LINKAGES joins The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) in grieving the loss of Joel Gustave Nana, who passed away Thursday night in Cameroon.

Below is a reposting of the press release from The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) on the recent passing of Joel Gustave Nana

Joel Gustave Nana, c/o MSMGF

Joel Gustave Nana, c/o MSMGF

Joel was a founding co-chair of the MSMGF’s International Steering Committee. In this capacity Joel helped pave a clear path for the success of our organization, which in 2006 was the only global network of advocates who shared a common concern about the sexual health and rights of men who have sex with men. The early to mid-2000s was a period of shameful neglect and silence in the HIV sector concerning socially marginalized populations. At the time, Joel was one of the few advocates who was willing to unapologetically speak truth to power.

Joel was named the executive director of the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) in 2009, having sown the seeds for the organization a year before at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. His was a critical and necessary African voice on human rights, on HIV service access, and on the importance of grassroots community organizing. Joel understood access to health as a universal human right.  With this singular truth, which was as obvious to him as the air he breathed, Joel helped bridge the HIV and LGBT rights worlds.

During our time of deep sadness, MSMGF is reflecting deeply on Joel’s many contributions – his leadership roles, and more widely, the calm, strategic and yet unflinching way in which he challenged policy makers who wanted to look the other way. Joel was exquisitely powerful in many needed ways, and during moments when it mattered most.

Joel has left us too soon. We were lucky to know Joel and to count him as part of our movement. We are comforted by the knowledge that our world is a much better place because of Joel.

MSMGF extends its heartfelt thoughts and condolences to Joel’s family and loved ones.

About MSMGF: MSMGF has worked since its founding in 2006 to encourage targeted, tailored, better-resourced, and rights-based sexual health services for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) worldwide, through its advocacy and technical support work. As a global network, MSMGF has successfully influenced HIV responses at the local level through shifts in global- level policies and has effectively utilized public health as an entry point for advancing the human rights of LGBT people. MSMGF currently supports programs in 15 countries.