Anthony Johnson

LGBTQ2, Two Spirit and Diversity Expert

Anthony Johnson, a self-proclaimed spiritual nomad, is an artist, poet, photographer, cultural documentarian, public speaker, and a strategic analyst whose mission in life is to explore the beauty of the Earth and its inhabitants. A proud Dine (Navajo) man who was born and raised on the Navajo Nation, he’s lived in many cities across Turtle Island and even had a short stint in Shanghai, China. After graduating from Harvard University in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Social Anthropology of East Asia, he has worked in the tech industry, fashion world, and project consulting.

Back home Anthony Johnson regularly did odd jobs for individuals in his community and volunteered wherever he could. Johnson’s community has an unemployment rate of 50% which sparked frustration for him, as it was hard for him to visualize a future as it would be nearly impossible for him to be able to make a good life on his reserve. In dedicating his time volunteering and doing odd jobs in his community, Johnson learned that he had a strong will to help others through human connection. He realized the power of making someone smile, giving them hope and to advocate for people who faced similar problems. That’s where he found the highest value for himself. This led Johnson down a new path of restoration with a passion to make real change in each other which will then change systems and social structures that promote inequality.

His move to Treaty 6 Territory in Edmonton, Alberta marked the beginning of the newest chapter in his life when he wed his husband, Dr. James Makokis while running the BMO Harris Vancouver Marathon in 2017. The married couple then represented the LGBTQ2 community as the first Two-Spirit Team (Team Ahkameyimok) on AMAZING RACE CANADA. They faced many obstacles during the season, escaping elimination on three separate occasions. Their resilience, teamwork and communication improved episode after episode and they’re “never give up” attitude showed the world the inner strength of Two-Spirit resilience. The season was the most-watched season in Canada and they had the world talking about their triumphs and their cause bringing awareness through their advocacy for Two-Spirit, LGBTQ2 and First Nation issues the mainstream culture.

Anthony Johnson’s story is one of hope, overcoming adversity and activism. He represents the unfortunate realities of race and gender segregation and offers insights on individuals, families and friends that can help break down inner thought processes to treat others with respect, love and offer support. He is passionate to bring awareness to the importance to abolish social constructions and systematic segregation and to replace it with equality. Johnson is regularly involved with activism, community engagement and is passionate in teaching others and promoting wellness, resilience and hope for everyone he comes in touch with. His customized presentations are often presented with his partner Dr. James Makokis. His story, education, and he are passionate to inspire and create real change through all forms and types of interactions.

Topic Presentations

1. Bullying
2. Diversity and Inclusion
3. LGBTQ2 and Two Spirit Celebration
4. Two Spirit Resilience: The Anthony Johnson Story
5. Suicide Prevention, Addictions and Mental Health
6. Indigenous Values and Culture
7. Social Enterprise/Philanthropy - Importance of Giving Back
8. Indigenous Youth

Anthony Johnson was bullied by his peers while also facing troubling situations at home. The feeling of non-acceptance and the lack of being able to identify with others contributed to Anthony developing a low self esteem. An inner complex of blaming himself for being himself (something that many LGBTQ2 individuals face on many different levels) led Anthony down a troubling path. When family, friends, society and social systems continuously reject someone, and that person does not have a good support system, it leaves the door open for negative thinking, low self esteem, and the constant need to look outside of oneself for acceptance. Anthony teaches the importance positive self thought, surrounding yourself with the right people and of making moral based decisions to gain confidence and raise one's self esteem. He shows that bullies only have power if you give them power, and how to channel one's inner strength to know when to act and when to walk away.

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