Young HIV and gay rights activist Mark Josef Rapa has joined the Nationalist Party, becoming the latest member of its equality forum.
A researcher at the University of Manchester, Rapa is a well-known activist in Malta’s LGBTIQ+ scene who identifies as non-binary and who prefers the pronoun ‘they’ to describe themselves.
“FOIPN [the PN’s equal opportunities forum] is proof that the Nationalist party embraces different communities and wants to build policies which reflects all members of society,” Rapa told Lovin Malta.
“Over the years, I have sought to find ways how to better people’s quality of life. Trying to affect change from the inside was the next, natural step.”
“As citizens we expect and demand politicians to embrace our differences. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and often, not without our participation anyway. If we want politics for the people we must take an active role, overcome our fears and speak up.”
Rapa used to be president of the University of Malta’s LGBTIQ+ student organisation We Are, was a member of the national LGBT consultative council and founded the HIV activism group PrEPingMalta.
They have regularly advocated for better sexual health services and the extinguishing of the taboo of people with HIV.
“Guided by the principle of justice, I shall represent those who have for long felt abandoned or whose voice has not been heard. Let’s embrace our differences. They make us stronger,” Rapa said on Facebook after their new role was confirmed.
The PN’s equality forum yesterday also approved the co-option of Claire Mifsud, an assistant head of school who presents the Sunday morning newspaper analysis on NET TV.
What do you make of the PN’s newest addition?