Today, May 17th 2013, marks the 9th annual International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) ((you may also have seen it written as IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia)).
IDAHO is a day where we should reflect on gay rights (or the lack there of) both home and abroad – something some of us can be guilty of forgetting about sometimes.
We have issues here the UK that’s for sure, we’re still fighting for the right to marry the person we love (the ball is rolling, but the fight is far from over) and 5 to 7 percent of the LGBT people surveyed in the UK say that homophobia is very widespread. But things are getting better all the time – one day we will have marriage equality, we will be seen as equals next to our straight brothers and sisters.
But our problems here in the UK pale in comparison to those abroad. In Uganda politicians are falling over themselves to progress their ‘Kill The Gays Bill’ which would, as the name suggests, enforce death penalties on people engaging in ‘same-sex relations’ and other penalties for those supporting these “deviants”.
Meanwhile in Russia the Moscow authorities have denied a request to carry out a ‘gay pride parade’ in the city. This apparently falls under “compliance with ethics” as to allow such an event would not be patriotic, it seems “Moscow does not need such events”.
We may live in 2013, we may have equal marriage in an ever growing number of countries including several US states, we may have cars that drive themselves and space tourism – but apparently it’s not alright for everyone to be who they want to be. That’s so sad.
This IDAHO please spare a thought for couples all over the world who’re having to conduct their relationship in secret for fear of persecution or even death, then get angry – together we can make a change. If you are one of those people, stay strong, hold out – don’t let people tell you who you can and cannot be – you have every right
Official IDAHO website: http://www.idahomophobia.org/
You may remember a week or so back I posted about a new HIV awareness campaign in England called ‘It Starts With Me’ – designed to educate people about HIV, how it’s spread, how it’s prevented and what they can do to fight HIV.
Well the campaign is really in full swing now, with events and awareness materials rolling out across England.
Yesterday I returned from a trip to Berlin with my friend Anthony to find a ‘It Starts With Me’ t-shirt waiting on my door step. So I popped it on and took a few snaps, you’ll probably see me at a few events up and down the country – including pride events wearing it, talking to people about their attitudes towards sexual health, testing and HIV.
Some quick HIV related facts from the It Starts With Me website:
- 1 in 4: The number of people with HIV in the UK aren’t aware that they have it
- 10 years: how much shorter your life could be if you delay testing
- 8 in 10: gay men get HIV from someone who doesn’t know they have it
- 25-29: the age group in which the most gay men test HIV positive
- 96%: Treatment for HIV can make you upto 96% less infectious to others
Please make sure to head over to the It Starts With Me website to find out more about HIV, and how YOU can stop it in its tracks.
Good day to you fine men and women of the internets,
If you follow my blogs and tweets you may recall that last week I ran a interactive poll on my website asking whether you could date someone with a HIV status that was different to yours (i.e. if you’re HIV- could you date someone who was HIV+ and vice versa). Over 600 of you (628 to be precise) took part in the poll and here are the results and my musings there on.
Out of the 429 HIV negative people who voted 51% (232 votes) said that they could not date someone who was HIV positive, as opposed to 49% (227 votes) who said that they could. From the 169 HIV positive people who voted 26% (44 votes) opted to say that they could not date someone who was HIV negative, and 74% (125 votes) said that they could.
Let’s look at the HIV negative voters first. That’s quite an astonishing split, pretty much down the line 50/50. I don’t know about you but I find that more than a little disheartening. What that means to me personally is, if I approach someone I like I’ve got a 50% chance of being rejected based purely on something in my blood. That hardly seems fair. This I assume is based on people’s fear of contracting HIV from their prospective partners, but if said partner is on treatment and condoms are used the risk of infection is infinitesimal. To those people I’d recommend they do some reading (sites such as HIVaware.org.uk are very useful) and gain a decent understanding of the risks.
The majority of the HIV positive voters on the other hand, three quarters essentially, stated that they could date someone who was HIV negative, but a quarter said that they could not. Again, I guess this is people who are worried that they would pass on HIV to their HIV negative partner. As above, with treatment and precautions this risk can effectively be negated. It’s hard enough to find a decent partner in this life without limiting yourself to a pool of approx 100,000 people in the UK (0.16%) out of a population of 62,000,000.
I won’t deny that I’ve often thought it’d be easier to date someone HIV+, but with such a small selection of guys to choose from – especially in rural areas like mine, it seems somewhat self defeating. With treatments for HIV rapidly evolving a person diagnosed HIV+ today can expect a normal life expectancy and who knows what new medical breakthroughs are around the corner? So I ask you this, no matter what your HIV status, base your decision on whether to date someone or not on them as a person, not on what’s in their blood.
Have a wonderful Wednesday,
Good Rainy Friday to you all,
Before I start this post, I should say that this one isn’t teribbly HIV related, but more of a general life diary entry… now let’s begin.
I’ve been on online ‘dating’ sites for a very long time now, probably longer than I should have really, I joined a certain one when I was 13 and caused all sorts of havoc for the owners/admins – and since then the number of websites I’ve used has grown and grown until I couldn’t keep track of them.
I’d get home of an evening and check my twitter and Facebook, then I’d head onto gaydar, dudesnude, fitlads, manhunt, gayromeo, recon, and a few others which I can’t even remember. I’ve been doing this for nearly 3 years now and where has it got me? Nowhere really. I’ve dated three guys, one of which was an ass and two of which were bat crap crazy.
So last week I took the decision to leave all these sites behind, it was both therapeutic and a little scary logging onto each site one by one and deleting my profiles – some I’ve even been paying for. Shortly after I’d done away with my last profile I began to worry about what I’d just done, had I put myself at a disadvantage for finding someone special? But then I recalled the general quality of messages of I got on these sites – usually photos of people’s crotches but no faces, or elderly gentlemen offering to be “generous” to me. That’s not really the kind of attention I’m after.
During Birmingham Pride (at the weekend) I met an awesome guy, and we hit it off pretty spectacularly. This without the use of the internet, or being asked “what you upto?”, or ”what you into?” or even the less common but still awful “ASL?”. Now before you get ahead of yourself, I don’t know if anything is going to happen with this guy I met over Pride, but I’m secretly hoping it does – he’s very hot and very very lovely.
I feel for honestly and completeness I should say that I’ve retained my Grindr profile, purely because it’s a great way to chat to my mates for free, and it’s a laugh at train stations when you’re bored.
I’m not entirely sure what to use my computer for now I don’t log on to all those sites, I’m sure I’ll find a purpose though – it makes a rather handy mirror with the webcam…
Good afternoon boys and girls,
In 31 days time I’ll be taking on the THT Walk for Life 2012. A 10km trek around London to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust.
The Terrence Higgins Trust is an amazing charity that provides support and information to those living with HIV in the UK, as well as their prevention and awareness work. They’ve helped me out in some of my darkest hours with their online and telephone counselling – I really don’t know where I’d be today without them.
They also run the ground-breaking site MyHIV.org.uk which provides both advice and a meeting place for those living with HIV in the UK. Already there are over a thousand people on the forums, and regular coffee afternoons spawning all over the country. It’s almost impossible to write down everything they do here, but needless to say they do a lot – and THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT.
Please sponsor me for the THT 10k Walk for Life, every pound will help someone in some way. Be it their hardship fund providing assistance to those living in poverty with HIV or hiring more counsellors to talk to those desperately in need.
You can find my sponsorship page here: http://fundraising.tht.org.uk/UKPositiveLad
Please give generously, please give what you can.
All my love and gratitude,
I know it’s clichéd, but today’s post is about Valentines Day, and the feeling of hope it has given me. So bear with me.
In the last year or so I’ve managed to lose my job, break up with a long term boyfriend, lose my home and become HIV positive – which, as you can imagine left me in somewhat of a mess, both emotionally and practically. Even before my HIV diagnosis I didn’t think my love life had much hope, then once I was diagnosed I resigned myself to being single forever – being unemployed and living back with your family in your twenties isn’t terrible aluring either.
In late November I met someone rather special, someone who makes me feel like I’m worth bothering with, someone who, even though they’re HIV negative, doesn’t seem my HIV status as a barrier to us being together and someone I care for a great deal.
It gives me hope, not just for me, but for everyone else out there, that if this mess of a person can find love again, then so can anyone. So if you’re sat reading this, feeling sorry for yourself today, STOP. There’s always hope. You never know what’s just around the corner. You might just surprise yourself.
Love to all of you,