Kenya Hutton noticed in his LGBT advocacy work that there was often a gap between services for teens and young adults. That and losing a good friend to AIDS in his native Brooklyn in the ‘90s, inspired him to devote his life to HIV and young adult work.
“A lot of it is HIV prevention work and getting young adults to think about the things we do to put ourselves at risk,” he says. “And encouraging them to be productive citizens who don’t just have to accept whatever is thrown at them.”
Since moving to Washington in 2006 after two years of doing this kind of work full time in New York, Hutton, 34, has worked variously with HIPS, Us Helping Us and more recently, the Carl Vogel Center and a new organization, Voices of One in Maryland. He’s also on the board of D.C. Black Pride. Consulting and programming are his full-time work. Hutton says he’s been “blessed” to be able to find a way to do this kind of work as a career. In September, he was honored at an Alston House benefit for his youth advocacy work.
“Growing up in New York in the ‘90s was tough, very tough,” he says. “Although in New York, there were places you could go and get services, nobody really talked about being gay, HIV or sex in general. It just didn’t happen.”
Hutton and his boyfriend, Charles, have been dating since earlier this year. Hutton lives in District Heights, Md., and enjoys volunteering, cooking and traveling in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I finally came out completely in 2006; the hardest people to tell were my little sisters. Even though when I told them, they said they already knew.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
RuPaul. She has been a public gay man for as long as I can remember. Truly a trailblazer.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I’ve been privy to experiencing the Edge/Wet days on occasion. I’m not really into the nightlife scene anymore, but I’ve been to the Warehouse Loft and Nellie’s and they seem to be pretty fun.
Describe your dream wedding.
Get back to me on that.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Health care, especially for the elderly.
What historical outcome would you change?
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The death of Michael Jackson.
On what do you insist?
Being honest and straightforward. It prevents any misunderstandings further down the road if everyone will just be honest and straightforward in the beginning.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Waiting for the IOS 6 download!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“The Life of the Unknown.”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing. If I wasn’t a gay man, I have no idea where I would be today.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe there are forces that we cannot see that are around us.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
We are still at the tip of the movement, don’t give up thinking our work is over!
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we are all loud, obnoxious sexual deviants.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Boys Don’t Cry”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Partying all the time.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I love all awards I have received equally.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
The true cost of things.
I needed a change from New York. And Washington was the best logical place for personal and professional advancement.