When and why did you become a LGBT/HIV advocate?
A few years back, I had a relationship with a guy who was doing LGBT/ Human rights advocacy and that’s how I was introduced to the work. I was joining out of town activities and mobilization. I was doing some volunteer work like production work and minor graphic design. I was able to see and become aware of the concerns faced by our LGBT friends.
I was diagnosed to be infected with HIV back 2008. It was after I started on anti-retroviral medication that my HIV related health situation started to sink in. I realized that since I will be HIV positive for the rest of my life, I might as well be productive with the remaining time I have. I didn’t know exactly how… I want to believe it was because of divine intervention, but I woke up one morning and realized I feel fulfilled doing advocacy against HIV/ AIDS and help our LGBT community within my line of work.
How did this decision of becoming an advocate affect your life?
It affected my life in ways I never imagined it would. I used to manage an art gallery and living a lucrative lifestyle. When I decided to became an advocate, I lost all that but gained something better. I learned a lot of things, I heard a lot of inspiring stories and, I’ve seen the different faces of life.
Working and living as an advocate gave me a new purpose in life. I learned to be humble in all my dealings and it taught me to care even to those people not related to me. I learned to look at things objectively and see the goodness in every person and situation and find a way to magnify that goodness.
What are the challenges you had to face in this decision? How were these challenges faced?
Full-time advocacy and volunteer work don’t pay as much as a corporate job. That’s one of the challenges I faced when I decided to take on this responsibility. I also have to get used to working outside of the regular corporate schedule and environment. I was able to manage these challenges by redesign my spending habit and prioritize only those basic and what is important. I also learned to live a healthy lifestyle that enabled me go through the faced paced, changing schedule I have. In general, with the determination and renewed purpose at hand, I was able to manage these challenges.
What continue to be challenges for you now?
There are a lot of things that continue to be challenges for me. But the one I consider as most challenging is dealing with people who see my good and sincere intention as something deterrent to their own purpose. I work to help people but there are those that see me (and the people who I work with) as enemy.
How did your family react to your advocacy?
I am very lucky to have a very loving family. My family has always been supportive with what I do, as long as it’s productive and does not do anything not good towards others. They are very vocal about their feelings towards what I do. They feel that what I am doing is good and that I am helping educate people about HIV and AIDS. They always encourage me to do well with my work and continue to be a good example towards others. They always remind me how proud they are of me that I did not resort to hiding my HIV status and I was able to manage to find a purpose on the adversity bestowed upon me.
However, like every concerned family, they never missed to remind me that I should still take care of my health, be mindful of what I say and how I treat other people, and that I have a big responsibility towards my self and others.
What are your achievements you are proud of?
I am thirty four years old right now and I am half way though my life. I have a lot of things to share as achievements I am proud of. But the one thing that topped my list is being able to come out with my HIV status and work to help eliminate the stigma and discrimination experienced by the positive community through educational advocacies.
What, for you, are the issues we should focus on now? Why so?
I work on advocating against HIV/ AIDS. Some of the people I meet belong to the LGBT community. I feel that in my line of work, we have to focus on educating as many people as we can on the issues concerning the positive community and the LGBT community. Doing this will help eliminate stigma and discrimination that most of our friend in the community are experiencing. Eradicating stigma and discrimination will help our community live a safer, healthier and more productive life. And this will definitely have a ripple effect in progress of our nation.
What are your disappointments in the LGBT community?
The only thing that I feel sad about the LGBT advocacy is the discrimination that exists within our community. If dealing with the stigma and discrimination from the society is difficult enough, imagine how challenging it is to manage the same concern within the HIV/ AIDS and LGBT community.
What inspires you in our community?
It inspires me to see people in our community sharing, helping and working to reach the same goals. I’ve always believed that there is more love and hope in this world than we think there is. This thinking help me continue to have the drive to keep going and do better with my advocacy work.
What are your future plans of?
I plan to continue doing advocacy on HIV/ AIDS. I aspire to be able to go around, travel here and abroad as an inspiration speaker helping people realize how great they can be and the heights they will reach if they put their hearts and mind together.
After all is said and done, how do you want people to remember you?
This is a very interesting question. I’ve never been ask this one before. But if all have been said and done, I just want to be remembered as Humphrey Gorriceta. I am the Poz guy who believed that hope is never lost and did what he can to make this world a safe, healthy and better place to live in for People Living with HIV, the LGBT community, their family and friends.