FUSE49 — Love is Love

HIV/AIDS HAS had a huge impact on communities all over the world.

It wasn’t that long ago when the first case of HIV/AIDS in Australia was recorded in Sydney, October 1982, and the first Australian death from AIDS occurred in Melbourne, July 1983. Many lives have been lost since then, and people are still contracting HIV today.

Last month, my partner and I joined our local community to honour and remember those whom we have lost to AIDS in the Australian Capital Territory and throughout the world.

This year in Canberra, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held for the first time in the beautiful Margaret Whitlam Pavilion at the National Arboretum.

The ceremony was a time to mark the many steps we have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but it was also an opportunity to remember the suffering and loss experienced by many, and to call on the community for greater acceptance and support for those still in need.

The Memorial was hosted by Genevieve Jacobs and included some rousing speeches from Professor John Dwyer, Senator Katy Gallagher and former AIDS Action Council President Scott Malcolm. We listened to cellist Christian J. Renggli as the names of the lost were remembered. And the Canberra Gay & Lesbian Qwire sang as candles were lit and tears were shed. The AIDS Candlelight Memorial is indeed a sombre event, but it is also a day of hope, courage and possibility. We were honoured to be part of such an important occasion.

Here in Canberra there is currently no permanent place for people to gather and remember those lost to AIDS. In response to this, a community group made up of people living with HIV, their families and their friends, together with the support of the AIDS Action Council, have spent many years searching for a suitable site where this space could be created.

During the Memorial we were thrilled to hear that this has finally come to fruition. The AIDS Garden of Reflection will be built at the National Arboretum in the ‘Gallery of Gardens’ located on the Arboretum’s events terrace. The five hundred square metre garden will feature a range of native plants and sculptures by renowned landscape architects, with the objective of providing a peaceful space for remembrance, reflection and inspiration.

Of course, large projects like this one cost money and as a community we have an ambitious goal — to raise $125,000 which is needed to make this important and long-held dream a reality. You can help by making a tax deductible donation. Visit aidsgardenact.com.au

You’ll find some more information about the AIDS Garden of Reflection on p12. Also in this issue we look at why blocking same-sex marriage has significant economic consequences p17; the new documentary Oriented which explores the lives of three gay Palestinian friends in Tel Aviv p21; what you can expect if you’re dating an air sign p24; we celebrate gay love letters through history p23; and don’t miss our four glorious pages of photos from this year’s 2016 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras p39.

Enjoy, Alex

FUSE49 : Love is Love (Boy Cover)

FUSE49 : Love is Love (Girl Cover)

Tags: Gay Men, Lesbian, HIV/AIDS

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