finding a seat at the table, not on the fence
We can all suffer from the “Other Amnesia”. It keeps us from seeing things from an-other context. As negative guys we can sometimes forget a hugely important fact: HIV positive men were once HIV negative too. Same dreams, hopes and intentions. In some instances, positive guys can suffer from this amnesia also, forgetting just how much anxiety the impermanence of an HIV negative status can build-up in neg men.
Stigma, has done a thorough job of convincing both it’s victims and it’s perpetrators that somehow there is a difference between us beyond our HIV status’.
It falsely tells HIV negative men, that we’re different, better, more moral, clean, less slutty. We choose to believe it because it makes it easier to rationalize that HIV infections only happen to “those people” and not to us. As neg gay men post-AIDS we live in fear. Fear drives the way we engage or disengage POZ men in our community. Ultimately, this fear and the stigma it creates can only be deconstructed and dissected with open dialogue. That’s what this site is all about. Building community through hearing each other out. Correcting the myths, and not pointing fingers. It only makes sense that both HIV negative and positive men are at the table for this dialogue.
I don’t claim to understand the nuances of this issue as intimately as those of you who live with HIV and its stigma, however I am interested in getting engaged.
In this discussion there aren’t “bad people” and “good people”; there’s only those who don’t get it and aren’t interested, and those who don’t get it and are willing to learn. HIV status doesn’t determine which side of that fence you fall on.