HOW GAY RELATED IS HIV?
As a responsible adult I have always taken HIV tests every six months, regardless of my perception of personal risk. I have always feared AIDS, well maybe not in the early days when AIDS had nothing whatsoever to do with me, or so I was told. As a precocious child I remember reading about “gay cancer” and “GRID–gay related immunodeficiency” as AIDS was presented to the public in the early 1980’s. News about AIDS was the vehicle that taught me about the existence of homosexuality. I did not know anyone who self identified as gay. Gay was a word used as an accusation and an insult. What did male homosexuality have to do with me? I imagined a sharp dividing line between straight people (us) and gay people (them). I felt sorry for gay men, so outnumbered by “normal” people. Society taught us kids early on the standard for normal. For example, prior to the widespread use of sonograms, the gender of unborn babies was a surprise. Expectant mothers received gifts in gender neutral colors like yellow. Blue is for boy, pink is for girls. In English class we were taught to refer to all unborn babies as boys as a matter of proper grammar. Similarly, all people were considered heterosexual unless there was a dramatic “coming out” announcement that resulted in possible familial and societal rejection as people choose to live as gay “instead.”
No way did gay people have a choice, in my young opinion. I could not imagine anyone choosing to subject themselves to a virulent hatred that looked worse than the racism I endured as a suburban New Yorker where neighbors looked nothing like me. It was said that AIDS was a punishment from on high for people who chose to traipse down a path of unthinkable degeneracy. Gay people deceived themselves that their lifestyle had no consequences given the decreased likelihood of procreation. AIDS was a triumphant “Told you so!”” We were right about you.
Then Mr. Brady died of AIDS. Or the actor that played the role that represented the proper sexual arrangement of the family even through the challenge of remarriage. Another shock–the death of an actor who was famous before my time for representing masculinity. Rock Hudson was gay. My understanding of sexual preference shifted to cause me to discard the word preference altogether. People are not gay or straight, this or that. People can be this and that. My desire to share my revolutionary understanding of true sexual norms is the motivation for this blog. I want you to know that if you struggle within because you too heard that gay is not normal, rest assured, homosexual practices are very normal.
So if gay people are not separate from straight people then the risk of
contracting HIV is universal. When I went for my HIV test, the counselor asked me to guess how many of my sex partners were men who had been with other men. I said, “ I cannot say anything is true of everyone. My guess is, most of the men I have been with have been with other men.” The counselor gaped at me. “You are the wisest woman I have ever tested.”
The counselor ought to know. She was what Hawaii residents colloquially call, a mahu.