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Gays "not generous" says ex BP boss

Sun 30 Nov 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Bruce Kilmister The just retired general manager of the country's biggest HIV-positive people's support organisation is urging gay people around the country to contribute more to the support of gay people facing difficult times, whether due to HIV infection or other problems in their lives. Speaking just before he cleared his Body Positive office yesterday, gay and HIV-positive man Bruce Kilmister said the gay community is well known for enjoying the pleasures of life "and there's nothing wrong with that, but unfortunately the gay community is not known for its generosity." In common with all of the country's community-based organisations committed to improving the lives of glbti people, Body Positive has always struggled to find sufficient funds to cover even the its most basic work. Most funding comes from outside the glbti communities. "We have to remember that there are people within our communities who are not privileged, who are not well-educated, who are not employed, who are not sufficiently nourished or housed and we have to find the conscience of our community to bring those people along with us," he says. Kilmister has stepped down from managing Body Positive, which supports and advocates for people with HIV, most of who are gay or bi men. He has spent decades involved in glbti community affairs. He helped fund and lead the fight for homosexual law reform, chaired the massive Hero festivals at the height of their success, was a successful local body politician forcing glbti issues into the Auckland City Council's agendas and for the last twenty years has been involved with Body Positive, including more than a decade as CEO. He says the growing presence of HIV amongst gay men is inevitable and with ongoing infections and effective medications more and more people will be living with the virus. He says this is something the community and agencies involved in HIV-positive people's lives will have to come to terms with. In acknowledging the appointment of his successor, Mark Fisher, Kilmister says he is pleased that Body Positive over the years has developed into an organisation which can now "attract the talent it needs and can remunerate a CEO of some standing." The first of a series of farewell functions for Kilmister was held late last week and his successor joins Body Positive tomorrow morning. Later this afternoon will publish part one of a two-part interview with Kilmister, covering his reasons for becoming involved in gay and HIV community affairs and his reflections on managing Body Positive for two decades.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 30th November 2014 - 12:24pm

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