Guy Anthony is a man who wants to make a difference. We all do to a degree, but Guy is taking his dreams a step further.
"I’ve never felt so right about something in my life and I feel right about this," he said when talking about his non-profit, Black, Gifted & Whole. "I prayed about this, I meditated and I just do the work."
The organization, founded just a few months ago, seeks to help young Black gay men matriculate to institutions of higher education, particularly HBCUs.
"I went to a performing arts high school in Detroit, Michigan," Guy said. "I was out of a very bad neighborhood, a very bad city. I really wanted to do things that were not necessarily cool to my friends and I wished that I had a mentor that reflected the life that I was living, you know like a gay man. As someone that was molested and sexually assaulted, I knew early on what my sexuality was. Growing up in a very religious family — obviously homosexuality is not smiled upon, so a lot of the depression that I suffered and post-traumatic stress trauma that I acquired over the years became something."
Guy felt suffocated, and made the decision to attend the University of Michigan. He did not see people who "looked like him," and there were no coalitions that represented what he wanted to do for the LGBT community.
In his words, he knew he had to lead.
"[My friends and I] were watching Black Girls Rock and we said, 'You know what, there's nothing celebrating Black gay men,'" Guy recalls. "We're more than the handbags that you see us carry on television. We're more than that. We're intellectual. We're nuanced. I want to ensure that we give a more balanced representation of who Black gay men are."
So earlier this year, Guy, with the help of his three friends, decided to create an initiative that seeks to help Black gay men be successful. The organization, based in Washington, DC, serves as a resource for those who may feel lost.
"If we can help any Black man in terms of his sexuality, who is sort of unsure of what he wants to do with his life then we definitely want to be those people," Guy said.
Black, Gifted & Whole works with Gay-Straight Alliances at various high schools and HBCU institutions to help facilitate the transition from high school to college for many young LGBT males of color. Guy goes to high schools and meets with students, particularly young Black gay men. He speaks to them, offers them words of encouragement, and talks to them about their future educational plans.
"We're very strategic. There's a school in DC called School Without Walls. They are one of the top schools that had an influx of gay students. I made a connection with their Gay-Straight Alliance director and said, 'Hey, I want to come to your school. Do you have any young Black gay men that attend? He said yes. Myself and my vice president spoke to them. There were two young Black gay men in there and one of them wanted to go to Howard."
School Without Walls is one of many institutions that Black, Gifted & Whole plans to reach.
"My hope is that I'm able to go from school to school, with the help of the superintendent or the chancellor, to get these kids into college" Guy said. "That's how we are able to get into these schools and talk to these Black gay men. They are desperately looking for other Black gay men to mentor them. A lot of times, they don't have voices, they don't have outlets at home to talk about the things that are bothering them. We are those people. We have gone through the trenches and have gone through anything they can imagine. That's our aim."
On Nov. 6, the non-profit will host its very first charity event. The desire is to raise money to help eight Black gay men pay for books and tuition for their first year of college.
"Our fiscal goal is $21,000 for the scholarships next year. We also want to ensure that we are providing money for books because maybe you have to work two jobs and you got tuition paid off, housing paid for, but you need just a little bit of extra money for your books.