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In Loving Memory: Brandon Lacy Campos

November 11, 2012

Brandon Lacy Campos

It is with a heavy heart that I share news of the passing of Brandon Lacy Campos. Brandon was a longtime activist, a prolific writer -- journalist, blogger, novelist, poet -- and an electrifying performer and public speaker. He also had a face filled with wisdom and mischief; a laugh you could not help but join with your own; a presence that could best be described as radiant. He died in New York City this past Friday, Nov. 9; at the time of this writing, the cause of his death had not been determined. He was 35 years old.

"I am standing in front of you a black, white, Ojibwe, Afro-Boricua, HIV-positive, queer man," Brandon stated at his final speaking engagement, the keynote speech at Tufts University's annual Black Solidarity Day this past Monday; "And I am just as black as any of you. You are my community, you are my salvation." Brandon wrote with passion and candor about the intersections and contradictions of race, class, gender and sexuality in his own life, and in U.S. culture, on his blog on and through many other outlets. He applied this same unbridled honesty in sharing his experiences as an activist, a partner, a lover, a feminist, a community member; a person living with HIV, in recovery from addiction and often struggling with disclosure.

Brandon was a regular contributor to from June 2010 until the day before President Obama's reelection; I had the honor and the pleasure of working with him in this capacity for this entire period. While Brandon exited the closet in his late teens "with a roar and a high kick" -- as he told it once in an op-ed for The Advocate -- and had worked in queer community since that time, coming out as HIV positive and contributing to a blog focused exclusively on his thoughts and experiences as a person living with HIV scared the hell out of him. Yet still he did it, with empathy, bravery and elegance.

In a particularly powerful March 2011 entry, Brandon had this to say to his readers in the HIV community:

For having a chance to live with dignity and forgiveness, I am going to give a standing ovation to all of you, near and far, that have taken a moment to write a note, share a thought, emote an experience, and share the love. It's all ya'll that help me see the inherent virtue and the purpose that live at the exact intersection of our contradictions.

Within hours of his passing, Brandon's Facebook page was adorned with hundreds of heartfelt statements from those who'd had even the briefest of encounters with him. He leaves behind scores of friends and family, both biological and extended; my thoughts are with them as they cope with this profound loss.

There is so much still to say about Brandon's life, and the ways he touched so many of ours. It is criminal to have to memorialize someone whose time in our midst was so short. Still, Brandon filled that time to its brim with richness, principled action, passionate creativity and boundless love. On our final days, may we all be able to make a similar claim.

For more details on Brandon's professional and literary accomplishments, as well as quotes from colleagues and friends, we urge you to read Rod McCullom's obituary for Brandon on Rod 2.0; or this piece on, to which Brandon was also a contributor. Please also feel free to share your remembrances of Brandon in the comments section below.

More Memorials and News Pieces on Brandon:

Olivia Ford is the community manager of and

Copyright © 2012 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
More HIV Activist Obituaries

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Pedro (Lisbon) Wed., Nov. 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm UTC
I realy d andestend he starts to take meds on set 2012 but have hiv from 10 years .... He starts with how much cd4???We all no hiv with no meds cause a lots of ocult problems in the heart ....i think the decision to take meds maybe is too long ...i dont no is realy very strange or maybe starts on a therapeutik vacine i think we must to no because i think the medical and pharma dont tell the true he starts with the stribild i think .... R.I.P sadness is the colour
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Comment by: Christopher (Cambridge, England.) Wed., Nov. 28, 2012 at 5:59 am UTC
Condolences to Brandon's family and friends.

This death reminds me of Dr. Bob's, another much loved HIV+ person who appeared to be in the greatest health but who was suddenly struck down.

I very much hope that Brandon's family will help us all by eventually releasing every detail the doctors or the postmortem produces regarding Brandon's death. We need to know.
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Comment by: Green Trees (Atlanta, GA) Tue., Nov. 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm UTC
I am so sorry to hear about Brandon's passing. Ive been following his blog on the Body since its inception. I'm going to miss his refreshing take on life, love, and HIV.
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Comment by: JC (New York, New York) Wed., Nov. 14, 2012 at 10:33 am UTC
I just lost my beloved brother four days before Brandon, on November 5th, 2012. He was 34 years old, so this story really hits home. We must not let these deaths be in vain. We must all become activists and spread the word that people are still dying, even in this day and age of modern medicine, of this wretched disease. Rest in Peace Brandon, and if you happen to meet my brother on the other side, please take care of him. I can only offer my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his family, fiends, and all of those who were touched by his presence.
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Comment by: GaryLosAngeles (Los Angeles) Wed., Nov. 14, 2012 at 5:39 am UTC
Terribly saddened with love and condolences to all!!!!
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Comment by: Dee (Virginia) Tue., Nov. 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm UTC
Such a terrible loss. I've read so much about this wonderful man and the things he has accomplished. He has really made a difference for us in the LGBT community and we all can learn alot from him. RIP Brandon.
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Comment by: Jeannie Wraight (Bronx, New York) Mon., Nov. 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm UTC
The HIV and gay communities have suffered a tremendous and tragic loss. Brandon will be missed and always remembered by the family. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Thank-you Olivia for such a lovely piece.
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Comment by: angel fabian (new york) Mon., Nov. 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm UTC
may you always walk in beauty brandon, you will be missed
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Comment by: Steve Schmidt (OKC) Mon., Nov. 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm UTC
Thanks, Olivia, for writing such a wonderful review of Brandon's life and work. It's hard not to be over-dramatic at a time like this, but it seems like a brilliant candle has been snuffed out. His life and his work touched so many, including me, and he will be missed. Thanks again for holding him up in the light one more time.
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Comment by: Divine Grace (NYC) Sun., Nov. 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm UTC
I am a friend of Brandon's, and I just wanted to tell you that his involvement with was something that he was particularly proud of.
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