May 24, 2013
One child grows up to be somebody you just love to learn; and another child grows up to be somebody you just love to burn. Mom loves the both of them; you see it's in the blood. Both kids are good to mom; bloods thicker than the mud -- it's a family affair.-- Sly & the Family Stone
Biologically speaking, we all have one thing in common. No matter what your sexual predilection may be, we all have been born as a result of an egg from a woman and sperm from a man. I am not homophobic and I don't think we should judge others by their sexual preference. Our mind uses judgment as a means to separate us from each other, but we are all connected by our humanity. Stigma around HIV is partially based in heterosexuals' fear of being identified as gay. As a heterosexual black man, people of other sexual persuasions have hit on me, but no one has convinced me to try anything I didn't want to. Of course there was that time I danced with that (good looking) drag queen at the club, but that could happen to anybody, right?
The HIV virus must love how silly we humans are about our sexuality. It's gotten to the point that many of my heterosexual friends feel oppressed by gay men. Many heteros feel the LGBT community control the resources for those with HIV, and that there is a level of "heterophobia" (reverse homophobia) they are dealing with. The activism of the LGBT community has, thankfully, created more safe spaces for all of us to heal, but many heterosexuals fear being identified as gay, so they will not come and share information, even to fight for their own lives and the lives of our families. As a person living with HIV, I'm grateful for the LGBT advocacy because without it we would all be in much worse shape. I'm glad that I am secure enough in my sexuality to not judge my LGBT brothers and sisters. Heterosexual men need to be activist like the LGBT community. HIV is not a gay disease. Hetero women and children are greatly affected and we must try to save them.
Complacency in the heterosexual community has created a void for those who have not yet overcome homophobia, especially those families affected by HIV. As a result, money, resources and thought provoking imagery are being focused on every other demographic except heterosexual men of color. There are a lot of heteromagnetic couples (+/-) that need to learn how to speak up for themselves and not let fear, insecurity and stigma kill us all. We need more "straight" men to represent as caseworkers and stakeholders in every aspect of our community. We all need to work together for our families to survive.
HIV Anonymous -- Positive Attitudes is a 12-step support group that has provided a safe atmosphere for heterosexuals (and everyone) to discuss the issues have kept us locked in the bondage of self. It is available for anyone wanting to start a group for free. I'm no psychologist, but I know that the way we feel about ourselves sexually affects the way we interact with others. It may be human nature to compare ourselves to others, but identification with, and acceptance of each other is divine. The trauma and secrets associated with our individual sexual histories is causing pain in the lives of many of us. When we heal that pain, we will be able to change the way we deal with each other.
Hurt people, hurt people. This week, I'm going to speak with at least three people who identify themselves as something other than heterosexual about anything including sex, and I encourage you to do the same (feedback appreciated). From now on, I will encourage my heterosexual brothers to engage more fully in this fight to save the lives of our families. How will you join me in healing our families from the trauma of HIV?
Read Reggie's blog, RISE4WAR -- Focusing on Wellness, Awareness and Recovery.