RICHARD LAMANNA is a queer activist and advocate for social justice who believes in equity and human, environmental, and animal rights. His experiences with homelessness, religious bigotry, mental health issues and homophobia influenced him at a young age to follow his own philosophy of radical queer empathy and compassion. He has been to every continent and every US state and finds spirituality and connection in activities in nature, which includes the city.
After serving in Americorps NCCC, where among other projects he assisted in the Brown vs. the Board of Education 50 Year Symposium, he began working at McMurdo Science Base in Antarctica during the austral summer and then volunteering and traveling around the world. Living and working around the country and the world in a wide array of areas helped him gain an intuitive understanding of the importance of intersectionality.
His experiences in Cambodia and Kenya working with children living with or affected by HIV influenced him to work in the field. He works with AIDS Healthcare Foundation as the Training Manager developing and implementing curriculum. Working with the California Office of AIDS he certifies HIV Testing Counselors in the state of California and developed curriculum in conjunction with the CDC to train testing counselors across the nation. In 2015, with AHF, he responded to the HIV outbreak caused by a combination of the opioid epidemic and archaic, religiously biased, public health laws around needle exchange by setting up a mobile testing clinic and conducting street testing in rural indiana.
He volunteers with many organizations including Gays Against Guns LA Chapter and the West Hollywood HIV and Substance Abuse Providers Committee. He is also a voracious reader and lover of the arts. If a film cast entirely with dogs was made of his life, he would be played by a Jack Russell even though he wishes he were a German Shorthaired Pointer.