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“ I NEED
“I NEED
MY LIFE
TO BE
OF VALUE.”
CAPRICE CARTHANS
TRANSGENDER+ HIV ACTIVIST
ABOUT   PART III

The HIV and the Journey Toward Zero series sparks important conversations around the end of the HIV epidemic. What does “the end” mean for those who have been there from the start, those living with HIV today and those leading the way to an HIV-free future?

Part 3 of the series, The Conversation, reunites cast members for a series of intergenerational discussions. Watch as they learn from each others’ lived experiences and perspectives, and share their thoughts on the future of HIV.

THE FACES BEHIND   THE FILM

TIMOTHY JACKSON

Timothy S. Jackson (he/him/his) currently serves as the Senior Director of Policy & Advocacy for AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) where he is responsible for shepherding policy priorities through the state legislative process from bill ideation to implementation. As a Black gay man living with HIV, Timothy’s career is deeply rooted in advocating on behalf of people living with and vulnerable to HIV, amplifying their voices and addressing the impact HIV has on the communities where his identities intersect.

A native son of the Deep South, Timothy is a lobbyist, a policy wonk, a foodie, a creative, a man of faith, but most of all, a fierce advocate.

RAE LEWIS-THORNTON

Rae is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist and renowned social justice advocate. She received national acclaim for her story of living with HIV/AIDS in Essence magazine’s December 1994 issue, and has since been featured in Glamour, O The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, Essence, Jet, Ebony, Emerge, Heart and Soul, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune. Rae released her memoir, Unprotected, in May 2022.

TERRY DUDLEY

Terry is a Black queer activist with extensive knowledge and experience in STI and HIV prevention, testing and treatment among men who have sex with men (MSM) and the LGBTQ+ community. He is currently a public policy student at the University of Illinois Chicago, and hopes to teach HIV history and culture and to equip people to better serve our communities. Terry was raised on the South Side of Chicago and applies his own experience to understanding other queer folks of color, striving to ensure every voice is heard.

CAPRICE CARTHANS

Caprice is a trans advocate and author who has worked on HIV and LGBTQ issues for more than 30 years. She is the founder and executive director of Equity Alliance Health Illinois. Caprice is a member of the Board of Directors for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and co-chair of the Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council. Caprice’s dedication to the LGBT movement is profiled in “To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults.

MILANI VARELA

Milani is an Afro-Latinx, gender nonconforming drag performer and activist who served as the mother of the House of Ninja for 10 years. She is the lead navigator for Essential Support Services at CALOR-AHF and an ambassador for CDC’s “Let’s Stop HIV Together” program. Milani was crowned Miss Diosa Latina USA Plus 2023 and uses beauty pageants as a platform to expand her work in HIV prevention.

SANFORD E. GAYLORD

Sanford E. Gaylord is the founder of Gaylord Consulting, LLC, a Chicago-based public health consulting firm based in Chicago. He is also an actor and writer who has worked onstage, onscreen and behind the scenes. Sanford co-starred in the award-winning, three-part film series Kevin’s Room, produced by the Chicago Department of Public Health. He was a co-founding member of A Real Read Performance Ensemble and Black Alphabet, the world’s oldest and largest Black LGBTQ+ arts organization. Sanford’s contributions to the LGBTQ+ community are profiled at Chicago Gay History.com and in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.

JOSHUA GATES

Joshua is a Black gay man and a native Chicagoan. While he continues growing and learning, Joshua has proudly overcome the stigmas of homelessness and his HIV+ status during his personal journey. He is passionate about helping young Black men prioritize themselves, and feels that communities need to offer resources and support to this important group.

BEHIND   THE SCENES

Get a sneak peek at our cast and crew in action.