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Author Topic: Please help me with this one...............  (Read 7033 times)

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Offline Moffie65

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  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Please help me with this one...............
« on: July 18, 2006, 09:54:27 AM »
I don’t really know where to start with this one.

I want to bring some issues up here that will be seen by some as incendiary, and some of the things I will offer, might be taken as such, if they are taken out of context.  That being said, I need to ask a few questions that I want thoughtful answers to, if you please.

What is stated here might piss you off, and if so, I would love for you to let me know and also why these words piss you off.  Now for those that don’t know me, please be sure, I am very capable of reading your words and not getting pissed myself.  I am not afraid of other people’s views, for only through their voicing opinions, do I learn.

I want to set the tone here by placing for your perusal, a copy of a post card I have from the mid 1980’s.  This postcard is hanging on my wall in the guest bathroom, and be sure, there are more straight people in my home at any one time, than gay people.  (Of course not counting my Sweetie and myself.)  My Sweetie and I, have over the last 20 years, been more closely associated with the Straight world, than the Gay world.  There are many here in these forums, who just like us, live in rural areas and don’t have a daily, weekly, or even monthly contact with Gay people.  I don’t know how to make columns here, so please read both of each number before moving to the next number.  OK, OK..  Here it is

 
WHEN YOU’RE STRAIGHT
                     
1.  You get your name in the paper for getting married.

2.  You get looks of admiration when you hold your partner’s hand.

3.  You get a tax break for being married.

4.  You get to keep your kids no matter how bad a parent you are.

5.  You get to stay in the military if you engage in non-consensual sex.

6.  If you get HIV, you’re an “innocent victim”.

7.  You have a life.

8. Standing up for your rights makes you a participatory citizen.


WHEN YOU’RE LESBIAN, GAY OR SEXUALLY DIFFERENT

1.  You get your name in the paper for committing sodomy.

2.  You get spat upon and jeered at when you hold your partner’s hand.

3.  You can’t get married.

4.  You get your kids taken away from you, no matter how good a parent you are.

5.  You get kicked out of the military if you engage in consensual sex.

6.  If you get HIV, you obviously “deserve it”.

7.  You have a “Lifestyle”.

8.  Standing up for your rights makes you a “Militant Homosexual”.


Now I know that some of you who are Straight, are going to be shocked that I should repeat some of these things, and you are probably under the impression that the world is more tolerant than projected here, but I protest that in fact these things are still very much a part of our existence in this country and on this world.  Only a few months ago, two very nice young men were publicly hanged in an Islamic country, for doing nothing more severe, and criminal than loving each other.  Think about that.  Being in your twenties and being hanged for loving another man.  How barbaric, but think about some of the things in your life you take for granted every day, that I am not even allowed to think about for myself.  Yet,,,,  I pay my 53% tax rate for being a single, and take the challenge and run with it. 

Look, I am not wasting my time here trying to start another flame war, but I want to really know why it is that for the last 15 years, I have heard this plea for “Straight Sensitive” service delivery.  Here I am, living in a high Arizona desert, in a town that has the distinction of being rated as having the highest per-capita income in the whole state.  This even higher than the very famous Scottsdale, and we don’t even have a fucking doctor out of the 100 or so, that will even give HIV services.  We wouldn’t want to disturb the sensitivities of our very wealthy patrons would we?  Straight Support Group????????  You must be fucking joking?  We have one client that has been complaining for five years that there are no specific Straight services, and he wants his and he wants it NOW!.  For the last five years, I have been fighting just to keep the funding we have, let alone worry about support groups.  AIDS Service organizations are either growing from gross mismanagement of funding, or they are crumbling from lack of funds from the Government.  How about a Medicare system that is breaking the bank accounts of HIV+s that cannot now afford the medications that will keep them alive, and the organizations charged with insuring their survival, are squandering their resources and killing people from neglect?  How about some medical care?  DUH!

I also am not so ignorant as to think that any of you from the British Islands and Europe, who are so very privileged to have public health systems in place that guarantee services of some sort; could possibly grasp the deplorable condition of HIV services in this country.  Many of our members here don’t have access to anything. 

Now, you knew there would be a point, and now here it is.

I want to know why it is necessary to have a separate “Straight Support” network?  In asking for this, are we not further dividing and separating ourselves, as HIV+s, from the people who are going to have to help us?

Does insisting on a “Straight Support” network, not perpetuate the assumption that this disease is a Gay disease, instead of a viral protein, and in doing so, do we not build that wall between us and them even higher?

Why do Straight people refuse to stand up publicly and be counted?  Why does anyone do this, when the direct result is the perpetuation of mistrust and hatred from the society as a whole?  Coming out publicly for anyone is “the taking of our power”, and then using it for the betterment of us all.  Hiding serves nobody, let alone us, and leaves those that would shun us with all the power.

There is a misunderstanding here, as to the nature and reasons that the Gay community banded together to start the early HIV movement.  What we did not do, is create a system of care because we “WANTED” exclusivity, no, it was for far more horrible reasons. The first thing was sheer survival.  When this pandemic entered this country, people were thrown out of their homes, couldn’t get a doctor to help them, fired from their jobs, shunned by most all of the medical community, shunned from restaurants, and food stores, and the list of horrors goes on.  No, we did it because, if not us, who?  Gay identified doctors and nurses were coming out of the woodwork to set up service delivery networks because nobody in the AMA approved network, was there to give any help at all.  Watching people die does get your dander up.

There are many of you on this forum, who are straight, and new to the Gay scene, and some of you type things here that to you seem harmless at best.  I want to make sure you understand that for us that are Gay; this type of attitude will be faced as Homophobia, and called out as such.  The reasons for the things you say, are not necessarily your fault, as your background has not given you any exposure to the Gay world, other than those ghastly snippets you see on the evening news.  Well, I would advise that from here on out, we need to keep our minds and hearts open to the needs of  “ALL THE HIV+ COMMUNTY”, and stop this wall building.  Please just accept that people who use both sides of the brain, are going to be different than the masses, and we are not going to be nelly, queenlier, sissies, or any other tag you would like to hang on us; we are simply people with all our foibles, that happen to be programmed to love those of our own sex.  Nothing more, nothing less.

I think it is time to steer this forum into a direction of unity and of common purpose, and the only way for that to happen is if the Straight community understands who we are and who we are not.  I guarantee that the Gay people here don’t have to spend one minute trying to figure out anything about the Straight community, as we have learned to live within it from before puberty.  Therefore the onus is on you guys to make the future inclusive, and one that will serve the needs of all of the HIV+ community.  I don’t care where in the world you come from, whether it is from the “White” south of the United States, or from any other part of the world where discrimination is part of the fabric of your world.

WE ABSOLUTLY MUST DO THIS TOGETHER FOR IT TO WORK.

Thank you for reading.

In Love and Support.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006, 09:57:09 AM by Moffie65 »
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline ACinKC

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,994
  • Bring it VIRUS! #2 Ranked In-crowd Member!
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2006, 10:53:47 AM »
I'm straight and I agree.  Don't segregate the disease, it makes no sense.  Only with a unified front will we eventually defeat it.  On a further note it INFURIATES me ALL PEOPLE arent allowed to love who they choose.  But I have to say the guy running for Governor of Texas summed it up best for me when he said..... "Gay marriage?  Sure I believe they should be allowed to be as miserable as the rest of us!" It's HIGH TIME for EQUAL rights in this damn country and I am ashamed of this administration and those that support constitutional bigotry!

But, thats just me......
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline penguin

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  • Posts: 747
  • The Penguin Whisperer
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2006, 10:56:51 AM »
Hmm..
think its human nature to want to connect with people, someone, anyone who is the “same” as us…whole point of support groups, really.. to stop that breath-stealing stab of isolation + other-worldly distance. And yes, we all have the right ‘n need for support which respects & promotes us and our values/ faith /culture/ sexuality. Etc etc. 
That aside, aids is aids.
Kvetching about who got it how and where and why, and how their experience and needs is different, or worse, or more important, is just…well, daft. And this is coming from me, who knows about being minority + feeling like you don’t fit anywhere, not even in a very politically correct tick-box.
Possibly, I think, all this silliness stems from the just-under-surface guilt so many people still carry round, and the need to appease that just a bit by saying I am not the same as you, I’m special, unique even, + not “tainted” by whatever nasties the ownership of this virus implies…but newsflash, people, several million people does not an exclusive club make…
These forums prove that just throwing everyone in together, and getting on with it, does work. We don’t have separate forums for ethnic minorities, or gay men, or lesbians, or heterosexuals, or iv drug users, or mothers with babies…+ yes, if anyone has a specific issue, then they can go off to one side and sort that out. But all together, I think we muddle along quite well. Can we keep doing that, please?

Thank you tim
Kate
ps..move here...you can get married...
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006, 11:00:16 AM by penguin »

Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,394
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2006, 10:59:02 AM »
Tim, you have said a mouthful.

The more we compartmentalize and fragment ourselves, the more our power to act and affect change is diminished. It is that simple.

In some of the larger cities, this pigeonholing of people has reached ludicrous levels. This at a time when a lack of funding is threatening what little we have, such as housing assistance, ADAP and emotional support.

I read of others who don't like the doctor they have and deciding to find another. We have one doctor - period. If you don't like him, its a three-hour drive to find another.

Until this past month, there was no dental care for positives near me. People drove three hours to see a dentist.

Until a few months ago, we had no emotional support counselors here. Now, we have one and she is overwhelmed.

We don't have a support group here.

I see a dichotomy of services, to be sure. But it isn't gay-straight. It is rural-urban. Must people give up the homes they love in their rural communities just to access services?

This situation is bad enough. To further augment the problem by tossing in demands for "straight oriented" services would simply cause services to disappear altogether.

Luckily, that hasn't been too much of an issue here. The straight folks seem to get along OK with their gay brothers. We all work together to support each other because we must. If we don't, the chances are we would not have anything.

Many HIV services are or were gay-centric. The reason for this is in 1981, the gay community was the population hit first and hardest by this disease in the U.S.

The straight community either meandered on in blissful ignorance or turned a blind eye, because it didn't affect them or because they believed we deserved what we got and should all die. (I was told this once by a christian minister. And people wonder why I have such a low opinion of christianity.)

We banded together out of desperation. The government, the churches, the straight community in general, didn't care and didn't offer any help.

Now, the other shoe has fallen and the straight community has learned something we found out early on - this disease doesn't discriminate.

I still feel a certain amount of anger regarding the early reaction to AIDS in America. I probably always will.

But, that is the past. I can't change that. I can try to change the future. But I can't do it alone.

The gay community has become apathetic toward HIV. Much of the straight community still ignores it - especially in rural areas.

Congress hasn't fully funded AIDS-related programs since before Bill Clinton left office., yet the need hasn't diminished, it has grown, although the pressing needs have changed somewhat since the early years.

We don't have the luxury to fragment ourselves. People are going without medications. People are becoming homeless. People are dying from neglect.

These aren't gay issues. These aren't straight issues. These are human issues. We have to stand together because we are fighting for our lives.

OK, enough of my soapbox.

HUGS,

Mark

"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Matty the Damned

  • Member
  • Posts: 12,228
  • Ninja Please
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2006, 11:37:30 AM »
Daddy Tim,

As usual you distill these issues perfectly. That person who has less than you should be foremost in your thoughts and actions.

May all of us take a moment to pause and consider what we say and do.

MtD

Offline jon

  • Member
  • Posts: 18
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2006, 12:28:20 PM »
Hey Tim,

I dont think its quite as simple as You make it sound.  If a straight guy goes to a gay support group He's gonna get hit on.  Thats an unsettling thought.  If He goes to an "everyone affected" support group He's gonna get preached at. (Most of these are at churches.)

As far as straight people speaking out,... How many people are gonna gather round and listen to what the AIDS Junkie has to say?
You'll have to kill Me before I die!!!

Offline ACinKC

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,994
  • Bring it VIRUS! #2 Ranked In-crowd Member!
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2006, 12:47:16 PM »
I personally take offense to NOT getting hit on at a gay function!  ;D AM I NOT ATTRACTIVE ENOUGH?!?!?!  When the fiance and I attend the gay bars I tell her I better get more attention than she does or there's gonna be DRAMA!

Straights, (and i am one) need to chill on the whole getting hit on thing.  It wont kill you.  And there is minimal risk of it actually turning you gay!  According to all the first-tiered peer reviewed scientific data!
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline jkinatl2

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,007
  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2006, 02:34:29 PM »
Tim, I applaud you.

It really IS as simple as that.

If someone behaves inappropriately in a support group setting, then reporting them to the group moderator is in order. Support groups aren't dating services, gay or straight. Especially not during sanctioned support meetings.

Like this forum versus, say, the AM I INFECTED and OFF TOPIC forum. Certain topics, certain conversations, are encouraged here that are considered inappropriate in the other forums.

That is not discrimination, it's decorum.

As far as straight support, I submit that it is incumbent upon those who feel an unrecognized or unfulfilled need to seek out the solution, or make it him/herself. Will there be resistance? Maybe.

And a fracturing of the communities by race, gender, sexual orientation et al will only ultimately serve to reduce the possibility of learning something important, maybe life-saving,  about this illness.  That homo who hits on you might end up being your best friend, might end up knowing about drug interactions that the doctor never thought to tell you. That junkie who stood up to talk might know more about Hep C and it's treatment than most physicians.

I am absolutely against the segregation of HIV support groups. And I agree that unless you are starting a dating service, an exclusionary group is indeed discrimination.

We all have something to bring to the table. Collectively, we are stronger than the sum of our parts.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline HollyStar

  • Member
  • Posts: 344
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2006, 03:50:39 PM »
Hi Tim,

Interesting thread! Personally, I don't see what straight-specific issue there would be to having a straight-only support group. I think that as HIV+ people, the same issues affect us all, no matter our sexual orientation. As for why straights don't stand up and be counted? I'm scared to even go to a damn support group let alone stand up and be counted. Horrible you could say. I think at some point we have all felt the stigma and sometimes some people try and make sure that they don't encounter it again. That could mean isolation, sitting down when we should stand up. I really have only felt the stigma a LITTLE bit, but it scared me. I just don't want people to know yet.

This is off subject a bit but it has stuck with me ever since. When I was in 7th grade we would have sex-ed classes. Well, one day our lady teacher brought a guest speaker. He was HIV+. He talked about the rashes he had had, among other things (which I know now to probably be a side-effect from meds). We were allowed to ask questions. I think one kid asked if he was gay or how he got it (can't remember exactly). The guy said something like "does it matter?" Some of the girls were crying and I can't remember what other questions were asked. This guy was interesting, but the only question I could think of was something like, "can you get it from monkey's or can monkey's get it? LOL. The class left the room and I was one of the stragglers. For some reason this guy interested me. I don't know if it was a connection or what. He shook my hand and held on. I actually wanted him to let go, I guess it made me nervous or scared, I don't know. But I find it interesting that years after, I would become HIV+. Obviously there is no connection (for you worried-wells) but it has always struck me.

I don't know if anyone got anything from that but you know, it doesn't matter how or where or why we have HIV. We just do. We all have HIV, but what is truly dividing us here? HIV? No. Sexual orientation? Sometimes, maybe. Fear? Maybe. Honestly Tim, I don't know how to answer your questions. A lot of my family is racist, homophobic, ignorant, but that way of thinking didn't stick on me. Every now and then a family member will make a stupid joke about AIDS. It pisses me off that someone could be so ignorant. Do I educate them? No I didn't. Maybe once or twice, I have said that you don't get HIV that way. Think they heard me? Probably not. You know, I've learned more on here about the history of AIDS among other things, than anywhere else. I do know that I agree with you Tim. We need more people like you. I hope that one day I will have the courage to stand up.

I hope that made sense.
Diagnosed  July 28th 2003

'I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.' -Diande Ackerman

'Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?' -Frank Scully

'If your ship doesn't come, swim out to it.' - Jonathan Winters

Offline DCGuy511

  • Member
  • Posts: 61
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2006, 03:51:36 PM »
Tim, you bring up a few different points.   I don’t know the client that you referred to, the one who wanted straight oriented services.  I’m not sure what he wants. I know only what you’ve offered and what was said in that other thread. I’d like to focus on AIDS Service Organizations. I can also only speak to the environment here in the U.S., so my international peers, please be patient.

There are many different services offered by ASOs.  I think that most of the services are not gender, race or sexual-preference specific. For instance, at my ASO they offer testing, nutritional counseling, housing assistance and legal aid. Straights and gays provide these services to straights and gays alike. The ASO also offers health services and runs a medical clinic. Now, medical services are different.  Some people are uncomfortable going to a physician of the opposite sex. I don’t think anything is wrong with that. I do not use the ASO’s medical services, but I do see a private physician who is gay. I would not choose a straight male or a female primary care doc because there are issues that gay men have that I feel most comfortable discussing with another gay man.  I’m not heterophobic or sexist because I choose to see a gay male physician. I’m getting care in an environment that I am comfortable. My ASO also provides mental health services, including peer counseling, professional therapy and support groups. Here, I can see where maybe sexual preference or gender identity may come into play.  My support group was for the newly diagnosed.  In theory it was open to all, but in reality it was 20 gay white men and one African American woman. It worked. But I suspect there were times when the male members did not share as openly as they would have had it been all-gay.  And logically I would expect that she might have held some things back, things that maybe white gay men would not understand. The ASO has social workshops about dating and safesex, wouldn’t it seem natural to separate these by gender or orientation? Some issues we deal with as poz people are universal, but being poz can affect each one of us differently because we are all individuals.  We don’t loose our gender, racial identity or sexual preference when we get infected.  

I can only speak as an HIV+ man who lives in a big city.  We have a huge ASO here in DC, much of which is funded by the District and Federal governments. They provide services to all types of people. I’ve noticed a change over the years. At one time I would only see the ASO advertising in gay bars, gay publications, and around the gay neighborhoods, I’ve noticed over the past few years that the ASO is now targeting the African-American, Latino and Lesbian communities more.  I’ve also noticed where once these advertisements only pictured white men, they now show both genders, people of different colors, and seemingly both gay and straight individuals. I know that they have specific programs targeted to these communities and I don’t think anything is wrong with that.  I don’t directly benefit from a Spanish-speaking counselor or a dating /safe-sex workshop developed for straights, but I think we benefit as a community that those things exist. It is not Us versus Them.  We can co-exist and work together on behalf of our entire community.

It sounds like you live in a more rural environment. You have a smaller population base. In a smaller community, you may not be able to offer all of the services to all of the different people that an ASO in a big city may offer There is nothing wrong with that and an ASO needs to serve the community it is in.  Like I said, I don’t know what your client wants. Maybe he is a homophobic jerk or  maybe he is asking for something that he feels he needs.? In general, I do not think that targeted services or programs are bad ideas.

Take care,
Steve
Steve
Infected/Diagnosed Fall 2003
"No Man Is An Island" - J Donne

Offline HollyStar

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  • Posts: 344
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2006, 03:58:51 PM »
Some excellent points Steve! Gave me even more to think about. :)
Diagnosed  July 28th 2003

'I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.' -Diande Ackerman

'Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?' -Frank Scully

'If your ship doesn't come, swim out to it.' - Jonathan Winters

Offline alisenjafi

  • Member
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  • They say HIV comes from monkeys!
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2006, 08:45:59 PM »
I been keeping out of these str8 vs gay war threads,  but had to reply to this by Jon
Quote
I dont think its quite as simple as You make it sound.  If a straight guy goes to a gay support group He's gonna get hit on. 

 Did you ever think of saying something like " I am just not interested" like what I am sure plenty of  str8 females have said to you. having played on both sides of the fence I know not every woman wants to sleep with every guy,( did you know that?)  and likewise with gays.


There are better things to out in your mouth than your foot!

Johnny
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006, 09:06:36 PM by alisenjafi »
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
The Smiths

Offline fearless

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  • Posts: 2,191
Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2006, 09:19:07 PM »
Some interesting points Tim.

In answer to your question: Does insisting on a “Straight Support” network, not perpetuate the assumption that this disease is a Gay disease, instead of a viral protein, and in doing so, do we not build that wall between us and them even higher?

Personally, I have no issue with people seeking out a support group in which they will feel entirely comfortable, whether they be straight or gay or bi or of some other identity. I don't believe it perpetuates assumptions or builds walls. It is just people seeking out what they are comfortable with and no different from me choosing who I want as my doctor or choosing to attend Gay AA as opposed to choosing AA.

Whether or not I like it, some people don't feel comfortable in predominantly gay support groups etc. It does not, however, mean that they are homophobic and I suspect that for many newly diagnosed straight people their needs are different. When I was diagnosed, HIV was not new to me and I was 'fortunate' in that I was surrounded by friends who either were already HIV+, or like me, moved in circles where HIV was commonplace. I can't imagine what it would be like to be straight and diagnosed HIV without having any previous knowledge of, or contact with, HIV and I certainly will not begrudge anyone from trying to access services and support that they are comfortable with.

Having said that, the thing that I find most comforting about this site is that 99% of the time, sexuality has nothing to do with it . In fact, I don't even know or discuss the sexuality of most members here. It's just not an issue for me. We've come here because we are all HIV +ve. We learn and we share. We seek comfort and support. We play silly buggers. We laugh and we cry. And, that is why I am here.

We are a diverse bunch from all corners of the globe, with different backgrounds and different perspectives. This site is not for everybody. For some, it is not their thing and for whatever reason they move on in their search for support and services where they most feel comfortable and I wish them well in their search.

In peace.

Little Steve
Be forgiving, be grateful, be optimistic

Offline bear60

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2006, 09:55:58 AM »
Moffie
I dont know why you feel you need to make apologies for this post! Its only a few weeks ago that I was called "FAG" and heard them say "He's probably got AIDS."
I am so angry at heterosexual society that I have made it my business to patronize as many gay establishments as possible. 
Do I go to Borders...no, I go to our local gay bookstore and if they dont have something they can order it.
Do I patronize Starbucks ...no...there are several gay coffee houses here.
I have a lesbian insurance agent
I have a gay plumber
When we go out to dinner we go to gay establishments because I know the owners and they are fine people who contribute to causes in the LGBT community...such as fundraisers for HIV and AIDS, to the lgbt sports teams etc.
If there were GAY BANK here I would switch my accounts over so fast !

I have no sympathy for heterosexuals who cannot find a support group...they dont have any because so many of them are afraid of their (fill in the blank) finding out they attend an HIV support group.  Gay guys went out there and WORKED to put into place all the community structure needed for support of HIV poz folks.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2006, 10:12:16 AM »
Thank you all for these very thoughtful contributions.

AC in KC...  We certainly need more people like you in the work.  You obviously have a very centered view of yourself, and of your own place in the world.  You come with no pre-conceived ideas about people/groups, and you are comfortable with people in general.  You will go far in the work of HIV if you so desire.

Penguin....  Truly, guilt is a terrible thing to carry through life.  It is nothing but "self"-destructive.  Oh, and by the way, we are already married, and we did it with an Episcopalian Minister in 1997, in front of 17 of our friends an families.  It was a nice simple home ceremony, but had very deep and caring meanings to us none the less.  I certainly don't need a Cathedral to express my love for my man, as the boundless works of nature more than serve to honor the Gods/desses of the universe.

Mark.....  My compatriot in this march of time, and survival.  I know you understand my frustration, and hopefully between the trips to heave, others will also.  Thank you for your deep insight.

Matty..... Please be careful here.  I was once just like you, and said just exactly what was just under the surface.  Unfortunately, this medium does not carry with it the clarity of physical and one on one communication.  We are the kids that must be very careful what we print here.  I know you understand what I am referring to, so I will go no further.  Thanks for being in the world and being a  mouthpiece for those who are less capable of crafting the language.

Jon.....   For almost fifty years now, I have heard people say the words you have offered here.  I ask, do you get an erection "EVERYTIME" you see a woman walk by?  Do you hit on every woman you see in the market?  Do you approach every woman that you are exposed to in a group situation?  Why would you feel any more uncomfortable in a group setting with Gay people than I would in the same situation with Straight people?  Certainly when women "hit" on me, I am filled with pride, and find it the ultimate compliment.  I think you need to expand your simplistic view of the world.  Gay people are people, not lechers.  Your contribution here is appreciated, as it sheds light on a very common and false view of the Gay world.  Thanks for contributing.  

Jonathan.... Another compatriot in this struggle to keep some sanity in the delivery of HIV services.  Thank you for your comments, and thanks for still sticking your neck out here.  Some may not appreciate what you offer, but alas I say if they cannot get what you are offering, they can always move on.  A lesson I am currently trying to learn once again. :-[

Holly.....  How's things up in Goddesses country?  I sure miss your neck of the woods.  OK, I am going to place another thread here to help people like you to try to grasp that "power" that comes from pulling the shroud back and showing the world that in fact you are not afraid of HIV, and you have information in your heart and mind that will help to save others' lives.  They will know it, and they will honor you.  Unfortunately, until you do it the first time, there is no way to explain the clarity that comes from coming out of the closet, and the utter power that it gives you over those that might try to diminish you.  We will all get there together.

Steve....  Wow, I am sure glad you posted.  What you have offered here is a glaring example of the disparity of service delivery across this great land.  We also have such an example right here in Arizona.  Phoenix has a catalog of services that are available to those living with HIV, and it is 83 pages long.  We are currently working on the same such reference, but unfortunately we cannot get beyond page one.  HHS requires such a publication, but one sheet of paper does not a catalog make.

Johnny.....   I am glad you are back into the forums, and I must tell you, even though we don't always agree, I have very much missed your contributions.  You are always welcome to comment on one of my thought streams.

Little Steve....  Same goes for you, as I am thrilled that you have returned to the conversation.  You also bring up some very valid points, and maybe we need to discuss some alternative approaches that would work to keep us together.

Bear.....  Wow, your post is proof positive that our concerns are not only valid, but to promote "Straight Services" would only solidify so many mis-conceptions about us and HIV.  There is another thread here that discusses the tag of "HIV a Gay Disease", and what a shock it was to me to see that this still needs discussion.  I am not putting down the thread, the thought, or the author, as the points given there are valid and should be discussed.  I just wish that here 25 years later, we could have driven this view into the history books.  This thread, and many others here, illustrate the fact that most straight people have never given a second thought to any sort of "personal closet", which accentuates the divide between "us and them" when dealing with Straight/Gay society.  They have gone through their lives with never having to face anything that might cause their friends to dis-associate, other than the purchase of the "Wrong" car.  This truly is a heddy issue and one we really need to face head on.  When I lived in San Francisco, I always had my money in a Gay owned bank, used a Gay owned Realty office, and pretty much lived an isolated Gay lifestyle; other than work of course.  But wait, I also had an employer with Eastman Kodak that allowed me to be as Gay or Butch when at work, and nobody ever said a word.  Ah..........  History.  Thanks for your contribution Bear.

I really have to tell all of you that I am really surprised at the responses of some of the contributors to this and other threads, when dealing with the issue of Straight/Gay service delivery.  Really, I am totally surprised at the underlying lack of understanding between the two segments of society.  As Gay people, we have been forced to face the incongruity of living in a "strange" culture to our own.  We have no choice in the matter, and for most of us in the world, there has never been either the opportunity, nor the possibility that we could even think about "choices" such as these.  So, what I have to say is, I am truly surprised at the energy behind asking for Straight versus Gay service.  It is a total surprise, and still leaves me wondering what the answer is.  

I am a firm believer that if we further divide this very crucial point, we will self destruct, and we will all end up loosing in the end.  

Also, I have been made aware that services everywhere else outside of the United States, are remarkably different and so far advanced from what we have in the majority of the country, outside of Metro areas.  I think we do ourselves a disservice to further divide the domestic service delivery networks that are already crumbling from disarray.

Thank you all very much.

In Love and Support.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline otherplaces

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2006, 02:25:23 AM »

Tim,

I'll hop in here on the fashionably late side.  I stated in another thread that I'd be interested in going to a straight support group, but I must say I would be appalled if it's creation took money away from medical care.

My experience is that I was in a support group that was open to all, but as it turns out I was the only straight man in the group. The group was actually very gay oriented. I personally found this rather fascinating. But in the end I worried that I was somehow intruding on their support group. I keep on the quiet side, and nobody asked my sexuality so I didn't divulge...but 10 weeks in I was asked a question about being gay...and well I don't consider myself gay. So that was that, I told 'em I'm straight. Then someone said that I wasn't sure if I was gay because I had slept with a transexual. Well, it seems a bit out of line for someone besides me to determine my sexuality to me, but this really doesn't bother me. It was the overall focus on sexuality I think that bothered me. After all, none of us were there because of our sexuality. We were there because we have HIV, and I REALLY wanted to talk about HIV. But I digress...I did enjoy and learn alot from the support group.

I imagine the above scenario would be somewhat difficult for your more average hetero male, but I'm sure it'd be a good experience for them. Nonetheless, this is probably why you hear calls for straight support groups. But I do agree with you. It does seem silly and divisive to start dividing us up.

I, personally, would like to find a more diverse support group...with less penis jokes.  I would like to find one with women involved as I find I just get along better with women in general. But I imagine that's why I've come here. And I also imagine that that is out there w/o having to go to a straight support group.

And an interesting aside...you don't have to be gay to be called a "faggot" by a stranger. It's happened to me quite a few times.

brian






Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2006, 05:15:15 AM »
Dear Moffie,

I believe that right before we die, our whole life passes before our eyes.  I am going to make mine worth watching!

My closest friend is a 4th generation San Franciscan, an incredible chef and very very straight.  I have the best of times talking with him and over the past year or so I have lived here on the river, we have covered every subject possible.

A regular topic is my personal life because I meet some of the most beautiful women, they want me but end up with him.  One of the more recent women in our lives put her husband through medical school and as soon as he opened up his practice, he divorced her.  She wanted the white picket fence, he didn't.  She got a nice settlement, turned that into property and does very well for herself.  She still wants me though.

I have a lot of cousins in Arizona whom, I hardly know.  I flew down once for a funeral and met them all.  Cousin Peggy was the Editor of the daily newspaper in Tempe.  She was Arizona's "Woman of the Year" and sent a man from her office to accept her award from the Governor, we were burying Aunt Mae that day.  Her husband was the Editor of a daily newspaper in Phoenix and other cousins were migrant farm workers.

Before I got to Aunt Gertrudes house in Eloi, I picked up a rented Camaro at the airport. and drove around looking for gay bars.  A student from the university pointed out one.  It had no signs, no lights, no windows and only a plain green door.  Inside that plain green door was a 3 story disco bar with light shows, thousands of "hot" men and I danced most of the night and finally left coked out of my brains.  I went to the funeral the next day, got on a plane and flew back to L.A..  Never went back to Arizona again.

One of our local Commissioners said he lived in Arizona for 13 years and had AIDS during those years.  He had a health care problem while living in Phoenix and went to Congressman J.D. Hayworth's office.  Congressman Hayworth is and was on the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health.  My Commissioner friend claims that while he was in the Congressman's office, he took his medication bottles out of his pocket and placed them on the Congressman's desk.  Harold said from the moment the Congressman and his staff saw the medication bottles, they all acted as if they could get AIDS for seeing the meds.  The meeting ended abruptly and Harold was ushered out of the office.

If this story is true, I would find having Congressman Hayworth on the Subcommittee on Health to be a real threat to all people living with HIV/AIDS in your state as well as in our nation.

One of my Uncles was a property developer, he developed a sub division called "Blackhawk" somewhere near Scottsdale.  Most of my Aunts and Uncles invested in "Blackhawk."  I have read the investors reports over the years.  Most of my family who had invested in this project lost everything to attorneys, legal fees, permits, licensing fees.  When Aunt Ruby died 4 years ago, there was a trust and she owned 5 lots.  That trust can not be closed because the last lot can not be sold, the current developer will not let her beneficiaries out of the project.  Attorneys and CPA's are in Arizona and California are still billing hours on that trust.  The original developer, my Uncle, her was fired and stiffed for a $60,000.00 portion of his salary.

It does not surprise me that people living with HIV/AIDS in Arizona do not get adequate health care.  With an elected official on the Subcommittee on Health, that is a disgrace. 

Over the past 10 months since I have become a member of these forums, I have been battling with the RWCA re authorization, the Sonoma County Commission on AIDS, several subcommittees and for the past month or so, the Funding Allocation.  I am fried on a regular basis and always get support from you.  Last Christmas, you took a statement I had written to your church, along with stories written by many other members of these forums.  That was just one of the many wonderful things you do, I still appreciate you for that and I have this appreciation every time I log in here.

When I read your Blog entries, I live in fear because of what you have experienced, what I could have easily experienced and at best, the war on AIDS is nowhere near over, it is just being oversold as a "manageable disease." 

Today, the full Senate Appropriations Committee will be voting on the FY 2007 Spending Bill.  The Tuesday vote from the Appropriations Subcommittee looked like public relations, the ADAP funding amount is nowhere near what is needed as people are still on waiting lists for meds.  Our little local Funding Allocation Working Group voted unamimous for $9,000.00 for medications, knowing the entire amount is a partial salary for the ADAP Clerk at our clinic.  We are taking the maximum allowable amount of HOPWA Dollars to keep Case Management funded.  These are scary times and the truth is I am terrified because I am 100% dependent upon this funding and none of the 5 scenarios will cover enough services.

This is also the first time in the history of RWCA funding history, the Funding Allocation Working Group has been instructed to prepare a possible budget for only 1 year instead of the usual 2 years.  Three of the 9 Title I EMA's in California are losing their Title I funding in 3 years.  Sonoma County, Sacramento County and Santa Clara County will not have the minimum amount of living AIDS cases to continue to receive Title I funds.  This fall we are beginning a new Transition program that includes getting people off the benefits and return to work.  I am part of this program and am quite delighted to participate but after 10 years of trying to get a job with an AIDS diagnosis, my opportunities are rather limited.

Since 1998, I have applied for at least 400 positions, in the field I had worked successfully in.  Interviews were few and I have actually turned down two job offers.  One of those jobs was the graveyard shift convenience store clerk for minimum wage and zero benefits.  The other was that Goodwill project at 20 hours per week for two months at minimum wage.  After 4 months of meetings, I finally said good bye.

Moffie my friend, let me make you an offer.  I have been working so hard on my web site www.Commission-on-AIDS.org.  On a good week, I have about 500 readers, on a great week I have over 1,700 and those people log in from around the world.  Why don't you join my battle for funding or basically any important issue, email it to me, include photos, reports, opinions, data or anything you feel is important.  I will forward the stories to my designer and give you a front page link.  Have the best day
Michael

www.Commission-on-AIDS.org

Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2006, 05:44:39 AM »
Moffie...you ask the questionwhy a "strait support group" is necessary. And you speak of a common purpose, and since we all have HIV/AIDS we should all be one happy family in a common group. You ,of all people, should understand that it is almost impossible for all of us to agree and be satisfied with "just having an HIV group". Come on, is this really realistic? We are indeed a melting pot. We all come from much different backrounds, sexual orientations, races etc. I just wonder if your post just "fuels the fire" of those with different needs. I don't think it's at all short sided or inflammatory for a strait person to request this. So what? Can you be angry at someone if they are uncomfortable being around gay people. I say get over it. Its a fact of life that some people hate gays. Deal with it(as you have for the past several decades.) I'm BI, so I can fully appreciate both sides of this issue. I mean what is the big deal? Let that person find a strait group or hell, he can even create his own group somewhere else. By you objecting to this so strongly is disrespecting his/her wishes. In my opinion, your anger towards this issue is somewhat hypocritical. Let me ask you this: How would you feel if someone objected to your wishes if you decided to join a gay only support group? Is that not your rite? So live and let live, is the way I feel about this particular issue. There should be room and space for everyone. We are all human beings and we all have different wishes and needs. That's what makes America great. So I respectfully disagree with your objection to someone wanting a strait-only support group.
 Yeah, yeah it would be Nice if we all agreed that we are all hiv positive and join together in one big powerful voice. This is far too simplistic, and I believe to be unrealistic.
So why add fuel to the fire? Why not just accept those who have different opinions and move forward from there? The information on this site is awesome, educational and great to have. I am happy with it.
So, from here on out...I will post my experiences which I hope others will learn from. Its up to them : If I'm bi, and they have a problem with that, fine. Don't read it. It won't slow me down or bother me.
Quite honestly, When I see a strait vs. Gay, or men vs. women....I just pass and move on to a thread that has interest for me. Life is a choice after all. I consider these bitch sessions a waist of my time. No big deal...I just move on.
I hope we can all just get along. WE ALL HAVE AIDS. N'est pas?
Positive since 1985

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2006, 06:16:10 AM »
Going back to the original post regarding straight and gay assumptions I know there are many people who would see nothing wrong with the list you posted. I think if there was going to be an objection to a straight HIV group it would be that it meant there must be a GAY HIV group, and we can't promote homosexuality.
There are letters to the editor in my local newspaper all the time about how homosexuality is wrong. Just yesterday there was a letter "Bible clearly condemns homosexual lifestyle" with various scriptures supporting this argument. I know people who I work with who know I'm gay, are very friendly to me, but if pressed would say that my lifestyle is sinful and wrong. Most the people in my office have graduate degrees,  bring their Bible to work and are active in their church. People here take religion very seriously. I'm definitely more comfortable telling people in North Carolina that I'm gay than I'm agnostic.

Offline randym431

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2006, 09:24:16 AM »
Hey Tim,
I liked the post card. I'm going to copy it and send to some friends that will like it too.

I'm an Al Franken junkie.
I like his take on the gay marriage issue he often repeats on his daily radio program.
He doesn’t know what the problem is that so many have with the idea.
He has this funny comment saying when he's out with his wife and sees two guys together, like he's going to say "dear, that looks pretty good to me, I want to try that".

Or when he talked to Newt Gingrich about gay marriage and ask Newt:
"don’t you want two people of the same sex to express in law the same love you had with your first wife?"
"don’t you want two of the same sex to express in law the same devotion together as you had with your second wife?"
"don’t you want two of the same sex to express in law, I would hope, the same commitment you have with your third wife?"

Not an exact quote, he says it better, but makes a solid point.

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2006, 09:49:27 AM »
Guys,

Quote
I, personally, would like to find a more diverse support group...with less penis jokes.  I would like to find one with women involved as I find I just get along better with women in general. But I imagine that's why I've come here. And I also imagine that that is out there w/o having to go to a straight support group.

Brian......  I am not the only one here that finds this apalling.  I have for years, been uncomfortable at the lack of proper toilet training of a room full of Gay people.  It is one thing to be in a Gay bar, or other Gay centric location, and hear just about anything from a Gay perspective.  However, when we are dealing with a situation like a support group, and this kind of senseless stuff goes on, then it points to the sensitivity of the Moderator of the support group.  If I were to be the head of any support group, I would absolutely not allow a climate of discomfort to reign for any of the participants.  This is one of the very problems that we all have to come together and solve.  I know that in Montreal, there will be a Gay bent to most of the activities, but mind you, there are those of us who will be in attendence that will feel uncomfortable for those of you who are Straight at the event.  This problem is one that is  completely new to the scene, as there has never been a need for us to assimilate into something that has already further marginalized us in the eyes of our Society.  On the other hand, I enjoyed the observation you made that going to a Gay group, is at the very least, interesting and informitive.

Michael..... I found your Arizona experiences interesting, but must tell you that since Janet Napalitano has been Governor, there is little that the Conservatives have been able to do the influence her in her quest for political sanity in this state.  I attribute that to the fact that she is a New Mexico native, and Mark/Aztecan, went to school with her.  I will consider your offer.

Quote
1.  You ,of all people, should understand that it is almost impossible for all of us to agree and be satisfied with "just having an HIV group". Come on, is this really realistic?
2.   I just wonder if your post just "fuels the fire" of those with different needs.
3.  So what? Can you be angry at someone if they are uncomfortable being around gay people.
4.  In my opinion, your anger towards this issue is somewhat hypocritical.
5.  Yeah, yeah it would be Nice if we all agreed that we are all hiv positive and join together in one big powerful voice. This is far too simplistic, and I believe to be unrealistic.
6.  I hope we can all just get along. WE ALL HAVE AIDS. N'est pas?


Jeffery..... 1.  Please Jeffery, did you actually read every word of my original post.  I have no problem with Straight people asking for a support group, but where is the funding?????  Where are they going to meet?   What is going to happen to all the Gay people that want the same thing?  Where will those that are Bi going to fit in?  Where are the Gay people going to go if they in fact feel slighted?  My issue is with enough funding to even pay people the transport to access services in Tucson, let alone have a support network.
2.  What different needs???  Please answer this one for me.
3.  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Nobody has the right to be uncomfortable around Gay people if I don't have the "LEGAL" right to be uncomfortable around Straight people, which in my first post I clearly state is not an issue with me!!  Here again the issue is not of Sexual Preference, but of funding!
4.  If I am being hypocritical, then that is your view, my statements don't reflect hypocracy.
5.  From your mouth/fingers.
6.  The answer to this one is a resounding yes. 

Listen Jeffery, please do me a favor,  I want to see you at the next Title II Statewide Planning Council meeting on the 28th of this month.  Please make a presentation there that you are instructing the Title I Allocations committee to re-direct funding from your pot into ours, and then I want you to pack your stuff, and move down here to the southeast corner of the state, and help us align the monies that you are going to release to us, and help us collectively set up rural support groups for both Gays and Straights.  We would gladly take just the dollars that your Title I group spent on printing thousands of your 83 page "HIV/AIDS Resource Guide".  That had to account for more that a couple of thousand dollars in printing and preperation fees.  We could have two support groups for a year with that kind of money.  Don't you get it yet?  I have no quarell with any one for wanting anything; however, there must be EQUITY.  You should have no more access to anything that I have access to because of the location of your home.  Thanks for your comments, for they show we have a load of work to still do to keep every Arizona citizen tied to the same amount of services.

GSO...  I come from very religious roots, so I do understand, and thanks for your contribution.

Randy...  Funny post.

Thanks one and all.

In Love. 
« Last Edit: July 20, 2006, 10:10:21 AM by Moffie65 »
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline otherplaces

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2006, 06:38:48 PM »

Tim,

I don't think gays can be indicted alone for their toilet humor.  Believe me that straight men can be just as bad or worse.  This is probably one reason why I feel more comfortable around women.  And I do believe the moderator let it get out of hand and joined in too often.  I met with him prior to the group and told him my story, and I fear he may of just assumed I was gay and hand't joined the team yet.  The first few weeks it was pretty funny, but then it became SOOOO transparent that these guys were scared to death and were trying to cover their fear with witty jokes.  I felt bad for them.  I could see the pain.  They weren't fooling anybody.  HIV is a sobering topic, and I just wanted more sober conversation.

Brian

Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2006, 10:58:14 PM »
I get it MOff...Thanks so much for telling me what to, where to live and what meetings I need to attend. What a bunch of CRAP
   I'm without meds for tonight and prolly tomorrow. I guess MY TITTLE ONE aint as great as you think?
Your now bringing into this debate gay vs. strait, tittle one vs two...whats next? Just wondering. I will respond to your bitchy little post after I try to get my meds...if that's ok with you?
Gotta run now...do you get that?
Positive since 1985

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2006, 11:05:08 PM »
<<I get it MOff...Thanks so much for telling me what to, where to live and what meetings I need to attend. What a bunch of CRAP>>

I respectfully submit that Moffie's "crap" is more useful than anyone else's information.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline livingpositively

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2006, 11:29:35 PM »
Ok, I'm going to exploit my ignorance/naivete here.  I am completely at a loss (well, maybe not completely) as to why there needs to be different support groups for different groups of people to begin with.  Perhaps from a mental standpoint it might be a "comfort" issue, but people just need to get over that.  I am hearing a lot of "we have different needs than X group."  Why???  Does the HIV act differently in one gender vs the other?  Does it act differently in people over 40 years old?  Do straight women take different meds than straight men, than gay men, than lesbians?  What am I just completely missing here?  Are "you" looking for a support group for HIV or a dating service, because as I see it, unless you're looking to screw around with your support, what difference does it make who's in what support group?  I personally know two people (heterosexual) that attended "gay" HIV support groups and were asked to leave.  Those prissy little fags should have their balls cut off, quartered and fed back to them.  That is despicable.  And just to alleviate any "bigot" comments from those that may not know...Yes, I am a homosexual.
4/6/07   CD4 450, % 23, No VL
2/19/07 CD4 487, % 26, VL 47,500
1/4/07   CD4 357, % 27, No VL
10/3/06 CD4 500, % 26, VL 18,000
7/6/06   CD4 530, % 29, VL 83,800
4/6/06   CD4 555, % 28, VL 13,000

Offline lydgate

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2006, 12:39:10 AM »
A lot of cyberink spilled on this already, so I'll be brief. Tim, in your original post and in some of the replies it seems pretty clear that you have a conceptual objection to straight support groups, ie, they are innately not a good idea. In reply #20, however, you say that you have no problem with them except for the funding part. So I'm a bit confused. I have no conceptual objection to straight support groups, but agree unreservedly with Brian's point -- I'd be appalled if creating them would take money away from medical work.

Jay
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline DCGuy511

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2006, 01:14:58 AM »
First of all- Moffie and I disagree on the surface, but I think that it is a more a matter of available resources than it is principle.  It is my undersanding that he is saying there are not enough services in the first place, so talking about specialized or targeted services is a dreamworld. However, I only understood that later. At first I thought he was saying that there shouldn't be straight-orientated services because gays have been discriminated against for so long, so now its "our turn."  This may have come from other posts also.

The ASO that I went to shortly after diagnosis serves the entire Washington Metropolitan Area- lots more people than SW Arizona, lots of HIV+ people.  I'm assuming that they get more Gov's $$ than a rural ASO. This area is very liberal and liberal causes receive a lot of donations. I've seen the fundraisers, they bring in thousands. Much of the staff are volunteer or work for much lower salaries than they would get from a private company or even a gov't job. All of our support group moderators, peer counselors and testing/results counselors are 100% volunteer.

Some ask: Why do we need specialized groups or targeted programs? Well we all have HIV, we have that in common.  However, someone becoming HIV+ does not diminish who that person was in the first place, his/her history or the community that he/she lives in. Those factors are going to determine how the new HIVer deals with this virus.  That is why targeted support groups & counseling are needed. We have to figure out how to deal with HIV with the cards we were already dealt. Sometimes talking to people in situations similar to our own is very helpful. HIV is an STD, it is a social disease, it profoundly affects our social life.  Dating was the number 1 topic, over and over, in my two years attending a support group. I'm a GWM, I would never feel comfortable talking about HIV+ dating if I were in a room of straight men; the converse must also be true. What good would an English-speaking counselor or support group be to someone who only speaks Spanish? People are treated differently depending on their gender, citizenship, sexual orientation, race, religion, socital class, education levels, the list goes on.  All of those labels bring a lot of baggage and that baggage is going to impact how we as individuals deal with this disease. Offering specialized services is an enhancement to the ASO, not a detriment.

Right now, DC is in a desperate situation. 1 in 20 residents of the Nation's capital have HIV. 75% of those cases are African Americans. That doesn't count the large percentage that have it and don't know it yet. We currently estimate 9000+ AIDS cases in the city. A lot of these people missed the messages that were so actively spread throughout the gay community. HIV is spreading through the African-American and Latino communities like a wildfire. The ASO has stepped up their outreach to those two communites and I could not be more supportive. There is a great amount of distrust out there so we are trying to get the local churches involved with getting the message to the African American community. There are many more partnerships with some of the local Latino political organizations. This whole meth-craze is responsible for a lot of recent cases. We are stepping up the anti-meth/HIV education combo, targeting the clubs and parties.

We are long past the "AIDS is a gay disease" phase of this epidemic. We need to provide services to many different groups, all of them. We need to get the message out to every community. We need to provide an environment that is conducive to the needs of all HIVers. We can pay now on the education/support end or we can pay later with the increased medical costs for new infections and for people who don't take proper care of themselves . And yep, it is going to cost a friggin ton of money. That is why fighting for it is so important.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2006, 01:20:35 AM by DCGuy511 »
Steve
Infected/Diagnosed Fall 2003
"No Man Is An Island" - J Donne

Offline lydgate

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2006, 02:30:21 AM »
Just wanted to add that some of the language used in this thread -- fracturing, encouraging divisiveness, building walls that come between, pointles pigeonholings -- has, to my ears, a hyperbolic and slightly apocalyptic ring. My ears could be deceiving me, or I may simply lack the empirical data. If so, I'd like to be corrected.

It's been said that the military is the best-integrated institution in the US, which might be true speaking only in terms of race, but of course as a general claim it's pure nonsense, when tens of thousands of gay and lesbian soldiers have to serve in silence and with dishonorable discharges in the hundreds every year. I'd like to suggest that the HIV community today is in fact the best-integrated institution (of a kind) in the US. From what I've seen of it, from what I've read about both online and in books, from my experience of forums such as these. Again, if I'm being hyperbolic here, please chasten me. And within that unity there is diversity; and having some services specifically targeted towards certain populations, especially support groups, is an asset which I think can actually have a beneficial effect. We're all in this together, yes; most of the things we do as activists and educators have to be done together, in solidarity, yes; I just don't see why -- to put it facetiously -- every outing has to be a group event.

Final point on which I'd like to be corrected if I'm wrong, I don't have all the posts in front of me, and a large part of it also has to with tone. Like DCGuy511, I too have the sense -- not so very much in this thread, more in a few others -- that, because of discrimination against gays in the past and the present, and the deep, institutional nature of that discrimination, the idea of supporting straight networks of support is thought of as ridiculous. To put it a little contentiously: straight folk are, population-wise, the vast majority and part of the "dominant" culture; straight people were mostly apathetic in the 80s to the epidemic, president-on down; homophobia is an ugly reality, both in the past and the present; "therefore" straight people asking for certain targeted services is a ludicruous example of self-indulgence, and they should have the common decency to integrate themselves into whatever services are available (mostly there, in the first place, because of the efforts of gay men), and don't-we-all-have-the-same-bug. (In an important sense, actually, we don't.) I've sketched it crudely, the sense of what I've been reading in some posts and threads, and I may be wildly off. But if there's some accuracy to the sketch, I'd like to register my disagreement with this line of thinking.

Jay
« Last Edit: July 21, 2006, 02:47:20 AM by lydgate »
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline Gilles

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2006, 04:16:22 AM »
All I can say is I am glad that I live in England than the US, because for a gay man especially with HIV there is no as much support in the States as in here.

Plus we can get married thanks to the Civil Parntnership Act 2004....not that I am planning to get married but it demonstrates that human rights are much more respected in this country.

Offline Cliff

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2006, 04:27:24 AM »
Quote
Offering specialized services is an enhancement to the ASO, not a detriment.
Agreed.  A one-size fit all approach, just doesn't work.  The needs, like the population, are too diverse.

Offline David_CA

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2006, 08:58:44 AM »
It's funny that somebody would think that just because we are HIV+, we'll fit in with all other HIV+ folks (in terms of support, comfort, outreach programs that work, targeted prevention messages, etc).  Being a white male doesn't make me any more likely to fit in the same category as other white males.  There are so many components that are part of our individual personalities that the 'Ones size fits all' approach is just not really going to work.  We have people, a few heterosexual females and males, mainly, that say that they are not comfortable with a support group that's mainly gay men.  Why are they being crucified?  Why are they wrong for this?  They're not, any more than I'm not wrong for preferring sex with another man instead of a woman.  This is especially important in the first stages of support.  Once one accepts being HIV+, I think 'targeted' support is less important.  Would I be comfortable in a support group consisting of African-American females?  No, I would not.  Am I a bigot, racist, or an ass for this?  No, I'm not.  There are a lot of differences in backgrounds, historical perspectives, and social issues that I absolutely have no knowledge of.  Yes, I think I could benefit from their experiences; I don't deny that.  But, at the time I'm seeking support for HIV, I'm really in need of support for HIV, not understanding the situations of different people.  That can come later.

Basically, let's quit trying to get others to conform to OUR way of thinking.  They're no more likely to do this than we are to conform to theirs.

David
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 Dachshund

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2006, 09:27:34 AM »
Black, white, gay, straight, male, female, winged-monkey, or poodle...the great equalizer in all of this is economics. If you are forced to rely on the state and its bureaucracy...believe me... suddenly we are all equal.

We were all equal around here when the state disbanded TennCare, a state funded insurance program for the poor and uninsurable. Made no difference to the state of TN who you slept with or the color of your skin...we all got the same cancellation letter. Made no difference to us who joined with us to protest...we all were suddenly very, very, equal in our fight to restore TennCare. We lost that battle, and our equality continues in our struggle to secure services.

The way the economic winds are blowing in the good ol' U.S. of A. we all better watch our backs. Human rights are never given without a fight...and despite our differences...folks with HIV are all the same.

Peace,
Hal

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2006, 09:33:30 AM »
OK, guys, I am going to state my case in the most simple, and unemotional terms I can think of.

When Bush took over:
     There were approximately 350,000 cases of HIV in the United States
     Funding was nearly appropriate for most of the country
     The Disease was starting to make a dent in the Straight community of the U.S.
     CDC was fine tuning their focus on "Men who have sex with men" prevention messages, to be more appropriate for the Conservitave Christian Coalition.
     He instituted "Abstinance Only" messages, which included clauses to cut funding for non compliance
     He instituted a "Flat Funding" policy which reigns today.

Now:
     There are approximately 1.1 million people infected.
     Flat Funding is still in place.  Do the math.
     Medicare has stripped most uninsured HIV+s of enough money to pay for food.
     Abstinance only is now being abandon in the Baptist Circle as too rediculous for real results, and they are now pushing condom use in Oklahoma
     CDC has cut almost all the Prevention monies, due to the abandonment of "Abstinance Only" messages.  (No proof of this, only the results)
     We still have flat funding, even though the pandemic is bounding foward.
     Rural areas  are being totally left behind, and Metro budgets are being cut for the first time in the history of the pandemic.

I must tell all of you.  I have no problem with Straight Support Groups, Black Support Groups, Gay Support Groups, Drug Users Support Groups, Support Groups for HIV+s Pets, or any other type of support group.  In a perfect world, there would be so much money pouring in to the pipelines, that we could serve any needs that might come up.  UNFORTUNATELY, this is not a perfect world, and from where I sit, watching STRAIGHT PEOPLE who are dying because they have been so apathetic for the last 25 years that now they are coming into care with full blown AIDS and death right around the corner; I see need, more need, and yet more and more need, but alas no solutions or money to help solve this very acute problem.  I still say that you missed my original premise here and that is simply, should we abandon those in emergency care, fighting for their lives, just to re-direct funding to support someone who insists on a Straight Support group, when we don't have enough money for a support group of any kind?  Yes DC brought up that the support groups were a volunteer work, but here in the hinterlands of this great land, we don't even have enough money in the budget for an office, director, secretary, computer, desk, phone, or in fact enough to print handouts.  

PLEASE SOMEONE, TELL ME I AM FULL OF SHIT, AND THAT THERE IS SOME POT OF GOLD SOMEWHERE ON THE HORIZON THAT WILL SUSTAIN US TILL THE END OF THIS VERY ACUTE HEALTH CRISIS.  I AM OPEN TO THE NEWS.  WE NEED THE HELP.  I DON'T SEE IT COMING FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER FIVE YEARS. (the funding term of Ryan White CARE Act)

This discussion is only a Gay Straight discussion on the surface, the real problem is the funding.  Please get it!

In Love and Frustration.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Cliff

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2006, 11:12:09 AM »
I understand that there is a balancing act.  I also understand that there are resource constraints.  I guess what I don't understand is the level of resources needed (desired) by heterosexuals.  If it's more support groups or prevention programs.  I don't see how that would require diverting significant resources from gay oriented services.  If it's separate facilities, (clinics, counseling services, case management, etc..), strictly devoted to heterosexuals, then I could see there being an issue of resource constraints.

I've always looked at the ASO's (in the major cities) as being flexible.  They receive funds from numerous sources, and use it to provide community services/outreach/case management to whomever is suffering from the disease (regardless of their background).  Some of those services can be targeted (say support groups) and some (say case management) are more general in nature.

The place I used to get tested at in Houston, the Montrose Clinic, is probably the largest Aids service organization in Houston and it was originally set up for gay men and is located in a gay area.  However, their clientele is quite diverse.  Actually, I just went to their website and 49% of their clients are heterosexual and 53% are ethnic minorities.

As the needs change, so should service organizations.

http://www.montroseclinic.org/

Offline Trish

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2006, 02:41:05 PM »
Interesting topic Big Daddy... somehow I knew you were going to bring this up.  I'm working on a response.  It's such a touchy subject, very controversial that I have to put my thinking cap on.  I can only respond through my experiences and the experiences of the straight men I have known over the years who died of AIDS.  I want to give you the best and clearest picture from where I stand and come from.  Bear with me... I'll be back.
"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is buit."  Eleanor Roosevelt

Offline Joe K

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2006, 08:15:59 PM »
Where angels fear to tread...  I'm not sure we are all reading the same thread, because we are NOT talking about the same issue.  But rather than just repeat some of the comments, let me see if I can translate Tim's comments into a concrete example.

I live in Broward County (S. Florida) and the greater metropolitian area includes this county, Palm Beach and Miami/Dade, home to the city of Miami.  Our combined population is somewhere around 6 million.  Our funding from DC for HIV care, encompasses all three counties and must be shared according to certain formulas that base funding levels on the number of HIV cases in your particular county.

In Broward, we have at least 15,000 pos people, mostly gay men.  We also have only two ASOs to serve that entire population.  We used to have three, but one was just closed due to mis-management and embezzlement and their clients were all transferred to one of the two other ASOs.  Now the funding in our area has not increased in the past five years, so we are doing less each year for even smaller amounts of clients, BECAUSE THERE IS NO FUNDING TO DO MORE.

So when we have to look at money, we have to decide "Is primary medical care and medications more important than ancillary services (like counseling, groups, etc.)?"  We'd love to have enough money to do all we need to do, BUT WE DO NOT.  So we have to choose between giving people a chance at life, versus supporting others quality of life.  Not a good posiiton to be in, but here we are because Republicans don't give a shit about pos people, no matter what flavor we come in, so if some of you straight folks are so up in arms, then why not talk to the cheapskates in DC?

The saddest past of this post is that it also illustrates our failures in the real world and the unwillingness of segments of the pos population to stand up and demand their rights.  I also understand the desire for support groups that reflect your life and concerns and we'd have them, if there was funding and at least for our area, IF THERE WAS ANY DEMAND.  I've been involved with the groups here for years and whenever I hear these tired refains, my first response is to ask if the client has made their needs known to those in power.  The answer is almost always NO.

So what would you have us do?  Thousands of us have been screaming for funding for over two decades now and we have yet to ever have adequate funding levels for the level of HIV care and services that WE ALL deserve.  But the voices of gay people are no longer heard in DC, because Republicans still don't want to hear the inconvient truth that they are indeed allowing thousands of their fellow citizens to die, simply because it is more important to build more bombs, than it is to treat ill citizens.

Now, here comes the chest-thumping.  If you don't like the fact that you don't have... fill in the blank, then get off your ass and become active.  For decades we have done the best we can, with gays mostly taking the lead in ensuring we have so much of what we enjoy today.  Sure we'd like a rest, but no one else is rising to the challenge.  I also know the arguments for not getting involved.  Disclosure issues, risk of job loss, ostrazation by society, gee sounds just like being gay.  I know not all of you remain silent, but far too many do.

I risked everything to be where I am today and it's about time that others do the same.  HIV comes with no entitlements, nobody to help you begin your journey, nor anyone to witness your final breath.  HIV comes with a responsbility to give back to our community, because if we we do not do it, then no one else will.  We should not have to choose between remaining alive with sacrificing any decent quality of life yet we must.

That choice is what Straight America and it's Republican Party has deemed is what we must do and so choose we will.  I'd love to give you all everything you need to prosper, but no one can and if we must choose life, versus quality, well that's no choice at all, as you cannot have one without the other.

I've been asking for adequate funding for decades to keep us all alive.  I suppose in the end, I find it most disappointing that almost all poz people do not realize how downright cruel the Bushies are and for some to have the unmitigated gall to be complaiining that they don't have all the creature comforts, when other Americans have NO CARE AT ALL, just shows how much further we need to go.

Like Tim keeps saying, IF YOU ARE NOT OUTRAGED BY THE STATE OF HIV SERVICES IN AMERICA, THEN YOU AREN'T PAYING ATTENTION.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2006, 08:20:02 PM by killfoile »

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: Please help me with this one...............
« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2006, 04:34:06 AM »
Today, our Funding Allocation Working Group finished up the last of 4 possible funding sceanarios.  On Monday afternoon, the 3 separate groups get together to vote on Scenarios 3 and 4. (FY 2007)  The amounts we were directed to work with are:
Scenario I-   $975,000.00
Scenario II-  $1,040,000.00
Scenario III- $1,100,000.00
Scenario IV- $1,170,000.00

Sceanario I- has been allocated an additional $230,000.00 HOPWA funds & an additional $29,000.00 MAI funds

Scenario II- has been allocated an additional $260,000.00 HOPWA funds & an additional $39,000.00 MAI funds

Scenario III- has been allocated an additional $285,000.00 HOPWA funds & an additional $43,000.00 MAI funds 

Scenario IV- has not been allocated any additional HOPWA or MAI funds.

For each scenario, our three groupd have been instructed to decide how much of the total budget is to be allocated toward these services:

AIDS Emergency Fund
Benefits Counseling
Case Management
Chemical Dependency Counseling
Chemical Dependency- Emergency Residential treatment
Complimentary Alternative Medicine
Complementary Alternative Medicine Vouchers
Food and Nutrition- Food Bank
Food and Nutrition- Home Delivered Meals
Food and Nutrition- Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements
Home Health Care- Attendent
Housing Search Assistance
Long-Term Housing Programs
Information and Referral
Medical Care- Labs and Diagnostics
Medical Care- Primary Care
Medical Care- Protocol Access
Medical Care- Treatment Education
Medications- ADAP Clerk
Mental Health Counseling
Mental Health Psychiatric Assessment
Oral Health- Dental Services
Nutritional Counseling
Services to Families
Translation and Support Services
Volunteer Services
Re-Connect Services

On Monday, the three groups get together to make a decision on how much funding goes to which service, vote and ratify.  That group decision will be taken to the Planning Counsil on the regular August meeting.  The Planning Counsil may want changes, may want it done over and actually may accept it as written.  The final budget will be once aghain presented to the Planning Counsil during the September meeting and voted on and ratified.

The Planning Counsil will present the approved budget to the Board of Supervisors for adoption.

This is the first time since the Ryan White CARE Act was passed into law in 1990, the Funding Allocation Working Group has ever been instructed to develop a budget with 4 scenarios instead of 5 and for 1 year instead of 2 years.  There will be no Title I funding available in Sonoma, Sacramento or Santa Clara County (San Jose).

No where in any of the 4 possible budget scenarios is there even $1.00 for any support group whether it be Gay, Straight, Bi, Transsexual, Transgender or a combination of any or all.  Support groups are available because our ASO, Face-to-Face and our Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank have the ability and the interest in supporting their client needs and are willing to raise funds as needed to accomplish such goals.  "Straight From The Heart" was started and maintained by Graduate members of the AIDS Leadership Academy.  Positive Women's Resource Center was established by Rachel Gardner of Food for Thought and has regular meetings which rotate from the Russian River location of Food for Thought and the Santa Rosa location of the Center for HIV Prevention and Care so all interested members may attend at their own convenience.

Community Re-Connect has caused a lot of concern and name calling over the past few weeks.  This organization is my pet project.  We currently have over 700 people living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County, who are in care.  They are the client/patients of the Center For HIV Prevention and Care, Food for Thought, Russian River Health Centers, Alliance Health Centers and Face-to-Face with locations in Santa Rosa and Guerneville.  With the future loss of Title I funding and an estimated 1800- 2100 people living with HIV/AIDS, of which only 700 are in care as per the 2005 Sonoma County Epidemiology Report.  The proverbial shit will hit the fan when there is no Title I funding to cover the Care and Services for the uninsured and the uninsured.

Michael, Lisa, Harold, Ginger, and Carolyn (none of whom have two nickles to rub together after the 5th of each month) have raised $10,000.00 start-up capital to get this program started and to help the able and willing to return to work, get training or volunteer at ASO organizations who will not have the funding to serve their client base.  Carolyn has grant writing experience and a grant application to the NIH is about to be presented on our behalf.

We didn't have the funding either but we are making it happen. The two positions created when this grant is received will not be jobs for Michael, Lisa, Harold, Ginger or Carolyn.  Have the best day
Michael

www.Commission-on-AIDS.org   
« Last Edit: July 22, 2006, 04:54:13 AM by Sonomabeach »

 


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