Thursday, March 20, 2008

Knocking Down Stereotypes, Just by Standing There

There are some people whose very lives—their very existence—are a victory, an affirmation of life, and a bold statement against simplistic stereotypes that harm all of us.

Regan Hofmann, Editor in Chief of POZ Magazine, is one of those people. Her fundamental honesty and compassion, and her bravery in living each day and tackling the tough issue of stigma toward HIV positive people serve as a profound profile in courage. Couple that with Regan’s keen understanding of the power of media—print and all forms of electronic media—to educate and inform people about the disease, and you can perhaps begin to see the enormous importance she plays in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Regan Hofmann is a key partner of Cable Positive’s. She has been HIV positive since 1996, and she stunned the Cable industry at the Cable Positive Annual Benefit on March 4, simply by acting as our host for the evening and speaking passionately about her status as an HIV positive person.

The power of Regan’s presence as an HIV positive HIV/AIDS activist and educator, is not only in the fact that she is “living with, living with, not dying from the disease.” It is also who Regan is. She is a young, soft-spoken, heterosexual white woman, striking in her appearance and composure that smashes every single stereotype that many want to believe about people with AIDS. She is a Board Member of the National Association of People with AIDS, a Board Member of the Names Project, has appeared on “Oprah”, is a part of Kenneth Cole’s new media campaign to raise HIV/AIDS awareness, and appeared, along with Gloria Reuben, in Cable Positive new documentary “Positive Voices: Women & HIV,” which has aired on Showtime Networks, and is being requested by hundreds of AIDS organizations across the country.

Just by standing before a large audience, or appearing on television, or writing in the pages of her beloved POZ Magazine, Regan Hofmann is a force for change because she is living evidence that HIV is not a “gay” disease or a “black” disease, or a “third-world” disease, but a matter for the entire human family to face.

She told the Cable industry leaders attending the Cable Positive Power Awards two weeks ago that “by openly discussing HIV, you de-stigmatize what is nothing more than a retrovirus; when we can see AIDS, and talk about it, we can heal people, and prevent others from getting it.” And this brave leader, activist & AIDS educator had high praise for the corporate social responsibility practiced by the Cable industry in this fight: “Your incredible efforts move us ever closer to the day when we will celebrate not only the power and the passion of this brave industry, but also one day, maybe, the end of AIDS.”

Powerful words from a courageous person whose sheer presence makes an astounding statement against the stigma surrounding people who are “living with” this disease.

1 comment:

HIV+ Chat said...

Many "little guys" have done alot too, but they are not on TV or on the radio. Thanks to all the POZ who set up little web sites and blogs to share experiences.