Oral History with John Hannay


In these audio clips, John Hannay recounts his journey working in LGBTQ+ spaces in the D.C. metro area. Hailing from Rochester, New York with an educational background in theological studies, Hannay began his career working with the Coalition for the Homeless at the onset of the AIDS epidemic.

He then held the first position devoted solely to combatting the AIDS epidemic at the community staple Whitman Walker clinic, where he focused on building relationships between government-based public health structures and non-profit organizations, as well as educating the gay community and public health community about each other. He then worked for SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), serving as their first paid professional staff, where he focused on developing a volunteer core to run educational and support groups around health, mental health, and family and relationship issues.

He then worked for the Maryland Department of Health’s AIDS program, focusing on developing educational programming to disseminate information about the AIDS virus to affected communities and the broader community. Following his time at the Maryland Department of Health, Hannay helped revive the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Baltimore. He now works for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, where he continues to work on projects surrounding HIV and AIDS. While recounting his storied career, Hannay touches upon the influence of religion, family, and community in his life as both a professional and a gay man living through the AIDS epidemic.

He interjects with anecdotes about other accomplishments in his storied career, always connecting them back to how it fits into the larger picture of the movement he was fighting for and the work he was doing. This 90-minute series of audio clips gives insight into one of LGBTQ D.C.’s pioneers during the turn of the 21st century.



Marty Webb




Original Format

Audio available, 2 files, (01:42:19/00:31:39), 93.2 MB/28.8 MB


John Hannay Abtsract and Notes.pdf


“Oral History with John Hannay,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed June 25, 2024, https://archives.rainbowhistory.org/items/show/1823.

Output Formats

Document Viewer


Copy the code below into your web page