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Author Topic: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.  (Read 2404 times)

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Offline Mouse

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Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« on: September 01, 2006, 12:30:10 AM »
Under advice I'm posting here before I do anything.

I posted about going to this youth group thingie for gay/bi/transgendered kids near me every Wednesday from 7-9 PM. I've been going for more than a month now! I actually know all of the 'regulars' and have met a few of the kids that pop in occasionally and most of the coordinators (not counting the ones that don't come often, but the normal adult coordinators, anyway.) They're all pretty cool. One of the coordinators is a little blah and show offy and bossy but I can deal with her!  ;D

The others are all nice! They preach a lot of safe sex stuff to us (which is good! But does get old =/) and let us talk about whatever. As long as we don't inappropriately touch each other (um, in either a good or bad way haha) and everyone gets a chance and we play games and all of that stuff. Afterwards we get pizza! Woo!

I've gotten pretty close with like three of the kids there. Talking outside of meetings and stuff and planning on going places together. I consider them good friends now.

Anyway, every meeting we have to say who we are and talk about our week, and it's difficult leaving things out I guess. If I'm not feeling well I'll just go I'm not feeling well but when asked to elaborate I have to really be careful what I say. It's usually pretty vague and they're like er alright. Or I'll think of something I was really excited to talk about but find out it's related to HIV somehow and blah. Yeah. Before this I never really sat down and thought about how it effected almost every aspect of my life and it's sort of unnerving that I can't even talk about my week without having a billion and one things related to it pop up in my head. And those are the really IMPORTANT things in my life, too. So I find myself contributing like... shit to the conversation because I'm afraid of something slipping.

I guess I want to tell them. I'm not sure yet. I'm not sure how I'd go about doing that or when. Maybe not right away, but soon would be nice if I decide to. I'm also afraid that I'll be treated differently. I definitely DON'T expect anyone to like. Reject me or anything there. I don't know. I feel too comfortable and stuff with them. I trust them, which can turn out sticky if someone decides to be an asshole and I'll probably cry. lmao. But I don't expect that to happen. I'm mostly worried about being treated differently like in a different sense. Like I don't want them to feel awkward around me, or nervous, or embarrassed, or afraid to ask me things, or afraid to talk to me or afraid of offending me or WHATEVER. I don't want to change the relationship I have with the group NOW when I'm so comfortable with them but I feel like I'll get the most out of going if I can really open up with like. The only group of people I have here that I honestly trust to keep secrets and understand me.

Offline Ann

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2006, 06:08:05 AM »
Hi Jaser,

Are you comfortable talking to one of the adult coordinators? I think it might be a good idea to disclose to one of them first, so you have their support if/when you disclose to the group. There are bound to be lots of questions the other kids will want to ask, so it might be beneficial to have it semi-planned - with one of the coordinators - to allow time for a discussion. They might even want to plan a session where hiv is discussed more in-depth, without mentioning you, to prepare the way for you.

But that's just my take on it. Hopefully others will have ideas too.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline carousel

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2006, 06:29:52 AM »
.

.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 11:07:18 AM by carousel »

Offline penguin

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2006, 06:56:32 AM »
yes, the talking to one of the group leaders would probably be a good idea. that way, you and he/she can get together a bit of a plan, maybe put some boundaries around how much n what exactly you feel comfortable sharing with the rest of the group at the moment?also they could maybe get together some information, so that if anyone had any questions, like..more technical stuff, they are prepared?

from what you've said , it sounds like a very supportive group of people there, who make you feel welome and comfortable. so if it feels like something you are ready or wanting to do, then i'm sure they'll be with you 100%.

Kate



 

Offline Ann

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2006, 08:50:42 AM »
//snip//
put some boundaries around how much n what exactly you feel comfortable sharing with the rest of the group at the moment?also they could maybe get together some information, so that if anyone had any questions, like..more technical stuff, they are prepared?
//snip//
Kate

Jaser, Kate has two very important points here. The setting of boundaries is probably the most important of the two. If the coordinators know before hand, they can help ensure your boundaries are respected.

Having information available in the form of leaflets or even print outs from the Lessons might be a good idea that would take some planning. Information on where to get tested locally would be important too, because some of the kids might realise that they need to be tested. Young people tend to think hiv is something that only happens to older people and you sharing your status will make them realise that they too are/may have been at risk as well.

The more prepared you are for disclosing to the group, the easier it will go. Like Kate, I suspect this group of kids will be very supportive and behind you 100%

Ann
xxx
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2006, 09:13:03 AM »
I would have to agree with the others about talking to the Coordinator first. I spoke to a gay group of kids about a month ago here in Phoenix. The group here is 200 or so, with 60-80 that attend 2 hour weekly meetings. 3 of the kids are hiv+(all 3 disclosed to the coordinator, with 2 telling the group.) They all seemed very supportive and I spoke with one of them at length. He said he was happy he came out and told everyone.
I might add that My talk was on HIV...And I was BOMBARDED with questions. So you would being a great thing, but I want to remind you to do it only if you are 100% sure that you want to do it. I think you will be treated different if you disclose, as I'm sure you are well aware. So you need to be prepared for that.
I would encourage you to think it through very carefully be fore you do it.
Good Luck!
Positive since 1985

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2006, 10:12:00 AM »
Hi Jaser,

The whole of your post reeks of fear.  (blunt and delicate statement there) 

I think the guys above have really covered most of the issues, now I want to take another tack, and present you with some other things to consider.

Outing yourself among friends, is a terrifying thing to do.  Will they still support me?  Will I see a difference in the closeness they are willing to show?  Am I still going to be as welcome?  Will the word spread outside of the group and present me with even more crap among the rest of the students?  Will my world crash down around me and leave me totally isolated?  These and many more questions are valid and need to be asked.  Remember, Ryan White and his family had to move all over this country because they were discriminated against, by their church, neighbors, school boards and all kinds of places nobody expected. 

That was then, and this is now.  Things HAVE changed for the better.  Your peers are the first in history to not give a damn about whether or not someone is gay, and gay kids all over this land are now taking their same sex partners to Proms.  I know it might not have arrived where you live yet, but hold your breath, it is coming. 

Now, "Coming Out".  I share with you my experiences.  Every time I have "Disclosed" to my community, the response has been astoundingly supportive.  Most people are not ready to face someone who shows no fear of HIV, and most of us here don't have the abilityto show fear of something we live with.  I can fairly well predict, that most of the student body will support you, and not show themselves to be assholes.  Just remember, there are always a few that will, and when they do, you will be shocked at the number of people that are going to be willing to stand with you.

You are clear, you are brilliant, you are gifted, you have empatic powers that most people your age don't ever come to realize, your writing and comprehension of english will assure you of an easier pathway in life and so many other things that you have as assets to draw on when confronting idiots.  I vote that you go ahead and using the suggestions above; nail the damn closet door shut for life. 

You know Jaser, taking control of your virus, and your life, shows the world a young man that is not afraid of the truth.  This creates a state of mind in the casual onlooker, an attitude of respect and they will show that in many ways that will totally blow your mind.  Total strangers will walk up to you and start asking questions about HIV, questions about your personal life, and all kinds of things.  They want one of two things, and the challenge is to figure out which one, before you answer anything they ask.  One, they want to really learn, (the majority) or two, they want to find some weakness in you to attempt to tear at your will.  These  kind just cannot stand someone, especially your age, who is centered in his own body and has control over his own destiny. 

You are here for a reason, Jaser.  You were given the "gift" of HIV at a very young age for a reason.  What are these reasons?  Nobody knows but you, and the only way you are going to find out is to crack open that door and exit the present frame of mind.

Gotta tell you from my heart here.  I wouldn't change places with you for one minute at this time, simply because I have been there, and the time just before disclosure is terrifying.  I can only say that many good things, many incredible opportunities have followed, and I have never been sorry I disclosed.  I do it every day, which some here will attest to.  I did it yesterday to the clerk at the newspaper office, and two other strangers in the supermarket.  Hell, I want everyone to get tested, become aware of this pandemic, and take control of their own health.  I guess I am still a missionaries' kid at heart.

Sorry for the ramble, I just wanted to share some of my personal feelings about this very important decision that you are contemplating.  Just remember, think, analyze, don't project negative thoughts into the picture and soon you will have more peace and strength.  Remember, you above all others, have the knowledge, strength, intelligence and will to help your fellow students keep themselves safe from a very nasty bug.

I Love you Jaser, and pray that you will have peace about this question soon.
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 Christine

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2006, 10:17:59 AM »
Hi Jaser,
I agree with the rest of the posts. I would talk to the coordinator, telling them how you feel, perhaps even printing out this post and letting them read it. You express yourself so well in your posts.

Setting boundaries as Kate said is also very important. You can talk to the coordinator one day, and tell them you want to disclose to the group but not right now. Do it when you are ready. If you disclose to the group- set whatever boundaries you need with them also.

When I disclosed to my friends I was scared to death, ashamed of having hiv, ashamed that I did not tell them right away, embarrassed by the dumb choices I made in the past.

After telling them, they were extremely supportive. They admire me for everything that I deal with. They want to help in anyway they can.

With your wisdom and experience, I believe you are a great role model within your group. Your insight of your life and your emotions are extraordinary. You have a gift.

Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline Alain

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2006, 02:29:51 PM »

.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2006, 01:58:54 PM by cowandalehouse »

Offline wellington

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2006, 05:07:03 PM »
Some really great advice there. When I first read this thread, Jaser, I had flashbacks to disclosing my homosexuality in a rather public way - kissing a friend right on the lips in front of a group of people who didn't really expect to see that. Tim is right on that times have changed for gay people, but it seems there's still a bit - nicely understated- of a stigma attached to HIV.

I've always been most comfortable disclosing things when I'm close to that point of equilibirum where I care less about the potential outcome - people will aliente me or relationships will become stronger as a result of the disclosure. That's the point I was at when I told my family I was gay, and the relationship got stronger. What I've learned, through my disclosures, over the years is that sometimes it comes down to one's approach and whether one implicitly gives people permission to take a certain stance. Must be the type A personality thing - they always want a choice :)

Now, I'm going on a bit more than I had intended. Talking to one of the leaders seems a wise way to proceed. I'm sure you'll find support, here and elsewhere, for whatever route you chose.

Offline Eldon

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2006, 10:37:20 PM »
Hello Jaser, it is Eldon.

Consider all of the variables before disclosing to the group. I somehow feel that you want to disclose to them in order to Educate them. However, as the others have said, talk to the coordinator(s) first before you make that leap. Indeed this is a way to assure that you have the support and boundaries to be set.

Moffie has illustrated it ever so nicely with his post.

Have the BEST Day!

Offline ndrew

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2006, 10:53:55 PM »
Jaser,

As usual, you have gotten some EXCELLENT support and advice here from everyone.  Disclosing is scary, but the more we do it, the easier it gets and hopefully we educate an ignorant society.  But this is not your cross to carry right now, you have to take care of YOU.  It is clear that you are feeling close to these new friends and you want to be honest with them and share something very important about your life and who you are.  I think they will come through for you.  Hold your head high, you are strong as granite!

With care,
Drew


Offline Ann

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2006, 09:26:01 AM »
What I've learned, through my disclosures, over the years is that sometimes it comes down to one's approach and whether one implicitly gives people permission to take a certain stance.

Well said Wellington, I've learned that too through both my own experiences and observing the experiences of others. It seems to me that when people expect others to react negatively to the disclosure of their hiv status, a negative reaction is, more often than not, exactly what they get. When we expect a negative reaction, it shows in our body language and choice of words. This, as W says, gives them implicit permission to react negatively.

People really do pick up on unconscious signals that tell them how we feel about ourselves and/or our circumstances - and treat us accordingly. For me, it was a lesson that was many years in the learning. It's a concept I came across only a few years ago and maybe if I understood it earlier, say at your age Jaser, my life would have been a little easier. Nowadays, I always expect the best out of people and more often than not, I am rewarded with good treatment. For a long time I expected to be treated badly and I was.

Thank you Wellington, for bringing this aspect to the discussion.  :-*

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Mouse

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2006, 03:08:07 PM »
I was going to email but I decided to call instead. I know if I try to email someone it'll just be awkward when I see them in person and I can be a lot more direct (and they'll be a lot more direct) if we actually talk so yeah. I'm going to do that later today if they're around.

I think I'm just going to ask that she tell some of the other regular coords and I think I might leave it like that for a while until I feel a little more comfortable. But if I'm going to be really involved in this group and other stuff related to it and things like that I'm going to have to open up if I want to actually... well, do any good for myself and for anyone else. Yeah, I ALWAYS have to be a hero like that. Cope. :P

But I'm going to try to be slow and calm about this. I don't want to jump into anything and then regret it. Thanks guys.

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Not sure when to tell them! Or how. Or. If. Haha.
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2006, 03:26:43 PM »
Jaser, you really are an amazing kid!
 
I've disclosed to several new people this past week or so after making a few big decisions recently. For me, the issue of disclosure has become a whole lot easier after deciding to make it about separating the people who I want in my life from the people I dont, rather than about trust. I still find myself taking a deep breath before doing it - I'm only human after all - but I'm no longer afraid of the outcome. I think it helped me alot to take the focus off how the other person may react and place it on myself instead and how I react to their reaction instead (if that makes sense!). So far I've had only positive supportive reactions, but even if one should turn out negative, I'm pretty sure I'll handle it from now on...

"Slow and calm" sounds like a great approach to me!

Again Jaser, I think you are an amazing kid!

In admiration

Melia :)
 
(*edited for typos...well I am sick...cut me some slack!)

« Last Edit: September 02, 2006, 03:30:22 PM by sweetasmeli »
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