Monday, December 06, 2004

THE AIDS QUILT .... OLD NEWS?

Wednesday, December 1, was National AIDS Day. It hurts to say this, but maybe it is time for a new icon. The weight of ribbons on my lapel already hunch me over so it looks as if I am searching for nickels on the sidewalk.


I was excited while driving to the University where the AIDS Quilt was on display. I had never seen it in person before. I couldn't wait to experience the energy and the memories that I was sure inhabited its presence.


And yes, I'll be honest, I was hoping to get a dirty little quote from a protesting Christians outside. A juicy, "God hates fags," or, "AIDS is Jesus' judgment on the abomination of homosexuality," complete with a name and church affiliation could mean some tasty controversy. And we all know that controversy equals hits. Hits equal links. And links are like search engine dollars. Okay, I admit it, I'm a Google whore

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Free parking was advertised. I'm a free parking whore too. Once, while in San Francisco, I gave up a whole afternoon to sit in a time-share sales pitch, not because of the free bay cruise or the free lunch, the free hotel stays anywhere in the country or super fabulous surprise gifts that would be awarded after the presentation, but for the free, unlimited, all day parking right on Fisherman's Warf.


I hate the Warf. I do not go to San Francisco for the Warf. The Warf could fall into the bay and I would not shed a tear, but free parking on the Warf? That is something nobody in their right might would pass on. Sure, I had take the Muni 16 blocks back, but I parked free all day at the Warf, isn't that all that matters?


As I pull onto campus, I flagged down an campus police officer (Sorry, I tend to get a little over excited when it comes to parking. Remember the AIDS Quilt?) and I asked where the quilt was being displayed. She had not heard anything about it, nor was she even sure what an AIDS quilt was.


I was surprised. If the University Police didn't know that the quilt was on campus, then who was keeping the right-wing gay bashing bible thumpers at bay? Surely they wouldn't leave a mob of religious skin headed zealots like that unguarded.


"It's in the satellite student union," said a passing student, in a light frolicked voice, "the brick building one on the other side of campus., that way." He pointed behind him as he kept walking, not looking up at me.


"What about the free parking?" I asked, leaning out the window.


"Lot B." He pointed off in the distance, staring at his hurrying feet.


"Oh, lot B," I moaned under my breath. "Free parking." Yes, I really am a freak, I don't deny it.


With my fake press badge in one hand, my note pad in the other and my camera at the ready, I started the long trek from Lot B to the Satellite Student Union, ready to capture whatever hit worthy scoop awaited to be written.


I saw the dark brick building in the distance. It stood out from all the rest. I thought it would make a perfect backdrop for the dozens of photos I would take of the hate filled picketers held back behind the barricades that separated the religious right from the respectful mourners.


As I got closer, the skip in my step slowly wound down. Did I get the day wrong? Maybe the time?


By the time I passed through the doors, my mood was anything but gay. On my right was a table of rainbow pride stickers and key chains from the local pride store, which I support, but I could tell that the turn-out had drained the gay mood from the owners as well, sitting behind the table.


To my left, one of the webmasters of the local gay website, also looking slightly subdued as he stared at his notebook computer.


Not only were there no protesters, there were no supporters either. How could this be? This was the AIDS Quilt.


But then again, it really wasn't. The Satellite Student Union was really a small theater. I walked from the lobby into the main viewing area and there it was on the stage. It was only a piece of the AIDS Quilt.


For a moment I thought I felt it, but maybe because I really wanted to. I felt guilty more than anything else. Not only because I came hoping to capture a Jerry Springer Gay Pride moment for my website, but because I really felt nothing.


It was so quiet and I was alone. I stood for a moment then snapped a couple shots on my digital camera before I left. This was a symbol of all the pain, all the neglect and all the death we as a community has suffered for over twenty years.


One would expect that every gay and bisexual person and everyone who supports our cause for fifty miles would make a constant line in and out of the building until he exhibit was over. But that was not the case.


I don't know how many people came that day, I only stayed a few moments, but I am sure it was not enough. Yes, the AIDS Quilt is old news. Yes, AIDS is old news. That is the problem. It is not old news to the 40,000 people who will be diagnosed with HIV this year. It is not old news to their lovers and their family and their friends.


Mention the AIDS crisis to your local gay activist and you will spark a passion worth of such a cause. Mention the crisis to your average Joe and you be luck to hear, "It's a shame, but at least it happens to the gays."


<>I hesitate to say it, but maybe the AIDS Quilt actually is old news. Maybe it just doesn't speak loud enough. Maybe it's just not in-your-face enough. Maybe it is too warm and cozy. Instead of panels of cloth on display in a quiet presentation on a college campus, maybe we need a coffin delivered to the steps of our state capitals. One for each person who died because AIDS is a faggot's disease and does not get the attention it deserves.

I don't know how the message should be delivered, I just know that soft and with reverence is not working.

I don't know whose voice should deliver it, but I do know that all of us need to stand up and stand behind whoever takes the stage. From what I saw on National AIDS day, we dropped the ball.

Monday, November 22, 2004

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

I will not even address the utter absurdity of pledging my allegiance to a square piece of cloth, an arrangement of colors, an unclear and undefined symbol with as many different meanings, to as many different people, as red threads on the flag itself.

Despite what Mr. Bush,and those standing to his right, would like to believe, we are not, nor never will be, one nation under God. George Bush's god, the god of your favorite moral stars, like Tom Coburn, Pat Robertson, Focus on the Family's James Dobson, and many incarnations of the American Jesus Christ (the one that looks like Charles Manson, not the Jewish one) is not the same god as mine, nor millions like me.

If this is a nation under God (their god) and I do not serve their god, then what does that make me? Un-American? A traitor? A communist? Maybe I am just part of that Axis of Evil club. My government is urging me to repent from my sin. My government realizes that this is not an easy task and I cannot do it alone so it has committed itself to help me.

My government realizes that my excessive fondness for man on man fornication can only get worse, possibly leading to a long-term healthy relationship (making it even harder to ignore) so it promises to make sure I don't fall into that trap by amending the constitution so that such filthy acts of love and commitment are not included.

My government realizes that the devil has put temptations everywhere by planting herbs in the ground that may ease my pain and sooth my illness. My government realizes that sick people have no self control when Satan's temptation of easing their suffering is popping right out of the soil (as if God put it there) so it has put large fines and jail times (often harsher penalties that imposed on real criminals for real crimes) on anyone who uses these demonic weeds.

My government knows that lonely people who have no intimate physical contact with others may seek out others who are willing to treat their loneliness for a short while for a small payment. My government will incarcerate anyone succumbing to this temptation of feeling loved (or just feeling good) and to those who offer the cure as well, forcing them to seek out seedy parts of inner cities where they become victims of violent sadistic pimps who exploit the government's stand.

George Bush's god, the god "over" America has already condemned me to hell. If I was to embrace this American god, I would have to first deny who I am and let my government (and James Dobson) cure me of the wicked debauchery in my pants

Sunday, November 21, 2004

GAY RIGHTS

I will not even address the utter absurdity of pledging my allegiance to a square piece of cloth, an arrangement of colors, an unclear and undefined symbol with as many different meanings to as many different people as red threads on the flag itself.

Despite what Mr. Bush ,and those standing to his right, would like to believe, we are not, nor never be, one nation under God. George Bush's god, the god of your favorite moral stars, like Tom Coburn, Pat Robertson, Focus on the Family's James Dobson, and many incarnations of the American Jesus Christ (the one that looks like Charles Manson, not the Jewish one) is not the same god as me, nor millions like me.

If this is a nation under God (their god) and I do not serve their god, then what does that make me? Un-American? A traitor? A communist? Maybe I am just part of that Axis of Evil club. My government is urging me to repent from my sin. My government realizes that this is not an easy task and I cannot do it alone so it has committed itself to help me.

My government realizes that my excessive fondness for man on man fornication can only get worse, possibly leading to a long-term healthy relationship (making it even harder to ignore) so it promises to make sure I don't fall into that trap by amending the constitution so that such filthy acts of love and commitment are not included.

My government realizes that the devil has put temptations everywhere by planting herbs in the ground that may ease my pain and sooth my illness. My government realizes that sick people have no self control when the Satan's temptation of easing their suffering is popping right out of the soil as if God put it there or something, so it has put large fines and jail times (often harsher penalties that imposed on real criminals for real crimes) on anyone who uses these demonic weeds.

My government knows that lonely people who have no intimate physical contact with others may seek out others who are willing to treat their loneliness for a short while for a small payment. My government will incarcerate anyone succumbing to this temptation of feeling loved (or just feeling good) and to those who offer the cure as well, forcing them to seek out seedy parts of inner cities where they become victims of violent sadistic pimps who exploit the government's stand.

George Bush's god, the god "over" America has already condemned me to hell. If I was to embrace this American god, I would have to first deny who I am and let my government (and James Dobson) cure me of the wicked debauchery in my pants

Apparently the love I have for my lovers (at least those of the same sex as myself) is the antidote to the fear induced brainwashing that gives ownership control of people to their spouses so that they will never have a sexual fantasy again, or at least without suffering from guilt soaked shame and self loathing. If we let the lesbos get married, they might want to adopt children and we cannot have that. At least in foster homes they won't be turned into sodomizers.

The institution of American marriage boggles my mind. We are not supposed to have sex outside of it, yet homosexuals, a group of people condemned for their "promiscuous ways" are not allowed to take part in it. They shake their fingers and chant " fornication and adultery" but they won't let them take part in the one activity that makes sex legal in their warped closed minds.

Maybe because anal and oral sex are the top two activities in homosexual lovemaking and these are the top two taboos among Christians, even in marriage. Oral sex just feels too good and can cause good Jesus-fearing people to think about sex in unhealthy amounts. And anal sex is just sin and needs no explanation. God may have made the anus, but Satan made it feel good when you touch it.

I am not suggesting that we all dress in drag, throw a parade, and yell, "We're here and we're queer!" The Religious Right is going to shoot when and where they want and nobody can stop them, but I am sure not going to load their gun for them. In-your-face does not work, it only feeds the stereotype. When they look at us, they see the half dressed drag queens marching down the street singing, "It's Raining Men". It is up to us to show them who and what we really are.

It is time to show an united front. It is time to show that Religion does not get to define the word, family. It is time to show them who we REALLY are, only then will we dissolve the stereotypes. It is time to come together and stand as one. Homosexuals are their neighbors and teachers and police officers, not the freaks in beat up icecream trucks cruising the streets for children or married politicians poking their genitals in a drilled out hole in the public men's room at a neighborhood park.

My children's father is bisexual, yet they are secure, intelligent and emotionally stable kids, not to mention sexually healthy and socially conscious. They understand the difference between the myth of sin and the true meaning of right and wrong. I live in a family, but it is as far away from Jerry Falwell's defintion as it could be.

The gender of my lover does not measure my integrity. I believe in healthy loving relationships off all kinds, both long and short term. I believe every person has the choice to create intimacy in anyway they choose. I do not believe that morality and monogamy are synonymous. If you choose monogamy then I support your choice and I would never do or say anything to discourage or hinder your choice. My own fidelity is not gauged on the number of lovers I have in my life but by my integrity, my word and how I choose to treat others.

It is time we learn to embrace diversity. Only then will there be peace on earth.