Poet, writer, and activist William Brandon Lacy Campos has died. He was discovered on Friday night in his apartment in New York. The cause of death has not been announced. Campos was 35.
Campos authored the poetry collection “It Ain’t Truth If It Doesn’t Hurt,” was a contributor to the anthology “From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction,” and authored a blog called “Queer, Poz and Colored: The Essentials” at TheBody.com. He was also the former co-executive director at Queers for Economic Justice, a non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.
Campos was born in Minnesota and became an activist in his teens, becoming the co-chair of the National Queer Student Coalition at age 20. He wrote and spoke passionately about not only the broader political landscape, but also about his own emotional journey and challenges as a queer person of color.
According to Rod 2.0 a Facebook status update made by Campos’ father confirmed his son had passed away. The news rocked LGBT and progressive organizing and artist circles this weekend, prompting an outpouring of support and grief on Facebook pages.
Campos was multi-racial and as Rod 2.0 points out, discussed the intersections of race, colorism, sexuality and gender just days before he passed away in a keynote address he delivered at Tuft University’s annual Black Solidarity Day on Monday, Nov. 6. The speech was called “A New Kind of Blackness.”
“I’ve spent a long time thinking about blackness. About, roughly, all of my 35 years walking around this planet. I guess that makes me some sort of an expert, but mostly it makes me confused, angry, celebratory, conflicted, colonized, dehumanized, aggrandized, powerful, vulnerable, righteous, and a whole host of other adjectives.
“I am standing in front of you a black, white, Ojibwe, Afro-Boricua, HIV positive, queer man. 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. 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.”
The video at the top of this page is of William Brandon Lacy Campos delivering a speech on reproductive justice and HIV at CLPP & PopDev’s 26th annual activist conference.