July 20, 2014
As the crowd gathered at the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (the "MSM" stands for "men who have sex with men") pre-conference at AIDS 2014 in Melbourne on Saturday morning, the usual laughter and camaraderie of being reunited with old friends and fellow advocates were noticeably muted. The greetings felt like gestures of emotional support. The hugs lingered.
So little was yet known about the details of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy, but the loss was deeply felt in very tangible ways. Colleagues of the Global Forum had been lost in the crash. One of the scheduled speakers would not be giving her presentation; she had been on the flight.
This is not the video coverage I was expecting to deliver, of course. I am grateful that the leaders of the MSM pre-conference agreed to speak with me about the events of the previous day and their attempt to regain their footing and move forward while honoring the lost. Their remarks in my video are emotional, yet they carry the inspiration and commitment that we have come to expect from 30 years of dealing with grief while staying focused on our important work to end the HIV crisis. We know something about both loss and injustice, and the importance of moving forward.
Please keep an eye out on TheyBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com for my daily videos. There are amazing sights and events to share -- and, yes, even joy and happiness ahead. Life provides such a range of crucial emotions, and they are all on display here in Melbourne during this crucial, tragic, inspiring week.