Troy Boyd
George Choy

My Letter to George
mixed media, 2009


Troy Boyd, originally from Mississippi by way of Connecticut, was born in 1960. He got his start in activism at the age of 5 when he became the first African American child to integrate the public schools of Meridian, Mississippi in 1965.  He has lived in the Bay Area for 25 years and currently lives with his partner in Berkeley.

George Choy was born in 1960 in San Francisco and attended Mission High, then San Jose State University. He was a board member of Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), a member of ACT UP and an activist for AIDS awareness.  One of George’s lasting legacies was persuading the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution for Project 10, the counseling program for LGBT teens in public high schools.

My letter is a thank-you to George, a reflection on life as a Gay African American male in admiration of how George stepped out of the shadows and pushed for change. He made a full commitment to fostering partnerships, understanding, and awareness about AIDS, LGBT Youth, ACT Up Japan and their affects on Gay Asian and Pacific Islanders in America and around the world.

I feel enlightened, saddened, afraid and hopeful when I look at George’s life. I have read his emails, cards, letters and random thoughts and looked at pictures of his young adult life.  George faced his fears in the midst of a struggle to live.  I am inspired by his curiosity to know those different from himself.  George reminds me what it means to fully commit to what you believe in, to take the risk to explore the unknown through self expression while coming to understand who he was and the purpose of his life. - Troy Boyd

Troy gravitated to the archive of George Choy right away, drawn by the coincidence of being born the same year and having high school yearbooks that looked quite similar. George’s activism and sense of himself as an Asian American gay man with AIDS was something Troy found both inspiring and moving.  He decided to write this highly personal letter to George, a kind of intimate tribute between 2 men, one of whom has left his mark on the other through the artifacts he left behind. Troy is thankful to George for his activism and for the photographic “journal” he kept to document the important transitions in his life. - E.G. Crichton

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