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Brian Finch

Brian Finch

Brian Finch, founder and publisher of Positive Lite. I've had a blog since 2005 when I decided one day that I just wanted to write. Since then I've grown to writing for a local Toronto magazine, Fab, and contribute to

I first went public in the 1980s, and with the exception of a few years of taking a break, have not really stopped. Life is an evolution, and for the last six years I've brought everyone along for the ride, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Today I share stories of my lastest recarnation of life of a publisher, traveler, recovery, a new relationship, my three-pound Chihuahua Hildy, converting to Judaism and where ever else my journey takes me.


How to get away with murder

Thursday, 15 October 2015 Written by // Brian Finch - Founder Categories // Gay Men, Arts and Entertainment, Newly Diagnosed, Television, Opinion Pieces, Brian Finch

Brian Finch on the popular ground-breaking TV series that features gay sex, PrEP and HIV testing.

How to get away with murder

I love watching TV In fact I’m a Netflix addict. Fall is an exciting time of year for the televised series junkie as all the new and returning show’s seasons premiere!

One of my returning favourites is How To Get Away With Murder, or HTGAWM for those of you who love acronyms.

The plot takes more twists and turns than the mountainous roads that took Princess Grace's life. Google her. Hint - Monaco.

The show focuses around a group of defence law students and their professor who, big surprise, have to get away with murder.

Last year caused a stir with the early reveal of super hot gay character Connor Walsh (played by Jack Falahee) as the gay guy with many in-your-face sex scenes. If the One Million Moms are objecting to The Muppets show then they must be losing their shit over this.

The Connor (who will just be referred to hot guy) storyline has him banging this guy who eventually becomes his boyfriend Oliver, a peripheral character that we don’t even know his last name.

The transition from trick to boyfriend does not unfold in a linear fashion. Hot guy cheats and boyfriend is devastated, so much so he ends up having a night of drinking and, yikes, actually goes home with trick in what we are to assume is a black-out as he doesn’t remember his face. We learn this in Season Two premiere.

The drama of it all is amusing. There was many a night where I didn’t remember faces, and I was completely sober.  This was a cheating-induced sexual downward spiral hitting rock bottom. The rest of us just call it a Friday night.

The show started to raise some red flags for me when they introduce another storyline of “Now we are going to be boyfriends we need to go out and get an HIV test.”

Season One ends with hot guy’s results being negative and boyfriend’s returns positive. Cue the melodramatic bed-ridden pillow hugging scene of tears and heartache. Season One ends. (see below)

Season Two starts back up again. Hot guy is going to move in now with positive guy to show his commitment. They introduce the concept of PrEP, which for me was like, “wow.”

Before we move ahead on PrEP, we find out the seroconversion happens on that drunken faceless night of debauchery and buggery. No mention that it was barebacking, once again reinforcing the hidden monsters in the night that can be out to get you. It’s a nuance that shouldn’t have been in there.

Hot guy doesn’t see any of this as a big deal as far as he’s concerned. Boyfriend, of course has to be dramatic about it, insisting that they can’t have sex until the two weeks of PrEP has been taken.

That might not be a bad suggestion for a couple of reasons. The newly infected, like myself, didn’t find sex sexy anymore when that was what got me in this trouble in the first place. The second is that the newly infected are highly infectious.  It’s the acute infection stage. But none of this is discussed, thus leaving the impression that he’s just so toxic you can’t have sex with him unless you are protected by PrEP.

I’ve had many serodiscordant relationships before the age of undetectable and everything was fine.

Hot guy keeps reminding boyfriend there is nothing to be worried about, “it’s not 1994 anymore.”

The group asshole fellow student character finds out about boyfriend’s status and then starts questioning hot guy, “I know he’s got a hot ass, but this can kill you!” There is no rebuttal to this other than the continual labeling of this guy as a “dick” by all the other characters. I really wish that was counteracted, but there are murders to be solved and committed. 

So at least there are some positive messages happening. The show has been breaking ground on the diversity front, giving its lead role to Viola Davis. She made history being the first black actress to win the Emmy’s lead actor award.

It would have been cool to have hot guy be the positive one and have him have relationships and sex in ways that break the stigmatizing stereotyping of positive people we have. I’m getting greedy here. I’ll just have to suffice with watching him get as naked as possible with his boyfriend as much as I can in Season Two.

The show is a huge success and has a large gay following. There are many out there that need to get the PrEP message. I’m all for PrEP. It’s time negative guys take some responsibility in their hands and stop dumping their unfounded 1980’s stigma and fear on me. We are doing our part, now it’s time for them to do theirs.

While there are gaps in information, what’s omitted have been some of the more subtle details that would have nice to have been there. This isn’t an HIV education show, it’s a show about getting away with murder. They have taken on a storyline that is so current that no other popular television has taken it on.

So at the end of the day, kudos. Now I just have to find out how to send a #TruvadaWhore shirt to the studios and we’ll be all set.

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