Credit Was Due?
I enjoyed reading the 'You Are Your Brother's Keeper' article in the April 2003 issue; however, I found it was incomplete with details. If you check the April 2002 issue of Out
magazine, you will find an article about HIV-positive guys dating only other positive guys. It was written by Steve Weinstein, editor of the New York Blade.
The change started with Brandon (of Brandon's Poz Parties), who pioneered the concept of HIV-positive'only parties in the mid 1990s in New York City.
Brandon's idea was just to find an HIV-positive boyfriend without the hassles of going to the bars and dance clubs (only to be rejected when his HIV status was disclosed), and it soon took the concept of positive-only into the bedroom. What was started in the bedroom has now 'come out,' becoming widespread with positive socials, positive personals, and guys disclosing
their HIV status on Web sites, and it continues nationwide.
I feel that if we congratulate each other for volunteering to be 'responsible for keeping everyone else safe,' then we should also thank guys like Brandon for sticking their necks out and taking the risks. We are only where we are today because of guys like Brandon.
via the Internet
[The editors reply:Our article was about the concerted efforts being made by HIV prevention and education counselors to encourage HIVers to carry a sense of responsibility about them at all times to ensure that they do not infect people who are not HIV-positive'whether through sexual activity, injection drug use, or otherwise.
Whereas with Brandon's Poz Parties, the Web site's message clearly shows that the focus of the parties is allowing men to meet other HIV-positive men to have a sexual outlet. As stated on the site, which shows many sexually explicit photos and personal ads, 'The parties have always provided a
fun, safe, comfortable place. Where HIV+ guys meet, socialize, network, and
play with other HIV+ guys only.'
As admirable as Brandon's efforts are to help HIVers gain a sense of self-worth and plan parties in spaces for HIV-positive'and specifically gay'men to congregate, and we cast no judgment on his concept, we do not believe that by
play (all emphasized words are reproduced from Brandon's site), as used in the context of sexually explicit material, these parties were set up simply for games such as Scrabble and dominoes.
You've Got the Wrong Guy
Thank you for your feature article 'Visionaries' in the February 2003 issue. I found all of the people profiled to be inspirational and deserving, except Colin Powell. He is a warmonger who is advocating an unjust war on Iraq that would deprive HIV services and research of badly needed funding.
He is also antigay, as proved by his and the Bush administration's opposition to basic gay civil rights legislation. When he said, 'They need our help. They need our compassion. They need to be given the opportunity to be contributing members of society,' was he talking only about those people who are also heterosexual? He and the rest of the Administration he is a part of are a disgrace to this country.
One cannot be a true humanitarian to some of us. One must embrace the whole human family.
I was especially impressed with the profile of Ron Rodgers.
University Heights, Ohio