March #21 : Vanity Unfair - by Walter Armstrong and Ronnilyn Pustil

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Table of Contents

Larry Kramer Gets Angry

Radiant Radical

Adventures in Brain Chemistry

Cackles, Cauldrons, and Carrots

Johnny Appleseed

The Way To a Man's Heart

Tools of the Trade

Life Imitates Art

S.O.S.-March 1997

Mailbox-March 1997

Notes of a Native Son

Out in the Cold

Cocktail Hour

Gallo's Humor

Vanity Unfair

Uh-Oh, Canada

Dental Damns

School for Scandal

"Provide" Services

Goes Around, Comes Around

Whatever Happened to Mary Jane

The Buddy Line

Rebel YELL

Bull's Eye

Body at Work

Alive and Kicking

ACTing UP All Over

All in Good Time

Tabling the Situation

POZ Picks-March 1997

ACT UP's First Days

5,985 and Counting

A Specific Point of View

Dead Gorgeous

Sex and the Single Positoid

Misplaced Lust

The Anger Channel

Dose of Reality

Feeling Blue? Much to Do!

Kicking Butt

Expand Your Medicine Cabinet

Wean on Me

Feeling Queasy? Help is Easy

The Right Stuff

A Load Off His Mind

Carbo Diem

Monkey Business

Taking Action

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

March 1997

Vanity Unfair

by Walter Armstrong and Ronnilyn Pustil

DMV to biker: "HIV POS" plate? Not!

A 40-year-old man with AIDS is suing the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for $5 million, claiming the agency discriminated against him when it denied him a license plate reading "HIV POS." Kevin Dimmick said the DMV violated his civil rights when it deemed his proposed plate offensiv. Dimmick, founder of a support group for HIV positive heterosexuals, planned to the put the license plate on his Harley Davidson. "I wanted to show people it's OK to be HIV positive. I expected to encounter some bigotry, but not at the state DMV."

Evan Nossoff, a DMV spokesperson, said, "If a substantial number of people would be offended, we don't issue the plate. Here, 'HIV POS' might be seen by some as laudatory, but others are offended-not just bigots or gay-bashers, but those with HIV." But the DMV has not yet located someone with HIV who finds it offensive.

Dimmick is representing himself in court with cocounsel. "When you're the first person to take an AIDS discrimination suit against the state and do it on your own behalf, it's overwhelming," Dimmick said. "I have to win this case. If the state can discriminate against someone for being positive, we have some real problems." State Attorney General Dan Lungren, the man behind last summer's raid of the Cannabis Buyers Club, is representing the DMV. "I thought at first Lungren was just anti-drugs, but I guess he's anti-AIDS," Dimmick said. "He should be protecting my civil rights. I don't mind him on the case-he's just supposed to be on the other side of the table." A court date had not been set at presstime.

The DMV once approved a plate that read "HIV NOT" but recalled it after protests. Plates reading "HIV DOC," "HIV TEST" and even "HIV BU" have been issued by the DMV. "We routinely try to steer away from anything controversial. We encourage people to use bumper stickers," said DMV Director Sally Reed. "A bumper sticker on my motorcycle?" Dimmick asked. "I don't have a bumper."

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