Michael Parish turned his passion to volunteer at RCD into a full-time job as HIV educator and STD tester

MichaelFNL01_2MARK STOKES  | Illustrator

Name and age:
Michael Parish, 25

Spotted at:
The Nelson-Tebedo Clinic

HIV educator and tester
Born in Waco, this native Texan moved to Dallas at age 9, when his father began working for DART. Michael served as a volunteer for Resource Center Dallas for four years and was hired full time in 2010, where he provides weekend STD testing and strives to prevent new HIV infections and combat the stigma attached to the virus. He also works with the gay/bi young men’s group FUSE.

Fighting the good fight:
This tall Sagittarian is a warrior on the frontlines, challenging the social stereotypes about being gay within the community itself. “Some communities don’t fully accept that they’re at risk of infection, “ says Parish. “Some LGBT people, on the other hand, throw in the towel when it comes to fighting HIV. They’re made to believe that they specifically are destined to contract HIV. But if you remove LGBT and insert another category of people and say the same thing, you would see the ludicrousness of such a belief. Fighting that belief is the biggest challenge.”

Ice Ice baby:
Nicknamed “Black Ice” by his friends and co-workers, Michael is outgoing, with a great sense of humor. Creation is the ultimate passion in his life. He enjoys building furniture, arts and crafts (His motto: “Do-it-yourself ’til I die!”), sewing and cooking — particularly baking desserts. He also expresses himself through photography, singing, songwriting and producing music. A self-trained musician, his musical influences include Enya and Michael Jackson.
His goal is to become an advocate for the community, and provide a face as a role model. “We’re everybody,” he says.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 20, 2012.