Michael McColly is an HIV-positive, bisexual author, teacher and lecturer based in Chicago. His 1996 HIV diagnosis marked the beginning of a journey to understand the role of community activism and spiritual practice in the fight against HIV. Between 2000 and 2005, Michael traveled around the world talking with HIV-positive people and their advocates -- he listened to their life stories and learned about their work. He spoke with Buddhist monks in a Thai monastery, traditional Zulu healers, male sex workers in urban India and mullahs in Islamic Senegal. His travels culminated in a memoir last year called The After-Death Room: Journey Into Spiritual Activism. The book explores the impact that cultural attitudes toward death, sexuality, gender, morality and spirituality have on people with HIV.
Michael's articles and essays have been published in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, In These Times, The Sun Magazine and Salon.com. Michael is also a university writing instructor and a yoga teacher, and he speaks to students and community organizations about HIV in the United States and abroad. His writing explores not only the HIV pandemic, but sports, international travel, academia, politics and war. Click here to read an excerpt from The After-Death Room: Journey Into Spiritual Activism.