Monday, February 23, 2015

Blog as Art and Why I like Being Called a Whore.

So, in the last few months I've received some critiques about several personal blog posts. Which in turn helps me to think about how I might reply.  Should a blogger answer to his critics? Especially a blogger like myself which mixes hyperbole, personal experience and combines them with a love for a particular tropical metropolis?  I mean a general "fuck you" could suffice.  However I consider this blog more along the lines of art form and not at all about journalistic integrity. I write to please myself and hopefully, sharing it will entertain the reader. I would like to outline the general type of the critiques I've received and in turn I will address them. 

I would like to state 99% of my critiques come via my Facebook page, Some on this page, some via email, some via text.

The Diva
I can't tell how many times people have told me that my blog is "self centered" that it's about being a "diva". That it's narcissistic. Yes, yes and yes. I don't see "diva" as a derisive. It is a woman's (usually one in very comfortable shoes) favorite brickbat to throw at a gay man who has outsized gayness and expects to be treated with respect and not as an object of pity. I will own my diva-ness and wear that badge with pride. In my own life I am my own diva.....and shouldn't we all be? I pity the person who resents another for accidentally or purposely being the center of attention. This critique was rampant during my whole "loss of faith" posts....I guess I'm just not one for being one of a flock.

The Douchebag/Piece of Human Garbage
I love these little bon-mots.  I get visuals of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate and the phrase "plastics" comes to mind. That being said I try to keep discourse at a higher level and name calling is just intellectually lazy.  Try harder.

I just love being called a whore.  No really, I do. It's such a funny/sad/poignant word. I mean anyone who calls me a whore has some really serious sexual hangups of the whole "unresolved mommy issues" variety.  Plus the "whore" visuals in my head are fantastic. I mean who can forget the "midget hooker" post that caused a ruckus in my former church.  I mean I try to be frank about sexual matters and if that makes me a whore, giggle, then so be it. Gay men have always been considered sexual rebels whorishness just comes with the package. 

How Dare You!?!
Dearie, I dare. How dare I be an out gay man, open about my HIV status, about my husband, my contented petit-bourgeois homosexual lifestyle and still look good, feel awesome enough to ride a bike165 miles to Key West and live in a city that is peaking and sinking all at the same time? I double dog dare. I don't see any of my writing as "daring" or "brave" its just me creating an interesting portrait. I do have the "audaciousness" to live my life in the open, and really be cool about the things that happen to me. Hopefully my example is one part "warning beacon" and two parts "case study".

 I do go back read my blogs all the time. I can honestly say I am not ashamed of single word I've written. So my "audacity" is just me putting stuff out there for my own entertainment. I can't draw, sing, or play an instrument, but I know how to string a sentence together. I do welcome your comments, even the angry, bitter ones. So while I hope my foibles are entertaining, I hope they make you think too. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

So, I accidentally outed myself as HIV Positive on Facebook.

So I accidentally outed myself as HIV Positive. I was responding to a moving article in the Gay Star News about those of us who survived the epidemic back in the 80s. .  The article was moving, I clicked to comment about my own experience and before I knew it, the article and my comment about sero-converting in 1988 was posted to my Facebook page. Initially I was ashamed.  An hour had passed before I noticed what I had done. I figured, well, it's out there, I wasn't secretive about it when I initially found out at 19, but at the time I was told I would have "at best three years" and to "get my affairs in order." So I really didn't see the point about being secretive. Now I can't imagine what affairs a 19 year-old would have to "get in order." but I didn't die and that was a great disappointment. I had envisioned the maudlin tragedy of a young emaciated man being wheeled off some podium after receiving a diploma and quietly dying 20 minutes later. Instead I am far from emaciated and far from that 19 year old boy that received that diagnosis. 

So after my "accidental outing" I really did have to sit back and think about this journey. How I live in the city that has the highest infection rate in the U.S. and the real apathy around the issue.  I will be honest, HIV infection to me, at this time in my life, is no big deal.  I know that sounds terrible. That I should be suffering a gigantic emotional cost, that my prospects and my dreams should some way be diminished because of my status, it's just not true.  It's simply 3 trips to the doctor a year and two pills a day. That's it. Of course I am an educated, affluent, white(ish) male and I do understand that I have the resources to make my HIV management simple.

That is not to say I haven't paid some price along the way, and that perhaps there are opportunities I didn't take, or worries about illnesses, or just plain "fuck, I'm infected"pity parties. But those I'm sure have been far and few in between. After realizing that I wasn't going to die, hell I didn't even get sick, new treatments came out, I got married, raised a child and my HIV status faded into the background. Many of battles protecting HIV positive individuals in housing and employment were won. Life moved on.
Oh crap, TMI.....

So the article touched me, I wanted to share, inadvertently sharing it with 450 friends on Facebook. The responses were touching, but I feel guilty being commended for being alive. Often times I've been asked by people "how do you live with HIV, how do you go on?"   I always sarcastically answered in my head: "well what's the alternative?"  My usual answer is: "I just do what my doctor tells me." To the many friends on Facebook who shared my "outing", well thanks for thinking about me, I am and always have been very embarrassed about my HIV status because I made a mistake......but hey I was a teenager. Secondly thanks for being friends and some you know a little more about me than I planned to share, but you're my friends and it shouldn't matter.