Article Title:Jonathan Smith
Category:Hall of Fame
Author or
Published on:2nd June 2003 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:76
Text:Meet Jonathan Smith, multitasking performer, tutor, event organiser and HIV+ man. Who are you and what's your background? Born in London in 1954 (yes I am almost 49 and still haven't had a face lift, contrary to what you might have heard). I moved to Auckland with my family as a child before returning to London in my late teens where I worked for British Airways for many years - this is when I came out of the closet. Fell into and out of love with many European and South American men then realised what I really needed was a Kiwi man, so came back to New Zealand in my late 20's. I failed school terribly, or should I say school failed me. The only thing I was good at was amateur dramatics and look where that has led me! It is some what surprising that after a drastic schooling I ended up working in an academic role at AUT and completed two postgraduate diplomas, one through AUT and the other through RMIT in Melbourne, a proud moment for me. Became self employed 2 years ago, which is the best move I have ever made. I had realised that I had a number of skills in differing areas that could be packaged into a business called "Quattro Training, Consulting and Events." What have you hoped to achieve by your work in the HIV area? Hopefully over the past nine years since my involvement in HIV/AIDS, I have made a difference for HIV positive people by improving their rights and well being. By putting a face to this virus I trust it has helped other people to understand what it is like to live with the virus and subsequently decrease discrimination and prejudice. This philosophy is extended to my goal when I organise any event that has an HIV/AIDS focus. It is always my intention that the event will support at least one HIV positive person in some way and that at least one person has been prevented from becoming infected - education. What characterises the New Zealand GLBT community for you? Hard question, what does the term community mean, is there a community? I have never thought of it as a community, there are groups of people who might do the gay club circuit, the sex on site venues, dinner parties with friends etc., but to categorise it as one community is not possible. We all have very different lives, live in different parts of town (even Glenfield) but we do have one thing in common, our sexual orientation, does that mean a community? What is the worst thing for you about being GLBT? Continuously being attacked from within our own community no matter what you do - good or bad. Why don't we spend more time supporting each other and be proud of what we can achieve together? We get enough crap thrown at us from the straight community. I was talking to a good friend about this very subject and his comment was that it is like the role of school bullies picking on other people to cover up their own insecurities and failures. What is the best thing about being GLBT? The best thing about being gay for me is that it fits within my life and doesn't control it. My sexual orientation is a small picture within the larger mural of life. I am proud to be gay but keep it in context with me as a person. Appreciating the good things in life must be related to being queer, or is that why I am gay? Relationship status? Very much in love with my best friend, companion, life partner and lover Kevin. I have been with Kevin now for 9 years in the most fantastic relationship. After loosing my previous partner of 14 years to AIDS I questioned if I wanted to ever get involved again but Kevin came along and now I understand the term "true love." And after all, without Kevin there would not be Buffy and Bimbo. Favourite food and my partner Kevin for his honesty, sincerity and strength. What is the most pressing issue currently facing the New Zealand GLBT community? Complacency around HIV. It hasn't gone away, it's still here and I predict in the next 24 months there will be a huge increase in new infections - scary, as I wouldn't wish this on anyone. If you could have one wish granted what would it be? If I had one wish granted I would like to turn the clock back 30 years providing I can take the knowledge I have today with me - so much fun and, yes, I would still want to be gay. - 2nd June 2003
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