The community mourns two deaths this week, with the passing of community leaders Stephen Gallagher and John Richardson.
Vice president of the Harbour City Bears, Richardson died on Tuesday, March 16. He is survived by his partner Peter Bayfield.
Bayfield and Richardson became Australia’s first legally married gay couple, after tying the knot in Richardson’s homeland of Canada.
HCB president Jonny Bastin remembered a man full of energy and vision for the club’s progress.
“He [Richardson] was so enthusiastic about working with the community. He had a vision for what Harbour City Bears could be, other than just being a social club,” Bastin said. Richardson had pushed for HCB involvement with the Inspire Foundation, anti-homophobia campaigns and safe-sex campaigns.
“He was able to engage with other community organisations and clubs to push for the wellbeing of our community.”
Stephen Gallagher — a Positive Life board member and long-serving ACON staff member — died on Monday, March 22.
Positive Life CEO Rob Lake said Gallagher was a loved member of the organisation.
“He will be missed by us for his activism, his insights, his friendship and his passion for the rights of people with HIV.”
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill recalled a man who provided great support and was an incomparable wealth of knowledge on the HIV sector.
Starting off as a peer support leader and treatment advisor, Gallagher moved into resource development for ACON. Working on some of ACON’s most crucial education campaigns during the mid-’90s, he played a major role in boosting community understanding of new HIV treatments.
Most recently he had moved into a policy position, working at state and federal levels to push for favourable policy outcomes for the positive community.
“He was an extraordinary person — fiercely intelligent, hugely committed and very funny,” Parkhill said.
“Stephen was remarkably generous with his time, his knowledge and his commitment to improving the lives of people in our communities.