Jayce Baron is a writer for HIV Equal’s Brilliant Bro column. Fitting, because Jayce is, in fact, a very brilliant bro—but that’s an understatement. He’s a social entrepreneur and an advocate for LGBTQ+ Millennials. He champions sex positive education, the importance of HIV prevention, and the power of gay men of color. In 2015, Jayce produced and hosted the first Kiss & Tell LGBT dating and relationship panel in LA, which is now a full-blown, national community addressing social issues through LGBT art/media, youth programs, a digital magazine and much more.
What makes Jayce a true global hero isn’t just his impressive, compassionate career; it’s what he shared with the world in August of 2016. In a powerful editorial for HIV Equal, Jayce shared his experience as a survivor of rape. The piece was raw and personal, titled “I’m A Black Man And I Was Raped”—a minimal headline with vast implications. The issue of sexual violence in the gay community can be largely invisible to a society built around heteronormative values. But thanks to the brave eloquence of writers like Jayce, other survivors can feel safer sharing their own experiences with violence—shedding a light on a community in need of support and healing. As Jayce describes in his piece, he was able to connect with other survivors, as “vulnerability organically drew us together.”
There is no doubt that Jayce’s openness will lead to greater, more inclusive conversations about sexual violence and intimate partner violence. And he said it best: “…I have a message for you: You are not alone. Speak up. Speak out. Learn from others. Get the help you need to heal from this and turn your pain into power.”