5 Questions with Bruce Weston
20 Jan 2021
As we put 2020 behind us, we ask Bruce Weston five questions to learn about how the Rainbow Connection volunteer went on to join the Board of Thorne Harbour Health...
Our LGBTI community is made up of a plethora of smaller communities and intersectionalities, how do you identify within these?
I identify as a gay man.
What motivated you to get involved with Thorne Harbour Health?
Throughout COVID I had been volunteering with Thorne Harbour Health and the Rainbow Connection service – delivering care packages and support to community members all over Melbourne.
I guess you have moments in life, and it was through the conversations I had and the pleasure I took in spending time with and supporting people who needed connection during such a challenging time that I made the decision to do more.
I then put myself up for Board election and was honoured to be elected by the membership.
Is there an aspect of Thorne Harbour’s work that you’re particularly passionate about?
I have seen the LGBTI world change so much in my adult life - particularly the response to HIV. When I was in my early 20s, things like PrEP, PEP and UVL did not exist. I lost friends along my life journey to HIV complications. In 2021, HIV is a manageable chronic condition and our communities have many so options to manage their sexual health - to me, that's quite incredible.
What disappoints me is the residual stigma faced not only by people living with HIV, but all of the broader LGBTI community – so I guess my passion lies in challenging stigma, and respecting the memory of the people we have loved and lost and to ensure that we grow together as a community.
When you’re not serving on the Board of Thorne Harbour Health – what do you get up to?
I’m a bit of a workhorse. I ‘m currently working for the executive of a public health service and am completing my Masters. I spend a lot of my free time reading and writing about the health system. Coming out of a global pandemic - there is a lot to read, write, and think about.
Perhaps I need to get some hobbies! Does having house plants count?
As we put 2020 behind us, what do you think we can learn from the past year as we head into 2021?
It was a tough year collectively. Personally my reflections centre on ‘letting go’ somewhat. Being able to ride the rhythm and waves of life can be challenging, but having that innate flexibility was something which was prevalent for me in 2020.
As a community, I’d like to believe we all had the opportunity to re-learn the value of connection and kindness and to integrate those concepts into our day-to-day lives more.