H. Alexander Robinson

Black LGBT History Day 17: Gil Gerald

Filed By H. Alexander Robinson | February 17, 2008 10:39 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Media
Tags: Black Gay History, black history, black LGBT, Gil Gerald


Gil Gerald graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1974, following attendance at the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. After ten years working as a professional in the field of architecture, Mr. Gerald became immersed full-time in the Gay and Lesbian movement and in the community-based response to HIV and AIDS. Since 1990 he has worked as a consultant, assisting community-based organizations with their fundraising, program development and capacity-building challenges through specialized technical assistance services.

Over the last fifteen years, proposal writing by Gil Gerald and Associates, Inc. has resulted in millions—more than six million for just one agency in the past three years--in services addressing HIV services, substance abuse treatment, primary outpatient medical care and other services for underserved populations. His consulting practice recently expanded and he has a three-year state contract to provide technical assistance and training to alcohol and other drug prevention and treatment providers to improve services for LGBT.

Mr. Gerald has more than twelve years of combined non-profit senior management experience in organizations of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and organizations addressing HIV and AIDS. He is a founding member and was the first paid Executive Director of the now defunct, but historic, National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. He is a former Treasurer and Vice-moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington DC, and also held these positions on the Board of the Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles.

He is a former Regent of Samaritan Theological Institute, which in the early history of the denomination served as the educational arm of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Mr. Gerald was also a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the predecessor of the Human Rights Campaign, and also served on the Board of the historic Gay Rights National Lobby.

While a resident of the District of Columbia, Gil Gerald served as the President of the DC Coalition of Black Gay Men and Women and served as the Whip in DC and the Jesse Jackson Delegation to the 1984 Democratic National Convention. As a co-founder of the National Minority AIDS Council, Gil Gerald served as the first Secretary of the Board.

He also served as a member of the National Steering Committee for the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987 as the Executive Director of the Minority AIDS Project in Los Angeles, the Board of Directors of AIDS Project Los Angeles, and as the Treasurer of Gentlemen Concerned, which in the late 1980s and early 1990s raised money from the Black community for AIDS services in Los Angeles. Now a resident of San Francisco, Mr. Gerald served for two years as the Director of Development for the Black Coalition on AIDS.

Gil Gerald contributed a chapter in the groundbreaking publication In the Life: A Black Gay Antholog [1], as well as 21st Century Sexualities: Contemporary Issues in Health Education, and Rights[2] and The AIDS Challenge, Prevention Education for Young People.[3] He has also been published in several periodicals, including the Journal of the National Medical Association,[4] Point of View: the Magazine of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation,[5] and Grassroots Fundraising Journal.[6] His writing was also featured in Freedom in this Village[7], and he is the subject of a chapter in Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage. Mr. Gerald was also featured in the film documentary After Stonewall. Mr. Gerald was born in the Republic of Panama and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

[1]Gerald, G. With my Head Held Up High, In the Life: A Black Gay Anthology, Joseph Beam, editor, Alyson Press, 1986

[2] Gerald G. R., The “Down Low”: New Jargon, Sensationalism, or Agent of Change? 21st Century Sexualities, Contemporary Issues in Health, Education, and Rights, Herdt, G and Howe C, editors, Routelge, 2007

[3] Gerald G. R., Minority Populations; AIDS Risk and Prevention, Introduction, The AIDS Challenge, Prevention Education for Young People, Quackenbush M, Nelson M, and Clark K, editors, Network Publications, 1988

[4] Gerald G, What Can We Learn From the Gay Community’s Response to the AIDS Crisis, Journal of the National Medical Association, Vol. 81, No. 4, pp 449-452

[5]Gerald G, Blacks and Gays, Point of View, the Magazine of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 1988

[6]Gerald G, Gentlemen Concerned, A Fun Event Raising Serious Funds, Grassroots Fundraising Journal, July/August 2007, pp 4-8

[7]Gerald G, The Trouble I’ve Seen, Freedom in this Village, E. Lynn Harris, editor, Harris, Carrol & Graff Publishers, 2005

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During the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Gil and I spent a good deal of time together on the floor of the convention.

I was in the last row of the NY delegation, and he was in the front row of the DC delegation which was directly behind us. As a member of the GLBT caucus, it was comforting to have my compadre nearby.

Of course this was before I transitioned, so I looked quite a bit different. But all of these years later, he looks pretty different, too! ;-)