We've got out very own coverboy, Projectors!
Bilerico Florida's own Michael Emanuel Rajner is featured in this month's POZ Magazine as one of the inspirational people living with HIV who make the establishment sit up and take notice.
I've had the honor of working with Michael on everything from fighting the former Mayor of Fort Lauderdale (the bigoted Jim "Gays are unhappy" Naugle) to pushing for fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for everyone in our county in South Florida. He's the type of activist who carries a bullhorn in his trunk and has every lawmaker on speed dial. He's recently been tirelessly fighting for the extension of the Ryan White Act, to provide much needed resources for people living with HIV and AIDS.
POZ puts it best:
Openly gay and HIV positive, Rajner hides little from the world as he makes a case for better access to care and fair and nondiscriminatory treatment for all people.
Someone who isn't afraid to fight, protest, lobby, and cajole, Michael is an activist through and through.
From POZ Magazine:
Michael Emanuel Rajner
Michael Emanuel Rajner, the legislative director of the Florida Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus, frequently calls us and says things like, "Hey, I'm on Mike Gravel's presidential campaign bus right now. Do you want me to interview him and press him on where he stands on AIDS?" or "Obama's staffers are pissed at me because I got on the local news and criticized him for not stopping by the United States Conference on AIDS while he was campaigning in nearby Miami." When he IMs our editor-in-chief late at night on Facebook, Rajner types messages such as, "Living the struggle with AIDS has taught me not to hold my tongue as it could end the suffering and oppression of others who can't find their voice" and "I'm tired of hearing speeches resulting in no action." Rajner has a knack for getting in the middle of the action, whether he's invited--or not. Often, his persistence leads to prominent people (such as Congresswoman Kathy Castor, D-Tampa) inviting him to lunch to hear him out. Which is, after all, one of our most basic goals.
Rajner is smart, funny and dashing, with a mischievous smile and a heart of gold. Openly gay and HIV positive, Rajner hides little from the world as he makes a case for better access to care and fair and nondiscriminatory treatment for all people. His agenda includes doing away with the doughnut hole in Medicaid Part D and beefing up funding for the Ryan White CARE Act. He works and travels across the nation, usually on his own dime--which is often not plentiful because of the fact that he's on disability. The only thing that stops him from showing up and speaking his piece is having to sometimes pinch pennies in order to balance paying for his own health care and advocating for those who need it. A pillar of the Florida advocacy committee, Rajner is living proof that you can't keep a good man down.
Also featured are:
* Naina Khanna - the director of policy and community organizing at Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD). She is also the coordinator for the U.S. Positive Women's Network.
* Oliver Martin - board of directors of the AIDS Service Center of New York City and president of the board of directors for the United Church of Christ HIV/AIDS ministry.
* Myron Gold - vice chair of the New York Association on HIV Over Fifty Inc., the vice chair on the board of directors of the Conscious Contact of New York, and a cochair of the consumer committee of the Manhattan HIV Care Network.
Thank you to Michael and everyone doing the important work for those living with HIV and AIDS!
As Michael signs off in every email he sends:
With you in the Fight.