One Hour And Counting: HIV criminalization & controversy
My Positivelite.com editor Brian Finch tipped me off that there was interest from 3rd parties in reproducing a previous blog post of mine entitled ‘Are We All Criminals’
My Positivelite.com editor Brian Finch tipped me off that there was interest from 3rd parties in reproducing a previous blog post of mine entitled ‘Are We All Criminals’ about my experiences with HIV-criminalization and disclosure.
Shortly thereafter, I was contacted directly by Matt Mills, an editor of Xtra and a fierce supporter of ending HIV-Criminalization. Matt found the piece ‘courageous’ and valued its potential for creating an honest dialogue around the complexities of HIV-criminalization. After a brief phone conversation, during which he told me that ‘culpurative’ was not a word and that I had made it up (lol),
I agreed to let him run it.
The responses to the piece once it was uploaded to www.xtra.ca were swift. In less than an hour, 8 people have already commented on it and my Facebook has become covered in remarks, my inbox full of reactions. “Are we all criminals? No, we all aren't. You are, though” wrote N.H. from Mississauga on the Xtra site. "People living with HIV have a legal duty to disclose their HIV status before engaging in behaviors that put another person at significant risk of serious bodily harm. Congratulations. Hope having this self-indulgent tripe published makes you feel better about yourself.”
Sky from Toronto followed suit, commenting “I found it most interesting how this article tries to make the other guy out to be the bad guy and Michael the victim - it's exactly Michael's behavior that cause fear and stigma towards the HIV+ community.”
Others were more supportive. “It takes two to tango” wrote a gentleman named Dan, “but the HIV+ person is always the scapegoat if something goes wrong. The law as it stands is disgusting.”
“Wake up, guys!” wrote Jay. “1 in 4 of us in Toronto is poz. If you think you're only having sex with HIV-negative guys, you're wrong!”
The only comment though that made me cry belongs to Danny from Baltimore in the United States. Danny has chosen to be celibate after receiving an HIV-positive diagnoses over four years ago.
Imagine forsaking four years of sexual gratification, physical and emotional connection and intimacy, sexual health and well being, because you tested HIV-positive. Danny, if you read this, you don’t have to be alone.
Regardless of status, you are entitled to great, mind blowing, awesome, hot, sex. If my article in any way re-enforced your views that sex is complicated, potentially liable and more trouble than its worth, then I really have done my HIV community a disservice as Sky from Toronto wrote.
Being celibate is totally valid; if that’s what you truly want, but know that if you’re being celibate out of fear of rejection, fear of disclosure, or HIV-discrimination and stigma, that there are others out there who can help you work through those worries.
Find your local AIDS Service Organization, attend single mixers, connect with people online, talk to your doctor, no one should have to go it alone Danny. No one has the right to make you feel like you’re not entitled to celebrate and explore your sexuality. There is a whole world of hot guys out there who don’t care that you are HIV-positive. Go out there and show them a good time.