Why Roma Guy is my chosen hero

Roma Guy. File photo.

by Elias Briggs

When the miniseries When We Rise was uploaded to the ABC website, 15-year-old me could not be more excited. I was intrigued by a TV show that shared the history no one was talking about and was then even more intrigued by one of the activists that the show was written about, Roma Guy.

When she graduated from college, Guy began working as a social worker in various areas in Africa. After working in Africa for nine years, she moved to San Francisco with her partner so that they could work with social justice groups, including the Gay Liberation Front, and The Women’s Building. 

Guy advocated for marginalized peoples’ right to healthcare by serving on the San Fransisco Health Commission, both city and county, as well as teaching in the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University.

Part of her work in healthcare included labeling lack of low-income housing a public health issue, which ultimately resulted in less homelessness.

Guy is an inspiration to me because she cares so much about the world around her. She has dedicated her entire adult life to the wellbeing of others. She fought for many of the rights that we have today, including marriage equality.

She played a huge part in making feminism intersectional when she protested Betty Friedan’s mistreatment of lesbian feminists. She even fought against anti-LGBTQ stereotyping alongside her partner, who was a nurse who cared for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Often, people who are very important to history, especially LGBTQ history, are never talked about, but this doesn’t make their work any less important. Before learning about Guy, I didn’t really have an activist that I identified with and was inspired by this person.

Guy’s efforts, although not often spoken about, made a significant impact which began in San Francisco. The outcome of her work spread to the entire nation, and maybe even the world. I can only hope that I can be at her level of progress and compassion.

Guy is now 76 years old and lives in the state of Maine.

Copyright The Gayly – August 27, 2018 @ 11:10 a.m. CDT.