people with HIV. He’s learned a lot throughout his journey, and while he’s seen some progress in dismantling these stigma, there’s still a lot of work to do. He points specifically to barriers like a a lack of trauma-informed care, a disconnect in use of preventative methods like PrEP and PEP, and a lack of an intersectional lens, which often leads to the disproportionate centering of white, cisgender gay men in the conversation about HIV/AIDS.
Alfredo wants to see the passage of federal legislation that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, and he also wants to see increased education around the LGBTQ experience and the experience of people with HIV.