AIDS at 30 not a celebration that many of us want to blow out candles for but it is something that has shaped us, separated us and showed many of us that we can live for the ones that died before us.
I just watched last night for the third time the movie Long Term Companion a movie that showcased the sign of the times; love, fear, rejection, death and friendship but like many Hollywood movies then and now it lacked a presence of any minority but now with AIDS ravaging through the African American community and yes Latinos are at high levels as well of risk why is it that we are not seeing African American gay men take on this issue head on as our white counterparts had in the 1980’s.
Sure there is Magic Johnson and Arthur Ashe but I mean on a level that showcases attributes of love not ones where JL King and Tyler Perry showcase the bad-side of being a black gay male it just isn’t fair but that is only the beginning of where I going so before I continue why don’t we look backwards.
I remember my hero Peter Jennings of ABC World News Tonight talking about AIDS when I was about six to seven years old so the year had to be for me 1983 to 1984 of course what was a little boy to think when you heard of such a horrible thing back them I would have never thought I would have been affected by it. AIDS was everywhere.
I can recall Rock Hudson on Dynasty and Linda Evans taking the stance that was very typical of the times she didn’t know just as much as no one else did but I also recall one woman Elizabeth Taylor with her guts and gile taking on the cause head on. There was also Ryan White but again there was no one of color or at least one I knew about because I am sure there was thousands.
The White Gay Plague as it was called among many others when African Americans where dealing with poverty, crack and Cosby no one knew that this too would affect us but really its the one thing that affects all of us. It knows no economic status, it just knows how to ravage through lives even still to this day it is altering and shifting to confuse our scientists and world leaders. But AIDS is also a billion maybe trillion dollar industry; one where so many people have profited from why would anyone want to find a cure.
How many people are worth a global fortune is what we should ask ourselves but then we also ask ourselves why about some of everything these days and we can speculate all we want but right when Harvey Milk dies AIDS comes tearing through so is it just all by chance or is there a purpose behind the madness?
Life for African Americans have always been about self doubt over our place within this great country that we all call home; slavery is a hard thing to get over when economic success is still something that is elusive to many of us; but any other community that knows what its like to be ostracized like African Americans its gays, lesbians and yes very much so transsexuals so why now are so many white gay men tired of talking about AIDS; why do are so many people on sites to befriend people say i am negative as of 1/1/2010 when you should be tested every six months not once a year?
What is all the division over an issue that has everything to do with what people do in there bedrooms and behind closed doors with someone they is a consenting adult and hopefully someone you love? It’s confusing how we all want to say people are free but we are prisoners by our won design for this elusive dream. You are told that you are free to be who you are yet DL men are the talk of the town about how they are just greedy but isn’t life a two way street; what is this thing that we call intuition if only some of us have it or others just don’t want to use it.
Yes the DL man is wrong for not telling the truth but its funny the Out and Proud man is wrong because the world has reduced him to a raging stereotype that is too macho or way to flamboyant and really we gay men are neither.
Being gay is not something you just do because you want to fit in believe me I spent more of my life trying to find myself and making sure that my path was more then just going to the bar and hooking up every night with someone new; but Elizabeth Taylor stole husbands and yes is no one can deny her care and concern for gay men and especially ones dying with AIDS; the same can be said about Lady Diana Spence and yes the same can be said about myself as well. I am an HIV Positive man and I spent the last year or more of my life fighting the fight, giving HIV a face of a “real out and proud gay man”.
Sure I may nor have commercial clout like Lady GAGA but I have a voice and it has done so much for the new face of the fight because we want to know that celebrities are with us but we also have to see humanity take on and continue the battle as well; the rest of us can’t sit back and just walk away from this because its still chasing and haunting our legacy. It is something like myself that is a chameleon but also like myself you can live with it; you can have a career, you can know and find love and you can be free from the restraints that the rest of the world are so quick to shackle you down with.
AIDS may have been death but living with HIV is freedom. Freedom to be the real person that you are supposed to be. No one wants this believe me they don’t so you “bug chasers” you may need to really think about what you are asking for and yes women you need and have to take responsibility and not be forced or feel forced to do something that your gut tells you that you should not be doing.
If I am almost 34 that means nearly everyone know living has and will heard of these words but don’t let them define you as i didn’t allow slavery define my path and if I didn’t allows slavery because there are people who fought to free me then I will fight to free you as well as our President Obama says “Yes We Can” then I challenge you to take it further say “Yes We Can live, love, be responsible, and Yes we can find a cure for AIDS/HIV.