Start Talking Stop HIV is a new educational campaign bringing together voices from gay and bisexual men from a spectrum of backgrounds and relationships to the Epidemic that the CDC is releasing on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. I’m incredibly proud to be a very small part of this conversation along with Ken Almanza, Charles Sanchez, AJ King, and many other artists, activists, and community leaders I greatly admire.
It’s amazing how quickly everything can change. A year ago today I was living in Los Angeles, engaged to be married, and writing occasionally but mostly being a housewife between bouts of exceptionally self-destructive behavior. If you would have told me then that twelve months hence I’d be living in The South, single, and (almost) supporting myself as a full-time freelance writer I would have rewarded you with my most skeptical face—but to be fair, I don’t think 2016 worked out the way any of us expected it to…
On this week is with writer and BDSM advocate Race Bannon. Race is the leather/kink columnist for the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter, the Founder and a former President and Managing Editor for Daedalus Publishing Company, the first publishing house dedicated to publishing non-fiction books about leather, BDSM & kink, and a pillar of San Francisco’s LGBT and Leather communities.
The Novus Homo has been tooling around the wilds of suburban Michigan this week and the Raveonette’s “Heart of Stone” has been in my brain on constant repeat.
It’s one of life’s unfortunate ironies that nudists are rarely the sorts of folk you’d like to see naked, and the cadre of skin-clad sunbathers who congregate at Jane Warner Plaza in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro Village are no different. Generally flabby, paunchy, falling demographically somewhere between Jurassic and Antediluvian, and usually wearing nothing more than sneakers and the occasional sun hat. It’s… not a pretty sight. But fear not citizens! Scott Wiener has a simple solution to the plague of wrinkled old man flesh polluting Cloud City’s pristine streets: criminalize nudity.
On Monday, R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, weighed in on the recent controversies swirling around Chick-fil-A after its president, Dan Cathy, admitted that his company gives financial support to anti-gay causes, and decreed that the whole debate was an “empty calorie diversion from equality.” And warned us that an “anti-Chick-fil-A crusade” might play well in the “Democratic Enclaves” (read: godless pits of vice) on the coasts, but in “America’s Heartland” (you know, the real America) queers loudly and visibly standing up for our rights is turning conservatives, moderates, and independents against us.
I found out I was HIV positive in the spring of 2005, just a few weeks before my 24th birthday. There wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary, just time for the seasonal STI screening I felt every sexually active gay man should engage in. I remember being impatient to get the appointment over with, so I could meet up with my friends at the record store; and I remember being able to see the results in the doctor’s sad, kind eyes before I heard them come out of his mouth. As he talked about how far we we’ve come since the ’80s and advances in medical understanding, I felt waves of numbness wash over my body. I just kept thinking “My life is over.” Of course I was wrong, but at the time I was convinced I had just been handed a death sentence.