Fired by a passion for the underdog
by Rachael Antony
"I didn't know I was going to turn out a lezzo," says Bridget Haire. Luckily for us she did. Editor of 'Positive Living', ex-Editor/co-founder of 'Lip' Magazine, Executive Officer for People Living with HIV/AIDS, and co-winner of this year's VGLRL/Midsumma Mass Debate ('That we can live without straights'), Bridget Haire's contribution to the gay and lesbian community ranges from hard-hitting political lobbying to tongue-in-cheek word play.
As a youngster, Haire wanted to be "a big time actor," however, the diagnosis of a childhood friend with HIV provided a catalyst. "It changed what I wanted to do with my life," says Haire. "Politically the struggle of people with HIV was
important seeing the overt discrimination that people were subjected to."
As the editor for 'Positive Living', Haire set about changing the way information was packaged for HIV/AIDS. She aimed to translate complex medical jargon into useful, intelligent information which wasn't patronising and didn't resort to simplistic sloganeering.
Although stories about the negative side of combination drug therapy sometimes created a backlash against her within and outside the community, Haire remains adamant the whole story must be told if people with HIV/AIDS are to make informed choices independent of the medical profession.
"We actually believed we were doing the most important job in the world, which seems quite funny now," says Haire, "But it gave you the strength to work until 4 am in the morning if you had to, without resenting it."
'Positive Living', which is distributed through the gay and lesbian press across Australia, now has a circulation of 75,000. Haire also co-founded 'Lip' Magazine in 1997 with former 'MSO' editor Kelly Gardiner.
Melbourne's only free lesbian publication, 'Lip' folded after 7 months. The publication aimed to combine high production values with intelligent and playful content. "It was great fun," says Haire.
Haire has resigned her position with PLWHA to be reunited with her partner in Sydney and to take up a position as news journalist with the 'Sydney Star Observer'.
"I'm going to be sad to leave all my friends," says Haire, adding that she is excited also. "I'm going to learn Italian, take up Yoga, write a novel, have a baby and get a kitten," she laughs. "I'm in the dreaming stage
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Melbourne Star Observer 12th March