Sometimes Y

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As a young man weighs his options, his mother does the same

Playwright and writer Topher PayneMy friend Barbara’s son has returned from his first year of college appreciably matured, and bearing a bit of intrigue: When asked for updates on the dating front, he announced he is “currently bisexual.”

“What the hell does he mean by currently?” she ponders. “If he’s gay he doesn’t have to dance around it. I’d be thrilled.”

I’m at the convenient midway point between Barbara’s age and her son’s, so I try to explain the current setup. Back in the day, claiming to be bi was seen as letting folks down easy. It was sort of a preview of coming same-sex attractions. For God’s sake, Boy George claimed to be bi, and he’s gay as a picnic basket.

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Three decades later, we must ACT UP again

“I check the mirror for spots, irregularities, telltale signs.” — from The Adodi Muse, “It Begins”

This is a peculiar anniversary that marks a generation, a span from birth to full grown, three full decades, since the onset of the greatest public health issue of our time.

Loss is what this commemoration signifies most. Loss beyond measure, rendered in memorial quilt snapshots of real lives lived, loss evoked in the chants of survivors who touched the untouchable, fed their beloved, wiped up the puke and shit, and were given neither a passing mention nor a place at the mourning table. I am 25 years old when I first feel swollen lymph glands. I have only just begun when “It begins.”

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King & Spalding controversy shows danger of basing our movement on marketing

Once upon a time, it was hard to get companies to support LGBT organizations. They worried they would lose their non-gay customers if they were open about wanting gay ones.

So we got smart: We showed how much discretionary income same-gender couples without kids had. Never mind that it was less than opposite-gender couple without kids, it was still a good argument.

Not only did it give the marketing teams cover, it had the added benefit of being true: We were a valuable target market. “The color of diversity,” we would say, “is green.”

As some of the big companies came out as supporters, their employees came out as LGBT. Then their friends and family members started coming out as LGBT-supportive. Visibility was shifting every landscape. Next thing you know, 20 years later, we not only have friends in high places, we have our own people there —running companies, winning election to Congress and hosting major TV news shows.

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Don’t fear progress in HIV prevention

The paid advertisement in this issue of GA Voice correctly reminds us that “there is no magic pill” to prevent HIV infection. Unfortunately, the ad is part of a campaign to convince the FDA not to review, and Gilead Sciences not to submit, data to support approval of Truvada for HIV prevention. (Truvada is now available by prescription to treat HIV.)

It is based on fear and speculation at a time when we need reason and research to guide us through scientific and policy issues raised by this new HIV prevention tool.

In spite of 30 years of fighting HIV, there will be an estimated 2.7 million new HIV infections globally in 2011, with 56,000 of these in the US, a number that has remained stable across a decade. Gay and bisexual men, especially men of color, will bear a disproportionate burden of these infections, as will women of color.