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How to Meet the HIV Prevention Needs of Young Gay Men of Color?

December 1, 2013


Theodore Kerr

Theodore Kerr

Visual AIDS, New York City

I have to say, I get really frustrated at AIDS-related events when a fellow white gay guy will declare something like, "And what about the young black men getting HIV at an alarming rate? We have to do something!" The concern is justified and not incorrect, but I am surprised they can't see what is wrong with what they are saying. These white guys often have the experience to know from their own lives that advocating based on demographic is a bad idea. Pathologizing groups of people rarely leads to the approaches needed to address the everyday realities of living.

And, such statements concern me that the speaker thinks it is their duty to "do something" without considering or finding out what is already being done, assuming nothing is being done. There is no shortage of amazing leadership concerning queer people of color wellness. The summer I met Kenyon Farrow, Pato Herbert, Coco Jervis, Charles Long, Amy Sadao and Nelson Santos was a watershed season I am still learning from.

So in response to the question, for me -- as a white gay guy -- when it comes to "serving the needs of young gay men of color," it is about getting out of the way and making myself available to work. It is about listening and collaborating. It's about being available, vulnerable and not involving myself if I am not needed.

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