Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Tyrone Smith

Tyrone Smith was born in Kingston, North Carolina, to African American parents on July 14, 1942. Smith relocated to North Philadelphia with his mother and sisters at a young age. As a teenager, Smith took part in Philadelphia’s African American gay bar scene. He also was a participant in Philadelphia’s African American drag ball scene, joining the city’s Halloween drag parades in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Smith is a co-founder and served as the longtime executive director of the North Philadelphia grassroots organization Unity Inc. He was a leading African American gay and AIDS activist in Philadelphia in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In 2005, Smith co-founded the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council in Philadelphia. As of 2021, Smith lives in Philadelphia. For more on Tyrone Smith, see Philadelphia LGBT History Project, 1940-1980 by Marc Stein.