This Friday Willy Wilkinson, MPH, writer and public health consultant joins us to discuss his memoir: Born on the Edge of Race and Gender: A Voice for Cultural Competency. Wilkinson, a mixed heritage, Asian American trans man and social movement leader has been advocating for marginalized populations since the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Poetic, humorous, and profoundly provocative, this compelling memoir explores the ambiguity and complexity of Willy’s intersectional experience with race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, and parenthood—within a larger cultural competency, public health, and policy advocacy framework.
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Willy Wilkinson, MPH is an award-winning, Asian American, transgender writer, public health consultant, cultural competency trainer, public speaker, and spoken word performer. A dynamic and engaging presenter who is recognized widely for his expertise in transgender issues, he has provided training, consultation services, and keynote speeches for hundreds of community health organizations, educational institutions, and businesses on how to provide equal access for LGBTQ populations.
Willy is the author of the new book Born on the Edge of Race and Gender: A Voice for Cultural Competency, which transforms the memoir genre into a cultural competency tool, and uses the power of storytelling to illuminate transgender social, legislative, policy, and public health issues. The first book by a trans man of color in nearly a decade, this acclaimed new work celebrates complexities, challenges, and sometimes humorous experiences at the intersections of race, gender, disability, class, sexuality, and parenthood. Willy has written for numerous periodicals, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, the Advocate, the Huffington Post, and Asian Week. His work has appeared in journals such as Transgender Studies Quarterly, and numerous anthologies, including Trans Bodies, Trans Selves and Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family, and Themselves. The Lambda Literary Review has described his writing as “highly evocative.”
In addition to cultural competency training, Willy assists organizations with curriculum and materials development, action planning, strategic planning, policy development, qualitative research, needs assessment, evaluation, and risk management. He was the lead consultant at the California statewide Community Alliance for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, as well as a number of statewide technical assistance contracts. He provided LGBT training nationwide for navigators conducting enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a project of Out2Enroll and Center for American Progress, in partnership with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Willy has been advocating for marginalized populations since the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He has worked extensively with communities of color, families, sex workers, substance users, youth, and people with disabilities. As the first Asian and first transgender community health outreach worker providing street-based HIV education and crisis intervention for sex workers and drug users in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, Willy pioneered an outreach model that addressed the unique needs of Asians and Pacific Islanders. He worked on the first large-scale research project on the transgender community, and developed the first HIV prevention program for trans men who have sex with other men. He was a key organizer of the API lesbian movement of the ‘80s, and organized the first peer support programs for Asian transmasculine individuals and people of color on the female-to-male spectrum. Willy launched the Health Care Access Project at Transgender Law Center, the first program in the nation to address trans health disparities through provider training, “know your rights” workshops for community members, and advocacy for trans-competent care.
Willy served as a founding board member for both Transgender Law Center and Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, and on numerous advisory boards and committees. He earned a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Education from UC Berkeley, and a BA in Women’s Studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Willy is the recipient of a National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association award, and the Transgender Law Center Vanguard Award, and is recognized on the Trans 100. He is the first transgender person to receive the Asian and Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community Phoenix Award. He lives in Oakland, California with his three vibrant young children. Learn more at www.willywilkinson.com.