Troy Williams has served as executive director of Equality Utah since 2014, where his efforts include helping pass Utah’s historic LGBTQ non-discrimination protections in housing and employment and leading the campaign to successfully protect minors from the dangerous practice of conversion therapy. Previously, Troy served as community affairs director of 90.9 FM KRCL and was executive producer and co-host of the talk show RadioActive. He co-wrote the award-winning play The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon, and his work has been featured in the New York Times, Anderson Cooper 360, CBC Q, Democracy Now!, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, and Interview Magazine.
Why did you decide to join the Community Advisory Board?
I’ve always been inspired by the Huntsman family and their spirit of philanthropy. They are committed to investing in Utah and creating a better state for all of us. I jumped at the opportunity to be involved with a visionary health care center like Huntsman Cancer Institute.
What motivates you to do the work you do at Equality Utah and in collaboration with your team?
I feel a deep sense of responsibility to be a champion for the LGBTQ community. As a people, we are here to contribute to the wellbeing of the entire state. We are artists, musicians, doctors, lawyers, business owners and cultural creatives. We can’t allow legal inequality and antiquated ideas keep us from achieving our full potential on this planet. We are ready to contribute to our fullest. I want to help, however I can, to make that possible.
What is your personal philosophy?
I’m forever an irrational optimist. The odds may be stacked against us, but I don’t care. I will always keep working to create the world where I want to live.
What is one of your favorite or most impactful projects you have worked on over the course of your career?
I’m very proud that we were able to work closely with Governor Herbert to ban the practice of LGBTQ conversion therapy in 2020. We know that when young people are subjected to these discredited practices, it increases their rates of depression and suicide. I’m so proud of Utah for being the 19th state in the nation (and the most conservative) to protect kids from this dangerous practice. It gives me hope for the future.
What do you love most about living and work in Salt Lake and Utah?
I love that Utah thoughtfully works through complicated issues. Many other conservative states easily discount LGBTQ or racial minorities. But not Utah. We find ways to come to the table and work through problems together. "The Utah Way" is a very special approach. We sit down together and we find common-ground solutions. Both Governor Herbert and Governor Cox have adopted the advocacy ethos "Nothing About Us, Without Us." That is why Utah has passed more pro-LGBTQ pieces of legislation than any other red state. We are all in dialogue, we are all working together, to send a message to every Utahn that we all belong.
The Community Advisory Board comprises 36 members from Utah and the Mountain West who serve as Ambassadors of Huntsman Cancer Institute. The board provides strategic input to prioritize work and engage the community in cancer research, services, and prevention efforts.