In a recent interview, Charlie Sheen disclosed his HIV+ status. I think it takes a lot of courage to do this because, despite science to the contrary, the disease is still stigmatized, both socially and legally, in ways that it shouldn’t be. However, I have to reprimand the reporter for asking questions such as, “Have you knowingly, or even unknowingly, transmitted the disease? Have you ever had unprotected sex since your diagnosis? Have you told each of your partners about your status before sexual intercourse? What risky behaviors did you pursue? And do you know how you contracted the disease?” These are invasive questions that, to me, are just as bad as asking a trans person about genitals and surgery, or maybe even worse.
So let me just say a fast few things about sex, safety, and HIV.
I was walking across campus–I leave for Alaska in 36 hours, and with advising, doctor’s appointments, and laundry to do, I know precisely where all my time must go–when I was approached by a woman handing out flyers for an event tonight.
“Have you heard about the Sexperiment?” she asked.
Last night a speaker came to campus to talk about bullying. She said a few words–I probably could’ve counted how many–and then she started asking questions. And when we didn’t willingly answer, she stood in silence waiting. And if we still didn’t answer (this only happened once), she walked up to someone and asked him directly.
This wasn’t a typical lecture. It went both ways.
And that got me thinking: bullying goes both ways, too.
I had a dream. I had a dream so vivid and shocking it tore me from sleep and threw me so hard into reality I found myself breathless in my own bed. I had a dream so offensive I’m still not convinced I want to share it publicly.
But it bothered me. It bothered me deeply, and I need to share it with someone.
The first time it happened I was standing in a shack raising money for the homeless. The two walked up to me–a man and a woman, maybe my age, smiling, too exuberant–and with their eyes attached longingly to mine, they introduced themselves and asked, “Can we pray for you?”
I’ll admit: I was taken aback. All my life the idea of “praying for others” was an insult to their identity and an affirmation of the prayer-maker’s superiority: “You’re Jewish? I’ll pray for you. You’re gay? I’ll pray for you. You’re a sinner. I’ll pray for you.”
My greatest vision has always been a world without discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. This hope brought me to discover my own potential for leadership, and this compulsion has enabled me to push myself further from my comfort zones and make the greatest impact than anything else.
In part it’s probably obvious why I care (indeed it would be a greater mystery if I didn’t care), but in the spirit of the week–my vision quest–it seems only fitting to dig deeper.
I am writing to you in concern of the upcoming Special Session on Monday, September 12, 2011, to vote on Senate Bill 106 and House Bill 777, both entitled Defense of Marriage, which seek to amend our state constitution so that marriages between one man and one woman are the only legally recognized domestic relationship in North Carolina.
It is my belief, however, that these bills should not be passed.
D is for a lot of things. In part that’s why I’ve taken so long to write this next installment in the ABCs of GLBT: There’s too many options. I might as well go through a few them along the way. It’ll all make my point in the end. I promise.
D is for Diligence. Since, in life, that’s what you need: You need to be diligent to get anything done. The fight for equal rights has been long and arduous so far, and it’s likely to stay long and arduous until it’s over. Without diligence, we–the GLBT community and the oft underappreciated armies of our straight allies–wouldn’t be where we are today. Without diligence, we won’t get where we want to be, either.
It’s 9:30 on a Thursday night and halfway through a supernatural TV show, a man’s throat is split open and he bleeds to death. On three other stations, seven nights a week, medical dramas and crime shows portray gory deaths and attacks even more frequently than this. On this same evening, half a dozen movies in theatres nationwide are rated PG-13 or R for excessive blood and gore. And at night before bed, most of the viewers of all of these programs curl up with lovely books full of even more bloodshed between the many mysteries, thrillers, and vampire novels circulating bookstores today.
Seems like there’s blood in excess everywhere.
Unfortunately for too many people, there just isn’t enough blood where it’s needed most—circulating their veins and arteries, nourishing the organs that keep them living 24/7.