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Tony Valenzuela
Photo by Perch James Melikyan

Tony Valenzuela

Tony Valenzuela

Tony Valenzuela

Meet one of the artists, disruptors, educators, groundbreakers, innovators, and storytellers who all helped make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people.

Over the last 15 years, Tony Valenzuela has been at the helm of LGBTQ+ arts and culture organizations, including Lambda Literary and the Foundation for the AIDS Monument. In summer 2022, Valenzuela embarked on a new chapter when he became the executive director of the One Institute (formerly the ONE Archives Foundation), the oldest continually operating queer organization in the country, which works to tell the stories of the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2022 the One Institute celebrated its 70th anniversary, and Valenzuela spearheaded an LGBTQ+ history festival to celebrate. “This year, I am most proud of having started Circa, the first and only queer and trans history festival in the country,” says Valenzuela. The Los Angeles County-wide festival ran during the month of October and featured dozens of exhibitions, lectures, readings, screenings, workshops, podcasts, and performances by queer and trans artists, activists, and educators.

A leading activist and thought leader in HIV and AIDS communities, Valenzuela has been involved in the LGBTQ+ movement since 1990, when he became president of his queer campus organization at University of California, San Diego. Among his many accomplishments, he founded the LGBTQ Writers in Schools program, which was the first queer educational initiative in the New York City public school system for K-12 students. He also served in management roles at the San Diego LGBT Community Center as well as Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services in Los Angeles. @oneinstitutela


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