Television watchers may remember Robert Gant from his role as professor Ben Bruckner, an HIV positive gay man, in the groundbreaking Showtime series “Queer As Folk.” A decade later, Gant’s performance still prompts words of gratitude.
“It was a real gift to get to be a part of it,” Gant said in an interview with SFGN during his recent visit to Miami Beach. “It was an amazing experience across the board. It’s a special thing that after all this time continues to reverberate and have such an impact.”
Gant, 47, was in South Florida as one of the honorees of the Anti-Defamation League’s Miami In Concert Against Hate. Founded in 1913, the ADL, a Jewish service organization working against anti-Semitism is broadening its focus to take on hate in all of its forms.
Gant’s story of pursuing an acting career while generously donating time and energy to philanthropy efforts was told by legendary newsman Larry King.
“Robert’s story, like all our honorees, gives us hope and inspires us to make Miami – and the world – a better place, free from hate,” said Lonny Wilk, ADL Associate Regional Director for Florida.
Gant grew up in Tampa, but now calls New York home where, among other activities and projects, he works with Sage – Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders.
“By working on ‘Queer As Folk’ I got involved more philanthropically in a broader way,” Gant said. “I was really drawn to the issue of aging in the gay community. I recognized it was getting the least attention and I personally felt the most fear about it myself.”
Ironically, Gant’s visit to Miami coincided with the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Winter Party Festival, an event known for its throngs of young, muscled, tanned participants. Before accepting his award from the ADL at New World Center in Miami Beach, Gant expressed the difficulties with aging in the gay community.
“Given our focus on youth and beauty in our culture, the concept of aging is a particularly scary one for gay people,” Gant said. “The core misconception is that we become unlovable.”
In New York, Gant said he served on the board of a Sage-affiliated group that founded the first affordable low-income care facilities for gay and lesbian elders.
Michael Adams, Chief Executive Officer for Sage, confirmed Gant’s philanthropic work to SFGN at a panel discussion on LGBT issues last week in Coral Gables.