Understanding

It’s been harder and harder to write, to journal out my frustrations but recently I have come to this realization, I don’t feel as though I can trust these hiv organizations or people partnered with them or those who push agenda’s because the more and more you wake up, the more you read the more they tweet you see that it’s lacking. I got on twitter to be more connected to those out there who are more connected to all things hiv. I happened to be completely on board until I came across a tweet about Michael Johnson getting probation, it was amazing I could believe it, he had been through so much 6 years gone and so much had happened in that time.

U = U campaign, there were so many things to be excited about until I saw who’s name was attached to the article it was Steven Thrasher. I don’t like him, and his headlines gave me reason enough to not enjoy anything he wrote pertaining to Michael. He would always start his headline with his online name Tiger Mandingo.

I was pissed that so much clout was being given to a journalist who referred to Michael as Tiger Mandingo and shared a photo of that same name. I never felt like he humanized him not once. So I spoke out and felt as though I got reprimanded by an advocate none the less I really respected. The problem I began to have with that is that this advocate referred to him as an ally. That made me feel stabbed, and attacked because now Steven had white backing and that is hard to fight when it’s been established.

You may feel why does that matter, it does because Michael is the name of the wrestler who got himself in a situation in a state that doesn’t care about people with hiv, despite the best efforts of some good advocates to advance better living and better comprehension for health with PreP, it just wasn’t available in Missouri the laws also were not different or changed in hiv criminalization because the message has changed and the science to go with it.

Yet how people treat people of color has not changed, reports from Poz.com brought out how people of color gay and bisexual alike are behind with the coverage they need and are unable to adhere to treatment because they are poor but I found this out later. I am mad because instead of a journalist who covered Michael’s story addressing him by his name, not Tiger Mandingo, he branded him, to that name. Even up to his release he still called him by that name, and people did not care, they didn’t even have the respect to correct Thrasher. Instead he is being lauded as something amazing because he covered this story, as though black people don’t have enough to deal with when it comes to bad perspectives. It’s eye opening of who will get support and who won’t. I thought something about these organizations about these advocates I shouldn’t have. That they are decent, that they would have had respect and would have been open to seeing that how a person is presented in the media matters, but they just don’t care. I had to see an interview about Steven Thrasher not once was he called out about how he headlined Michael and why he chose to repeatedly call him by that name. So I need to step as far away from anything hiv related as I can, because it hurts so much to see a black man who has less of a chance when hiv is put in the mix of getting a fair shake and all I see are the people who will promote anything in front of them.

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November untitled

Here goes, I spent $75 dollars on a mobile game i didn’t need to because I have been in depression deep and I could have just played my playstation, I could have spent that on my playstation plus account. I took a gamble and lost and that hurt.

Mostly I have just been in the dregs trying to figure out how to make my life feel better and it doesn’t. I want to commit suicide, almost everyday, and I never thought my life would be so out of control, but it is. I feel like I just don’t have control over my own life or feelings any more.

I want to have sex with my counselor so bad I cry at night, even though he is a type cast of men I never got to have an intimate relationship with because they were straight and, never available, and neither is he. It hurts anyway, always has after all of these years.

I often wonder why I have been always afraid to write down what I feel, I guess it’s because people get you to a point where you can’t trust them, you can’t trust what you say to them because I’m wrong move and it’s evidence against your entire state of being.

I have so many things stacked on me, my emotions, skin color, sexuality, beliefs, social status and I wonder if it ever gets better. I wonder if I can ever get to a true state of acceptance?

I just feel judged and judge myself because I don’t know how to cope with either choice I make, knowing full well that the pieces just won’t fit, no matter how hard I force them to, they just won’t.

So at times I feel that if I just die I can make the madness in my life go away. I don’t have to hide out, I don’t have to deal with hiv, sexual addiction, depression, loneliness, any of this garbage because I will just be dead and it will be the end of it.

Everyday feels like I am catching up from my childhood to my adulthood, that I am still just as stupid now as I was back then.

I want a better life and I know I don’t have it, even though I need it. I want my counselor to have sex with me even though I know he won’t dare, and it leaves me cold and empty and rejected inside, while everybody is moving ahead I am slowly dying inside, just dying.

Shown a better way

Prayer is not just an outlet, it’s also communicating, important communication to me. This morning I cam across an article from Mark S King, and it was a great article talking about the barriers about racism, taboo sex, living and hiv. For this who have heard of Mark King know he is a white gay man living with hiv, he talked to Charles Stephens founder of the Counter Narrative Project. 

This was a needed discussion and it shows why Mark S King is still in game when it comes to hiv advocacy, being a long time survivor with hiv, yet equipping gay white males with ways to ask the needed questions without alienating black men, and black gays in the community. 

The more I read, the more I enjoyed the interaction, I could see the genuine exchange and answers coming out from the point of view from a man of color that could not be denied. It was Mark S King’s tone of wanting to get to the bottom of bridging the gap of hiv in the community as a whole. I did not have to personally meet Mark King to respect him, he showed that as to how he handled himself as a humanitarian. It spoke volumes like a vast library. 

Mark came to understand more clearly the perspective of fetishism around black gay men. What it means and what it feels like from the perspective of a man of color. I could relate and it can be very disheartening to be judged and summed up by my skin color and erect penis size. It’s dehumanizing, and it’s not flattering or attractive, it’s sexist and needs to be classified as so, it may take time but I believe if I put it out there it will catch the right people.

I personally loved this piece, because it helped me remember that we all look for honest answers and it’s about finding the right people for the exchange. I detest having to argue with heavily ignorant white folk who equate racism to name calling, who lack even the basic understanding of what racism entails, and how it has effected Native, Black, Asian, Latinx, and Muslim communities. This flies over the head of those very people who feel Name calling is spreading racism when people are dying in record numbers to white people. Who ignore the clear evidence of wrongdoing, for their comfort.

I took comfort in what Mark S King presented, still I thank my God that I found it, because my anger on race related issues and injustices, has really hit me to my core, and I feel it has deteriorated my sense of needed compassion in these instances. I do well to not turn these needed talking points into ways to express hate.

The other unfortunate thing as well, is that intelligent men like Mark King end up in that black hole of bad white people who stir up trouble and keep ignorance going, so we need more people of the like mindset of Mark S King making their voices heard.

Iamstilljosh does it again

This week I read a post from him linked to his twitter and he talked about why he quit asking hookups if it was OK that he was living with Hiv? When I read that it really resounded with me in an amazing way. For such a long time we happen to be at the mercy of public opinion and usually it has not been a good thing. When I sat down and read this genius I understood that, how long did we need to exist with people being able to control our happiness, and after a while you either give up or you work your situation to your benefit. New scientific information comes out almost all of the time and people are no more educated than they have been ten years ago, even five. I hate that even in a technological age people who have sex uneducated about all of the risks going in still judge those living with hiv who are educated in their health and how to have sex in a healthy way and people are still running scared, and rejecting those who have their lives together and have put the work in.

He helped me see that validation does not come from other people who just dont have a clue and think they exist in the clear, people are still having unprotected sex and continue to judge the sexual habits of those living with hiv, its just wrong. It wasn’t until I saw a firecracker of a question he asked, “Are you up-to-date and in the know about what undetectable means?” It put the light on, it is so simple and really puts the ball in the other person’s court, to me I saw it as how well do they really know whats going on out there and are they being responsible about there own sexual activity. To me that question did mean like he said, that you could keep your dignity and if they could not answer the question then what do you have to loose anymore, no one really has to feel humiliated, no one perpetuating stigma, and that we can transition to something better. That is what we really need, a transition to something worthwhile and a chance to be met on the same page as everyone else has, to meet on the front porch on equal footing, and smile with happiness to look at someone else and realize that they chose you and were happy to do so. So before thinking that living with hiv means you cant have happiness think again, cause those times are over.

Platforms

There was something that I came across on twitter when I went and looked through Jake Bass’ twitter on Jake Bass S*nova, that on his July 1 2016 post I had a huge issue with it, a serious one. When he was responding to TMZ about a rapper speaking out about what he said was aids, and most likely he was talking about hiv, he put out two post to TMZ stating “ur fucking idiots…Aids is now a big thing cause black rappers are now speaking up????? Who cares about Atlanta…Who cares about black rappers speaking up????What about the WORLD??” It was not to long ago that he also retweeted a post about Orlando, so in case I was not paying attention to that event, that had to deal with gay people of color, as well as straight allies.

Here is my problem, how can we talk about equality, how can we acceptance when we continue to place black people in such a derogatory light. When all I hear coming from media pundits and trolls alike about what black people need to do about their communities. All you have to do is google Atlanta and hiv and see that there are many media sources talking about how Atlanta’s HIV epidemic is likened to a third world African countries. Now when you have an Internationally know Adult Entertainer promote nothing but aids stigma bias and tell people who and what they should care about. Hiv is still an issue, Jake Bass for his two twitter comments show there is a huge lack in education when Hiv effects the LGBT community, that hiv until it reached over to heterosexual community it was the gay disease.

I feel that this very uneducated comment, from someone who’s health is based on how long he is able to be and Adult Performer, that something this basic would not exit his mouth. Hiv is still very much frowned up despite all of the countless hours spent, on programs like Ryan White, or Terrance Higgens Clark, Rise up HIv, and black hiv organizations that work so hard to get education, resources and information to stop the spread of HIv, yet all the time people pay way to much attention and stock into a porn star. It still amazes me just how much people continue to worship people and that they do no wrong and are accountable to next to no one…Its just tweet and on to the next, and that is a problem. I just got woke on how stupid people really are and Jake Bass is absolutely a complete idiot. Great Adult Performer, just, wow…idiot. Jake you should really know better, the fact that you don’t is not a surprise. In this no fucks given society, I was completely turned off. People can go to college but it does not make them intelligent if they fail to apply common sense. Are there bigger issues in the world, yes, Hiv, is still an important issue, and if its not on your face or your concern, do like the Dixie Chicks and just shut up and go fuck yourself.

Stop leading people down a bad path just because your life is centered around promoting yourself, stick to that. We do not need your fisher price opinions go play somewhere. What we need is awareness and not being hindered by stigma, not giving people a false sense of hiv is not a big deal in the stream of things and underscore all the progress that has been made.

All this progress is helping to save lives and not put us back in darker times, I feel like it helped save my life, living with hiv is getting better, and we don’t need you to get there. Make no mistake you are not Justin Trudeau, but obviously you need to learn something from a grown man who has an exceptional level of class and thinks before he says something. Keep your Mike Pence level of thinking and your Trump attitude in your own lane.

Getting through the front door

Its said that the hardest door to walk through is your own, moving past depression, bad choices and hook ups that move no where past sex. It always has me wondering where do I fit, when I really take steps to let go of everything I know that is not working in my life? When the weights feel as though they have fallen off, when I am ready to move forward, how do I do that safely, in an effective manner that keeps me mentally and emotionally healthy. For a while I always thought that I had nothing more to offer that, age, sexuality, race, and health status defined my life and would hold me back. I forgot that is a naive way of thinking, that sometimes I forget that its possible for anyone to move mountains, create storms, change reality.

It feels dwarfing at time to put myself out there, to wonder if I will be safe, ok, but I have to walk out of the front door to find out. I have to do it for me, its not about being free or feeling owned, its time to go for the long haul. Its time to be who through my dna my ancestors, my people, its just time to show out and shine. I have to be willing to wake up happy and start walking, I don’t have to look back or feel afraid to keep going, Its ok to finally wake up.

Sheen of the Meds!

I don’t have any criticism and i feel that nor should I be trying to look for any. When you think about the situation that is why those living with hiv clearly need protection. He should have been able to live in peace, not become this suedo advocate for a community he really does not belong to at this time, maybe in general. The big issue now is that what he is choosing to do affects the community, not in a good way, in a very damaging way. The thing about going public with certain issues is that you get your eye poked.

Now there is a need for damage control and moving on towards showing and displaying the need for equal protection for those living with hiv so that they in turn can seek medical treatment in privacy and peace. Treatment is absolutely vital for the overall health of anyone living with hiv, lets move forward not backwards.

You go Michael Rizzi!

This entry is late, on November 24, 2015, Michael Rizzi dropped a vlog on Living with the stigma of HIV. When i got the notification, and yes I am subscribed, it was amazing to see that. Why was that a big deal to me, its just a video? Seeing that video said a lot, it gave public recognition for WorldAidsDay, about a year ago I say YouTubers talking about HIV and Aids and bringing attention to it. I felt in that moment that Rizzi did that so overdue justice. It stands at 16,860 views 993 likes and 4 dislikes. What i hope for anyone who knows someone or currently lives with HIV to know that there are people out that that get it and want to make a positive change for the better.

Having that video there also told me that someone remembered and that were getting more comfortable about talking about this important subject. It was also a great feeling to see the volunteers that participated in helping this video become a reality. Michael asked all the right answers to this subject. I couldn’t be moved more to know that there are still people out there that care and show how we need to stick together and be a community, spread love not stigma. When you have time check out the video on Michael Rizzi’s channel, Terrence Higgins Trust, and many other outlets that are out there to show support and information.

WorldAidsDay

This is the second year for myself, its World Aids Day, and I happened to be watching some HIV video’s from Youtube, from The Poz+ Life of Patrick, and from Andrew Langston. You cant help but think about how HIV still touches the world. It get’s me thinking, is the message still reaching people? Are people either very afraid or just plain ignoring the message entirely.

Today when I watched the news World Aids Day seemed to be a small cliff note to a very important topic that needs serious consideration. We cant say that HIV is a killer virus and epidemic, then don’t address the serious issues surrounding it. CNN talked about Prep and how it could be not so good for people. When it comes to Prep, the thought is that people will engage in reckless behavior, meaning sex without condoms. People are still doing that even before the pill came out, and people still have unprotected sex.

The problem with all of this is that people are not being open minded enough to help in the en devour to stop new infections, that’s the goal, managing and preventing new infections. There is so much that comes with moving forward. Peer support, groups, outreach, even fundraisers. Acknowledging the simple fact that until we make more and more people aware and awaken more minds, the same habits still end up repeated.

For me World Aids Day means, when are more people going to choose to wake up to the reality, that people living with HIV, are ordinary people, that we don’t look any different, yet we are managing it, we have some of the most influential minds looking for a cure, I believe its possible and soon, why this event has had such a profound major impact globally, I have seen documentaries, and I have seen what it took to get their message out there and make a difference and not just become victims who died in silence, people who died and got carried out in hazmat bags. Living in an era where people they knew died in a blink of the eye. I have not lived to experience those events, when I opened my eyes and did so much research, keeping as connected as possible. World Aids Day comes once a year, yet HIV once contracted becomes something you survive as long as your health permits it.

My message to so many people out there, please pay attention to the message that is being put out there, recognize all those who are trying to educate and keep others safe when it comes to sex. At the end of the day you make your own choices regarding your sexual habits and you are responsible for who you engage in sex with, make your decisions count, don’t be caught in life that these avoidable instances sneak up on you living life. Be wise and be safe.

New Hope: Mother to Child

I read and article how a mother in NewYork who is hiv positive, on medication gave birth to a child and there was an official report, that mother to child transmission of hiv did not happen, there was no transmission. To me this is huge, It happened it Cuba and now it’s state side, it’s an amazing feeling even though I am a man. For me it means that hiv had went from a massive epidemic that progressed to a deadly autoimmune virus killing people to being managed to now giving rise to families and now re-uniting that pure physical emotional bond between a mother and a child.

Yes all these steps have taken time, there is still work that is going on, yet the light is on and it’s been on, more people are just catching the glimpse of it, and it keeps changing until it becomes this lighthouse guiding us to safe land, helping us make our way to the other side. So we keep the light on, helping others find there way, keeping it lit so they never find a road leading into darkness.