2 November 2021
Positive Life NSW is both surprised and dismayed at the announcement that the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) has scheduled a General Meeting for 1st December: on World AIDS Day.
“World AIDS Day is a significant day in our calendar,” said Jane Costello, Positive Life NSW CEO. “ It is a day close to the heart for the community of people living with HIV, and an annual day for grieving and remembering our friends, partners and family we have lost to HIV/AIDS.”
Similar to Positive Life NSW, SGLMG is an organisation guided by its membership. “While we respect the wishes of the Mardi Gras’ membership, we take no particular position around SGLMG’s governance decisions. However, we also need to voice the concerns raised to us by the NSW Body Positive,” said Positive Life NSW Vice-President, Stephen Lunny.
When early community activists built the foundations of the SGLMG organisation in 1978, it was within the next decade that these same activists experienced the devastating impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sydney Australia.
Combatting a double blow of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) rights in a time of wide-spread, institutionalised oppression and discrimination, along with the decimating results of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the SGLMG Board are well acquainted with the impact of HIV/AIDS on this community of people. Many members of the NSW LGBTQI+ community have also been personally impacted by the overwhelming effects of HIV/AIDS.
“I expect the community will see this clash of dates as disrespectful,” said Positive Life NSW Deputy CEO, Neil Fraser.
“As the first of December falls on a Wednesday this year, there appears to be no barrier to holding a Mardi Gras General Meeting on any other day of that week and we sincerely hope that the Mardi Gras board will see fit to amend this date out of respect for those lost to and living with HIV/AIDS,” he said.
We would welcome a discussion with the SGLMG Board around the importance of World AIDS Day to our community.
Jane Costello, CEO – 1800 245 677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Positive Life NSW is the voice of all people living with HIV in NSW since 1988. We are the largest peer-led and run representative body of all people living with HIV in Australia based in NSW. We make a significant contribution to and positive impact across the spectrum of health and social issues on behalf of all people living with HIV in collaboration with HIV specialist and mainstream services to improve the health and quality of life of all people living with HIV in NSW. We do this through evidence based health promotion, research, policy advice and peer support.