Philip Christopher Baldwin is a gay rights activist. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2010 at the age of 24 and is co-infected with Hep C. Philip is healthy, happy and successful. Christianity is an important part of his life. He attends St John’s in Waterloo and is a Church of England altar servant. For many years Philip defined himself as an atheist or an agnostic. He began to reappraise the role Christianity could have in his life at the end of 2013. There are three main strands to Philip’s activism: HIV awareness; co-infection with Hep C; and faith for LGBT people.
“Equality and diversity constitute a fundamental part of my ethos.”
Since 2009 Philip has worked in financial services in London and New York. His career in the City followed on from an undergraduate degree in Modern History from Oriel College, Oxford, an M.Phil in History of Art and Architecture from Peterhouse College, Cambridge and a law conversion in London. Philip’s activism, charitable work and faith are now the main focus of his life.
“I am proud to describe myself as a gay rights and HIV awareness activist. Helping others is the most wonderful and empowering feeling in the world. My HIV does not hold me back. I progress ever forwards, my life improving as I become more confident in who I am. I have taken ownership of my HIV status, incorporating this into my identity. My HIV has made me a stronger person and I do not believe that I would be the person I am today had it not been for my diagnosis. I went through a process of becoming more open, allowing myself to be reborn. I forged a new identity, enabling me to become a different person from either a high-flying gay lawyer or a terrified patient. My humanity and humility was deepened through the experience of being made vulnerable and humbled. A weakness became a strength. It is our flaws which make us beautiful. My HIV undermined me, leaving me vulnerable. Now it is a core part of who I am. I would like every person to know that they can overcome the uncertainty of an HIV diagnosis, that those living with HIV can live an incredible life, full of hope and that, like me, HIV need not curtail their aspirations.”
Charities Philip supports and campaigns for include Stonewall, the Albert Kennedy Trust, the Terrence Higgins Trust, Positively UK and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. He has a gay rights and HIV awareness blog on the Huffington Post. He is currently finalising a semi-autobiographical book on stigma entitled Positive Damage. Everyone has the right to live with dignity, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, disability, age or creed.