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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Makings of a 2012 Voice Awards Fellow

Makings of a 2012 Voice Awards Fellow

Pride, Gay Pride to specific, I came out to myself in high-school, but out to my family in 1980.  In 1986 I moved to Boston where I volunteered for thirteen years on Fenway Community Health Centers Hotline A Crisis-Intervention Hotline.  If I had to pinpoint when I became an Activist it was my years in Boston, 1986-2001, during  my ages 27-39.  I volunteered in the very first Boston-NY AIDS Ride, I consulted for Stop The Hate, Governors Task Force On Hate Crimes. . It was in Boston that I launched my first website and landed my Freelance writing gig with America On Line-Digital City Boston,, I had an AOL Keyword in 1999, "The Neighborhood Guy."

A photo of a photo, I did the banner, 1988

From my Boston days I took all those skills and launched my second website Bipolar Bear website where you will read about my journey since diagnosing HIV positive and also Bipolar manic depression disorder, the journey is that of my educating myself in hopes to find answers so that I wasn't the only HIV+ and Bipolar individual as at times I felt like I was.

Education, a big part of my recovery it started in reading about Bi Polar disorder, HIV and Bi Polar disorder, HIV Bipolar disorder and substance abuse.  Overtime I began to change from an individual wanting answers to one wanting to take all that I had absorbed and share it, I started educating myself between 2001 - 2003 and in 2004 created my title as a Consumer for HIV and Mental Health.  Once I did that I had moved to the next level and added advocacy to my title, Consumer Advocate for HIV and Mental Health, since 2004.

Networking, in 2008 I became part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness,(NAMI), more specific I was welcomed and became part of the NAMI-National GLBT Leadership Group, it was through the Leadership Group that I did my first talk, a power point presentation, at the NAMI National Convention, July 6-9, 2009, NAMI 30 years-A Remarkable Journey.  Through NAMI I met  Mark Davis, Founder of Pink and Blues. Mark opened doors for me, thank you Mark.

To sum it up, it was gay pride, volunteering, activism around AIDS, then later HIV and Mental Health and my raising awareness, that awarded me a 2012 Voice Award Fellow.

"Steve has been able to use his skills as a journalist, his natural ability to connect with others, and his passion to create awareness of stigma around mental health issues. This is an issue that often is glossed over in the LGBT community, and one that Steve has bravely stepped forward to address.  Yet does this with sincerity, honesty, humility and enthusiasm - he is impossible to ignore." Gary R. McClain PhD, LMHC