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Attacked on Grindr and Slut Shaming

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February 24, 2015


I got a notification on my phone from my Grindr application so I click on it to check the message. This guy immediately started with, "Really Justin?" I then didn't understand what he was referring to, so I replied, "Really what?" He then went on to say that he was disappointed in me for having my HIV status at the bottom of my Grindr profile and that I was once his hero and etc. I just couldn't believe this. All I could do was block the immaturity out and off my phone.

  1. There are people on Grindr that don't even say their status.
  2. One of the first things I put is that I'm married and that my husband knows I have this application on my phone.
  3. It's really none of your business what I'm doing in my own bedroom but I'm open about my HIV status to all sexual partners -- FYI.
  4. If the basis of me not being your role model HIV positive activist is that my status is at the bottom of my Grindr profile than find another HIV activist to follow because you've been following me for the wrong reasons.

The article below can be found on Baltimore Gay Life Newspaper:

Many people this holiday season will get what they want and what they don't want. My gift to you this year, dear reader, is the gift of purity. Many of us think of the word purity and automatically think of virginity. I am by no means a virgin, and neither are the majority of you reading this column. With that idea in mind, I ask -- why on earth do we engage in slut shaming?

At the recent Mr. Maryland Leather contest one of the contestants gave a speech about slut shaming in the gay community and I was truly touched. He talked about how two of his friends had committed suicide because of the constant slut shaming (which is another form of bullying) they endured from their so-called friends.

As I do every year, I took the stage with all the former Mr. Maryland Leathers, and as my name was being called I heard the words, "Whore" being yelled at me. I stopped and realized that this was not right because to look on my husband's face was the look of embarrassment and shame. When the contest was over, I marched up to those three people and told them to stop slut shaming me. The whole time I thought to myself this doesn't just affect me but it affects my husband. If they don't have any respect for me at least respect my husband and in turn respect my marriage. I really didn't deserve it, neither did my husband or my son.

For HIV negative people, slut shaming can lead to a lowered self-esteem, which could make them at greater risk of contracting HIV. Having people shame you because of your sexual appetites only leads you to keep them secret and pushes them back into the closet. This also can be said for people who use preventative measure like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). People think because you are on PrEP means that you do not use a condom and you have promiscuous sex, which is not the case at all because this is a form of HIV prevention.

People will do with their own bodies as they would like and it is not up to us to tell them what to do. It takes two (sometimes more) to tango and if it's consensual then who the hell are you to tell them what they cannot do.

I suggest to all of you reading this column to keep that in mind before you shame someone into thinking that what they do sexually is wrong. People need to wake up to the ways of the world and get their head out of their behinds and other people's personal lives; because frankly it's none of your damn slut shaming business.


Reference

Terry-Smith, J. (2014) Baltimore Gay Life Newspaper. The Gift of Purity and Slut Shaming.


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VIDEO BLOG:
Justin's HIV Journal


Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)


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