Johnny Fambro of Macon, a longtime LGBT and HIV activist, died Oct. 3, 2014. He was 63.
In 2011, Fambro was honored by Georgia Equality with its Guiding Star Award at its Evening for Equality event.
Fambro was the executive director of the Central City AIDS Network and Rainbow House. He also at one time owned a gay bar, organized against Anita Bryant and worked to provide free and confidential HIV testing in the central Georgia city.
From a 2011 GA Voice story on Fambro accepting his award:
Macon HIV activist Johnny Fambro, seated in a wheelchair, drew a standing ovation from the crowd for his decades of work on HIV and LGBT issues in the central Georgia city.
Now semi-retired as executive director of the Central City AIDS Network and Rainbow House in Macon, Fambro received the Guiding Star Award. It was presented by Georgia Equality board member Jamie Roberts, who told of working on HIV issues for Fambro’s organization as a recent law school graduate also in the process of gender transition.
“Even though there was some part of that that was profoundly isolating and alienating, I could always find a loving family with unconditional positive regard at the Rainbow Center,” Roberts said.
Roberts described Fambro’s diverse work that ranged from organizing against Anita Bryant, to owning a gay bar, to creating an HIV program when he saw his friends begin to grow sick and die from the disease, to running for office as an openly gay candidate and continuing to grow the city’s AIDS organization.
Fambro, who charmed the crowd with remarks that were both amusing and inspiring, humbly accepted the award by claiming that he got it for being “lazy” — that with so few people doing anything to fight for HIV and LGBT rights, he could do a little and be seen as doing a lot.
“I do accept this in the name of all the people who died for this award, for all of the people who have helped, for all of my friends who have died, and friends I have never met. It was not me who did this. It was all of the people who stood behind me on cold and rainy nights,” Fambro said.
On Saturday, Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, posted to Facebook, “Johnny was a true hero in the fight against HIV, a champion for LGBT rights and a warrior for justice. I am honored to have known and worked with him for nearly 20 years. He will be missed but his spirit will live on!”
Fambro’s own Facebook page is filled with messages of love and respect for him.
HIV/AIDS activist Michael Leon told the Macon Telegraph that Fambro worked to help anyone in need.
“Johnny has been a fixture in this community. He started out helping people out of the trunk of his car. … People would donate clothes, food and furniture, and he would go to the bars on Friday or Saturday night and give the items out to people.”
Fambro helped establish an HIV clinic and as well as housing to the HIV community in Macon, according to the Macon Telegraph.
Here is video of him at the 2011 Evening for Equality event accepting his award from Jamie Roberts, a board member of Georgia Equality at the time and also Fambro’s friend: