Living rural - and positive
I got a spate of comments on my last entry as a result of people who read my other journal coming over here to take a gander at this site. Good for them. My other journal is here, if you’re interested: http://ruralrob.livejournal.com/ It’s an almost daily chronicle of living in the country, sometimes touching on HIV stuff, but mostly not. It’s my life. And tons of photos I’ve taken in and around my little community of 700 people, located in the wilds of Eastern Ontario.
How rural am I? This is the view from my front porch . . .
I mention all this partly because it shows, I hope, that we are multidimensional, rather than just people living with HIV. I’m also (I think) the only rural guy on our panel of facilitators, and so I’m very conscious of whether this campaign will make sense to everyone, wherever they live My take is that the look of the site is urban and edgy, which is smart, given that Toronto is the centre of the gay universe, and where much of our target audience is surely located. But not all will live in big towns. So that reference to deciding what to wear to a Madonna concert won’t resonate as much here in the boondocks, where we are more concerned with what brand of rubber boots are best for winter - and fashion be damned
It’s my experience, though, that those of us gays who live away from large urban centres have many similarities with big city guys - and we sometimes share your recreational spaces - but we often lead quite different lives. Some of us, I know, have isolation issues Toronto folks could only guess at, which fact impacts heavily on our ability or willingness to disclose our status to strangers, for example. Even outing oneself by going to a local AIDS Service Organization for help is a huge step for many. I know, I’ve volunteered at one such organization for years. So I understand these things, even though my own status is one of someone who is out about both my sexual orientation and my HIV status.
I’d love to hear from other folks who live away from large urban centres. What’s your take on HIV and stigma? Is it better where you live, or worse? Harder to disclose, or not? And do you feel this website speaks to you, or are you feeling left out? I’ll reply to all comments.