Born 5.12.65 – Died 6.2.93
Act Up! Fight Back! Fight Aids!
Bill Hathaway had a major impact in increasing people’s awareness of HIV/AIDS issues. As a founding member of ACT Up Melbourne, he was involved in a number of activist protests around the threat to close Fairfield Hospital in 1991 and in actions to highlight drug access hold-ups including blocking the guards inside the House of Representatives so that two people could jump from the Public Gallery to the floor of the House as part of ACT Up’s D-Day protests in Canberra in 1992. The notorious replacement of Melbourne’s Floral Clock with an ACT Up symbol in June 1991 may well have had something to do with Bill’s mischievous, irreverent but certainly effective brand of activism!
Bill was employed as the HIV Education Officer with VAC/GMHC and set about trying to break down some of the barriers which had existed between positive and negative gay men particularly in their negotiations around sex. He produced an education campaign around positive sex, established a peer support course for HIV-positive people, began HIV Plus, a radio program on 3CR radio, and conducted a number of forums and retreats for positive people.
Bill was happy to do media work as an “out” positive person at a time when only a few people were prepared to be open about their status. He appeared in a video called Fair Treatment and did numerous interviews for the press including a cover feature story on his role in activism for OutRage magazine. Bill had incredible energy, charisma and commitment to fighting for the rights of people with HIV/AIDS.