By Annie Cosby
We're proud to introduce you to Dr. Tony Malone, a writer, artist, and human rights campaigner in Ebbw Vale, an old mining town in the South Wales Valleys in the UK.
We sat down with Dr. Malone to chat about his work, especially the important books he's brought into the world, like The Diversity & Inclusion Glossary.
How would you describe your profession?
I use words, craft words, and define collaboratively in words the suffering of others and how we can stop this. I have worked as a writer, artist, and campaigner in the human rights space for over 20 years. I am honoured to be published and often speak out on inequality across the world.
What inspires your writing and your work in the LGBTQIA+ space?
I didn’t want to be a human rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, or a diversity and inclusion campaigner. I wanted to be a painter. However, two things happened: I studied Buddhism, and I discovered the inequality of the world.
I was fortunate to live nearby some of the greatest LGBTQIA+ campaigners in the UK, including Caroline Jones, Sue Sanders, Julie Newman, Clare Summerskill, and many more who kindly took the time to share the craft of peace activism, of social influence and change. I was invited to help draft the current equality laws in the UK and Europe, leading to my more recent work with LGBTQIA+ refugees in Uganda, Kenya, Myanmar, and Pakistan.The suffering of all communities who are oppressed drives me to do more, to write more, and hopefully be an ally to all who face inequality. I am determined to leave this world in a better place than I found it, by fostering change and then getting out of the way for those who shape and make that change to create a better future.
Why do you think The Diversity & Inclusion Glossary is important?
This project came as a suggestion from a publisher I previously worked with and my good friend Sue Sanders, who is the founder of LGBT+ History Month. We hit a point where terms, words, and meanings change, quickly. Where people who are well-meaning are struggling to not use offensive or outdated terms and had nowhere to go to.
I called on fellow activists from across the western world, from all backgrounds and communities, and put together a working team of 220 people, each with slightly differing views on equality. The project when on for two years of discussions, meetings, changes, and eventually when I felt ready, I sat at my Freewrite and "just went for it"...
It has received great reviews, been copied online a lot (which is great), and an agreement that we widen this into other languages and editions in the future has been made. To date, the book has sold 43,000 copies — just since June 2022.
What other projects are you proud of?
I would also like to mention my most undersold book — ou know, the one I poured my heart and soul into, and it just sat there on the shelf… A natural wildlife book about birding, specifically the bird the Pied Wagtail. It is one of my most fun projects, it sold just over 200 copies, but I am proud of this as it was about a different area than I would usually write.
You've written 100K words on your Freewrite. Any tips for other writers with similar aspirations?
Make time, and then make that time precious. Ignore your friends, be anti-social, become a recluse and write. Listen to criticism when people read your draft, but don’t always act on it. Buy a hat, scarf, or some other costume that makes you feel like a great author and enjoy living that life.Never be afraid to be you, in person or word. (I am still learning this last one.)
Any fun facts about yourself that you'd like to share?
I was the official Tea Ceremony Master to HH the 14th Dalai Lama, and when I am not writing or working to resolve inequalities, I am usually out performing tea ceremonies and teaching young people mindfulness through tea in the Scouts or Guides.
Thank you so much, Dr. Malone, for sitting down with us to share your fascinating journey. You've done so much incredible work so far, and we know you've got more in mind!
Note: This interview was minimally edited for clarity and brevity.