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Coming Out Again and Again

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9 Comments

brian

I have come up with a code phrase when talkin about hiv with a friend "house in vermont." we will not see this through in my lifetime and i'm 32 years old. acceptance is the key

October 26, 2012

Alex

To come out or not... I struggled with a lot with this question until the decision to be open about my Poz status became very clear. Years ago after disclosing my Poz status to someone who seemed genuinely interested in me on an online dating site, I was accused of "wasting his time". The hurt from this rejection sent me into a tail spin. It was then that I decided to be open. I adopted a personal policy that called for me to openly post my Poz status as a part of my bio. I also included a statement that I do understand the power of fear and am thankful for the natural weeding out process. (After more than two decades being Poz I see this status as just another fact of my life eyes hazel, hair silver, Poz, etc.) When approached either in live chat or via mail, in my first response I ask a question or two to ensure that the individual has read my bio. This has served me well. There have only been a couple of times when a guy has tried to deny that I have told him that I'm Poz. Because it is a part of the bio and they have responded to my questions it is easy for me to dismiss their claim. This may not have an impact on them but gives me the peace of mind that I have been open, honest and have no reason for shame. (I lose no sleep over the matter)I also am grateful to others who are out about their Poz status because it may just help stop the isolation with which so many of us live.

October 18, 2012

david NORTHRUP

omg my life's journey has always been one of acknowledge and or perceived dichotomies. your article the response as much as I share the anger that resonance 100% with Andy as much as the heartfelt love karemiah expressed in her response about her fears for her son who is living in and will be affected by the mean outright ostrcization from his own community. sadly in the darks years there was lots of misguided anger and accusation being pointed at members of our community by members of our community. but as we ourselves as a collective community #1 we stayed together and we helped and learned as much about the disease that was stealing huge numbers of our community mostly us Gay men... But boys don't ever forget we did lose some Lesbian sisters in those dark years. but the beauty of those dark years (if such could be said) is the queer community finally came together and really started working to Fight against our common oppressors *** the status quo dogmatic patriarchal heterocentric ideology of the USA sadly often what I have experienced in my life as a sissy girly gay who wore dresses and heels one night, would strap on my boots and leather the next night and know as a HIV/HEP C+ out queer boy is the our male queer community has forgotten those dark years are still buying into the same old hateful dogmatic patriarchal heterocentric ideologies that led us to the dark years... 12 years of silence regarding a virologic pathogen unmet or at least I identified by our medical and scientific communities

October 18, 2012

Andy

I agree with HH-NY. This isn't "stigma". This is outright persecution, and it's not just something that manifests itself online. I think a lot of us need to stop candycoating it with the same terminology that is used to describe whatever we faced before we heard "your test came back positive". For those of us who grew up in the 90s, what we see before us is NOTHING like the watered down "stigma" we thought we faced before. No civilized person is going to tell someone they're "dirty" because they're black or gay. We're not the victims of "stigma". We're f***ing untouchables. We don't need "disclosure" either. Disclosure is something we're forced to do by an oppressive state that seeks to segregate us. "Disclosure" is a special bedroom conversation we're required to have that alerts other people that they need to run away and be afraid. We need HIV to be a health issue, like every other, not something we "disclose". The fact that divulging an intimate detail of your health even gets a special word is a manifestation of, not a treatment for, the persecution we face.

October 18, 2012

Karemiah

My 24 year old son was diagnosed as HIV positive about a year ago. While he's very open with others about his status, I tend to council him about being too free with the information. I fear for the responses and ramifications he'll face on the job, socially and in other venues. Despite the fact that the responses are ignorant and the ramifications are unjustified, I can't help but be more concerned for his own well being. My motherly concern kicks in and supersedes his implied social and political obligations. Am I wrong?

October 16, 2012

HH-NY

Why is the word stigma used? Isn´t stigma what would be left after we have gotten rid of outright hate and discrimination/criminalization? Only a few years ago sodomy was still illegal. The gay community didn´t talk about the stigma of being homosexual.

October 16, 2012

John

While I do agree with your statement, I'm finding more and more discrimination and rejection when disclosing to men I chat with in online dating sites. Just last night I had one guy who was interested in meeting me ask me, "U clean?". Well I was incensed and replied back "Clean? Seriously?" I further said, "No, I'm Poz and if that's what you meant. "Clean" is an insult. Like I'm "dirty".' This jerk then had the balls to say, "no, it's not an insult, it's reality". I should have stopped engaging but like you said in your statement, I do feel like I should attempt to educated and try to enlighten someone like this to try to get them to stop stigmatizing myself and other poz individuals. So.. I continued saying "Yeah it IS! Get with it. Ask a guy if he's neg or poz. Then I get this reply from him... "You're obviously poz because you yourself never made sure you were with someone who was "Clean" Honestly, that knocked the wind out of me and I thought I couldn't be shocked or surprise any longer by uneducated, mean, hurtful comments. Since right after delivering that insult he immediately "blocked me" and he never got to read my reply to that which was... "You're perpetuating the stigma that being poz is somehow dirty". Needless to say, I've been wrestling with putting my status on my online profiles but still have not because I really don't think it should be public knowledge, conversely I'm sure I would help weed out the schmucks like this little cretin. I've been single for a little over 4 years after my 30 year relationship ended.(my ex was neg and for 15 out of the 30 years we were together I was poz and i never infected him). While I knew dating again at 58 and being Poz was going to be a challenge, there are truly days when this kind of rejection just totally crushes my spirit and I question even trying to date or connect with anyone.

October 16, 2012

Rick

I agree with your statement. I have faced some backlash because as a black man in a small town in the south, I have revealed my HIV status to people. However, I think that by revealing my status, I am removing some of the stigma associated with AIDS.

October 16, 2012

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