In a taped recording he left to be played in the event of his assassination, Harvey Milk, America's first openly gay elected official, left a message for our times. "All young people," he said, "regardless of their sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment to achieve their full potential." Nowhere is the world further from that goal than in Africa.
It is peculiar that repressing sexuality is a relatively recent phenomenon in India, sexuality was not a taboo always! The first literature on the science of sexuality, the nude artistry in Ajanta caves in South India and the erotic 9th century Hindu temples, are profound evidence in favor of sexual expression, found in both sculptures and scriptures in India.
I do understand that for many, the science is not easily understood, and that you may still think doubt about the origins of AIDS is still a matter for legitimate discourse. It is not. It is an entirely irresponsible thing to do, and I beg you even at this late stage to withdraw the screening of this film.
My first stop was New Delhi where UNAIDS India and the Government of Victoria hosted a public seminar where I delivered a lecture detailing the progress on work towards an HIV cure. Prior to the seminar I met with journalists from some of the country's leading newspapers and it is my hope we will see some of those outlets reporting on AIDS 2014 from Melbourne.
Within 48 hours this hugely powerful, influential organisation has turned the clock back to a form of a self-obsessed medieval barbarism that beggars belief. I guess no-one at World Vision USA has ever met a suicidal gay teen who labours under the heavy weight of guilt and shame this $1billion a year business foists upon them.
Today the fighting is as intense as it has ever been but it is right at this moment that the war on drugs may be coming to an end. What we are seeing now at the UN in Vienna, over half a century since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was adopted, is the breakdown of the all-important consensus.
On this day, 20 years ago, the film-maker, painter, sculptor, gardener, author and queer rights activist Derek Jarman died of HIV. One of Britain's leading post-1945 avant garde artists, he is best remembered for his dazzling array of ground-breaking films. But it was as a HIV and queer rights campaigner that I knew him best.