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Author Topic: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate  (Read 16684 times)

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Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #50 on: September 11, 2008, 12:25:06 AM »
The TV interview aired today.

http://cbs5.com/video/?cid=130 . It's not searchable yet apparently but if you click on the big HIVPOZ license plate it's there .

They obviously cut a lot, I was wondering what they would keep or not. I wish they ran the part where they asked me if I was afraid of having this plate and I said I wasn't, and I would only take down the plate when a cure comes.

Offline Peter Staley

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #51 on: September 11, 2008, 01:19:10 PM »

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #52 on: September 11, 2008, 05:38:37 PM »
And POZ.com did a story as well:

http://www.poz.com/articles/california_hiv_vanity_plate_1_15264.shtml

I saw it. Thanks, Peter !

FYI the CBS5 6pm vid now has a direct link - http://cbs5.com/local/hiv.poz.plates.2.814643.html .

CBS5 also ran a much shorter version of the story on the 11pm news yesterday (which my DVR records every night) with a different news anchor.

Offline randym431

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #53 on: September 12, 2008, 03:13:26 AM »
Great outcome! With you 100%. Especially when the original letter actually stated:

Quote
Per California Vehicle Code, Section 5105, the department may refuse any combination of letters and numbers that may be considered offensive

F-ing yeah, I'm offended I live with hiv too, but I do.

I'm tempted to try for a plate like that here in a bible belt state to see what happens.
I'd just need to drive a lot faster and park in a garage.  ;D

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #54 on: September 12, 2008, 04:11:12 AM »
Hi,

Great outcome! With you 100%.

Thanks !

Quote
I'm tempted to try for a plate like that here in a bible belt state to see what happens.
I'd just need to drive a lot faster and park in a garage.  ;D

Best of luck with that if you decide to go that route.

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #55 on: September 12, 2008, 08:03:58 PM »
I got the letter of apology from the DMV in today's mail. I can't wait for the actual plates.

Online Jeff G

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #56 on: September 12, 2008, 08:11:19 PM »
I must admit I thought your chances were slim of winning this battle .

Im really happy this worked out so well for you , its a great help in fighting the stigma that still lingers to this day concerning HIV .

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #57 on: September 12, 2008, 09:30:16 PM »
its a great help in fighting the stigma that still lingers to this day concerning HIV .

Except it seems like a simple clerical error that was somewhat easily rectified.  If that's the case then there was no stigma involved.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Online Jeff G

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #58 on: September 12, 2008, 09:33:08 PM »
Except it seems like a simple clerical error that was somewhat easily rectified.  If that's the case then there was no stigma involved.


Stop trying to put lipstick on my pig  ;D

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #59 on: September 12, 2008, 11:31:58 PM »
Congrats! I'm glad you got your plate. :)

Interesting that the same issue came up 10 years ago.  The guy asking for $5 million in "damages" was a bit ridiculous.

Offline Lis

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2008, 01:38:36 AM »
WHAT???  this is soooo a waste of time...
poz 1986....

Offline BT65

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #61 on: September 13, 2008, 12:05:55 PM »
Why anyone would want to have HIV on their license plate is something I just can't understand (nor do I want to).
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline denb45

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2008, 12:36:26 PM »
Why anyone would want to have HIV on their license plate is something I just can't understand (nor do I want to).

I cannot understand that one as well, I wouldn't even want to put a Rainbow sticker or any Political Statement ANYWHERE on my vehicle.......but to each his own  ??? whatever flips-your-trigger  ::)
good luck with that tho, I sure hope that License Plate doesn't cause you any physical harm, just remember there is still a lotta stigma and ignorance behind HIV/AIDS even after 25 yrs.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 12:42:02 PM by denb45 »
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Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2008, 03:08:50 PM »
Congrats! I'm glad you got your plate. :)

Interesting that the same issue came up 10 years ago.  The guy asking for $5 million in "damages" was a bit ridiculous.

Yeah, that seems like a bit much. But apparently his fight was a lot harder than mine. At least he got his attorney's fees and won his plate as well.

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #64 on: September 13, 2008, 03:26:25 PM »
WHAT???  this is soooo a waste of time...


You are right, such a huge amount of time was wasted !

About 5 minutes putting the application to the DMV online back in june, a few days discussing the issue here in the forum here, 30 minutes on hold with the DMV before I was disconnected on monday, one email to the Mercury news on monday, a few minutes on the phone with the Merc writer on tuesday, and about one hour with a CBS TV crew on wednesday.

If I hadn't been denied by the DMV, I wouldn't even have posted anything about the plate at all. So yes, a bit of extra time was spent resolving the issue. But not much, and I wouldn't say that it was wasted. Being featured in my favorite paper and TV news program means my message got more exposure than driving with the plate alone could ever have done.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 04:18:44 PM by madbrain »

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #65 on: September 13, 2008, 03:28:34 PM »
I cannot understand that one as well, I wouldn't even want to put a Rainbow sticker or any Political Statement ANYWHERE on my vehicle.......but to each his own  ??? whatever flips-your-trigger  ::)
good luck with that tho, I sure hope that License Plate doesn't cause you any physical harm, just remember there is still a lotta stigma and ignorance behind HIV/AIDS even after 25 yrs.

Thanks, I hope it won't. And I'm well aware of the stigma. If there wasn't any I might not have ordered the plate.

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #66 on: September 13, 2008, 04:16:27 PM »
Except it seems like a simple clerical error that was somewhat easily rectified.  If that's the case then there was no stigma involved.

Well, that's the official DMV party line, and you are certainly free to believe it. But call me a skeptic on that one.

I was not able to find out how many vanity plates are ordered in California each year, but I'm sure it's a lot. Californians are in love with their cars. And the California DMV only rejects about 100 applications per year for vanity plates.

Offline MOONLIGHT1114

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #67 on: September 13, 2008, 05:12:41 PM »
Hi JP,

I just watched the news clip, smiling the entire time.  :D   I agree with you, surviving the stigma can sometimes be worse than surviving the virus for some people.  I think its great that there are people like you who are trying to break down the walls of stigma that surround us people with HIV.  I'm not sure that displaying it on a plate is how I would do it, I'd fear that people would pick on me.  However, the fight against the stigma is what I believe to be a very tough fight, and if you believe that displaying your plates will help in this battle, then I applaud you.

I am going to my first poz benefit tonight, and although I'm not displaying poz license plates, I AM wearing a necklace that says "STRENGTH" and has a "ribbon" charm on it. 

Its funny that even at my support group this week, we still didn't want our table sign to read "Reserved for Support Group" at the benefit, in order to ensure our privacy. Its even worse that our entire support group will be able to FIT at ONE table, as there are many people who want their privacy and haven't joined a support group.  Its understandible, it took me 14 years before I joined a support group.  I hate that we still have to tiptoe around, and I am working personally to come out of my shell.  Seeing someone like you do what you did to get your plates is incredible.  Stay safe!  ;)

~ Cindy
HIV+ since '93, 1/12 - CD4 785 and undet.   WOO-HOO!!

Offline RapidRod

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #68 on: September 13, 2008, 05:40:14 PM »
I remember the Matthew Shepard story and he didn't have a license plate. I hope you aren't so naive to believe that everyone will be as acceptable as we are.

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #69 on: September 13, 2008, 05:41:41 PM »
Hey Cindy,

Hi JP,

I just watched the news clip, smiling the entire time.  :D 

I'm always like that, that's what 60 mg of celexa per day can do to you . Don't let it be said anti-depressants don't work :)

Quote
I agree with you, surviving the stigma can sometimes be worse than surviving the virus for some people. 

Well certainly in the early stage like I'm it's the case. If there wasn't so much stigma around it, I would never have gotten so badly depressed the way I did the first year. If I had been more informed before my diagnosis, I might have taken the news very differently. I didn't know a single positive person when it hit me, or at least no one who was open about it.

Quote
I think its great that there are people like you who are trying to break down the walls of stigma that surround us people with HIV.  I'm not sure that displaying it on a plate is how I would do it, I'd fear that people would pick on me.  However, the fight against the stigma is what I believe to be a very tough fight, and if you believe that displaying your plates will help in this battle, then I applaud you.

Thank you for the kind words ! Everybody has their own way to fight. I also agree that the stigma is a very tough battle, and in many cases it affects our daily lives much more profoundly than being denied a custom license plate. But I think there will be more battles to be won.

Quote
I am going to my first poz benefit tonight, and although I'm not displaying poz license plates, I AM wearing a necklace that says "STRENGTH" and has a "ribbon" charm on it. 

Congrats !

Quote
Its funny that even at my support group this week, we still didn't want our table sign to read "Reserved for Support Group" at the benefit, in order to ensure our privacy. Its even worse that our entire support group will be able to FIT at ONE table, as there are many people who want their privacy and haven't joined a support group.  Its understandible, it took me 14 years before I joined a support group.  I hate that we still have to tiptoe around, and I am working personally to come out of my shell.  Seeing someone like you do what you did to get your plates is incredible.  Stay safe!  ;)

Yeah, obviously not everybody is comfortable being open about it. But I truly believe it should not be any more shameful than having cancer or other diseases. And I hope we will se the day when it's not. Thanks again, and I will stay safe.

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #70 on: September 13, 2008, 05:58:12 PM »
Hi,

I remember the Matthew Shepard story and he didn't have a license plate. I hope you aren't so naive to believe that everyone will be as acceptable as we are.

Yes, I remember the story as well. It happened in a very different, homophobic place.

If somebody felt safe enough to put a similar license plate on their motorcycle 10 years ago, I think I can handle it on my car in 2008. I never felt motorcycles were safe enough to ride one, regardless of their license plate.

Until 2001, I got around by bicycle. I got a bit tired of it, but the main reason I finally learned to drive then and got a car (not in that order) was because of safety - the second one being was that there was finally a car that met my environmental standards, the Prius. There are not many bike lanes in silicon valley, or even sidewalks. The area is built for cars. My bicycle has been in the same spot in my garage for the last 7 years.

I will still feel much safer in my car with my new plate than I ever did on my bicycle before.

Offline BlueMoon

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #71 on: September 13, 2008, 06:45:22 PM »
Hi,

Yes, I remember the story as well. It happened in a very different, homophobic place.

As well, Shepard deliberately antagonized the guy and embarrassed him in front of his friends.  I think you'll be ok.

Quote
I never felt motorcycles were safe enough to ride one, regardless of their license plate.

Hey, motorcycles are only as unsafe as the person riding them.  If I lived in a place like San Ho I might not even have a car.  I'd be splitting lanes and zipping right by you.

Anyway, congratulations on winning one against the DMV.  That's a newsworthy story in itself.
...................VL.....CD4.....%
-----------------------------------------
08/10-- ......<40.....290.....42
05/10-- ......<48.....290.....46
02/10-- ......<48.....481.....44
10/09-- ......<48.....277.....46
07/09-- ......<48.....300.....38
05/09-- ........51.....449.....39
03/09-- Added Isentress
02/09-- ........65.....299.....34
11/08-- ........62.....242.....40
08/08-- ........66.....212.....29
05/08-- ......202.....217.....27
03/08-- ....5210.....187.....21
02/08-- Began Truvada/Reyataz/Norvir
12/07-- 273,000.....157.....22
11/07-- 229,000.....209.....22
10/07-- Diagnosis

It's a complex world.

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #72 on: September 13, 2008, 06:54:57 PM »
Well, that's the official DMV party line, and you are certainly free to believe it. But call me a skeptic on that one.


Yeah, but the burden of proof is on the accuser.  If the DMV had denied you during the rather quick "appeal" (informal though it was, and prompted by a call from a newspaper) then I'd believe the stigma angle and then I'd say the media should run the story.   I find it odd that they ran a story without proving that it was more than a DMV clerical error (which, we all know, DMV's are QUITE capable of).  If you could have gotten 10 other people to apply for similar plates over a span of 12 months then you'd have a case.  As it currently is it's not as if any of this rises to the level of Rosa Parks.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline thunter34

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #73 on: September 13, 2008, 06:59:33 PM »
OK.  I'll bite.  I may have missed it in here, but I'm curious to know what the HIV tag is that you got accepted.  HIV4ME?  HIV4U2?  HOTHIV?  HIVPOZ?  HIVLIT or what?  

Personally, as all out there against teh stigma as I try to be, I am aware that my car would not make it a day without a brick through the windshield if I drove around with such a tag.  
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Bucko

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #74 on: September 13, 2008, 07:00:34 PM »
  As it currently is it's not as if any of this rises to the level of Rosa Parks.

I'm still trying to figure out why it's in the Living With HIV forum.
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Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #75 on: September 13, 2008, 11:27:07 PM »
Yeah, but the burden of proof is on the accuser.  If the DMV had denied you during the rather quick "appeal" (informal though it was, and prompted by a call from a newspaper) then I'd believe the stigma angle and then I'd say the media should run the story.   I find it odd that they ran a story without proving that it was more than a DMV clerical error (which, we all know, DMV's are QUITE capable of). 

I'm not sure anyone except the DMV can ever get proof of this since the issue isn't going to court. I base my conjecture on the DMV's previous history.

For what it's worth, the denial letter was hand-signed by the Manager of the Special Processing Unit, and that doesn't sound like the title of a mere clerk to me.

As for newsworthiness, the Merc made the call on that, as did CBS, not me.

Quote
If you could have gotten 10 other people to apply for similar plates over a span of 12 months then you'd have a case.

I was merely trying to get my license plate, and I wasn't trying to build any case against anyone.

Quote
As it currently is it's not as if any of this rises to the level of Rosa Parks.

I don't think anyone claimed it did ;)

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #76 on: September 13, 2008, 11:29:38 PM »
OK.  I'll bite.  I may have missed it in here, but I'm curious to know what the HIV tag is that you got accepted.  HIV4ME?  HIV4U2?  HOTHIV?  HIVPOZ?  HIVLIT or what? 

Personally, as all out there against teh stigma as I try to be, I am aware that my car would not make it a day without a brick through the windshield if I drove around with such a tag. 

It is HIV POZ . Apparently many papers and web sites reprinted the story. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22hiv+poz%22+license+plate&btnG=Search
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 05:33:33 PM by madbrain »

Offline lonewolf

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #77 on: September 14, 2008, 10:29:51 AM »
Maybe I am naive, but here is my two cents.
Personally I think your original request was rejected, not because they were biased against HIV.  But the whole idea of having plates advertising your illness, is I think in poor taste.  I mean   how would we react to see plates that say   GOTCANCER.     I certainly agree with awareness, but think you actually accomplished more in your news articles than the plates ever will.   I certantly would never want to advertize I am HIV positive,  or if I had cancer.   
"To all within the sound of my voice, I appeal: Learn with me the lessons of history and of grace, so my children will not be afraid to say the word ďAIDSĒ when I am gone. Then, their children and yours may not need to whisper it at all."  Mary Fisher

Offline Peter Staley

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #78 on: September 15, 2008, 11:17:24 AM »
I'm actually quite surprised by some of the reactions here to Julien's license-plate action.

Yes, it's not a Rosa Parks moment, but I think it is related.  The very fact that Julien might get a brick thrown through his car window makes it related in my mind.  I hope he'll run straight to the local TV station if that happens.

I remember during the 80's how my friends and I all wore ACT UP t-shirts wherever we went, sometimes putting ourselves at personal risk for doing so (including at the '88 Republican Convention in New Orleans, where the YAFFers physically attacked us when they saw our Reagangate t-shirts).
We would wear the Read My Lips t-shirts (showing two guys kissing) into straight bars. 

And back then, our community supported us in these daring efforts.  Not much of that happening, anymore.  I seem to remember some in these forums even criticized Annie Lennox for wearing an "HIV+" t-shirt on national TV.

Now, sadly, we all live in our comfortable closets, and are shocked when one of us tries to break out and make a statement about the stigma we all feel. 

I say bravo, Julien.   I admire you immensely.

Offline Basquo

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #79 on: September 15, 2008, 11:22:29 AM »
WHAT???  this is soooo a waste of time...


I disagree. It hasn't taken that much time to follow this thread.  madbrain's detailed how much of his time it's taken. He's put another face on HIV. I think it's grand.

Online Jeff G

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #80 on: September 15, 2008, 11:48:38 AM »
After losing many things important to me because of the stigma of HIV my reaction was to embrace my status . When ever someone brings up the subject I useally disclose my status .

This has given me the opportunity to discuss HIV with many who have never met with someone living with AIDS . I cant count the times people have thanked me for my honesty .
I have also been criticized by a few friends for doing this because it makes them uncomfortable .

I was outed as HIV + in the 80's  in my community so I now have nothing to hide and now welcome any opportunity I have to chip away from the stigma of HIV by putting a human face on the issue and I applaud others that choose to do so .
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 11:51:16 AM by jg1962 »

Offline SteveA

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #81 on: September 15, 2008, 12:01:58 PM »
I agree with Peter here. It may not be Rosa Parks to some of you, but cowards rarely want to risk anything and will always deride and put down those who show them up with their bravery. I think Julien is doing something very brave and should be supported not looked down upon like he's crazy. We need more brave people in this community!

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #82 on: September 15, 2008, 12:26:24 PM »

Now, sadly, we all live in our comfortable closets, and are shocked when one of us tries to break out and make a statement about the stigma we all feel. 

I find this a bit of a false argument.  It's not 1988, it's 2008.  It's possible to not hide your HIV status in many places, but not wear a t-shirt.

I mean, do you also wear a pink feathered boa 24/7 to let everyone know you're a big fairy?  I don't, but I'm not in the closet about being gay either.

I still maintain that unless it can be shown that this was anymore than a clerical error it serves no purpose to run a news article.  If one had wanted to prove that the DMV was institutionally bigoted towards this issue, then one needs to show it.  Round up 10 other HIVers and get them to apply for a similar vanity plate and see what happens.  If they're repeatedly denied this THEN go to the press with the proof.  An accusation was made, based on hot air.  Why accuse people of something that they may very well not be doing.  Such things do not endear non-infected people to people who are infected, in fact it's counter productive in my opinion.

People involved in activism need to be careful that they're not just doing such things for ego-inflated media hugging reasons.  It needs to be carefully considered and have some sort of strategy, or it's useless.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 12:27:56 PM by philly267 »
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Offline thunter34

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #83 on: September 15, 2008, 12:48:27 PM »
I mean, do you also wear a pink feathered boa 24/7 to let everyone know you're a big fairy? 

Come to think of it, I can recall one former member who used to do that very thing.

 ;D
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Offline Iggy

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #84 on: September 15, 2008, 12:53:41 PM »
I still maintain that unless it can be shown that this was anymore than a clerical error it serves no purpose to run a news article.  If one had wanted to prove that the DMV was institutionally bigoted towards this issue, then one needs to show it. 

 I find the general idea of having to prove the institutional bigotry first before seeking to make a change (and that includes media assistance to add pressure to the other party to take you seriously when you feel they will not otherwise ) a bit backwards. 

I agree that there are some avenues that need to be explored first such as repeated approaches to those in charge before the media is called in for assistance (and I don't think Madbrain fully explored those options here btw), but I don't think one needs to prove a bigotry in order to raise awareness of their belief that it exists.

As for the actually licence plate issue itself, personally, I agree that it was probably a clerical error, but I also think that there is a lot of unnecessary nitpicking of what he wanted to accomplish. 

HIV+ license plates is not something I would think of worth my personal attention and time, but I don't see the point in dismissing someone's efforts who does.  He is doing something beyond the board here and that is worth some respect to me.

Offline thunter34

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #85 on: September 15, 2008, 01:00:54 PM »
Maybe I am naive, but here is my two cents.
Personally I think your original request was rejected, not because they were biased against HIV.  But the whole idea of having plates advertising your illness, is I think in poor taste.  I mean   how would we react to see plates that say   GOTCANCER.     I certainly agree with awareness, but think you actually accomplished more in your news articles than the plates ever will.   I certantly would never want to advertize I am HIV positive,  or if I had cancer.   

There are already state sanctioned plates available for breast cancer, for example.  Google it.

An HIV / AIDS awareness plates right here in Georgia...though more of the officiall "ribbon" variety.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 01:02:25 PM by thunter34 »
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Offline dixieman

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #86 on: September 15, 2008, 02:10:48 PM »
Well if you can not obtain a liecense plate... make yourself a bumper sticker.

Offline Peter Staley

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #87 on: September 15, 2008, 03:45:09 PM »
I find this a bit of a false argument.  It's not 1988, it's 2008.  It's possible to not hide your HIV status in many places, but not wear a t-shirt.

I mean, do you also wear a pink feathered boa 24/7 to let everyone know you're a big fairy?  I don't, but I'm not in the closet about being gay either.

I still maintain that unless it can be shown that this was anymore than a clerical error it serves no purpose to run a news article.  If one had wanted to prove that the DMV was institutionally bigoted towards this issue, then one needs to show it.  Round up 10 other HIVers and get them to apply for a similar vanity plate and see what happens.  If they're repeatedly denied this THEN go to the press with the proof.  An accusation was made, based on hot air.  Why accuse people of something that they may very well not be doing.  Such things do not endear non-infected people to people who are infected, in fact it's counter productive in my opinion.

People involved in activism need to be careful that they're not just doing such things for ego-inflated media hugging reasons.  It needs to be carefully considered and have some sort of strategy, or it's useless.

I respectfully disagree Philly.  In fact, many effective acts of civil disobedience I've had the honor of participating in (and many others I just watched from afar) had as their direct targets people and places and institutions that had little if anything to do with the underlying issue being raised.

Why put a "FREE TIBET" sign on the Golden Gate Bridge, causing a huge traffic jam for liberal San Francisco commuters?  Why disrupt trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange over the price of AZT (Burroughs Wellcome wasn't even traded there!)?  And on and on.

Why?  Because it can still have your desired effect (i.e Julien's news stories above; and the price reduction of AZT a few days later).

Fact is, he was turned down, then made a stink about it.  I could care less what the real reason was why he was turned down.  I'm just glad a stink was made, and think it took balls to make it.

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #88 on: September 15, 2008, 03:48:21 PM »
We'll just have to agree to disagree then.  I see little to no value in this exercise, at least in the manner in which it was done.
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Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #89 on: September 15, 2008, 05:37:47 PM »
Peter !

I'm actually quite surprised by some of the reactions here to Julien's license-plate action.

You and me both !

Quote
Yes, it's not a Rosa Parks moment, but I think it is related.  The very fact that Julien might get a brick thrown through his car window makes it related in my mind.  I hope he'll run straight to the local TV station if that happens.

Well, I certainly hope nothing of th sort happens, but if it does, you can be sure I will.

Quote
I say bravo, Julien.   I admire you immensely.

Thanks, it means a lot coming from you.

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #90 on: September 15, 2008, 05:38:20 PM »
I disagree. It hasn't taken that much time to follow this thread.  madbrain's detailed how much of his time it's taken. He's put another face on HIV. I think it's grand.

Thank you !

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #91 on: September 15, 2008, 05:39:50 PM »
Hi,

I was outed as HIV + in the 80's  in my community so I now have nothing to hide and now welcome any opportunity I have to chip away from the stigma of HIV by putting a human face on the issue and I applaud others that choose to do so .

Thank you !

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #92 on: September 15, 2008, 05:42:41 PM »
Steve,

I agree with Peter here. It may not be Rosa Parks to some of you, but cowards rarely want to risk anything and will always deride and put down those who show them up with their bravery. I think Julien is doing something very brave and should be supported not looked down upon like he's crazy. We need more brave people in this community!

Well, someone's bravery may be somebody else's craziness. I'll take both as compliments in this particular case. Thank you for the kind words !

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #93 on: September 15, 2008, 06:41:36 PM »
Hi,

I find this a bit of a false argument.  It's not 1988, it's 2008.  It's possible to not hide your HIV status in many places, but not wear a t-shirt.

I mean, do you also wear a pink feathered boa 24/7 to let everyone know you're a big fairy?  I don't, but I'm not in the closet about being gay either.

I don't either, but I wouldn't compare the level of public exposure of the two. The LGBT community makes up around 10% of the population in the US, and is quite visible in the news already. The HIV+ community makes up only about 0.3% of the population, and is very much invisible and in hiding these days. How often do you read about HIV/AIDS in the paper, or see something about it on TV, that is not in the context of Africa ? Not that often. I think that must have played a big part in why the media decided to run the story.

Quote
I still maintain that unless it can be shown that this was anymore than a clerical error it serves no purpose to run a news article.  If one had wanted to prove that the DMV was institutionally bigoted towards this issue, then one needs to show it.

Several things :

1) the newspaper's staff got involved with the DMV and spent their own time. Usually when they do this, they find the subject interesting enough and want to write about it - that's what they get in return.

2) the newspaper (or TV story) didn't state that the DMV was institutionally bigoted towards the issue. They merely reported the denial and the reason stated for it in the letter, which is that they thought the plate was offensive. They actually printed and aired that the DMV made a clerical error, and did not try to infer there was any possible alternative reason.

I'm personally saying there might have been bias against HIV here, but that is not in the news stories. That can never be proven or disproven since the issue not going to court, and I have no interest in doing so since I got them to issue my plate. But that is my opinion and I'm entitled to it just as you are yours.

Quote
Round up 10 other HIVers and get them to apply for a similar vanity plate and see what happens.  If they're repeatedly denied this THEN go to the press with the proof.  An accusation was made, based on hot air.  Why accuse people of something that they may very well not be doing. 

When I applied, I just wanted to get my own plate. It was a personal statement. Why would I have gotten anyone else involved ? I didn't know the plate would be denied. My goal was never to accuse the DMV of anything. Even when I was interviewed by the paper and the TV, I didn't tell the interviewers that I thought the DMV had systematic bias against HIV, just that I was surprised of the denial given the older 1998 case, and that I didn't think my plate was offensive.

Quote
Such things do not endear non-infected people to people who are infected, in fact it's counter productive in my opinion.

Well, here we will just have to disagree completely.

Quote
People involved in activism need to be careful that they're not just doing such things for ego-inflated media hugging reasons.  It needs to be carefully considered and have some sort of strategy, or it's useless.

I have not been involved in activism before. Once again, I was just trying to get my plate. And I didn't think that was activism, it was just a personal statement I wanted to make. There was no grand plan for anything. I thought I would just get the plate, put it on my car and that would be the end of it - I didn't seek to get a news story. But I got upset when the DMV denied the plate, and I wanted to fight the decision.

Yes, I could have tried to fight it further on my own instead of going to the media as soon as I did. But I thought that would have been a waste of my time. I had already wasted many cell phone minutes trying to talk to the DMV. And I might not have convinced the DMV right away. So, I decided to write to the mercury news "roadshow" section, because I know they have have contacts at the DMV there. I thought they would be able to sort things out quicker than I would on my own, and they did. Kudos to them. Obviously I didn't mind the media attention - it was in line with the message of the plate. I thought it would stop at the article. But the TV interview the next day was a pleasant surprise, and I didn't want to turn it down. I'm very glad I did it this way.

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #94 on: September 15, 2008, 06:44:48 PM »
Peter,

Fact is, he was turned down, then made a stink about it.  I could care less what the real reason was why he was turned down.  I'm just glad a stink was made, and think it took balls to make it.

Thank you !

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #95 on: September 16, 2008, 06:01:47 PM »
I got the plates in the mail today and they are on my car now.

Offline David_CA

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #96 on: September 16, 2008, 06:04:47 PM »
I got the plates in the mail today and they are on my car now.

Sounds like it's time to post a pic!
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Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #97 on: September 19, 2008, 07:11:12 PM »
Sounds like it's time to post a pic!

Here you go !

I don't think many people have noticed it yet. But for what it's worth, I haven't even been honked at yet.

Last night as I was going to the gym in Sunnyvale, there was a traffic accident . Someone ran a red light right in front of me and hit a car on the other side that was making a left turn. There was a pretty bad impact. The red light runner's car swirved to the right.
The two women in the other car were pretty shaken up. I let them use my cell phone to call their family, the police, and paramedics.

When the police officer arrived at the scene, he took my witness statement and all my info. Then he saw my car and the license plate, and said that he had read the story in the news, and asked if they were going to let me keep it. I told him that the DMV had apologized to me, and I was keeping the plate. Then we shook hands and he thanked me for coming forward as a witness. So much for police profiling !

Also, my license plate story was mentioned in the "AIDS news" section of the national TV program "Gay USA" which you can catch on Frees peech TV. I watched it on dish network last night as I do every week. It was Ann Northrop's favorite story of the week.


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Offline Joe K

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #98 on: September 20, 2008, 02:43:59 PM »
I also support your efforts and the determination it took to get what you rightfully deserved: a vanity license plate.  However, I applaud your success in using this issue to help diminish some of the stigma surrounding HIV.  While I was surprised by some of the reactions to your efforts, I fully expected them because there remains as much stigma regarding HIV today, as there was in 1985.

HIV remains as one of, if not "the" most stigmatized disease because it involves sexual contact.  And when you mix antiquated views of human sexuality, coupled with dogma and intolerance, we, as HIV positive people, remain the most "hated" amongst all the diseases that afflict mankind.  In most societies you would be scorned for deriding a lung or skin cancer sufferer for smoking or excessive exposure to the sun.  You would never ask a person in a wheelchair how they caused their own disability, would you?  I would hope not and the reason is that such behavior is abhorrent when discussing disease.

Yet HIV stigma remains as a result of decades of moralistic dogma being interjected into what is essentially a biological experience.  HIV is a disease that we know a lot about after a few decades and there is really nothing to differentiate it from any other disease perception, other than the route of transmission.  Except for a few STDs, most people would never condemn anyone for contracting a serious disease, with the exception of HIV.

Proof of such stigma surrounds us, even within our own community.  So many pozzies judge other pozzies based on methods of transmission or insist on "labeling" people by transmission type.  I believe that partially explains the issue of why so many people reject the idea of oral transmission of HIV, because stigma tells them that a blow job, while still disgusting, is far less of a moral flaw that buggering.

So when you do something that gets people to sit up and take notice, that is worthy of praise.  You had a right to that plate and the fact that you did it such a way, that was dignified and honest casts a very favorable light on the HIV community and we can never have too much good publicity.  Change comes one person at a time.  Hopefully your story has challenged some peoples perceptions about HIV or just got them to rethink the whole issue.  What's not to like about that?   
« Last Edit: September 20, 2008, 02:46:44 PM by killfoile »

Offline madbrain

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Re: CA DMV rejecting HIV license plate
« Reply #99 on: September 25, 2009, 08:00:57 PM »
Thanks, killfoile, and sorry for the overly late (1 year) response.

I just wanted to report that I have been now been driving one year with the plate and I have yet to experience any negative reaction to it. I can honestly say that the only negative comments I have received about it were on this board. Admittedly, you can't have that many meaningful interactions when you are on the road. When parked at a red or stop light, I often check my rear view mirror to see the facial expression of the driver behind me. I really wish I could hear them/read their mind sometimes. I know that some of them must have noticed. I haven't taken the car much out of the bay area, indeed, perhaps not at all yet now that I think about it - that is how little I drive. I am overdue for a road trip to LA.

Shortly after I got the plate last year, I drove the car to SF to Folsom street fair and left it near the entrance of the Costco parking lot . Apparently, it got a lot of exposure - so much that when I ran into some of my friends at the fair and told them my story, they said that they had parked there too and seen my car. My bf and I are going to FSF again this sunday.

Later, on one occasion I saw people stare at it while my car was parked in the Fry's parking lot in Sunnyvale, before I got back into my car. I didn't try to engage conversation.

Coworkers noticed my car in the parking lot. When I mentioned it in the internal LGBT corporate mailing list, comments were universally positive. My immediate colleagues and my boss rode in the car many times.

Nobody at my car dealer dared say anything to my face about the plate when I told them to update their computer with the new license info when it was in for service. My auto insurance doesn't know the license plate yet - I offered to update it in their records, but my agent said he doesn't need the custom license plate and only goes by the car's VIN.

Last month, I took my bf to dinner in SF for his birthday. While getting out of a parking structure, there was a straight couple walking. The woman looked at the plate, waved at us, and pointed to it to made the man look at it !

Last tuesday, my bf was picking me up from the SFO airport in my car. An older man in the fast lane waved at him repeatedly with his thumbs up as he was driving by. We let him pass, and then saw his prominent "no on prop 8" sticker on the back of his car.

Julien

I also support your efforts and the determination it took to get what you rightfully deserved: a vanity license plate.  However, I applaud your success in using this issue to help diminish some of the stigma surrounding HIV.  While I was surprised by some of the reactions to your efforts, I fully expected them because there remains as much stigma regarding HIV today, as there was in 1985.

HIV remains as one of, if not "the" most stigmatized disease because it involves sexual contact.  And when you mix antiquated views of human sexuality, coupled with dogma and intolerance, we, as HIV positive people, remain the most "hated" amongst all the diseases that afflict mankind.  In most societies you would be scorned for deriding a lung or skin cancer sufferer for smoking or excessive exposure to the sun.  You would never ask a person in a wheelchair how they caused their own disability, would you?  I would hope not and the reason is that such behavior is abhorrent when discussing disease.

Yet HIV stigma remains as a result of decades of moralistic dogma being interjected into what is essentially a biological experience.  HIV is a disease that we know a lot about after a few decades and there is really nothing to differentiate it from any other disease perception, other than the route of transmission.  Except for a few STDs, most people would never condemn anyone for contracting a serious disease, with the exception of HIV.

Proof of such stigma surrounds us, even within our own community.  So many pozzies judge other pozzies based on methods of transmission or insist on "labeling" people by transmission type.  I believe that partially explains the issue of why so many people reject the idea of oral transmission of HIV, because stigma tells them that a blow job, while still disgusting, is far less of a moral flaw that buggering.

So when you do something that gets people to sit up and take notice, that is worthy of praise.  You had a right to that plate and the fact that you did it such a way, that was dignified and honest casts a very favorable light on the HIV community and we can never have too much good publicity.  Change comes one person at a time.  Hopefully your story has challenged some peoples perceptions about HIV or just got them to rethink the whole issue.  What's not to like about that?   

 


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