Andre Allen

 

Allen, Andre 2017

Andre Allen was born on July 14, 1982. He is a media blogger, HIV/AIDS activist, and a community advocate who uses his story to give back and help others.

Andre Joseph Allen, Jr. was born in Hollywood, Florida, the son of Andre Allen, Sr. and Primrose Mckie. He has six siblings, including two brothers and a sister from his father’s side of the family. His mother raised him, his brother and two sisters as a single parent.

Andre’s family is of Jamaican decent, and when it was time for him to come out, he initially lied to his mother when asked if he was gay, in fear of the unknown. A few hours later, he told her the truth. She was hurt that he lied, and said she didn’t approve of his sexual orientation. His family’s disapproval hasn’t changed much since he first came out in October of 2000. The relationship between Andre and his family has improved on some levels, but he says they essentially disowned him. His grandmother said he was going to hell and brought shame and disappointment to his family—that he was her first grandchild but wouldn’t be able to carry on the family legacy. She had hopes he would get married and have kids.

In 2000, Andre graduated from MacArthur High School, where he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper. While in high school, he became a beat writer for the “Miami Herald,” covering various sporting events during his senior year. After graduating, he traveled around the United States to get a feel of what life was like outside of Florida. In May 2003, he returned to Florida to work as an HIV/AIDS youth outreach worker at the Children’s Diagnostics and Treatment Center’s Comprehensive Family HIV/AIDS Program in Fort Lauderdale. He worked with women and youth infected with HIV/AIDS. Andre spent his time counseling and mentoring young people, and went to local churches and schools educating youth about HIV/AIDS.

In October of 2003, Andre found out he was HIV positive after a routine test. Since that time, he has made it his mission to spread awareness of the virus and educate as many people as possible along the way.

In 2008, Andre relocated to the metropolitan Washington, DC area. He began working on the Bayard Rustin Project at the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) in 2010. The goal of the project was to increase HIV testing and prevention services among African American men who have sex with men. The initiative held town hall meetings and testing events as well as advocacy training programs for HIV positive, Black, gay men. Andre was one of twelve men who were the face of the project, telling their stories of living with HIV/AIDS.

Andre Allen identifies as a Black, gay man and views the Black SGL/LGBT community as extremely important to him and his growth as a human being. He tries his best to uplift and encourage everyone to work together, and says, “I’ve always been the voice of reason and I am a respected voice in the community.” Andre remains a valuable resource whom people frequently consult, and they are comfortable interacting with when they need information about community services.

Over the past ten years, Andre has been a media blogger, covering various LGBTQ and mainstream events, including gay pride celebrations and interviewing celebrities on the red carpet. He is motivated by a love of learning that others have found something useful and informative from his blogging. Andre frequently receives messages from readers asking his thoughts about a particular news item, and appreciates being thought of as a trusted source. You can check out his blog AndresFlava.

Andre currently makes his home in New York City and is single, but hopes one day to find a partner he can spend his life with. For now, he is focused on continuing to live his life to the best of his ability. He enjoys writing, watching sports, walks in the park, dining out, traveling when he can, and meeting and interacting with new and exciting people.

We thank Andre Allen for his support and enlightening of our community, and for his advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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