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Timely re-issue.

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Moffie65:
Dear All,

I sense a bit of a brew going on, that is taking us away from the core issues of HIV here in the Living With Forum.  It is obvious that with the continued incursion of HIV into the Straight community, or for those of you who live overseas and don't understand the vernacular, Heterosexual community; that there are more and more people in our forums that are quite "put off" by the confrontational nature of "Sissies with HIV".  I have watched this attitude and have struggled for the last 12 years in our HIV work, to keep this thing out of the work, and have made every attempt to keep "sexual identity" out of the picture.  Living in the southwest of the United States; I have been confronting this head on for the better part of 16 years now, and when you go to the State Health Department meetings and make your pleas to keep this a disease of the Human Race, and not of some gender specific group, you are met with all these "guidelines" generated out of Washington D.C., that keep this a "Gay Specific" disease.  I know that many of you are heterosexual, and you wouldn't have a clue what kind of struggles that us activists have had in trying to keep this a disease that is tied to a viral protein, and not a sexual preference.  Hell, the global statistics alone show that this disease has always been more dominant in the Heterosexual population than in the Gay population, just by the sheer numbers of the population that are Straight and Gay.

All that being said, in 1983, Bobby Campbell, a very young man from San Francisco, and the first one to come out HIV+ on the cover of Time Magazine; got together with a few of his activist friends, and decided to create what has now become known as "The Denver Principles".  At that exact time, there was a Nationwide conference being conveined in Denver, Colorado, that was called a "Health Summit".  They drove themselves from San Francisco to Denver, broke into the conference, and while the Keynote Speaker was giving the opening speech of the conference, Bobby and his friends marched out on the stage, stopped the speaker and read to the thousands in attendance this following paper that they had created for this very time:

 
The Denver Principles (1983)
________________________________________

 
THE DENVER PRINCIPLES
(Statement from the advisory committee of the People with AIDS)
We condemn attempts to label us as "victims," a term which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally "patients," a term which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are "People With AIDS."

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE

1. Support us in our struggle against those who would fire us from our jobs, evict us from our homes, refuse to touch us or separate us from our loved ones, our community or our peers, since available evidence does not support the view that AIDS can be spread by casual, social contact.

2. Not scapegoat people with AIDS, blame us for the epidemic or generalize about our lifestyles.


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH AIDS

1. Form caucuses to choose their own representatives, to deal with the media, to choose their own agenda and to plan their own strategies.

2. Be involved at every level of decision-making and specifically serve on the boards of directors of provider organizations.

3. Be included in all AIDS forums with equal credibility as other participants, to share their own experiences and knowledge.

4. Substitute low-risk sexual behaviors for those which could endanger themselves or their partners; we feel people with AIDS have an ethical responsibility to inform their potential sexual partners of their health status.


RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH AIDS

1. To as full and satisfying sexual and emotional lives as anyone else.

2. To quality medical treatment and quality social service provision without discrimination of any form including sexual orientation, gender, diagnosis, economic status or race.

3. To full explanations of all medical procedures and risks, to choose or refuse their treatment modalities, to refuse to participate in research without jeopardizing their treatment and to make informed decisions about their lives.

4. To privacy, to confidentiality of medical records, to human respect and to choose who their significant others are.

5. To die--and to LIVE--in dignity.



When they were through reading this paper, the audience stood and gave them a five minute ovation, and invited them to stay with the conference and show them the way.  Wow, what a coup.  We need to remember that the people that went before us were mostly Gay people, but their disease was not, and for us to stray from the main issues of infection and how we handle the nature of this disease is counterproductive to the real work that is so very necessary at this time.  We must work and pull together, or else we become nothing more than a minor annoyance to the society as a whole.  There are so very many issues in the world at this time that seem so much more important, and the service machine is now working in Auto mode.  The people managing the services know nothing more than they have been taught by their college professors that made it possible for them to get jobs as heads and administrators of AIDS Service Organizations.  It is our responsibility to keep the focus on the specific needs we have from day to day, and for us to argue about Gender or Sexual Preference issues, plays us right into the hands of those that would shun us for having a viral protein in our blood that will surely kill us without intervention.  Likewise for the newly infected Heterosexual to insist on "Straight" service delivery, keeps the divide growing instead building bridges.  The truth is, it doesn't matter to the virus, the Prime Minister, the President, the organizations of government and private industry who are charged with giving us services; just how we became infected, or how we live.  The one and only thing that is or should be important is that we now have a viral protein in our blood that will kill us and that with intervention we can live productive and happy lives.  We are the ones that hold the key to change, and only us.  If we continue to quarrel amongst ourselves, then we will all be doomed to death through sheer ignorance.

This earthshaking statement that was created by hero's of our past, should still be our main focus and should help keep us centered on the true meaning of Activism.

Thanks for reading once again.

In Love and Support.

Lisa:
Thank you for your eloquently stated case. I agree wholeheartedly. Kudos Tim.

Teresa:
Thank you Tim


--- Quote from: Lisa on July 17, 2006, 10:05:41 AM ---Thank you for your eloquently stated case. I agree wholeheartedly. Kudos Tim.

--- End quote ---

Hugs
Teresa

angels4kelly:
GREAT APPRECIATION AND ADMIRATION, TIM!
THANK YOU

Peace,
Kelly


                                   

                                                       

Terry:
Tim,

I remember in the early 80’s when I was living in San Francisco, Bobbi Campbell and a friend of his named Dan Turner that started the organization known as “People with AIDS San Francisco.”

I also remember watching the local news on TV one night [1982 or 83] about a march of gay men coming from the Castro area. I immediately jumped into my car and drove to Market Street to witness the first candlelight march down Market from the Castro to City Hall for the people that had died from aids. This was long before I even knew I already had the virus.

I have never been much of a groupie type person. But I’ll never forget the power I felt coming from a group of thousands of gay’s as I joined in “Marching as one united group.” that just weren't going to sit still and take it any longer. Thousands of candles and home made banners. It was a message that Reagan and the Religious Right ignored for most of his presidency.

Tim thanks for causing me to remember some very powerful moments from my past.

Terry (I remember that evening being so very warm for S.F‘s foggy weather)

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