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The Pity Party is Over

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4 Comments

Z Y

Apologies...my previous comment was intended for 'Andrew'. Thx.

October 19, 2011

Zy

Chris Kaiser: YOU are so ON it!!! Terrific response to one of the most irresponsible editorial pieces I've read in quite some time. Not necessary for me to reiterate what you have already so eloquently conveyed. I'll just say...we should not be surprised that more and more people are going under and dying alone and suffering alone because of continued ignorance, stigma and misplaced rage.

October 19, 2011

Andrew

"the pity party is over and you have no one to blame but yourself" This mentality encapsulates EVERYTHING that is wrong with HIV related "support". Drunk drivers have no one to blame but themselves. Smokers have no one to blame but themselves. Crank addicts and gamblers and on and on and on...many, MANY people have no one to blame but themselves. Us? We were just having sex. You know, the same sex that resulted in the human race reproducing for thousands of years. The same sex that we're programmed to have. The same sex that 99.99% of the seronegative population has. And yeah, that includes gay men, who should "know better". None of these people are required to think that they're bringing ANYTHING on themselves, unless it turns out badly for them. Frankly, in many relationships, the expectation that condoms be worn constitutes the height of paranoia, and is a totally unreasonable request. Furthermore, some of us DID wear condoms. Religiously. They broke, or slid off or the other party decided to take them off when our backs were turned. Some of us were raped, or just made a bland, lonely mistake. Did we trust the wrong person? Yeah, obviously, but no one would feel compelled to tell us that we should blame ourselves if that same lover had just stabbed us in the back repeatedly, stolen our identities or or lit our house on fire. What is it about HIV that we think there is some sort of epiphany to be had in discovering our own fault? What kind of f****d up "support" philosophy expects victims to buy into their own fault when they weren't doing anything abnormal? For many of us, there is no cycle of dangerous behavior to be broken, no empowerment to be had in blaming ourselves. The average heterosexual is more likely to be hit by a car while crossing the street than infected with HIV, but we don't ask people to start blaming themselves every time they're run over. Inexplicably, if that heterosexual had been infected with HIV, we'd expect them to "take responsibility". It doesn't make sense. Its not consistent with the standards we normally apply to people, and frankly, it reeks of moralism. The problem is not that pozzies fail to "take ownership of their anger and depression", but rather we fall into a pit of self blame and guilt for an activity which deserves none. Attitudes like yours help feed that. This leads to a sense of disempowerment, a sense that because we've "brought it on ourselves" we don't deserve a chance, we don't deserve hope. Consequently, patently ridiculous manifestations of stigma go unchallenged by the poz community. We ignore inadequate cure research funding because we "brought it on ourselves". We don't bat an eye when ADAP waitlists swell even as drugs are donated to "high risk individuals"-ie bareback prostitutes and reckless sex addicts- people which many of us never were. That "storm of stigma and discrimination" is a lot harder to fight when we blame ourselves. If we were having a fair conversation about our role in it, there might be virtue in facing our faults. As it stands, there is often little fault to be faced. We feel like victims becase we ARE victims. Unless we went bug chasing, we didn't bring this on ourselves. We just screwed without rubbers. Just like our parents. Just like our friends. Just like future generations will do until there are no more future generations. Understanding HIV for what it is-a freak tragedy borne of sex doesn't mean we're having a "pity party", it means we're seeing this virus through the same lens we view everything else. That is the first step to empowerment, political cohesion and healing.

October 6, 2011

Chris Kaiser

That was motivating. Thank you.

September 30, 2011

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