Few of us ever actually get to meet our heroes, I did. Fewer still get to meet them, and then learn from them. Oh, I did. More unexpectedly still, was that my hero became a lover, a great friend, a champion, and a central member of my logical-family. His name was Derek Ogg and he was one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met.

I met Derek whilst a teenage volunteer with SAM, Scottish AIDS Monitor, at the peak of the AIDS epidemic in Scotland. Derek was SAM’s founder and chairman. When those dying from AIDS were shunned and abused by every part of society, his was the first, the loudest and most emphatic voice of the fight against HIV. Unlike the heads of similar organisations, who always seemed to be empire building in the face our struggles, Derek was in this purely for the people. What few people realise is that every gay man in Scotland owes him a huge debt of gratitude. For not only was he at the forefront of the fight to legalise homosexuality in Scotland, it was he who physically wrote the very words that were ultimately signed into law.

As head of the Scottish Sex Crimes unit he fought real life demons and monsters and won. As a man whose greatest love was the law, he was proud when he made the processes of law and state click together like clockwork.

But for over 20 years he was first and foremost one of my dearest friends, he was more than a friend… he was family. In a hundred years time, history will look back and Derek Ogg will be remembered as a man who helped define our era.

They say never meet your heroes. I did. And he was everything I hoped he’d be.