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Entries in Gay Life (18)

Monday
Nov092009

Two men met in London to declare their love

Two men met in London over the weekend to declare to the world that they love each other enough to enter into a committed relationship in the eyes of the state.  Their nuptials caused an outcry in their homeland; you see both men are originally from Kenya where homosexuality is detested and two men having sex is still illegal.  Not only is sex between two men illegal, it is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

There is such a stigma around two men being in love that the families of both men were harassed in their communities in Kenya.  This stigma goes far beyond marriage and has been a leading factor in the spread of HIV.  For the most part men who have sex with men are ignored.  This has caused such problems as misleading information being dispersed, most notably that HIV is not transmitted through anal sex.  This is of course not accurate, and anal sex is one of the most effective ways for HIV to be transmitted.

The Kenyan government is trying to put aside the stigma to begin working with the community of men who have sex with men, but will it be enough?  From what I have read their plan doesn’t seem to go nearly far enough.  The stigma is far to prominent, and is held not only by everyday citizens but also by doctors.  With this type of thinking HIV will continue to be an issue.  What Kenya needs is an all out HIV education blitz.

Many readers may dismiss this as another story about HIV/AIDS in Africa, but there has recently been a resurgence of HIV infection in the United States.  With 3% of the residents in Washington DC being infected by HIV/AIDS a rate that surpasses that of West Africa. Perhaps the US needs an HIV education blitz of its own.

Over the past few years in many conversations I have had with gay men both friends not, the topic of safe sex has come up. I was startled to find how many of these men that I spoke with have participated in unprotected sex.  Of course HIV is not only a disease for gay men, but it has historically been the demographic most impacted.  There is also a population of men who have sex with men but who do not identify as gay who participate in unsafe sex with both men and women.

The gay stigma linked to HIV is one that is unfortunate, but perhaps the gay community needs to start championing the cause again.  It is time for a resurgence in attention to practicing safe sex.  Sure there are new HIV treatments, and perhaps that is part of the problem.  Many men in wester countries look on HIV as something that you can live with.  I would argue that you may be able to live with it, but no drug can beyond a doubt guarantee that you will live a full and uninterrupted life.  So, why take the risk?

Two men met and declared their love for each other in London this weekend, a city they are accepted in.  When will they be accepted in their own country?

 

Links of interest:

Kenyan Bishop Calls Homosexuality Un-African

Two Kenyan Men Married, No Good Women Left

In Fight Against AIDS, Kenya Confronts Gay Taboo

Monday
Oct122009

A Helping Hand

Over the past 5 years I have lent a helping hand to many a gay man and woman who was sitting, scared in the dark back corner of the closet.  If there is one thing that I have learned from all of this it is that sometimes people just need to talk.  People don't need to be dragged from their reclusive hideout, they need someone to answer their questions and provide a shoulder to lean on as they take their first tentative steps.

We have all heard the stories about someone who is outed in a public manner, shattering their world.  Some will claim it is for the best, but I am a strong advocate of letting people make decisions for themselves.  The coming out experience can set the tone for the rest of someone's life.  A person who is outed may try to hide deeper in the cavern of despair, or think that all members of the LGBT community are out to get them.

My challenge to each and every member of the LGBT community is to be a friend.  In our darkest hour when we are huddled with our back against the wall couldn't we all just use a helping hand?  Don't be afraid to get back into that closet and help lead someone else out.  With patience and understanding we can all help each other, and that is what it is all about.

Thursday
Oct082009

Catching Up

When I came out at the age of 19 I had never been with a man or a woman.  Now that I have lived in the "gay world" for a few years I have noticed that there is a sense among a lot of gay men (can't speak for women on this one) that they need to catch up.  As if they have been missing something.

Now, I will admit that I did feel as if I was a little behind the times.  Here I was a 19 year old virgin and most of my friends guys and girls had lost their V cards in high school.  But, I honestly never felt like I had to catch up.  I had waited 19 years to come to terms with who I am and I could wait a little longer to meet someone that I cared about and trusted.

Many of the gay men that I have met seem to remember their first time but not necessarily the guy they were with, and my question is why?  Why do we feel pressured to catch up and sleep with people that we don't care for?  I know that sleeping with people indiscriminately isn't something that is restricted to homosexuals, but there does seem to be a trend that when a man comes out he must go and have lots of indiscriminate sex.

The first time you have sex with anyone it is awkward and on top of that it being your first time EVER is even more awkward, so why not do it with someone you know, trust and care about?  Maybe it is just me being a prude, and perhaps I am but I am sure there are other guys and girls out there like me?

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