In Episode 92 of the Charity Charge Show, Stephen talks to Terry Beswick, Executive Director of GGBA, whose mission is to champion opportunity, development, and advocacy for our LGBTQ+ & Allied business community. Stephen and Terry Beswick talk about Terry’s career in activism and the importance of listening to diverse communities so that strategies are informed by a wide range of lived experiences.
Terry Beswick (he/him) has been executive director of the GGBA since October 15, 2021. At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, he advocated for HIV/AIDS research and treatment with ACT UP, Project Inform, the Human Rights Campaign and the White House Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. After the advent of effective treatments for HIV, Beswick worked as a journalist for the Bay Area Reporter and other LGBTQ community publications. More recently, he spearheaded a successful campaign to preserve the Castro Country Club for the queer recovery community in San Francisco, co-founded the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District and co-chaired the LGBTQ Cultural Heritage Strategy. Beswick was a Community Grand Marshal for the 50th Anniversary San Francisco LGBTQ Pride Parade and Celebration in 2020 and served as Executive Director of the GLBT Historical Society from 2016 to 2021.
Terry Beswick on creating sustainable change with a diverse community:
If there’s anything that I’ve learned throughout my career, it’s that the LGBTQ community is kind of a misnomer. Since we’re a collection of different communities and subcultures and what brings us together are our gender and sexuality differences from the “Norm” and the experiences that we’ve had around that. Therefore, bringing all these different communities and cultures together to have impact on creating change is often a challenge. What I’ve learned is that listening and collecting people’s ideas to navigate the differences of opinion and approach is always important to overcoming the challenge of community organizing. San Francisco is notorious for being extremely divided around the best approach to effecting change and I think that listening allows the space for any new idea to emerge from the people who are most directly affected. That way the affected communities feel ownership over the solution. Directing things from on high has never worked, in terms of creating sustainable change.
Interested in listening to the full episode and hearing more from other nonprofits? Check out more episodes here Charity Charge Show