The Tempest Online™

~ Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. ~

Ugly Is As Ugly Does

Posted by Daniel on December 7, 2011

Gay-On-Gay Hypocracy is So gay!!!

Something happened earlier last week that really got me thinking…and really got me riled up.

I was standing outside waiting for class to begin and there were a couple of people standing rather close to me.  Since they were so close, I couldn’t help but overhear part…okay most of what they were talking about.  Mind you, I don’t generally make it a habit to eavesdrop on others, but as it happens, these two were putting a lot of heavy emphasis on their S’s.  So much so, in fact, that I had to look down at the ground to make sure I hadn’t stumbled into a snake pit.  But I digress…

From what I could make out, they were talking about WORLD HIV/AIDS DAY.  I couldn’t help but think that it was nice to know others are, in fact, aware of this event.


As it turns out, their discussion quickly turned to them talking about previous friends of theirs who, it was at some point discovered, turned out to be HIV+.  I think that, statistically speaking, we all probably know one or two people who are living with HIV or has passed away from it.

Their discussion, however, turned ugly…

Prissy 1:  “Do you remember Emmy?”

Prissy 2:  “What ever happened to her?  I thought you two were friends forever.”

Prissy 1:  “You know she’s poisoned, right?”

Prissy 2:  “Shut the fuck up!!!  I KNEW it!!!  Is she dead now?”

Prissy 1:  “I don’t know.  She kept getting all sick so I kicked her out.  Once they’re poisoned, they’re disposable.”

Okay, now picture me leaning in to hear, so as not to take them out of context so that when I verbally stomp a mudhole in them I won’t be unjustified.

So I learned that people with HIV are referred to as “poisoned” or “poisonous”, and the word “disposables” was also used.

This reminded me of the summer my (now) ex and I moved here from Missouri.  We met a group of people on the lake and really had a great time with them.  They all seemed pretty cool, until, that is, the conversation – for some reason – turned to a person they knew who turned out to be HIV positive.  This conversation went pretty much just like the one above.  They were talking about how that person “came out” with the news of his HIV status and these people, quite simply, shunned them for it.  We tried to press them further because we couldn’t imaging that people here in California – GAY people here in California at that – could be so damned uneducated, intolerant and cruel.  Long story short, they made it clear that the ONLY reason this person wasn’t their friend anymore was because he was now HIV positive.

Until today, I really thought that this was an isolated incident of intolerance by a relatively small group of drunken idiots.  Obviously not the case.

That we could be on the tail end of the year 2011 and in what is arguably considered one of the most progressive states in the union, and you can still hear people ostracizing victims of a horrible affliction, quite simply baffles and sickens me.

I’ve had a conversation some time ago with an old online blogging friend in Boston about this very topic.  That being how apathetic parts of the gay community has become of late.  My friend Ted made an observation about some people he knew on the East coast.  He told me that he has friends who tend to either sleep around or are in “open relationships”, and the fact that they tend to “inter-mingle” when, as he delicately put it, “pickens are slim”.  In other words, when some of his friends couldn’t find a person to sleep with that was new or not of the regular social crowd, they would sleep with each other.  Then one of them came down with HIV and not only was this person unceremoniously drummed out of the group, he was also told point-blank that he was considered toxic and therefore needed to move before everyone found out.

The ironic part here is that this guy was originally from San Francisco.  He was treated so badly by other gays in San Francisco for being HIV+ that he had to move clear across the country and now lives in Boston.  So Ted said that when he heard this he was shocked beyond belief.  This still has a profound affect on Ted because this same guy committed suicide less than two years later when he went home to visit family and had the misfortune of running into those same ex-friends, who threatened to tell his family if he didn’t leave the bar they were all in.

I suppose I could over-simplify this by saying that because someone was taken off the meat market by being afflicted with an illness, his former friends decided he was radioactive and not only drummed him out of the sleep-around club but they threatened to ruin his life further by dragging his name through the mud.

But instead I will just say that if this is truly where we are 30+ years after the start of this malady…if even gays – whom I would have thought to be more educated and less apathetic or ambivalent – are shunning their friends for something like this…then this world truly has taken a gigantic leap backward.

Just a note to those who would force themselves to forget history…a lot of people died in the past 30+ years.  In a way, those deaths have led to more focus being placed on the EQUAL treatment of you and your friends.  Were it not for so much focus being placed on such a horrible illness, not to mention all the people – both famous and non-famous – dying, you might not be swishing around so proudly and openly and enjoying the chance to be so catty and nonchalant about something like this.  You can treat people like Kleenex if you wish, but over time, you get older, then you happen to notice that the Kleenex box is empty.

Unlike Kleenex, friends are not something you should so easily and callously throw away.

And in my humble opinion (and to beat this metaphor to death), I think your attitudes towards friends who are or become sick is FAR uglier than what’s in that tissue.


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