The Whitman-Walker Clinic announced Thursday that Matthew Cusick has been awarded its 2004 Courage Award. The award is handed out annually to a person living with HIV or AIDS for showing bravery and leadership in their battle against the disease.
Cusick, 32, was fired from Cirque du Soleil in April 2003 for being HIV-positive. At the time the popular troupe told him his medical condition could pose a risk to other performers. In April, Cirque agreed to pay $600,000 to end a discrimination lawsuit brought forward by Cusick.
Cusick will be presented with the Courage Award on October 23 at the 18th annual AIDS Walk in Washington D.C.
"[Matt's] courage and determination to stand up against blatant discrimination has been an inspiration not only to people living with HIV/AIDS but to the entire gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community," said A. Cornelius Baker, executive director of Whitman-Walker Clinic. "He has demonstrated that one person, motivated by a firm belief in his right to fair treatment under the law, can make a huge difference in the world."