I was going to write a thread about #WorldAIDSDay and the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but between the news of Bush's death today and the recent deaths of friends/family, I'm realizing I just... don't have the energy. I can barely even bear to think about it all.
Properly explicating the history of the epidemic would require a lot of background on the gay & queer communities, and a lot of connecting of dots which are obvious to queer people but not for straight people.
The thing that my mind keeps coming back to today: HAART became available in 1996. PrEP was approved in 2012.

That's only sixteen years.

I fucking LIVED through both changes, and I still can't believe that timeline when I think about it. #WorldAIDSDay
If this sounds inspiring to you, I guess it could be. But it doesn't inspire me today. It reminds me that HAART and PrEP should have been available much earlier, except bigotry.

And it reminds me how much of that homophobia and pozphobia hasn't changed.
We KNEW that undetectable = untransmittable ages ago. The data was there. But we didn't bother to act on it, because pozphobia.
It's 2018, and we STILL have professional asswipes like Michael Weinstein profiting off pozphobia and spreading LIES about HIV and PrEP and condoms.

(oh, and committing Medicare fraud but that's just an aside)
It's 2018 and we still don't think gay men are important enough to consider when evaluating condom effectiveness.

(Officially, the FDA still only considers condom safety and effectiveness for vaginal sex.)
This isn't just a statement about how little we value gay men's sex lives (which are also important), but how little we value gay men's lives at ALL. Because we tell gay men that it's their fault for getting HIV for not using condoms, when condoms are designed for straight men.
If you believe sex for straight people involves an array of options for safer sex, but sex for gay people means all condoms all the time, yes, that means you're homophobic.
It's 2018, and people STILL blame gay men for HIV, because gay men's sex lives are structured differently from straight people's, and "promiscuity" is a "choice".

That is homophobic.
because fuck you, no. no. you don't get to disown your queer relatives from your own biological family, and then judge them for finding family and companionship in the few ways that haven't been denied. you don't have that right.
and fuck you for telling us we're irresponsible for taking our health into OUR hands. fuck Michael Weinstein for calling PrEP a "party drug", and fuck everyone who silently judges any gay man who takes it.
I'm so tired of having to explain to liberals and Democrats who call themselves "allies" that yes, banning gay men from donating blood IS homophobic and no, they don't get to hide behind "it's just statistics" as an excuse.
It's been 30+ years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and we haven't ended homophobia or pozphobia as much as we've just found less blatant and more socially acceptable ways to express it.
They've spent thirty years telling gay men that the only acceptable way to be queer is to pretend to be straight in every way (except one).

They've attacked queer culture and lifestyles, and killed the queers who wouldn't assimilate.
Yes, killed. Because while the HIV virus is a natural phenomenon, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a man-made disaster, and letting queers die just for being queer is murder.
Once again: HIV (the virus) is a natural phenomenon, but the HIV/AIDS epidemic is man-made. It was artificially constructed, by choice and willful negligence.

It was not an accident.
It was not inevitable.
Those deaths could have been prevented. #WorldAIDSDay
If you want to compare the government inaction to HIV/AIDS to genocide, you'd be in good company.
After seeing how easily "allies" look the other way and ignore laws like #SESTA/#FOSTA, it's hard to celebrate "how far we've come".

The same forces that caused the HIV/AIDS epidemic are alive and well today, and they're killing queer people. #WorldAIDSDay
If you want to know what it was like to live through the peak of the epidemic in a place New York as a gay man, imagine your entire life is this slice on repeat:

The key thing there, which a lot of people miss: even when surrounded by death, the human mind can't mourn 24/7. Instead, people incorporate that experience of death into their lives and culture.
That's how trauma develops and spreads within a community, and how communities find ways to collectively react to trauma.

Remember, if you were gay in the 80s and 90s, there was no escaping the experience of death all around you.
There are few things worse than watching all your friends and family die, knowing you're probably next, and knowing that your government is responsible for it all.

Many queer people of color still have this experience, today. nytimes.com/2017/06/06/mag…
What do you see when you look at this photo?

I see a man who lived with AIDS for five years and died young. And I see that, if I just happened to have been born a couple decades earlier, that could easily have been my name on the panel instead.

The only difference was luck.
P.S. That original quilt panel was lost (and probably destroyed). After he died, his mother sat and made a replica of her dead son's panel from that photograph.

Keep that image in the back of your mind today. #WorldAIDSDay
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