Aside from partying, volunteering and otherwise immersing ourselves in community, LGBT Pride Month can also be a time to look inward and reflect on the very notion of pride, and the myriad of different ways there are to live with pride. Some of TheBody.com's bloggers, guest contributors and other community members have shared their own Pride Month reflections here.
Homophobia and HIV Risk: What's Family Got to Do With It?
In this exclusive two-part roundtable about the role that familial homophobia plays in LGBT people's lives and the connection to HIV risk, our community manager, Olivia Ford, sat down with Sarah Schulman, professor of English, City University of New York, and author of Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences; Darnell L. Moore, visiting scholar in the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University, and project manager of the Sakia Gunn High School for Civic Engagement; and Kara Tucina Olidge, Ph.D., Director of Hetrick-Martin Institute's HMI To Go: Newark.
From Lady Gaga's catchy song to President Obama's speech pleading for tolerance, more and more LGBT advocates and allies are pushing for equality by using the stance that the LGBT community is "born this way." In this column, Joe Osmundson argues that yes, the LGBT community does deserve full equality under the law and acceptance from society, but genetics have very little to do with why that is.
"My running away from home and joining a gang, the things we had to go through in our home with my father, and then having to tell her that I was HIV positive was just enough for [my mother] to handle," writes blogger Maria T. Mejia; "I didn't want to give her one more thing to worry about, and tell her: 'Mom, I am a LESBIAN also!'" In this video blog, Maria shares how finally coming out to her mom was easier than she ever imagined.
"I am not a perfect driver; I sometimes still make slight detours," Brandon Lacy Campos writes about how he has navigated the road to self-acceptance. "Over the last five years, I have learned to drive with my hands in the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, I signal before all turns, I consult my GPS, and I pay attention to the road signs." In this blog, Brandon talks about living with HIV for the past 8 years and how much has changed in his life (good and bad) over that time.
To celebrate Gay Pride Month this June, we wanted to know the following: What do you think generations of LGBT folks before and/or after yours need to understand about the way your generation has responded to HIV/AIDS?
If I were given the opportunity, I would speak to the older generation of activist mentors who I met through ACT UP Philadelphia, in particular gay men who died of AIDS, to thank them for all they taught me as they built a bridge -- between their work on civil rights and gay liberation and other struggles, and the battle against HIV/AIDS -- in what they knew were probably the last months or years of their lives. I'd thank them for that, and seek their guidance in how best to work now on a broader LGBTQ and AIDS agenda that needs to be as radical as they were.
Invisible. That's what my HIV generation is. Stuck between a generation that bore the brunt of ignorance, fear and shortened lives (1980s) through whose pain and sacrifice we owe our current quality of life, and a generation (Millennials) that never knew life before AIDS.
For Millennials, HIV is no longer a death sentence. They've become complacent. Unafraid of a terminal illness. Perhaps, due to ads that seem to glorify HIV with beautiful models and incredible physiques.
MY generation is uniquely aware of how far we've come. We remember the '80s, the introduction of HAART, and now are hopeful of the direction we are heading. While there's progress, OUR war continues. Some of us, like myself, have donated our bodies to science. Experimenting with new treatments in order to see the other book-END of HIV/AIDS. That those that follow may experience THE CURE and live a full, normal and healthy life. But until that day, THERE IS STILL NO CURE!
I think the younger generations of LGBTQ folks need to understand the severity of the disease. In the late '80s and early '90s we responded fiercely and militantly because everyone with HIV/AIDS was dying. We had to make a lot of noise because no one was listening and the government and health care system were failing us. People who are now in their 20s and 30s don't remember the devastation and "walking dead" of the first years of the AIDS epidemic. Because of that there is an apathy about fighting HIV and about protecting themselves. Of course now the treatment options are much better but I think a lot of young people just think they can take a pill and everything will be fine. While we hope that treatments keep getting better and there is eventually a cure, it's still a potentially fatal illness. Now we are facing federal funding cuts and people will not be getting the care they need. It's time to make noise again. Lives depend on it.
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