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Monday, October 28, 2013

¿ARE YOU INFECTED WITH HIV D?

In the last several years, the gay movement has enjoyed several tremendous and long-sought victories on the national stage. Yet, when an open and honest discussion is held that deals with one of the gay community’s vulnerabilities (what it means to have HIV today), we notice a spike in infection rates of the D virus, and it appears to be a particularly nasty strain. 

As gay men, we learned from the best of them when it comes to condemning a group of people for being different. Living through discrimination over the past several decades has refined our skills and made our tongues razor sharp. Now, instead of working as a collective whole, supporting each other and working to strengthen the vulnerabilities we possess, we cast criticism on those who might fail to be the perfect example of the shiny, smiling figures on top of a wedding cake.

We scrutinize each other for being too feminine, too fat, too self-obsessed, too poor, or too pretentious. We denounce the party boys, tease the homebodies, and degrade the gym bunnies.  The gay community has been whittled down into so many subgroups and sub-subgroups so much that you can often find a gaggle of gays discussing and even arguing over which category they may or may not fall into. This process of labeling, division and rank has led to a tenuous immune system, so it’s no wonder so many gay men have come down with the D virus. 

We discriminate against other gay men for fear that the heterosexual society understands that we aren’t “that” kind of gay. Whether it be feminine, promiscuous, or (gasp) HIV-positive, we want to make sure that, on the big game day, we get to play on our own team, separate from “those” gays.  

The truth is, there is little that separates us, regardless of physical traits or late-night habits. We see a piece of ourselves in the ones we judge, and we project our fear of being discriminated against. But as we continue to fight for acceptance outside of the gay community, the presence of discrimination and segregation only weakens our immune system and further impedes our cause.

As homosexuals, often we are forced to create new families and develop a support system beyond the traditional social constructs of where we came from. We have had people shun us when we needed them the most and we have witnessed those closest to us fall prey to the virus. We remember that pain, and now we infect each other with it. The difference is, we know exactly what we are doing. We have lived through discrimination once and do not have the luxury of hiding under the guise of stupidity. We must try to be the person we all needed at one point or another.

If the gay community takes its medicine in the form of open, cathartic dialogue, education, and dare I say brotherly love, it is possible for us to overcome this nasty strain of discrimination.  With a stronger immune system, we can return to helping other carriers of the virus outside of our community and fight for our rights as a united front. As we have seen with other minority movements, infection rates have declined with time and perseverance. The gay rights movement is the latest to bear witness to declining infection, but we must remember where we came from and what makes us so special. The gay community also must realize who we are fighting against, and it is not each other. 

Have you taken your medicine?

6 comments:

  1. I absolutely agree with this article. It's hard for us to fight a war if the soldiers are fighting each other. Don't even get me started on the whole "fem vs masc" argument.

    -_Cogito

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  2. The Gay community has a very disturbing form internalized discrimination & it was very illustrated in this blog. At what point do we stop doing each other in & fight the true enemy? Stigmas causes discrimination, and it is bad enough we have other from outside of our community discriminating against us without our own discriminating against each other. I have spent years leading by example to bring our community together & stand as one united front, but I am sad to say I think I am losing this battle. One person can strike a mighty blow so imagine what kind of blow we can strike if we stood together.

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  3. The Gay Community must support all efforts to bring about true acceptance in the whole community. At present here in Sydney (Australia) there is an increase in the number of younger gay men becoming HIV+. Because medication is available they seem to think that they will be all right. I have an older friend who is HIV+ and the medication has affected his heart (he has a pace maker, he had developed mature age leuchemia, and his spleen has become enlarged. All this is the result of his medication! We, as gay community, must look after each other and teach young men to take care of themselves.

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    Replies
    1. wow I feel sorry for the young gay men in Sydney

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