About Kenyon Farrow

Kenyon Farrow is an award-winning writer, activist and strategist. Whether serving on a board, staff member, or rank-and-file organizer, Kenyon has spent the last 17 years working in social movements on campaigns and projects large and small, community-based, national and global in scope.

 Issues of criminalization and mass imprisonment have been central to his work. He was a member and staff organizer with Critical Resistance for several years, all the while also volunteering as an adult ally when FIERCE! was in it’s early years organizing against the gentrification and criminalization of queer youth in NYC. In addition, Kenyon helped to launch a national network, Project UNSHACKLE in 2008–one of the first of its kind to bridge the gap of AIDS activists and prison activists, which helped build much of the relationships upon which much of the national work around HIV criminalization now organized by the Positive Justice Project through the Center for HIV Law & Policy.

Kenyon is probably best known for his work organizing for racial and economic justice issues in the LGBT community, often underfunded and unpopular work in the midst of the various national and state campaigns for marriage equality.  As the former executive director of Queers for Economic Justice, Kenyon worked on a movement-building project to strengthen the connections of grassroots LGBTQ organizations to national racial and economic justice policy issues. But his relationships with QEJ spanned six years, from first being a volunteer shelter project facilitator, helping to draft the Beyond Marriage statement, and also serving on the board.

In addition to his work at QEJ, Kenyon worked on several projects that organized Black LGBT communities in NYC including an anti-homophobia social marketing campaign that’s been re-produced in several cities, working for community accountability around a string of homicides and assaults on Black gay men in the mid 2000s, and also organized a faith-based project to bring together Black LGBT faith leaders and organizers in NYC, called the Revival Initiative, which was the basis for the NYC organization LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent.

But until there is a cure and vaccine that’s affordable and accessible to all, much of Kenyon’s work has turned specifically to working both domestically and internationally to seeing the end of the AIDS epidemic. While HIV/AIDS has been a thread connecting all of his work, he’s worked with Housing Works, NYS Black Gay Network, National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce Policy Institute, and the US & Global Health Policy Director for Treatment Action Group (TAG).

While at TAG, Kenyon published a qualitative research project exploring the role of community mobilization in the US HIV response in 9 US cities. as well as helping to craft a national strategy to end stockouts of TB drugs, which eventually was made a priority in fighting drug resistant TB in the US by the Obama Administration. His work behind the scenes on Governor Cuomo’s NYS End AIDS 2020 plan elicited two important policy wins Farrow directly advocated for: new funding to expand LGBT youth housing options, minors seeking HIV or reproductive care maintaining their privacy, even if they’re on their parents’ insurance. He lead TAG’s work to partner with four jurisdictions in the south to develop “end the epidemic” campaigns to expand the impact of that work in the most impacted part of the nation.

He is currently the Senior Editor with TheBody.com, where he provides editorial direction over theBody.com and TheBodyPro.com, and is developing a new website on sexual health for people aged 30 and under.

Kenyon’s writing has always been a parallel outlet for his activism. He is the co-editor of Letters from Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out. His work has appeared in the anthologies Spirited: Affirming the Soul of Black Lesbian and Gay Identity, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Same-Sex Marriage, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough, We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America, and the forthcoming Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call. His work has also appeared in publications such as the Atlantic, the Huffington Post, TheGrio, Colorlines, POZ, the American Prospect, and AlterNet. He’s currently working on a essay collection entitled Black In A Rainbow  World.

Kenyon was named one of Out magazine’s Out 100 for 2008, the Advocate magazine’s “40 Under 40” LGBT Leaders in the United States for 2010, one of Black Entertainment Television’s “Modern Black History Heroes” for 2011, received the Community Activist award at Chicago Black Pride’s Esteem Awards in 2013, given the 2016 Sexual Freedom Award by the Woodhull Institute, and was an honoree of Black, Gifted & Whole in 2017.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and a longtime Brooklyn, NYC resident, he currently lives in Newark, NJ.

To read more of Kenyon’s writing, please visit the Selected Writings page.

20 thoughts on “About Kenyon Farrow

  1. Cool, bruh!… Do the damn thang!

    I never did get around to e-mailing you my thoughts of your thoughts on gay marriage…lol

    -One time caller from the STL- (Uhh…that’s St. Louis for all you less-than-impressed non-midwesterners)

  2. Interested in how I can get at you to give some talks for some progressive youths.
    Regards,
    Frank L

  3. Kenyon – thanks for your post on the lube survey yesterday! I am the chair of the International Rectal Microbicide Working Group and also the chief guy behind LifeLube.org and LifeLube.blogspot.com. I really, really appreciate you helping to get the word out about the survey, and writing about rectal microbicides.
    Have a good one my friend. As a thank you, I am linking to you on our blog. Would be delighted if you linked back!
    Jim

  4. hey Kenyon. Great blog – loads of great information – thanks for getting the word out. The news in here needs to be covered even though some of it is so infuriating and sad. Please come and check out GBMnews.com – a page where I edit the political section. Hit me up if you think you may wanna contribute

  5. Hello,

    You don’t know me, but I have signed up to run the National Aids Marathon on November 25th to raise money for the San Francisco Aids foundation, one of the leading providers of AIDS services the Bay Area.
    The AIDS epidemic is far from over. More than one million Americans, and 40 million others around the world, are now living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In fact, approximately 1 in every 50 San Franciscans is living with HIV/AIDS. The money we raise will support HIV services and prevention programs in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties — to help keep people alive until there’s a cure. A portion of the funds will also support treatment access in the developing world.

    This is why I am committed to raise at least $4200 before Auust 4th, although I would like to raise even more. I’m asking for your support. Any donation you can make to help me meet my goal would be most appreciated! It’s so easy to make a donation, just click on the link below. It only takes a few moments to make a contribution that could enhance the life of someone living with HIV/AIDS. Please forward this to anyone else you think may want to contribute.

    Thank You,

    Maryam Abrishamcar

    Just click the link below to donate :

    http://www.aidsmarathon.com/participant.asp?runner=SF-5271&EventCode=FL07

  6. Kenyon,

    I literally stumbled onto this website. You look great. I miss you and would love to talk to you. I am in NJ all the time so we definately have to meet up. I am so proud of you, I always knew how great you were and now it seems like the rest of the world does to. We definately need to talk I am a grant writer and would love to contribute to the new book in anyway I can.

    Love & Kisses from Cleveland,

    Chalana Seward-Gilliham
    cgilliham@att.net
    216-322-7422

  7. Am a white guy, 57, NW suburbs of Chicago. Seeking friendship with black gay man. Don’t know how to achieve this. Do not drink , smoke, or do drugs so don’t know how to meet such a person. Can you help me out with some suggestions? Interested in writing/dialougue to begin with. Meet at Starbucks or the like…after few times writing.
    Jon

  8. Hi Kenyon,
    My computer died and I lost your email address… Sorry for being so late in replying! I would love to go to lunch sometime when you come to Philly.
    I’ll get your email address from Dan, but until then, take care,
    Suzy

  9. Hey Kenyon, I happened to stumble across your blog, and I’m feelin’ your work. It’s always good to see young black progressives speaking the truth. I’m new to the blog community myself. So, feel free to stop by and check out my page when you get a chance.

    ~Chauncee
    chaunceesmith.com

  10. I typed in davina neo soul looking for something new from her and u poped up. I read your short bio and I must say this is great. Keep up the good work. DC is always having uplifting and functions that support causes such as yours. Check out Brave Soul. I friend of mines is part of it and I sure it may be something u may be interested in attending. Its all positive. Take care, d.

  11. Hey, just stumbled upon the article you did on Davina’s latest album “Return To Soul – Vol.1”, she happens to be a friend of mine who I had the pleasure of meeting back in 2001 when this album was already half done. By this time I was already a huge fan of the first album and have kept in touch with her since. Should you ever like to involve her in any of your works, please feel free to hit me up, I’m kind of her vigilante press person/contact and would love to do anything to get the word of her latest album out there and since you dig her the way I do, I’d be glad to assist…….

    Be Blessed

    Johnb@rt

  12. great blog! i an now officially a reader!can you send me your contact email?
    best, kelly

  13. Great post on Colombia and video
    Viva El Frente/Verde[.org]

    ok, so it is a color,? green,
    who cares the color,

    Colombian people are for me, the finest folks in the world, we are all the same in the eyes of God
    Viva Colombia

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