This is how I fight HIV stigma, and at the same time accusations of causing it. I dress up my 1.75 pound Chihuahua puppy, and take her for a walk with me tucked away in my coat.
What’s your strategy?
Oughh thank god I seem to be coming out of that recent bout of tipping into the land of depression.
I wrote a piece for FAB’s holiday dinner party season, which happened to fall on World AIDS Day (WAD).
Originally I wanted to write an open letter apologizing to the community for having lived with this virus for so long that I have become a consummate professional at making being positive look so effortless. Of course only someone with a lot of experience at this should attempt this, many have become positive, tried and failed.
Thus, resulting in barriers created in the gay community to others knowing the true realities and struggles of living with HIV because not everyone can pull it off as graciously as I can.
This was my response to comments such as “[positive] Gay guys have got it easy…”
Instead I wrote a short quip on tips for those suffering on anti-retrovirals to make it through the dinner party season to better suit the theme if the issue.
Every situation I discussed has personally happened to me, so I’ ain’t making this shit up.
It was irreverent humour that is my evolved form of activism for the new century. The gay community has become so numb, so tuned out, so uncaring for the most part (if you doubt go onto Gay Guide Toronto’s message board sponsored by ACT and check out what unmoderated voices have to say), and so out of touch with our lives that I have had to resort to what I call guerrilla dark humour (irreverent - for those who are offended at any notion of visual reference).
After having stooped to doing a public access interview two WADs ago, sandwiched between some dancers and a guy selling Scorned Woman Hot Sauce, I declared myself the Kathy Griffin of AIDS.
Today I am happy, because I cannot be the Kathy Griffin of AIDS without offending someone. It took three long bloody years, four blog posts shy of 600 later, I finally got a reaction. Even on this stigma website there has not been too many hateful comments.
Unfortunately, some are too blinded by the edginess of the material to see the very serious message behind it. When you go out, or entertain, or just hang with friends, not everything is what it may appear to be.
Therefore, don’t be running around proclaiming how easy it for us when many don’t have a clue.
The irony is that I’m a relatively shy guy who hates conflict. Must be the Gemini in me.
What struck me about this complaint was that the message was “it’s better to shut up, don’t ‘rub people’s faces in it’” It’s not everyone’s reality what I portray but its mine, and that shared by many others.
So this makes it official, I have finally arrived. When I spoke to my sponsor (12-step) about this he asked me rhetorically, “How many people gone about their lives without ever having solicited a reaction out of anyone?”
My final realization was: I worked really hard for the letter damn it! Thank you!