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Check Out Tyrell Manning’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyrell Manning.

Hi Tyrell, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
June 22, 1986, I came into the world right here in St. Louis, Mo. I was a goofy yet quiet kid. I feel I learned to set boundaries very early for my preservation. My world was no stranger to trauma. I had a front-row seat to my mother’s struggles with mental health and substance use. I don’t have many memories of my dad. I know he wasn’t there. He popped up a little later in my adolescent years, but my relationship with him was a bit strained. My grandparent got custody of my sister and me around the time I was 10. I knew very early in life I was a different kid. However, I haven’t gotten too deep into the various things that happen as a kid. I couldn’t verbalize or tell you what it was, but I knew I was unique. I navigated my childhood by falling in Love with church life. This was both beneficial and added trauma at the same time. My sexuality was a constant struggle. I tried to hide it, cover it, pray it away, and even got married to prove I was “delivered.” Ultimately I would have two amazing kids and a wife who loved me deeply. Yet, I was still not me. My marriage ended most dramatically and painfully. I had to tell the truth! I would start a journey of self-realization, healing, overcoming new challenges, and coming to learn more about myself and love myself wholly. I found a work that I love. I currently work for The City of St. Louis Department of Health as the Ending The HIV Epidemic Project Coordinator,

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I have had a parent with substance use challenges, physical abuse, family death, a heart attack at 35, divorce, religious trauma, coming to terms with my sexuality, financial struggles, and navigating anxiety. This journey has been rough! I don’t even have the space to explain fully.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I consider myself to be a public health advocate. I have work the last 8 years in the HIV/STD field. I started volunteering for Williams and Associates, Inc. I was looking for the community, but I found family and purpose. My work is deeply rooted in community-centered advocacy for those who exist along the margins of society. This influences every aspect of my work, connecting community members to resources to better their health outcomes or creating space for the Black LGBTQ community to exist. I am deeply devoted to the holistic wellness of Black people of Trans experience and Black Gay and Bisexual men.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
I love reading! All About Love by bell hooks is one book that has significantly impacted my life and how I love others. No Ashes In The Fire by Darnell Moore and All-Boys aren’t Blue by George Johnson are two books that have touched me deeply. I believe the stories of Black Queer people need to be told and shared with the world. These stories can and will make this world a safer place for Queer people across the globe, even in a world where these stories are banned.

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