Leo and I wrote two very different posts on the same day, World AIDS Day two years ago that went in very different directions. Both were true and relevant though somewhat diametrically opposed indicating another pivot point in this supermarathon trek. Things are looking up for those with resources at least with some headway being made across the board. Enjoy what you have and we love you all. –MG
Today I Hail you Boogeyman.
Today I Hail you Boogeyman.
Today I’ll remember the first time your acronym tied itself to my Gay Identity before I could even fully develop it. Today I remember the many names you’ve had: Saint’s Disease, Gay Cancer, GRIDS, House in Venice, Gift.
Today I’ll admire how elegantly you use silence to multiply, how neglect is your breeding ground. I’ll think back on the cocktail parties and potential romances that were ground to a screeching halt with the mere mention of your name. I’ll wonder how, after 30 years, the fear of you still has no name. No single word to describe the panic of a broken condom, the uneasiness of a regular flu, the sweaty palms of an HIV test. All while you changed our language, even added a few words. You made “natural sex” into “unsafe sex”, anyone wanting to have it into a “slut,” you boiled entire people down to “-” or “+” signs.
Today I’m in awe that the damage you can do to a body does not compare to what you can do to someone’s self-worth. Today I’ll recall the suicidal binges and sexual outbursts that followed the seroconversions of my brothers. Today I’ll even admit that you and Meth still have really great thing going. I didn’t think it would last but you guys still dance really, really well together.
Today I’ll lament on the spaces you closed, the bathhouses, bars and backrooms that shut their doors in a cloud of bleach. All the books, paintings, films and speeches that were never created and the advice from older men that my generation so desperately needs but will never get.
AIDS Day: one day EVERY little queer will know a lifetime without you.
Today I’ll even laugh at the blue balls you gave me in my 20’s and the terrible biohazard tramp stamp tattoos you made cool for a while.
Today I’ll give you the recognition you deserve in the way that other cultures have respected their own holocausts, genocides, plagues and natural disasters.
But Virus, you get one day from me.
My other 364 days are dedicated to fucking you up. To talking, asking, risking all of it with my community, to doing everything in our power so that one day EVERY little queer will know a lifetime without you.
Enjoy your big day,
-Leo Herrera #WorldAIDSDay 2015
(Originally published by the author on Facebook)
#hfad Happy Fuckin’ AIDS Day.
And, no apologies for this one…
I’ve hated AIDS for killing my friends and decimating the generations of gay men ahead of me. We shouldn’t have had to care for, and lose so many.
But beyond that, I really never wanted AIDS to also become …a metaphor; a long-term profit center for drug companies; a chronic manageable illness; a battle of condoms vs. meds; a battle of stigma vs. sexual liberation; another way to criminalize my sexuality; a symbolic art-covering holiday; something we need to explain to young people; a political litmus test or positioning point;
another way to discriminate against people with less access and those living in poverty; a rampant global epidemic; the reason my generation of gay men is even more damaged when it comes to sex and intimacy; a platform for building a career, “personal brand”, or creative relevancy; a way for consumer goods and entertainers to disingenerously (my word) show faux compassion; or for it tounite/divide/define/torture my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters for decades while those in power–and in science–made fun and used our lives to advance cynical agendas. (http://www.vanityfair.com/…/reagan-administration-response-…).
Sure some things have changed, but the costs have been too high. It’s all taken too long. Negligence and callous disregard have allowed AIDS to spread out of control. Happy AIDS Day.
I wish i had been able to spend all that time over the last decades–the energy, emotion, worry, anxiety, fear, empathy, and mental cycling–on other things.
I wish I didn’t have to say that being an AIDS activist and advocate is one of a few places I’ve found real meaning in my life.
Everything doesn’t happen for a reason.
Anything good that someone would like to put a happy face on –or a “spiritual” one — and claim is the result of AIDS and the mobilization against it, I’d gladly trade back.
It’s an excellent punchline, but you can’t really make “lemonAIDS”.
It didn’t have to go this way. And I will never forgive those who let it.
No. I just wish it hadn’t happened.
Happy Fuckin’ AIDS Day.
–Michael Goff, #WorldAIDSDay 2015
(Originally published as a Facebook post)