Welcome, dear reader, to the December edition of GCN. There’s a ton of exceptional content in the pages that lie ahead. Expect a jaw-droppingly beautiful fashion spread by queer Irish designer Colin Horgan, alongside a wonderful interview charting how the local boy done good. Musical mastermind Elaine Mai tells us all about her new album, while the Poz Vibe duo of Veda and Robbie Lawlor talk activism. There are powerful pieces from the diverse voices of our community, including a ‘Goodbye Ireland’ letter from the departing CEO of TENI. Expect stunning photos and illustrations from incredibly talented creatives, including Clare Foley who created astonishing bespoke imagery for our GCNnewvoices series highlighting the words and thoughts of young LGBTQ+ writers.
Alongside those, you can enjoy the usual range of entertainment features, opinion pieces and conversation starters from the wonderfully diverse voices of our community. We are so very proud to be able to provide a platform for essential discussions to take place, and this issue is packed with important ones for sure.
Now. Let us take a moment to talk about a momentous date - December 1, World AIDS Day.
The gorgeous portrait by Hazel Coonagh that graces our cover is of Rebecca Tallon de Havilland, who is one of the amazing people taking part in a new exhibition we have collaborated with HIV Ireland on - Living. Living was dreamed into life to commemorate World AIDS Day and to highlight and celebrate some of the incredible People Living With HIV in this country. Taking place in Dublin’s CHQ Building, the exhibition features the portraits, stories and messages of support from an inspiring group of people doing everything they can to combat the destructive impact of stigma.
As you’ll see from their interviews inside, they are not just living, they are thriving, all leading happy, healthy lives, not being held back by their diagnosis. But they all share that the largest part of their struggle is the stigma that has attached itself to HIV, the ignorance and blunt cruelty dealt out to them by people, not by a status.
As we mark this World AIDS Day, let us also decide to signpost this particular date as the one where we decide as a whole community to focus on battling stigma with just as much vigour as we battle new infections. When we say People Living With HIV, the most important word there is Living – this is no longer a death sentence, a diagnosis does not mean someone stops existing, the person who was there before is still there now. We all deserve happiness, respect, support and love in our lives, so let’s make sure we also give it. Challenge ignorance, battle hatred and stamp out stigma.