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Author Topic: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?  (Read 1824 times)

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Offline David_CA

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Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« on: August 13, 2007, 09:36:57 AM »
Brent's Crisco Disco thread http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=14618.0 got me thinking.  Where would we be if HIV / AIDS never existed?  By 'we', I mostly mean gay men and gay culture.  I know that other 'groups' are effected too, but it seems like AIDS pretty much destroyed a whole generation of gay men, with a few who (thankfully) survived.  I was a bit young (and sheltered, I guess) to really be effected directly by AIDS in the earliest years.  I may not have known a lot of people personally who passed due to AIDS, but Brent's thread, along with www.queermusicheritage.us/jan2005s.html made me realize how much we have lost due to this virus.  This time, the 'we' means everybody... the general population.  That so much culture - music, art, acting, etc. has been wiped out is almost unbelievable to me.  I also wonder how much AIDS has set us back in terms of acceptance as an 'alternative' group.  So, in your opinion, where would we be in a world without AIDS?

David
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 09:39:04 AM by David_NC »
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline pozattitude

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2007, 01:07:18 PM »
Like most everything in life, I feel that there are positives and negatives as the outcome of the epidemic.  The negatives are easy to see, we lost so many people to AIDS and the religious right used the epidemic and their divine "punishment" to reassure their homophobia.
The positive aspects is that AIDS truly united the gay community for the first time.

Rich
 
POSITIVE PEDALERS... We are a group of people living with HIV/AIDS, eliminating stigma through our positive public example.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2007, 01:14:05 PM »
Yeah, I was going to post exactly what Rich did.  Many, many creative people were lost but in the end the AIDS crisis actually sped up the gay equality movement, at least in my eyes, and forced the larger mainstream American culture to discuss homosexuals.

As far as where we'd be now without any of it, who knows?  I'd still of course rather that it didn't happen, not purely out of self-interest but just because an entire generation of gay men whether or not they were actually infected has been severely traumatized by it all.  And while gay men have always boozed and drugged it up, I firmly believe this trauma has increased a predisposition to all of that.
"Ive slept with enough men to know that Im not gay"

Offline Iggy

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2007, 01:20:15 PM »
Interesting question but unfortunately impossible to really know the answer.  The loss of so many gay men to HIV has certainly left us poorer in many ways.  Im just not certain if we can ever say what was going to be beyond just theories and as with all theories there is plenty of room for interpretation.  Here are my thoughts.

Physical:
I do think the because of HIV and the body wasting that was prevalent (followed by steroids to combat it) pre-cocktail regimes that we have the physical image of what it means to be attractive today.  I truly think that though there has always been muscle boys in the gay world the idea of what is physically attractive body wise has changed dramatically in society over the last 20 -30 years and I seriously believe gay men to be at the forefront of that image change with the fears of not looking uber-healthy being the cause of the biggest muscles wins mentality.

Us. Vs. them:
 I think HIV hardened a lot of us against each other in many subtle ways.  As noted on the thread in the Living section about discrimination it dawned on me that for all my fears of discrimination by society they only people who ever discriminated against me for being poz were other gay men.  Of all the gay people I know who were sexually active from before the rise of AIDS (not many now) there has always been one thing that they all said.  Sex and being gay used to be fun and less segmented than the years following HIV.
 
Generation Gap:
I think it possibly further widened the distance of understanding between older and younger gays beyond a normal generation gap and in the process left an older generation without the accolades it deserves and the support it needs, and a younger generation without the true knowledge and appreciation of who they are politically, socially and historically.

Activism:
I think the rise of political activism (particularly in the late 80s to early 90s) that came about as a result of HIV is something that has reverberations today to many and serves as a reminder that we are more than just a social group.  Unfortunately as happened with the winning of the first wave of gay rights in the early seventies, so too with the advent of cocktail drugs and we have become complaint about our rights as something to just joke about and shrug off as yesterdays battles.  Which perhaps makes moot my above answer of where we would be in regards to activism without HIV.

Culture:
I agree that we lost far too many great minds, artists, poets, writers among the first wave that left us deprived of leadership for defining ourselves as a cultural force rather than a fringe element within culture. After so many years of GAY = Got Aids Yet, it still seems that we as a group carry around a self imposed stigma of the need to be accepted in the general culture which also means playing the part of comedic relief or the non-intrusive an always reliable life of the party.  Keep in mind that I am speaking of depiction of gays (and how we have allowed and accepted us to be depicted) in the last 20+ years.  Yes, gays have always been a sort of pun line for those who wish it and for society in general but I truly think that there was change in focus with the serious works and demands for serious depiction of gays in the late 70s and early 80s that was sort of neutered with the rise of AIDS.  I am uncertain if it is because we lost so many who were on the forefront of that fight or that we and society in general were unable to separate HIV and GAY, but I think it is real.

Offline jessem3s

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2007, 01:46:56 PM »
I can relate to this thread!

I remember visiting a friend in San Fran and he was poz. Ok not so much as a friend but a potential boyfriend who I met the week I found out I was poz.
We started to talk around the first week of March and then I ended up going in the ending of March.

I remember meeting his friends, and his friend was neg and he was telling me how in a group of 10 friends one was neg and that 1 friend would see all 9 pass.
So it was so intense for me at the time and that really got to me. How he explained it.

I think if AIDS didnt exist the gay community would deff be more "XXX" when it came to sex practices. I mean we already are a little on the freaky side, but we would deff have more random sex.
I mean the answer, if you look at it from an obvious/Logical stand point (or as what I call the Anna Nicole View) is so many people could have been saved! So much suffering would have been avoided, and our community would have not suffered the stigma it was placed by the disease.
Mostly in the latino culture! Oh my god! If I told my grandmother I was HIV+ she would be like, "Ayee dios mio nino te vas a morir"
Then again i dont want to cause grandma Carmencita a heart attack. She 86 and has had 2, and still drives, works out, oh and still works!
(Damn I WISH I GET HER GOOD genes. She looks fabulous! She says she doesnt have any work done, but I suspect something)
Like latinos dont play with this hahahaha!!! They take it WAY to much like a death sentence.
Which is good, but it all falls back to the stigma the disease got from the start of time.

Offline David_CA

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2007, 02:05:35 PM »
I think Iggy's post is along the lines of how I feel.  If anything, to me, it seems that AIDS has set us back somewhat.  I guess that's because it's still considered a disease of 'druggies, the promiscuous, and gays'.  Of course, some of us fit all three categories, but still, none of those descriptions are considered to be positive by many.  There are also those who became infected through transfusions, sex with an infected partner, from birth, or occupational accidents.  I'd say most of those folks aren't gay, but still, I've heard people discussing somebody who's died from AIDS comment "I didn't know he was gay".  I guess I feel that the stigma has hurt us, but a lot of that's our own doing.  Hiding an HIV / AIDS diagnosis, or any diagnosis, can only add to the idea that there's something shameful about it.  I'm certainly guilty of this to some extent.

The generation gap and activism are both interesting points I hadn't even considered.  I do think that the earlier generation(s) of HIV infected people, primarily gay men, were more involved in activism in general.  Part of this is that the 'sense of urgency' seems to have mostly passed, now that HIV+ individuals can often live much longer.  I remember an HIV+ friend who used to wear an Act Up shirt back in the late '80's to early '90's.  I felt bad that he was HIV+, of course, but thought it was great that he was able to be that open about it.  I doubt I'd ever wear a shirt like that.  Even now, I'm still not comfortable with outing myself to the public in general.  I think this gap is somewhat evident even in these forums between those fairly recently diagnosed and the LTS's. 

As far as I know, I've not been discriminated against due to HIV, but then I've only been dealing with it for a year and a half.  The straight people I've told are either friends, family, or medical professionals.  I'm careful who I tell, which contributes to that 'success'.  A very gay people have 'dropped' us since disclosing our HIV status.  I can understand somewhat, I guess, as these people were fuck buddies that became friends.  When they didn't feel safe with part of that relationship, it seems it was easier to just disappear than to deal with their own fears of infection.  This is somewhat justified.  Sex hasn't changed otherwise much, maybe a little bit for the better, if any.

Mostly, to me, the ultra conservatives that use AIDS as punishment for the sin of being gay is one of the biggest setbacks for us.  We all know that anybody can be infected, but so many still consider it a gay disease.  Look at the funding for ARV treatment.  If this was a disease that was considered contained to the heterosexual white female population, for example, would these same funding and 'sin' issues even be discussed? 
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Iggy

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2007, 03:42:57 PM »
Mostly, to me, the ultra conservatives that use AIDS as punishment for the sin of being gay is one of the biggest setbacks for us.  We all know that anybody can be infected, but so many still consider it a gay disease. 

There is a indisputable correlation in my mind of the rise of AIDS and the Religious Right.  Just before the AIDS, gays were making clear inroads in politics and then we (as activie participants) disappeared from politics unless it was in relation to AIDS - I think our attention was needed on the issue so I don't complain, but it did put gay rights as an issue onto itself on the back burner for many years.

Offline thunter34

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2007, 03:51:44 PM »
I remember an HIV+ friend who used to wear an Act Up shirt back in the late '80's to early '90's.  I felt bad that he was HIV+, of course, but thought it was great that he was able to be that open about it.  I doubt I'd ever wear a shirt like that. 


tee hee hee.  i would.  and do.  I used to have an ACT UP shirt that a friend gave me.  I also have a shirt from the Georgia Equality Project.  Lordy, Mama hates it when she sees me pull up in my Queer GearTM !  The GEP shirt has a logo on it like the pic below.  My Mama saw that and commented:

"What's that?  A tombstone?" 

She can say the sweetest things sometimes.

[attachment deleted by admin]
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline pozattitude

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2007, 04:14:21 PM »

  I remember an HIV+ friend who used to wear an Act Up shirt back in the late '80's to early '90's.  I felt bad that he was HIV+, of course, but thought it was great that he was able to be that open about it.  I doubt I'd ever wear a shirt like that. 

I love my ACT UP shirt and all my HIV/AIDS outfits.   You name it, hats, shirts, until there's a cure bracelet, stickers, tattoo (I have a biohazard sign tattoo).
I remember being pissed off I was too young to join ACT UP's sit in at the CDC. 

Rich
(who was just born a rebel and an anarchist, but now has reason to be an activist)
POSITIVE PEDALERS... We are a group of people living with HIV/AIDS, eliminating stigma through our positive public example.

Offline thunter34

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2007, 04:17:11 PM »
(I have a biohazard sign tattoo).


I find those to be universally hot.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Where Would We Be and What Have We Lost?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2007, 05:10:18 PM »
Everyone knows that ACT UP marches were great places to meet boys too.

OK... I feel guilty for saying that.
"Ive slept with enough men to know that Im not gay"

 


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