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Bob Leahy

Bob Leahy

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on LiveJournal.com where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s HIVStigma.com campaign, along with PositiveLite.com founder Brian Finch.  He joined PositiveLite.com at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network  (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for TheBody.com.

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.

Nov24

#RedRemindsMe

Monday, 24 November 2014 Written by // Bob Leahy - Editor Categories // Arts and Entertainment, Launches, Photography, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy

Bob Leahy says "Our Friends at the Body.com have organized a World AIDS Day campaign to reinforce the concept of the red ribbon, called #RedRemindsMe. Here are three photos which might give you some ideas.

#RedRemindsMe

Says TheBody.com of #RedRemindsMe: ”It’s an inspirational photo contest to raise awareness and draw on the empowerment of the red ribbon to eradicate stigma. Participants take a picture of something red in their lives and caption it with how this reminds them of HIV’s global presence using our hashtag (#RedRemindsMe) to enter. There are a lot of ways to take part: by posting on their own Instagram and Twitter, as well as submitting directly via our Facebook app or the campaign splash page on our site.” You can get more details here.  

I’ve entered one of my photos – there are prizes to be one after all. But I thought I’d show three more from my own photographic portfolio – not everybody knows I was once a very keen published photographer - as a triptych, a set of three. That they have an AIDS connection, at least to me, has always been very clear.

Red 1

AIDS and sex. Sex and AIDS. Red and sex. Sex and red.

Red is the colour of sex; not sure why but it is. And as people living with HIV we have an odd relationship, don’t we, with sexuality? It’s what it got us to where we are today, quite often, but it is also something we celebrate as much as the next person - because we can, and safely too.  In this image of blatant (red) sexuality there is more than meets the eye. The model is a dummy of course, but like sex, we want to believe it’s real and whole and exciting. I also like it because it doesn’t represent the sexuality of this gay man, and tips the hat to the fact that, yes, there are all kinds of sexual attraction out there, even if we ourselves don’t partake in them all

Red 2

An abandoned (red) wheelchair in a downtown Toronto alley. WTF? Who knows why somebody would get up and walk, leaving their chair behind. But this oasis of red in a dreary landscape speaks volumes about disability, recovery and empowerment. Now I can’t take any credit for that – the wheelchair was just there, crying out to be photographed, and I had my camera. But it was almost like someone was saying “there’s a message, run with it”, so I did. It's been in my portfolio of red AIDS-related images ever since.

Red 3

Not much subtlety here. Being HIV – I doubt whether this chap is - can let us rise to incredible heights, one of the privileges of membership, so to speak. And red here doesn’t just whisper that fact, it shouts it. There is strength here, boldness, empowerment – and sex. Red in overdrive, in fact.

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