I went to my friend Wayne Otter's farewell from the NZAF yesterday.
18 years he'd been there. That's a long time. And he was there through the so much of the bad times, when we were sick and dying. When I was sick and dying. The thing about Wayne is that he was there - he did far more than his job description required. There aren't many people in the organisation on any level today who know what he knows, or have seen what he saw. His instinctive grasp of what it was like for us and the wider gay community and all those affected by HIV was a key asset, and will be missed. They couldn't muster up a single Board member to appear, just a pro-forma speech, which I think was a bit shabby.
But there was a lot of love and respect poured out to him yesterday from people who know what he has done, and he deserved it all and more.
And the two senior managers at NZAF are leaving as well, more change. Simon and Eamonn have both made a fantastic contribution over the years, often the most important work they've done is invisble to the outside, but they have done so much. Both of them based their work in a real sense of compassion and value for people, and an understanding of the vulnerability of many of the people NZAF works with and I respect and admire them for that. They will be hard to replace.
And Carmen died this morning in Sydney. She was amazing, a force of nature, and she helped lead the way for the changes so many of us have benfitted from. Her courage and strength in being herself and speaking up back in the bad old days when being queer was illegal and could result in going to prison was amazing. She had guts, and she showed us all we don't need to apologise for being who we are.
All this change as the end of the year comes up - but the one thing in life we can guarantee is change.
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