Ok, so here is my blog about “HIV Stigma!” Hmmm, that sounded better in my head than it looks on the computer screen. I guess that’s ok, we all have to start somewhere. So I am one of the online facilitators for the website. That means that me – Vijay, and you – the public, will be using this little corner in cyberspace to talk about what it means to live in a world where some of us are gay and some of us have HIV and all of us like to judge. That’s right, all of us. And it fascinates me. I guess you can stay that that is one of the reasons I decided to get involved in the first place. I am curious to know where people get their ideas about one another. What makes one guy dateable and another guy not? Personally, I haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to dating – but I have my share of broken-heart stories, forgotten love notes and or course tasted the bitter juices of rejection as well. Despite pegging myself as a wandering romantic, I suppose that I have dished out as many “oh, not looking for that right now”s and “let’s just be friends” as I have received. What I am hoping to learn through this web journey however – and admittedly much of it about myself – is why we make the choices that we do.
So what does any of what I have written so far have to do with HIV and stigma? Well, I guess for me it is a question of identity and opportunity. Being the eldest son of a low-income immigrant family, I have a spent a considerable amount of time wondering what the role the “me” I project into the world has played in the opportunities I have been granted. And as I become more politically aware, some thought has been given to the opportunities I have missed, or have never even qualified for. Without blowing the victim horn too loudly, it must be stated that being gay hasn’t made things any easier either. I sometimes feel like even the ugliest Betty has a better shot at love than I do just because she is straight. Now, granted, I am from a generation of fags that grew up with Sailor Moon, Queer as Folk and gay youth support services. I can recognize that we (hmmm, we?) have come a long way from the days of buring stakes and mental asylums. But have we really made being ourselves any easier? I sometimes feel that we have gone from being a community that is constantly judged, to one that has made it too easy to judge one another. And in this whiter than white, straighter than straight gay reality, it must not be very easy adding HIV to the list of one’s identity. But then again, I’m sure that some would argue that I am just judging.