Stop the Madness!
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
September 30, 2011
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
I stand by every freaking thing I say and do! And when I'm wrong, I'm wrong, and will admit where I see my wrong. My opinion is my opinion; And guess what? Opinions are like assholes everybody got them. But at the end of the day, we can all agree to disagree. By the way, that's what I say about people reading my blog, you can disagree with me, but when you personally attack me, that's a boundary.
So yesterday I wrote a blog about some tweets that my followers sent me from someone else's timeline and boy didn't I get my ass kicked. The young men, "Went-in" on me as we say on Twitter. Now often I fight back with word for word, but I didn't yesterday. Why, because for one I thought my blog was fair and I had said everything that needed to be said. And honestly, I didn't really need to because my timeline took up the battle for me. You Rock!
At the end of the day, the young men reduced it to joking and that I that had taken it all out of context; And this is how he and his homeie's get down. While, people can say whatever the hell they please, I know I sure do, I don't think AIDS is a joking matter. I mean we don't joke about other health issues the way we joke about HIV/AIDS. I don't see a darn thing funny about the possibility of someone contracting HIV or laughing about someone living with this horrible illness.
I have never heard someone joke about a woman getting her breast removed because of breast cancer. I'm so over it. I wrote a blog a year ago about the same thing. I've even known AIDS Activist, not living with HIV to participate in the joking.
Joking about HIV/AIDS perpetuates the stigma and shame that is already attached to this disease, especially in the African-American Community.
I'm going to say it Loud and Clear, I will challenge any joke that is sent my way. I see nothing funny about my 15 pills a day. The Stigma and Shame must STOP! People must be allowed to live with dignity with this disease.
There are many who cannot speak up, who are to afraid to speak up, who live in shame and fear of rejection with HIV. Well, those days are long gone for me. God has given me a voice and a platform and I will continue to use it until the day I die. And I hope my voice will lend courage to others living with HIV to stand tall.
I understand, don't get me wrong, it took me seven years to get to a good place with my status. And my mother still rejected me, still said, "See I told you." But people are going to treat you how they are going to treat you. You can only change how you respond. I told my mother, "AIDS is to hard to fight both of you, so you can stay and we live in peace, or you can get the hell out of my life."
We are in this together and We have to stop the madness! What's the quote, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"
Post Script: I was so emotionally drained after all the "mean" tweets yesterday. But I never surrendered to the madness. God allowed me to keep my wits about me. At one point I said, "Just so you know, I've not said what I could have said." One young man said, "Me either"
So late last night that same young man tweeted me,"Beautiful Black Sista," I told him I didn't have the energy to fight. But he came in peace. He actually had a really important HIV question that one of his followers had asked him. So I moved beyond self and answered the question. What I know for sure, it's not about me, but how God uses me. I pray that I always remember that !
If I had never written that blog, I would have never answered that young lady's question... "What happens when two people with HIV have unprotected sex?" Answer: They can reinfect each other with a different strains of the virus that could accelerate their illness. If the other person is taking medication, they will be reinfected with the their medications strains that are resistant to HIV, which may not work for the other person.
Live in your purpose, and let nothing deter you!
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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