As seen in other posts, it will come to no surprise that this is my last post on the stigma campaign.
It truly has been a privilege to have been able to be part of a campaign that is has been, in my view, ground breaking.
The one thing that shocked me was that we really did not get a lot of rude, mean-spirited comments that are typically seen online at Xtra, Gay Guide Toronto message board, gay.com where in the guise of anonymity let their mouths fly.
I believe that was due to the tremendous effort of using multi-media, including video, to personalize our experiences as gay men live with, and without HIV. My hunch is the more you see of a real person, the less inclined one is to be a complete hag online. I may be wrong, but the difference was significant.
One of the little tad-bits that I hadn’t thought of was the repetition of poz guys mentioning people gossiping and not wanting to disclose as a result. Myself I don’t like being someone counselor over the matter as well, and being responsible to make sure guys aren’t putting themselves at risk by offering up their asses bare without question, thus putting me in the role of the villain if I weren’t going to say anything.
Obviously as well, we need to find a way to engage negative guys in these discussions. We’ll have no idea of what the sero-status of visitors to the site then out of the negatives, how many of them are already sensitive to the issues. Other gay men have felt by putting sero with stigma or HIV with stigma is creating a semantic link thus producing more stigma.
Personally, I can see that the double associated can do that; it needs to be put out there. I’m a bit more of an your face guy and make the audience to feel a little uncomfortable for those who need to be.
The campaign has been a great way to pull out some of these themes and will prove to be very beneficial when looking at future endeavors.
There are a few agencies I’d like to shout out as to making this a great campaign. The Ontario AIDS Network for housing the employee overseeing the project. The Gay Men’s Sexual Alliance for their co-operation and long hard work in pulling all of this together.
Top Drawer Creative headed up the website and did a great job not only with design, but also the all video and editing for your profiles, the games and other interactive features of the site.
Most of all, I have to say a big thank you to those who came back repeatedly and contributed to the issues on hand. Their contributions were essential in making this a success. And on yet again a personal note, kept my moral up to write something more on a subject that can be intense with submersed in it.
My hope is that those who came by have found ways to articulate their experiences, and perhaps learning something along the way. My one true hope always is that at least one people will walk away seeing others who have been successfully open in their lives to open up just a little bit more, even if that is a friend or two.
As those who have followed me, I’ve always been a more in your face kind of guy. Something a bit strange for a really shy guy.
On my blog, Acid Reflux Reality Show, we can continue from here you anyone wants to join me. I’ve taken a page from here and I’ve added multi-media to my site. I completely redid it and bought a video camera so I could post clips to go along with writing posts.
If you don’t make it there, and get FAB magazine in Toronto, check me out there. I’m not in every issue, but pretty close.