Featured artist: Shannon Crees

Garry Trotter

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Garry Trotter

Garry Trotter

 

Audio: Garry Trotter discusses how LGBTIQ men have become more confident in being publicly open about their sexuality.

Garry Trotter grew up in Sydney’s northwest, living in West Ryde and attending Marsden High School. At university he studied nursing, while living in various places across Sydney during his student years. He eventually settled in Croydon, where he lives to this day. Garry’s long association with Marrickville and the inner west dates to the early 1980s when he became involved with the Marrickville-based Pollys organisation. The Pollys is Australia’s longest-running gay social group, dating back to 1964. He served for many years on the club’s board and retains a strong connection to the group. Like many of the group’s early members, Garry was involved in the first Mardi Gras protest in 1978, and he has had a long involvement in LGBTIQ activism.

Beginning his nursing career in 1977, Garry has worked at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital since 1981. Initially working as a midwife, in 1986 he moved into caring for patients with HIV/AIDS, remaining in this field ever since. Garry was involved with the establishment of RPA’s HIV in-patient unit, which opened in 1989, and served on the board of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine before stepping down in 2008. Over the course of that time Garry has seen remarkable changes occur, both in terms of community attitudes and in medical advancement. New treatments and improvements in health management allowed RPA to close their in-patient HIV ward. Garry and the Pollys still continue to play an active role through fundraising drives and events.

Gary has gained immense satisfaction from the improvements in HIV treatment he has witnessed and contributed to over the course of his three-decade medical career. ‘The changes in HIV are phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal,’ he says. ‘There are things happening now that I never imagined would have happened thirty years ago. Thirty years ago I was watching a lot of my friends die. Now people are living normal lives. It’s very rewarding being part of this.’