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Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder currently works with POZitively Connected, a project of Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV AIDS Society. Positively Connected provides social connection and support to gay/bi men living with HIV. He has previously sat on the board of directors of the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS), and has been involved in the HIV/AIDS movement since 1987. He worked with CAS in development and writing of the One Foot Forward Series of self training modules for people living with HIV and other work. Michael is always available for writing work, workshop development/presentation as well as public speaking.

Michael's social media connections are @michaely1961 on twitter and on Facbook here.


Sero-sorting in tiny town

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Dating, Gay Men, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder says that in small towns, the chances of meeting openly poz guys are few and far between. Sero-sorting remains, for him, an elusive but attractive theory.

Sero-sorting in tiny town

“much of a muchness…” 


I’ve reached the point where sero-sorting seems an increasingly attractive option. I’ve had it up to my eyebrows with “neg” guys who just don’t get it or are otherwise uninformed about HIV and other STIs. The number of men who are completely unaware about safer sex (including gay men) is alarming. 

So, a’sorting I will go. 

Ooops – road block number one. I’m in a small city. It’s conservative and closeted. There are a lot of guys living with HIV here, but they aren’t wearing name tags and they don’t hang out where I go. Never mind, I’ll look for some small number of my “poz” community and work the room… 

Ooops – road block number two. Of the poz guys that are out, mostly they just want to have sex. While I enjoy sex, at this point in my life I’m much more interested in connection – intimacy that includes sex, but that is not ONLY sex. I want to date in that quaint old-fashioned way with flowers and dinners and cuddling. I want to get to know someone before jumping in the sack. I want something real. 

“Ooops – road block number three. I’m 53 years old, which in our youth and beauty based sub-culture, makes me an old geezer. Internal beauty is not nearly as important as external beauty. Skateboard boys are all the rage. 

I’ve put out ads looking for both long term relationships and for sex (yes, I still do get horny, if only on occasion). Generally, I don’t disclose my status in ads – don’t need the haters, and nothing’s happened yet. Sex ads will get you 10 responses in the first five minutes; place an ad for a relationship and it’s the faint sound of crickets. And the sex responses tend toward “I b clean UB2” or “ddf, you be the same”. 

Back to the drawing board. . . .  

And then there are the academics of it. The academics of sero-anything is just that – think-tank stuff that directs how we should think, but doesn’t reflect reality or changes people’s minds. Academia develops the terminology we adopt and for guys in the real world (i.e. NOT connected to the not for profit AIDS industry or academia), they simply don’t relate to the tacit rules and regulations and politics. They just live their lives. Sero-sorting is a term they don’t understand. The same goes for sero-positioning and PReP and heteronormativity, homonormativity and cis-genderism and on and on…Truth is, most gay guys just don’t relate. 

Of course, there are guys that are looking for connection, but in small cities and certainly even more in rural areas, it’s difficult to find them without taking out a full page ad in the local paper. And for me, living with lypoatrophy makes it that much more complicated. Seems no one wants “damaged” goods. Facial wasting reminds guys that they too are “sick”. Most guys want perfection – which doesn’t exist, but nonetheless must be pursued, whether that be the biggest cock, blondest boy, bubblest butt or whatever. 

This leaves me with the fear that I will forever remain “coffee buddy”: always great to be around, but not worth getting to know intimately. Most negative guys (including the married ones) are too terrified of HIV to be involved and most positive guys seem to reject relationship. Those are both glaring generalizations, but all glaring generalizations have a glint of truth in them. 

If you live in a big city the opportunity to meet other poz guys is that much easier. Even the negative guys might be somewhat more informed. But in small towns, the chances of meeting openly poz guys are few and far between. Sero-sorting remains, for me, an elusive but attractive theory. Somewhere it’s out there, but as far away as the crab nebula, as uncertain as the existence of Santa Claus and as delicate as a bubble about to hit the wall. 


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