Wednesday, August 26, 2009

GMHC: The Raw Deal

bare bones
On Friday, August 13th GMHC sponsored a public forum entitled Raw where the public was invited to partake in a discussion on barebacking: why we like it and why we do it. As the Edge New York article states the conversations were both passionate and controversial.
Lively, sometimes loud debate; passionate viewpoints accentuated by applause from the crowd; and skepticism towards the establishment’s ability to effectively advocate for public health. It sounds like a contentious town hall event in which the proposed health care overhaul takes a beating--but it was, in fact, an August 13th public forum sponsored in New York City by the nation’s oldest and largest private AIDS service organization, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC).

Certainly, it’s understandable why high passion would have erupted at a discussion of the most sensitive topic among gay men today: barebacking. Although its topic was every bit as di
visive as Obama’s sweeping initiative, the event managed to demonstrate that the town hall format need not devolve into a shouting match.
The article goes on to state the organizers decided to lose the term "barebacking" and go with the generalized term "raw" in talking about condom-less sex.
Actually, it technically wasn’t about "barebacking," at least if the organizers could help it. The conclave’s premise was that the term "barebacking" unfairly stigmatizes gay men who have unprotected sex.

GMHC’s organizers instead chose the no less provocative but apparently more acceptable term "raw" as the title of the event.
I'm glad the organizers of this event chose to use raw instead of barebacking, although in the end I'm afraid it doesn't make too much of a difference either way. But as I've stated in the past, it's important to note there is a difference between men who "ooops! slipped up" and men who are committed to not using condoms. Those committed to not using condoms, barebackers, often over shadow those individuals who slipped up, or made a mistake, or didn't use their best judgement and the general and medical community fault them for "deserving what they got" opposed to being compassionate about the human capacity to make a mistake.

Through my speaking out on this topic I've also learned that I have to be abso-fucking-lutely clear about abso-fucking-lutely everything and just because you and your long term boyfriend decide to forgo condoms, after testing together for at least a year and tru
sting you won't put one another at risk (although it happens more than one would think) does not make you a barebaker, you're just having condom-less sex with someone you're committed to (in one way or another.) Also, if you're an HIV+ man and choosing to have consensually agreed upon condom-less sex with another HIV+ man than that's fine and that's your decision. There are other risks involved, but as long as there has been communication, than that's your decision. No harm, no foul. You talked, you decided, it's done. The problem isn't positive men infecting negative men, the problem is "negative men" (men who don't know their status) having unprotected sex with other negative men. That's why I feel our "bareback porn is so hot!" seal of approval these days is a major issue because men will say and/or think: he looks negative, he seems ok, he would have told me, or just not care at all.
Many in the audience who got the chance to speak held the community itself responsible for assuming the burden of outreach and education. They said they neither wanted, nor expected, the organizations represented by the panelists to work miracles on their own.
These organizations are working hard. They're out there. Working in non-profits, doing outreach, doing what they can but ultimately it's up to us to continue speaking out about this topic in order to effect the change we want to see in this community.

Bareback, raw, whatever you call it - the bottom line is just communicate with your partner and wear condoms. I can't believe we're even having panel discussions on bareback issues when the the end result is to just simply communicate and put on a rubber. Give a shit about yourself, consider yourself worth it! Study after study, report after report the answer is always wear a condom. You.are.worth.it! We are worth it.

Yes, I'm still talking about this and I don't ever plan to stop. If you don't like it, tough shit. And to the catty bitch at The Eagle who snickered to your friend referring to me as "Mr. Bareback:" I heard you and thanks for the encouragement to give you the middle finger and keep talking about this.

For more information and other great articles check out:

Ouch! The Painful Politics of Bareback Porn written by Sister of Perpetual Indulgence Activist and porn producer, Mark Kliem

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fact or Fiction: Roxy Reopening

Let me see you put your hands up!
Well the rumors have been circulating for well over a year now. Does anyone have the cold, hard skinny on this? Is the Roxy going to reopen this winter?

I can only hope so! In my opinion NYC gay nightlife took a harder hit than expected when The Roxy closed. Things certainly haven't been the same. Smaller venues, less dancing. Blech! It's a sad era in NYC when the gay men here have no arena sized dance floor to call our own nor a means to represent our enormous presence here in this city.

Whether you went there or not, often or hardly at all, The Roxy was a place where on any given Saturday night you could lose yourself in a sea of men and a throbbing beat that kept you dancing til dawn.

Stepping on to that dance floor made you feel like - - - like you lived in New York City.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Friday: Drag Me Out

Kicking and Screaming
So I was in Provincetown for a week and as everyone knows PTown is a place for fun, celebration, silliness and camp. Nothing more and nothing less.

I've never done drag before and I don't even know if one would consider my ten minute walk through a house party in a leather dress as official drag, but regardless it was the first time I said, "oh what the fuck," and let some stellar, creatively-minded, kind-hearted fashion queens dress me up like I was their Freshman year fashion project.

I knew photos were being taken and I knew the inevitable Facebook upload was waiting just around the corner. I asked that they not tag me. But I knew sooner than later the tagging would happen so rather than hide from it I'm deciding to simply own it. What's the big deal anyway? It's just a man in a dress.

So yes, I zipped myself up, pranced around the house and tried my best to do any and all kinds of catwalk struts. For at least two minutes I held on to a comrade's shoulder as I wobbled through learning process of the knack of heel, toe - heel, toe stepping. And you know what? It felt fabulous.

That's right. My hairy ass got into a leather tight mini skirt zip up dress, I threw a fur bracelet on my left wrist, and walked like the world was mine and if you have a problem with this, then you can talk to the spike of my size 12 patent leather black high heel.

Werk.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rainbow Fish

SAY~~>FIP
This Saturday The Stonewall Community Fund is having their first ever Stonewall Swim, a 3 and a half mile swim between Sayville, Long Island and Fire Island Pines. 30 swimmers were encouraged to sign up and help raise money toward a collective goal of $100,000 which will then be distributed to other local NYC gay charities.

My beastly friend Eyal "Cut-From-Stone" Feldman will be one of the 30 participants to brave the 3 1/2 (against the current with the threat of an oncoming hurricane!) mile swim and has been training for weeks. He's ready to jump in the water and from what I hear he's shaping up like Beowulf so it ain't gonna be no thang. Trrrust. (Score one for the 10th grade English lit analogy! w00t! Mr. Miller where are you?! Your name is totally ungoogleable! He was so hot. So hot.)

Uh...

Below is Eyal, Owner and Founder of Boy Butter Lubes, throwing out some info about Saturday's event:

Official Stonewall Community Fund here

Official Facebook page here

and to fight friction with Eyal's cream of the crop Boy Butter personal lubricant line click HERE!

The Bride Wore Red

Bi-Party Curious?
In an unlikely twist, the California Gay community now stands an even greater chance of hearing wedding bells ring in their name.

Theodore Olson, the Republican Lawyer who helped steal argue George Bush's election, could now be same-sex marriage's strongest friend.

The New York Times reports:
While Mr. Olson came to the case by a serendipitous route that began late last year with Rob Reiner, a Hollywood director widely known for his Democratic activism, he said his support of same-sex marriage stemmed from longstanding personal and legal conviction. He sees nothing inconsistent with that stance and his devotion to conservative legal causes: The same antipathy toward government discrimination, he said, inspired him to take up another cause that many on the right applauded — a lengthy campaign to dismantle affirmative action programs.

A hearing in the marriage case, filed on behalf of two gay couples, is scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco. Practicing his opening argument recently, Mr. Olson declared that California’s ban is “utterly without justification” and stigmatizes gay men and lesbians as “second-class and unworthy.”

“This case,” he said afterward, “could involve the rights and happiness and equal treatment of millions of people.”
Lately I've been coming into a lot of contact with several socially progressive conservative thinkers. Meaning, I've been meeting a lot of people who are socially forward, yet too economically focused and conservatively opinionated, to vote for Obama or even Democratically for that matter.

These people are both gay and straight alike and I often say to them, "I understand you have different conservative stances and fiscal opinions but can't you see by voting Republican you are inadvertently tugging along the most ignorant, arrogant, racist people (the right of the right) to maintain power in this nation, feel righteous and absolved?" Although I seem capable of putting this algorithm together, they see it from a different perspective. They believe change will happen by being within the party more than it will from being on the outside, where the same Dem Vs. Repub tit-for-tat argument will inevitably continue to churn and churn and churn. These socially progressive but republican voting gays and straights feel as though they are welcomed to sit at the Republican table while I think, "well you may be welcomed to the table but that doesn't mean they're not going to spit in your food nor swipe the chair out from under you," but still it's becoming increasingly more obvious that we have to find friends within the red party to help further the gay community's cause. It's a hard pill to swallow but a necessary one.

If Theodore Olson, the man who was a saint to Bush administration, is now arguing for the gay cause, while also looking at the case from an completely non-objective human rights standpoint, then maybe this will help us in the end? I'm not entirely sold, but what's the harm in continuing my low expectations for hope anyway?

Moments

It's just the little things in life:


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Work

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Boys


Last year's collection here

Monday, August 10, 2009

Provincetown: II

Monday, August 3, 2009

Israel: Saturday August 1st 2009


"Once a year, spokespersons on behalf of the gay community are requested to explain why we insist on the pride parade; so here is the answer. There are those who fan the flames of hatred and homophobia, and the outcome may lead to gunfire. Here is your answer, this is the reason: Because they shoot at us. At times they use words, and other times they use bullets."