The Vial Monster of HIV Stigma

At this point in time, abstract poverty is the only thing holding me back from getting a POZPLANET Status Symbol tattooed on my fucking forehead.

Undiagnosed people really have no concept of the brutal, devastating impact of HIV social stigma and hysteria that spawns depression, self-imposed exile, depression, harm PROduction, depression, disclosure anxiety and depression, and it's only going to get worse in Canada with people like Justus Zela, Sahand Mahmoodi, Carlton Davis and Ryan Handy being thrown in jail for fraternizing with sexually active so-called 'adults'.

A girl who doesn't have a man can get frantic, and in most cases connected with their 'adult' accusers via 'adult' gay hook-up/chat sites that cater to anonymous n.s.a. 'adult' sex; Justus, Sahand and Carlton are the latest targets of a newly-intensified witch hunt against HIV+ citizens in Ontario, and face charges ranging from aggravated sexual assault to attempted murder for alleged failure to disclose HIV status prior to engaging in what police determine to be 'significant risk' activities.

With homophobic police viewing blow jobs and masturbation as 'significant risk', can 'eye-contact' be far behind?

Did I mention depression?

I try not to laugh much less openly question their sanity when undiagnosed folks have the audacity to suggest that we seek support, counseling and therapy should we make the mistake of discussing these issues in their presence. 'Oh yes, I must do that' - what else can you say?

To imply that OUR emotional state however fragile and OUR experience of HIV however extreme is in any way OUR issue is absolutely fucking absurd. Undiagnosed people ARE, in fact, the ones who need to urgently seek help, support and counseling because they are the ones who created HIV stigma & hysteria in the first place, not us!

Every waking moment of every hour of every day the undiagnosed work overtime, both insidiously and in openly hostile acts of aggression to fuel the fires of HIV prejudice and discrimination, and subsequently advance HIV/AIDS itself. They've even legislated themselves the power to do so as Justus, Sahand, Carlton and Ryan found out the hard way…

Whenever the undiagnosed offer pearls of advice how to better manage HIV and improve our quality of life, I automatically question their motives in the interest of self-preservation. 25 years of ‘HIV-negative’ incompetence and infection rates on the rise tells me anything they say cannot be trusted.

I stay silent and instead visualize the absurd scenario of concerned Nazi storm troopers gently offering healing crystals to concentration camp prisoners, genuinely baffled at the possible cause of their distraught condition!

I remember all those years ago when Toronto visual artist Gary Monster, in a moment of anger and rage, stole medical apparatus and vials of his own HIV-positive blood from his doctors office, acquired additional found materials enroute home (plywood, nails, wire, etc.) and created an artwork that featured his positive blood clearly labeled "negative" and "positive", with the vials connected to tubes flowing into to the same blood bag.

The urgent message that surfaced from Gary's creative outpouring that day was foolishly dismissed as yet another sad manifestation of HIV/AIDS dementia, but it in sero-retrospect, his tortured Queer-warrior soul was merely fighting HIV following the mantra of a then-unknown, now-dead child:

Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are. - Nkosi Johnson

Gary was telling, okay yelling the inconvenient truth, and no doubt like countless others before him, desperately pointing out the glaringly obvious to his dumb, clueless and stupid undiagnosed friends: NEVER apply the term "HIV-negative" to HIV status!

Essentially, it's the same urgent message in POZPLANET's mission to universally redefine HIV status as Positive, Unknown. Period! +?.!

And it's the same urgent message delivered later this year by via Super-8mm in Project 36-C starring Caroline Azar, Jena von Brucker and G.B. Jones: largely responsible within the annals of the Modern Language Association for reclaiming the word Queer.

Yeah, it wasn't just a diagram, a blueprint or mere words on a page... in 1991 Gary Monster physically built a full-scale three dimensional model in a frantic effort to demonstrate that for sexually active adults there is no such thing as "HIV-negative" status!

I really wish I'd listened when he tried to warn us nearly 20 years ago, but at that time I was dumb, clueless, stupid... and undiagnosed.

1 comment: