We are all HIV+

  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Dec 03, 2008 3:45 PM GMT
    Been reading the forums a bit on my down time today and it's sad to see that with the election over, we've gone back to business as usual. Bashing minorities, the positive (or as you guys put it "diseased"), all while promoting every single stereotype that has the word "gay" in it.

    This article in the Harvard Crimson a few years back changed my opinion, and I hope some of you guys will take it to heart. I've posted some highlights.


    http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=519574



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    The “HIV POSITIVE” T-shirt, then, is an intentionally provocative rebuke to inaction. It battles the silence, apathy, and stigma that impede awareness, prevention, and treatment measures. Today, it is an internationally recognized symbol worn by people who are HIV-positive and HIV-negative alike, including renowned figures such as Nelson Mandela. In a bold display of solidarity, the wearer proclaims the need for each of us to act “positively” to fight the pandemic regardless of our HIV status.

    Yet from here on campus, what it means to act “positively” to fight a global scourge is not immediately obvious...

    But in fact, Harvard is one of the best places for undergraduates interested in AIDS and other global health challenges. Here, cutting-edge research labs race to develop effective vaccines; student groups engage in political advocacy to increase political will among our elected officials; and non-governmental organizations that work in some of the world’s hardest-hit regions hire undergraduate summer interns and graduating seniors. The answer to the once-vexing question, “What can I do?” becomes clear quickly enough if you know where to look.

    We wear these shirts for the same reason as our compatriots in South Africa: We feel positive about our ability to make a tangible impact in the fight against the pandemic. We realize, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “the fierce urgency of now.” We can turn the tide against HIV/AIDS if and when we are all truly united against it.
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    Dec 03, 2008 5:00 PM GMT
    Statistics like the one mentioned in the article about rates of HIV infection in Africa are unreal. It is tough to comprehend what 25% infection rate means for a society.
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Dec 03, 2008 5:27 PM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidStatistics like the one mentioned in the article about rates of HIV infection in Africa are unreal. It is tough to comprehend what 25% infection rate means for a society.


    Statistics are hardly the point. But if you insist...

    http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/afrec/subjindx/aids_map.pdf
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    Dec 03, 2008 7:26 PM GMT
    No, they aren't. And I am familiar with them. But they are still shocking every time I see them.
  • SpartanJock

    Posts: 199

    Dec 03, 2008 7:45 PM GMT
    I find this very interesting, and thanks for posting. I agree with many of the points within. It has taken me many years to 'come to terms' with my own identity as a gay man who is not HIV+, and become less discriminatory toward those who are. HIV has become the elephant in the room again, unfortunately.
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    Dec 03, 2008 8:08 PM GMT
    i think... no, strike that... i'm almost certain that most people haven't gotten past the whole "you're different so i don't like you" phase of development. it seems that racism, xenophobia, and just about any other categorical dislike is an expression of emotional/intellectual immaturity.

    before alot of these issues will become non-issues we as a community need to grow up finally. (pretty ironic statement coming from someone with a peter pan complex, but whatever)

    how can we say we're ready for marriage when we're not even ready for friendship?
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Dec 03, 2008 8:23 PM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidNo, they aren't. And I am familiar with them. But they are still shocking every time I see them.


    For starters, determining the HIV infection rate in a third world country is extremely difficult. Many study participants decline to be tested for HIV for religious or cultural reasons (usually between 35-50%). Since there's virtually no reason for their unverified participants to give the researcher a false positive, we can assume the HIV rates are slightly inflated in many African nations relative to UN or WHO accepted levels.

    That particular level for South Africa was 21.5 percent in 2003. The article I posted was written in 2002, so the 25 percent figure is hardly an outrageous one for the writer to make.

    That being said, many people believe that in the last three or so years, we've seen a modest decline in rates in South Africa. So 25 percent might be an outrageous statement now.
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    Dec 03, 2008 8:49 PM GMT
    I am more than willing to forgive some statistical variation. But if it is 25%, 21.5% or even 5%

    "It forces us to consider how the global response to one of the greatest crises of our time has remained so tepid that each year the pandemic continues to claim five million new infections and three million more lives. "

    Great article. Thank you for posting it.
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    Dec 03, 2008 9:09 PM GMT
    Well I've had something o say in those forums, about HIV, and AIDS. I don't feel I was bashing anyone, as I never shown prediece to these people. Even the ones who went out of their way to infect me, I don't hold a grudge towards them. I purley talk about gay history, because I was around when the bomb of the topic hit. I remember the reactions too, and there was little positive about the whole thing at that time. Young gay men of today can now get sick, and not be labeled, and treated, as a victim of the gay plague

    But what did make me give back my gay card, is see other gay men, deliberately ignore the facts, and infect young men, because they was not willing to deprive their dick of any fun. I know same gay men tried to infect me, just out of pure SPITE! I have growen up with all of this. I am also old enough too remember life before this.

    Oh and I don't hate em because they are diffrent to me, just as I would never hate a queen, because they are diffrent to me. I just don't want to date em, bed, or notice em; a queen that is. But I'm not a spiteful hatful person, as so many of them are......

    I'm the Only fag in the Village, and RJ. So I'm a minority, with in a minority.
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    Dec 03, 2008 10:18 PM GMT
    In the early years of HIV, both before there was a test and after, when many people feared testing positive would cost them their job or insurance, an interesting bit of advice I heard on TV from an activist at the center of things here in NYC was this: whenever two gay men are together in NY, it should be assumed that one of them is positive. (At the time a guesstimate was that 50% of all gay men in NYC might be infected.)

    I took that to heart, and never, ever bothered to ask a guy if he was positive: I assumed it, or assumed I might be - even when I knew I wasn't. It never meant there could be no intimacy: it meant that safe sex was the only sex. Even when two people "know" they are both negative, there is potential for misrepresentation or misinformation - or a change in status.

    The point being that from the get-go I have not felt afraid of HIV. I respect it, as a real and present danger.

    On the other hand, many poz people find that as far as relationships (as opposed to friendship), they seek another poz guy. It's complicated, but I absolutely understand it.

    I was in my early 30s when Aids arrived on the scene. For 25 years I've watched as more and more young people fall victim unnecessarily. It's a failure of education and commitment, especially, but not only, on the part of governments. Of course, every generation almost believes it invented sex. And youth feels invincible. But the message must be one of saving lives and scarce resources, and being smart.

    In the early 80s a family in a Tampa suburb lost their home to arson when neighbors couldn't deal with the three young hemophiliac sons, and the Aids diagnosis they had received. Meanwhile, in Washington, the great communicator Ronald Reagan was silent. In fact, he never spoke the word Aids publicly during his presidency, while it was ravaging his country and the world.

    And that is part of the legacy we deal with today. Abstinence, not condoms. A war on drugs, not needle exchange and a war on the disease. Condemn gays as the cause, never mind the indiscriminate nature of disease: we handle the discrimination.

    Now, in New York at any rate, when you stop by GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis) or even walk by, you might wonder how GAY stays in the name. If it feels and looks like GMHC is serving mostly African- and Hispanic-Americans, that's because it is. And that says so much about the lack of urgency in the US regarding Aids.

    Strygan, thanks for posting and starting this particular conversation. Dancerjack, I appreciate your thoughts - I think we not only can grow up, but at times we show we have. We really do need gay people in the public eye to be GAY IN PUBLIC - and actors are the least of them. Gay people in journalism, business, in all walks of life. Because the great value of being OUT is not personal, it's revolutionary - and evolutionary. It is in being part of the large picture, one that will make real dignity and genuine pride a possibility.

    Paul Monette looked closely at the idea that it was the learned (from society and religion) self-hate that brought us to the epidemic of Aids ... let us think seriously now about when we will end the power of others to create such destructive impulses: no more crystal weekends and ruined lives, no more careless life-and-death intimacies, no more blaming ourselves for what we are, nor excusing ourselves from responsibility for our choices. No more.
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Dec 03, 2008 10:21 PM GMT
    Pattison saidWell I've had something o say in those forums, about HIV, and AIDS. I don't feel I was bashing anyone, as I never shown prediece to these people. Even the ones who went out of their way to infect me, I don't hold a grudge towards them. I purley talk about gay history, because I was around when the bomb of the topic hit. I remember the reactions too, and there was little positive about the whole thing at that time. Young gay men of today can now get sick, and not be labeled, and treated, as a victim of the gay plague

    But what did make me give back my gay card, is see other gay men, deliberately ignore the facts, and infect young men, because they was not willing to deprive their dick of any fun. I know same gay men tried to infect me, just out of pure SPITE! I have growen up with all of this. I am also old enough too remember life before this.

    Oh and I don't hate em because they are diffrent to me, just as I would never hate a queen, because they are diffrent to me. I just don't want to date em, bed, or notice em; a queen that is. But I'm not a spiteful hatful person, as so many of them are......

    I'm the Only fag in the Village, and RJ. So I'm a minority, with in a minority.


    Are you saying they forced you to have sex with them?
  • snowcatmark

    Posts: 13

    Dec 03, 2008 10:32 PM GMT
    I think that the scariest thing of all is that, while the overall prevalence of HIV in the US is ~0.5%, among men who have sex with men, prevalence estimates range from 5%-25% already.

    For example, see this study by the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/Preview/mmwrhtml/mm5424a2.htm

    They showed a prevalence of 25% (range: 18-40%) among urban MSM (in Baltimore, LA, Miami, NYC, San Francisco) and nearly half of the infected guys didn't know they had it.

    This likely overestimates the true prevalence, because it recruited people from venues like gay nightclubs, bathhouses, streets in gay neighborhoods, etc, so it may have oversampled a particularly promiscuious population.

    One other way of approaching a prevalence estimate is to look at the overall stats for the nation: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5739a2.htm

    The overall prevalence is about 447.8/100,000 (~0.45%). Of these cases, 48.1% are in MSM. The trouble to extrapolate a prevalence is we don't know how big the MSM population is. In cities, it may be as high as 12% (see Ann Intern Med. 2006;145:416-425), but nationally the CDC estimates about 3.7% of men have ever had sex with a man, 2.9% in the past 12 months. If we use this latter figure, we can estimate that MSM are 16.6 times as likely to be HIV+ (48.1/2.9=16.6). This gives an estimated prevalence of 7,427.3/100,000 (7.43%).

    I am not a statistician, so I'd welcome any critiques of my math here, but I would say that conservatively 1 in 20 MSM has HIV, and at the outside it is 1 in 4 (probably mostly in urban areas with high concentrations of MSM).

    Take home message: wrap it!
    Secondary message: Studies consistently find that a higher percentage of HIV+ MSM are unaware of their infection than in the general HIV+ population. Knowledge of your status is important (especially considering the potential changes to treatment recommendations that will advocate much earlier treatment), but it is also important to ask about partner status. You can't get a virus from someone who doesn't have it.

    Don't ask "are you HIV+?" Instead, ask "Have you ever been tested for HIV? If so, when? What was your result?"

    I am not sure it is possible to quantify a window beyond which you should send them packing to get checked instead of sleeping with them, but I would personally say no to anyone who hasn't had a negative test in the past 6 months who has been having sex with people.

    Even if they say they are negative, and have recent test, wrap it anyways! I am doing a project on HPV-induced anal cancer---it is nearly 200x more common in HIV+ men than HIV- and it is not prevented by HAART at all! Even if you won't die of infections or lymphoma now thanks to HAART, there are still awful things that that virus can do to you...you DON'T want it.

    I will save my PSA on the virtues of anal pap smears for another day...
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    Dec 03, 2008 11:04 PM GMT
    Ugh. That was a flashback. As I've explained before, my partner is an epidemiologist in HIV studies with CDC, doing mainly statistical work. He's been to most of the world AIDS conferences in the last 20 years.

    A good friend of mine who was involved in the Truth and Reconciliation hearings in South Africa has worked over 10 years now with the bands of children orphaned by parents with HIV there. We are talking thousands of kids, many of them HIV themselves, living in the streets.

    It's not just a metaphor to say that we all have HIV. It IS a public health problem. That is one of the reasons I get so angry when people claim it is their "right" to have unprotected sex. It isn't just their health that is put in jeopardy by that decision. It's the health of the entire community.

    Yes, people have an obligation to protect themselves, but I have no patience with the argument that if someone becomes infected, it's all his own fault and the other person should not be held responsible in any way. We should try to be responsible for one another.
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    Dec 03, 2008 11:21 PM GMT
    My life truly was, has been affected from HIV, yet my body was never infected with HIV.
  • reload16

    Posts: 267

    Dec 03, 2008 11:42 PM GMT
    dancerjack saidi think... no, strike that... i'm almost certain that most people haven't gotten past the whole "you're different so i don't like you" phase of development. it seems that racism, xenophobia, and just about any other categorical dislike is an expression of emotional/intellectual immaturity.

    before alot of these issues will become non-issues we as a community need to grow up finally. (pretty ironic statement coming from someone with a peter pan complex, but whatever)

    how can we say we're ready for marriage when we're not even ready for friendship?



    Very well sad icon_cool.gif

    This pretty much explains why Prop 8 passed IMO
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Dec 03, 2008 11:57 PM GMT
    Snowcat:

    I think you missed the point of the article and the forum. I was not attempting (in the title and talking with MZ) to make any point about HIV prevalence.

    The idea that "We are all HIV+" means that as a public health issue, HIV affects us all, and only until we join together instead of bashing each other will we be able to combat this crisis.

    Prevalence is ultimately irrelevant. What is important is that there are many people who demonize guys who are positive, and treat those infected with HIV as if they are only a disease. We have to stand up as a community and say that this is unacceptable to us.
  • snowcatmark

    Posts: 13

    Dec 04, 2008 12:44 AM GMT
    Hey Strygan,

    Sorry to get all soapboxy. I guess the point I was trying to illustrate was that statistics like a 25% infection rate are not unique to African...HIV is every present within the gay and other minority communities at levels most of us are not routinely aware of. I feel that when people talk of how "shocking" a prevalence of 25% is, it reveals that they perceive the prevalence of HIV within their own community to be significantly lower. I was merely trying the cognitive distortion inherent to this perception.

    ObsceneWish may remember a discussion related to this topic that he and I had on this forum probably 2 years ago. My life has been touched in a number of ways by HIV in the past few years.

    Prior to June 2007, I had never met anyone I knew was HIV+...I probably had met several that didn't know. For the 3.5 years prior to that, I had been in a relationship with a guy, and for about 3 years of that relationship we never used a condom with each other. If you spoke to me 2 years ago, I was an ardent supporter of not using protection with my partner. In all honesty, my viewpoint, in principle, is unchanged—but I would never again do it in a relationship like that one. On multiple occasions I learned that my partner was cheating on me—he always said just oral—including one time in a public restroom on the beach in Hawai'i while I waited on the beach wondering what was taking so long (our first major trip as a couple around the 2.5 year point of being together). Yet I stayed, and worse, never asked him to bag it and get tested.

    I came to my senses in May 2007 when I found a receipt for a membership renewal at the local bathhouse in the wastebasket of our bedroom—yet, one week after I told him it was done, we had one last fling, once again completely unprotected (he spent that week in Provincetown).

    Somehow, perhaps by some divine intervention, I have tested HIV- consistently since then. At times, I wonder how I could have made such terrible decisions, and why I came out, at least physically, unscathed.

    One beneficial result of all this was a tremendous compassion for people living with HIV. Until I got my 6 month test, I essentially assumed I had it. I briefly dated a guy who was HIV+ (in retrospective a terrible decision for reasons entirely unrelated to HIV). I realized that (most) people with it get it because they make some sort of bad decision, or a serious of bad decisions. Perhaps they realize they are bad decisions at the time, perhaps not—I know minimization, denial and terribly low self-esteem played a huge part in my staying in my relationship and continuing to endanger my health—but all these mistakes are human. It is tragic that some people don't wake up until they are HIV+, and some never do. I was fortunate.

    I am sorry to subject everyone to a vent, but it felt good to vent some of this. Its been over a year, and I still haven't finished processing everything related to my brush with HIV.

    styrgan saidSnowcat:

    I think you missed the point of the article and the forum. I was not attempting (in the title and talking with MZ) to make any point about HIV prevalence.

    Prevalence is ultimately irrelevant. What is important is that there are many people who demonize guys who are positive, and treat those infected with HIV as if they are only a disease. We have to stand up as a community and say that this is unacceptable to us.
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    Dec 04, 2008 12:59 AM GMT
    I have a large number of different T-shirts and polos with the Broward House name and logo on them, and some of their advertising slogans. That's because I volunteer and donate to this major non-profit HIV/AIDS agency in South Florida, often representing them at functions and fundraisers.

    And I've discovered that people sometimes think that I wear these shirts (especially the T's) because I'm an AIDS client there, receiving their services. If asked I tell them the truth, but otherwise I don't care if people think I'm poz.

    It's more important to me that I advertise for Broward House around the community, as well as represent them at specific events. I feel no shame if people think I'm positive, and I've run into that rumor a number of times now.

    In fact, my friends back in my former state before I moved to Florida were told I was dying of AIDS, by visitors here who had seen me in those T-shirts. Gays are such drama queens and rumor hounds. I shared the truth with my friends from there who phoned me in concern, but said don't bother to tell those I never liked -- let them think what they want.

    index_02.jpg

    http://browardhouse.org/
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    Dec 04, 2008 1:09 AM GMT
    Oy, I don't recall that Snowcat. I'm apparently Alzehemier-positive instead of HIV-positive.

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    Dec 04, 2008 2:22 AM GMT
    snowcatmark saidHey Strygan,

    Sorry to get all soapboxy. I guess the point I was trying to illustrate was that statistics like a 25% infection rate are not unique to African...HIV is every present within the gay and other minority communities at levels most of us are not routinely aware of. I feel that when people talk of how "shocking" a prevalence of 25% is, it reveals that they perceive the prevalence of HIV within their own community to be significantly lower. I was merely trying the cognitive distortion inherent to this perception.

    ObsceneWish may remember a discussion related to this topic that he and I had on this forum probably 2 years ago. My life has been touched in a number of ways by HIV in the past few years.

    Prior to June 2007, I had never met anyone I knew was HIV+...I probably had met several that didn't know. For the 3.5 years prior to that, I had been in a relationship with a guy, and for about 3 years of that relationship we never used a condom with each other. If you spoke to me 2 years ago, I was an ardent supporter of not using protection with my partner. In all honesty, my viewpoint, in principle, is unchanged—but I would never again do it in a relationship like that one. On multiple occasions I learned that my partner was cheating on me—he always said just oral—including one time in a public restroom on the beach in Hawai'i while I waited on the beach wondering what was taking so long (our first major trip as a couple around the 2.5 year point of being together). Yet I stayed, and worse, never asked him to bag it and get tested.

    I came to my senses in May 2007 when I found a receipt for a membership renewal at the local bathhouse in the wastebasket of our bedroom—yet, one week after I told him it was done, we had one last fling, once again completely unprotected (he spent that week in Provincetown).

    Somehow, perhaps by some divine intervention, I have tested HIV- consistently since then. At times, I wonder how I could have made such terrible decisions, and why I came out, at least physically, unscathed.

    One beneficial result of all this was a tremendous compassion for people living with HIV. Until I got my 6 month test, I essentially assumed I had it. I briefly dated a guy who was HIV+ (in retrospective a terrible decision for reasons entirely unrelated to HIV). I realized that (most) people with it get it because they make some sort of bad decision, or a serious of bad decisions. Perhaps they realize they are bad decisions at the time, perhaps not—I know minimization, denial and terribly low self-esteem played a huge part in my staying in my relationship and continuing to endanger my health—but all these mistakes are human. It is tragic that some people don't wake up until they are HIV+, and some never do. I was fortunate.

    I am sorry to subject everyone to a vent, but it felt good to vent some of this. Its been over a year, and I still haven't finished processing everything related to my brush with HIV.

    styrgan saidSnowcat:

    I think you missed the point of the article and the forum. I was not attempting (in the title and talking with MZ) to make any point about HIV prevalence.

    Prevalence is ultimately irrelevant. What is important is that there are many people who demonize guys who are positive, and treat those infected with HIV as if they are only a disease. We have to stand up as a community and say that this is unacceptable to us.


    Please. Stay on your soapbox. Its nice to hear from people like you because we don't hear enough wisdom you're dishing out.

    We must always have empathy for people no matter what they do. This doesn't imply we condone unhealthy behavior or withhold judgement. But while formulating on how to bring about Justice, we MUST take into account the defendant's life and circumstances then judge accordingly.
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Dec 04, 2008 5:11 AM GMT
    snowcatmark saidHey Strygan,

    Sorry to get all soapboxy. I guess the point I was trying to illustrate was that statistics like a 25% infection rate are not unique to African...HIV is every present within the gay and other minority communities at levels most of us are not routinely aware of. I feel that when people talk of how "shocking" a prevalence of 25% is, it reveals that they perceive the prevalence of HIV within their own community to be significantly lower. I was merely trying the cognitive distortion inherent to this perception.



    Hahaha. That's ok. I just didn't understand where it was coming from.

    I'm not good at moderating my own threads so they usually go off in like nineteen directions.

    icon_evil.gif
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    Dec 04, 2008 5:25 AM GMT
    cowboyo saidIn the early years of HIV, both before there was a test and after, when many people feared testing positive would cost them their job or insurance, an interesting bit of advice I heard on TV from an activist at the center of things here in NYC was this: whenever two gay men are together in NY, it should be assumed that one of them is positive. (At the time a guesstimate was that 50% of all gay men in NYC might be infected.)

    I took that to heart, and never, ever bothered to ask a guy if he was positive: I assumed it, or assumed I might be - even when I knew I wasn't. It never meant there could be no intimacy: it meant that safe sex was the only sex. Even when two people "know" they are both negative, there is potential for misrepresentation or misinformation - or a change in status.

    The point being that from the get-go I have not felt afraid of HIV. I respect it, as a real and present danger.

    On the other hand, many poz people find that as far as relationships (as opposed to friendship), they seek another poz guy. It's complicated, but I absolutely understand it.

    I was in my early 30s when Aids arrived on the scene. For 25 years I've watched as more and more young people fall victim unnecessarily. It's a failure of education and commitment, especially, but not only, on the part of governments. Of course, every generation almost believes it invented sex. And youth feels invincible. But the message must be one of saving lives and scarce resources, and being smart.

    In the early 80s a family in a Tampa suburb lost their home to arson when neighbors couldn't deal with the three young hemophiliac sons, and the Aids diagnosis they had received. Meanwhile, in Washington, the great communicator Ronald Reagan was silent. In fact, he never spoke the word Aids publicly during his presidency, while it was ravaging his country and the world.

    And that is part of the legacy we deal with today. Abstinence, not condoms. A war on drugs, not needle exchange and a war on the disease. Condemn gays as the cause, never mind the indiscriminate nature of disease: we handle the discrimination.

    Now, in New York at any rate, when you stop by GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis) or even walk by, you might wonder how GAY stays in the name. If it feels and looks like GMHC is serving mostly African- and Hispanic-Americans, that's because it is. And that says so much about the lack of urgency in the US regarding Aids.

    Strygan, thanks for posting and starting this particular conversation. Dancerjack, I appreciate your thoughts - I think we not only can grow up, but at times we show we have. We really do need gay people in the public eye to be GAY IN PUBLIC - and actors are the least of them. Gay people in journalism, business, in all walks of life. Because the great value of being OUT is not personal, it's revolutionary - and evolutionary. It is in being part of the large picture, one that will make real dignity and genuine pride a possibility.

    Paul Monette looked closely at the idea that it was the learned (from society and religion) self-hate that brought us to the epidemic of Aids ... let us think seriously now about when we will end the power of others to create such destructive impulses: no more crystal weekends and ruined lives, no more careless life-and-death intimacies, no more blaming ourselves for what we are, nor excusing ourselves from responsibility for our choices. No more.


    I'm just quoting this in hope that readers will not neglect it or perhaps may even re-read it. BRAVO!
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    Dec 04, 2008 5:42 AM GMT
    Excellent thread and a great reminder to us all.
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    Dec 04, 2008 5:06 PM GMT
    snowcat, thanks for the honesty of the story you shared.

    You're right - you dodged the bullet there. If your ex is still carrying on the way he was, he - and others he meets - may not be as fortunate.

    There is a mentality that says "I heard about an accident where the only reason the driver lived was he didn't have a seatbelt on and was thrown clear of the wreck ... so I'm never wearing a seatbelt." This wishful thinking defies statistics and puts its faith in the unlikely "one in a thousand" scenario. ("I'm not dead yet in spite of all the dumbass things I do, so I'll keep on being a dumbass ...")

    Bareback, raw, whatever they call it on xTube or their Craig'slist ads - it's all sunbathing on a narrow 30th floor window ledge.

    Sorry, strygan et al for veering from the "we're all positive" message, which is a good one. I might add that we all have Alzheimer's and Parkinson's ... but it seems too often that only those with personal experience (Nancy Reagan, Michael J. Fox) cross over to support medical research via stem cells ...

    It comes down to empathy. If we will only, as dancerJack puts it, get past the"you're different so i don't like you" mentality, we can accomplish great things. This is the challenge mankind faces, since the tower of Babble ...