IU Health team member has pride in his eyes

IU Health ophthalmic technician will reign over Indy Pride Festival.

One of his best qualities on the job is his ability to make patients feel comfortable. Anthony Bradburn has worked in eye care for more than a decade earning an associate degree in ophthalmic science and opticianry.

“He is one of the most highly skilled technicians on the team,” said his supervisor Sharon Blanchard, administrator for IU Health Physicians ophthalmology clinics. As an ophthalmic technician, Bradburn works directly with patients promoting eye health, rehabilitation and general education. He joined IU Health two years ago.

“His patient communication skills are great. He is very good at explaining things and is very caring and observant,” said Blanchard.

Outside the office, Bradburn uses the same interpersonal skills to help bridge relational gaps for the LGBTQ community – one that he says is often misrepresented or marginalized. He was recently chosen as one of three ambassadors for the 2019 Indy Pride Festival on June 8. He earned the title “Mr. Indy Pride” following a competition where he was asked the question: “What do you want to do for the organization?” His answer was: “To create a bridge amongst those in the community that don’t feel well represented – including people of color, non-binary and transgender.”

He will be wearing a sash and medallion at every event and hopes to draw others into candid conversations about Indy Pride. The festival began in 1996. The first Indy Pride Parade was held in 2002 and draws about 95,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people and allies to the streets of downtown Indianapolis in a celebration of diversity.

“I also want to promote body positivity and HIV awareness,” said Bradburn, who grew up in Fort Wayne, IN. He was in his senior year of high school when he told his friends and family that he is gay.

“I was an ornery student in high school the one who liked to do the jokes. I used the comedy as my defense. Being someone who is gay who grew up in a conservative environment comedy helped me mask my story. By my senior year I didn’t want to keep a secret anymore and I realized people would either accept me as I am or I’d never see them again,” said Bradburn, 29. He played saxophone in the marching band, pep band and wind ensemble and became involved in the technical side of theater. After high school he began working in eye care and also for Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne.

In addition to Mr. Indy Pride, Bradburn holds eight other titles including “Mr. Gay Indianapolis,” and “King of the Closet.” He regularly performs lip-sync routines at clubs, pageants and benefits throughout the Midwest under the name Vincent T. Debeaute, and has about 90 costumes in his wardrobe.

“I chose that stage name because it means ‘the very beautiful.’ I want people to embrace their beauty,” said Bradburn. “I think the best way you encourage that is to have conversations. The more you make people feel comfortable, the more they are willing to talk and start understanding. We are a small enough community we need to look out for others.”

More about Bradburn:

  • His parents are Scott and Susan Bradburn. He has an older brother Nik Bradburn and an older sister Lena Byanski, three nieces and two nephews.
  • He will perform at the Bag Ladies Loud and Proud event on June 6, benefiting The Gregory Powers Direct Emergency Financial Assistance Program (DEFA), an emergency financial resource for people living with HIV/Aids.

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.