YES! Not everyone is an activist! And we must respect this ... not all people are prepared to come out of their HIV closet because others want them to. They are not less than anyone -- many of them are still dealing with the shame that comes with the illness. Or they are trying to protect their family members -- especially when there is so much ignorance and stigma with HIV/AIDS. We have to respect other peoples' choices and views. We are their role models ... so if we have it in us to be activists and advocate, let us do that for those that don't feel prepared or ready yet. Or maybe they will never be. And it's not because they don't want to fight for the cause.
You see, that is where people get it so wrong. Just go back to when you were not disclosing. There is nothing someone could have told you or me that would have made us come out. You go through cycles. That is why we had the Larry Kramers and Ryan Whites who helped us so much in this cause. Yes! HIV/AIDS is being minimized and not really talked about as much; and we (the ones that are ready) must advocate, educate and STOMP on stigma. And when it is time for us to retire, maybe those who looked at our blogs, speeches, vlogs, twitter, facebook will continue.
I want people that are not ready to come out of the HIV closet or be an activist to know that it's OK. You are not a coward! How I was told, some people were being called out by someone on facebook that is an activist. And maybe in her ignorance or desperation wanted everyone to show their faces. NO! It's not that simple.
No one has the right to force you into anything! Just learn from us! and many of us are fighting in our own way to get the word out. Keep on learning from our stories! There will be a time that will come where saying I am HIV positive will be like saying I have diabetes -- I really hope! In the meantime keep yourselves healthy! And take your meds! This is most important! So we can be ready for when the cure comes. I really pray and hope it happens in my lifetime.
Love and Light, Maria T Mejia