Among one of the things I am committed to doing this year, aside from blogging is recommitting myself to fighting the spread and assisting in some way the battle against HIV disease. These things need to be done in January or the resolution doesn't count.
To satisfy this desire to address the HIV issue I decided to join one of the committees of the Ryan White Care Act here in Miami. I haven't been to one of these meetings in many years mainly because of their political nature and the intense decisions involving milions of dollars for care, treatment and prevention. One of the places where lives and health are at stake.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. There was a healthy representation of Miami's diverse population and the group to a degree matched the epidemic. What I had expected to see was a room dominated by people who were either too sick to make a meaningful contribution or not smart enough and overwhelmed by the complexity of system. What I found instead were Gay men, African-American women, and others who were competent enough to understand what was at stake in my community and seemed to be able to make good decisions. It was reassuring to say the least.
Of course as a gay activist I did bemoan a speech made by a staff member going on about the trajedy of African-American women getting infected at higher and higher rates. I bemoan this because she didn't seem to think that anyone getting infected was a tragedy. In my gay-o-centric world I think its a tragedy when anyone gets infected with HIV. To make a speech about the rising infection rates of one group while saying nothing about the others really makes it clear, again, that Gay men are really not valued at all. That all we've suffered, that hundreds of thousands of us who died really don't add up to a hill of beans compared to that heterosexual woman, regardless of race, who in effect is an "innocent" victim.
Maybe I sound bigoted in this writing, but what I'd really like to see is a mourning for everyone who gets infected and that every group is worthy of prevention and treatment. That we should be angry about every new infection regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
People sick, people alive