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 Facebook here.

Lalalala...I can't hear you!

published: December, 05, 2017 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, Aging, Gay Men, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder: "When we keep closing doors we don't learn. When we constantly argue we risk pissing into the wind..."

Lalalala...I can't hear you!

"Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil." Japanese proverb. The Three Wise Monkeys I have to admit that I tend to look for only those opinions and ideas that support my own personal belief system. Most notably anything political. I'm left-leaning and so listening to people who are also left-leaning is my preference. I shut out anything that doesn't fit my idea of the world. I think this is a human trait. I believe that we all, from whatever stripes we wear, look for only those things that

The lost art of communication

published: September, 29, 2017 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Aging, featured, Social Media, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder: "More and more I believe our social isolation (and not just for poz folk) is a symptom of disassociation and disconnection."

The lost art of communication

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."  -- George Bernard Shaw When I was young, in my 20s, we had no internet or Skype. We had party lines and dial phones or those fancy new push button phones that were all the rage. We didn't have texting or sexting, or Scruff or Grindr, or phones that were used solely for the purpose of taking self-absorbed portraits of our dinners or our faces with duck lips. No, we had much more... We actually talked to

Us and them

published: July, 21, 2017 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Aging, Social Media, Gay Men, Current Affairs, Mental Health, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Media, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder: "Unfortunately, we're all too human and we're all too convinced that we are separate from each other and everything else in the Universe."

Us and them

"If you understand, things are just as they are... If you do not understand, things are just as they are..."  Anonymous Something's been bothering me for a while now and I wanted to write about it, but couldn't put my finger on it until just the other day. What's been bothering me is how factions are appearing everywhere - Black Lives Matter, U=U, Politics and Pride parades, anger at just about everything and separation from each other. My little "aha" moment was that all this is about dual

Remembrance of things past

published: May, 04, 2017 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, Aging, Gay Men, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder: "I fear that if we don't record our past, in each community, we'll end up with a Hollywood version that misses the point..."

Remembrance of things past

"Remember, the storm is a great opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their stability" -- Ho Chi Minh I read an article online where the number of long-term survivors who choose to commit suicide is increasing. Besides the tragedy of this in and of itself, there is a deeper loss - the loss of the living library of people who remember the "dark days" of HIV. Living in a small city, I know that there are only a few of us left who remember the people and events of our local past. Pe

The Pool of Tears

published: April, 10, 2017 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Mental Health, Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder on the accumulated grief of successive losses: "I think that the weeping is good."

The Pool of Tears

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself," said Alice, "a great girl like you," (she might well say this), "to go on crying in this way! Stop this moment, I tell you!" But she went on all the same, shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round her, about four inches deep and reaching half down the hall. Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland It's been years since the eighties and early nineties, since the dark days of AIDS and loss after loss of too many beautiful people. And yet

Like the Mark of Cain, we carry stigma with us.

published: March, 01, 2017 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, African, Caribbean and Black, Gay Men, Youth, Newly Diagnosed, Mental Health, Women, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder: "... I wonder if, in some ways, we perpetuate stigma by trying to diminish it."

Like the Mark of Cain, we carry stigma with us.

"Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him" Genesis 4:15-16 I see a lot of campaigns about reducing stigma and each time I see a new one there's a little knot in my stomach that makes me uncomfortable. While I strongly believe that we need to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination, I wonder if, in some ways, we perpetuate stigma by trying to diminish it. Here some people's heads will be exploding, but nonetheless, every time we talk about how we're stigmatiz

Doubleplusgood in the land of alternative facts

published: January, 30, 2017 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, As Prevention , Gay Men, General Health, Current Affairs, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Mental Health, Sexual Health, International , Treatment, Legal, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Big Brother is watching... America does not end at its borders. Michael Yoder foresees carnage and offers some resistance tips.

Doubleplusgood in the land of alternative facts

"And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?"  Genesis 4:9 The world is different now and we should all be afraid. The new President of the United States is passing so many Executive Orders, it's surprising he doesn't get carpal tunnel syndrome from all those majestic strokes of the pen. His administration is not concerned with facts or with people, rather the man and his minions are concerned with looking good to a handful of f

(Un)Happy Holidays

published: December, 19, 2016 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Mental Health, Health, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder on HIV and the holidays: "... the real purpose of Winter festivities is not to be happy, but to find belonging..."

(Un)Happy Holidays

"Holidays in general breed unrealistic expectations. The minute you start wondering, 'is it going to be wonderful enough?,' it never will be." --Pepper Schwartz "...If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart..." --Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol It's that time of year where we're all supposed to be full of joy and light and love

Wounds

published: October, 31, 2016 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Mental Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

"Can we allow our "Self" to cry and laugh and create the safe places where our child can heal - or at least be less afraid?" asks Michael Yoder

 Wounds

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.”  -- David Richo I've been talking with a number of people lately, and I'm starting to believe that we're all really just wounded children living in grown-up bodies. And it's not just those of us living with HIV - it extends to everyone. Children are shaped by experience. Of course, you could say that adults are shaped by experience as well, and I would say that it's just the child in us learning more thing

The Importance of Being Decadent

published: August, 10, 2016 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, General Health, Mental Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

"... by treating ourselves as worthy of something special (every now and then), we can increase our self-esteem, because "we're worth it", says Michael Yoder

The Importance of Being Decadent

"I can resist everything but temptation." - Oscar Wilde Bob asked me to write about my guilty pleasures, which confounded me a little because I don't think I have anything in particular that fits that bill. But it started me thinking about what "guilty pleasures" means and I think it has a lot to do with decadence. An online dictionary defines decadence in different ways including decay and moral turpitude. The one I'm focusing on is "unrestrained or excessive self-indulgence", which sounds

Orlando: a catalyst for change

published: June, 17, 2016 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Activism, Pride, Gay Men, Current Affairs, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder says “small things - Pride flags being lowered, vigils held, mayors and politicians and celebrities speaking out across the planet, rainbow colours decorating monuments are of immense importance.”

Orlando: a catalyst for change

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have." Margaret Mead  The mass shooting in Orlando has brought out the best and worst in people. Some continue to hate the LGBT community and some have turned to love: line-ups of people donating blood, people contributing money to assist the loved ones of those who were lost and to support those who survived. Those who hate never cared in the first place and their minds will not be changed. 

Sidelined by side effects: the sequel

published: May, 10, 2016 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Health, Treatment, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Getting it right: Michael Yoder continues his story of changing meds, side effects issues and finally reverting to his old meds

Sidelined by side effects: the sequel

 "Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died."  Erma Bombeck  We'll start with the dreamy, looking back part of the movie where everything goes bleary and wavy and the past is reviewed - or we witness a nightmare.  This would be the latter...  My specialist wanted me off Tenofivir because of bone density issues. He put me on Etravirine and Dolutegravir - both of which he assured me are well tolerated. He was incorrect, at least in my case.  I spent three long weeks dealing w

Side-lined by side effects

published: April, 15, 2016 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Health, Treatment, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder changes meds and makes friends with Gravol.and says"I would love it if specialists had to take the meds themselves in order to experience the vast array of marvellously crappy physical and emotional effects the treatments have on us“

Side-lined by side effects

"What kind of side effects?” ... “Memory loss. Synesthesia. And occasionally … vestigial growths.” “So I could forget my own name, start smelling purple everywhere and have an extra nipple sprout from my forehead?”    D.D. Barant, Back from the Undead  I was going to write this last week, and probably on a different topic, but my specialist changed my meds and the side effects have been fabulous...  This is the first med change I've been through in more than 10 years. I wa

Safe Spaces?

published: February, 25, 2016 Categories // Activism, Gay Men, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Michael Yoder

No more hushed tones. Michael Yoder on creating spaces where poz folks= can talk freely - in public

Safe Spaces?

 “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” Bernard M. Baruch   Here in Victoria we have a coffee group that meets weekly. When I was starting work with POZitively Connected, I was really clear that wherever possible, groups should happen out in the world rather than in an office. The group is primarily social - a way for gay guys living with HIV to connect with each, form friendships and just talk about whatever they

The chicken and the egg

published: January, 14, 2016 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Mental Health, Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder says “I've been dealing with depression for the past nine years, and I've been thinking about the very circular nature of "negative" emotions.“

The chicken and the egg

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”  Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral's Kiss  I've been dealing with depression for the past nine years, and I've been thinking about the very circular nature of "negative" emotions.  The depression started when I burned out from my last job. I never was really allowed to be "down" after the job - the insurance company decided I was fine and I should go back to work. That started a mel

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