Same nonsense, same desperation - stigmatizing a community
"Today, right now, more than 45 percent of African-American gay and bi men in key urban areas are infected with HIV, with a 33 percent increase in new diagnoses among our brothers under age 30 over the past six years. Today, right now, African Americans are nearly 10 times more likely than white people to be diagnosed with AIDS.
The response — internal to our community and external — is appallingly racist. Internally, when these numbers come out, the “established” gay community seems to have a collective shrug as if this isn’t our problem. Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi, we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease. We have to own that and face up to that.
Even more disgusting is the response of our government. Of the 129 interventions developed and approved by the CDC to address HIV in the African-American community, only one has been designed for gay black men. Twenty-six years into the epidemic and only one out of 129 addresses the group of people most affected by HIV. And, on top of that, funding for meaningful and honest prevention programs has been systematically excised from the federal budget. If these things don’t prove that our government considers the lives of gay black men utterly expendable, I don’t know what does." - Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
I don't have to tell anyone what happened next. It's an old script and I have seen it continuously:
WASHINGTON: Top 'Gay' Organization Comes Clean: 'HIV is a Gay Disease'
AFA-Michigan, AFTAH Welcome Gay Task Force Admission: ‘HIV Is a Gay Disease’
Amazingly, neither article bothered to ask Foreman to clarify what he meant. They just took his comments and ran with them, as are some folks cited in the articles:
Matt Barber addressed Foreman's admission: "It's extremely encouraging to see Matt Foreman, a homosexual activist who has for so long been in denial about the dangers of the lifestyle he has promoted, publicly coming to terms with the undeniable perils of that lifestyle."I only hope he will now stop promoting homosexual conduct and push for other liberal elites, especially those running our public schools, to do the same. Educators must truthfully address the 'gay' lifestyle's potentially deadly consequences.
And I see that Barber continues to push the MRSA infection line, even though he has been proven wrong by the authors of the study and the CDC.
There is a difference between what Foreman said and what his words are being twisted to mean.
Yes the lgbt community must take responsibility to fight HIV and AIDS. We must view it as a "gay disease" just as other communities affected by it (i.e. the African-American community) must also own the disease. When there is a problem addressing a disease in a community, the community must take steps to fight it, including admitting there is a problem.
What Foreman said is no different than what Phil Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, wrote in this brilliant piece, part of which reads:
There are many reasons why we are so disproportionately impacted by AIDS. But, chief among them is that we've not taken ownership of the AIDS epidemic and responsibility for ending it. Many of us continue to believe that AIDS is someone else's problem. Even as our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, get infected with HIV, develop AIDS and die.
I get the sister from the Black Philanthropy conference's concern about stigma and image. But we can't be more concerned about 'our image' than we are about our lives. Having a raging epidemic run through our community unchecked is actually the last thing we need.
Wanting something to not be so is not the same as it really not being so or doing something about it. AIDS in America today is a Black disease ... unless we do something about it.
Or when Julian Bond said the following:
It is time for the African-American community "to face the fact that AIDS has become a black disease" and find ways to defeat it, the chairman of the NAACP said at the international AIDS summit.
The difference is no one thinks that it is allowable to use the words of Wilson and Bond to attack the African-American community as "unclean:"
Matt Barber addressed (Wilson and Bond's) admission: "It's extremely encouraging to see (Wilson and Bond), two black activists who has for so long been in denial about the dangers of the lifestyle they have promoted, publicly coming to terms with the undeniable perils of that lifestyle."I only hope they will now stop promoting black conduct and push for other liberal elites, especially those running our public schools, to do the same. Educators must truthfully address the 'black' lifestyle's potentially deadly consequences.
Gets you angry, don't it? It should. Stigmatizing communities for the spread of disease is wrong, no matter what community it is.
However, when Foreman made his statement, the prejudices came out in full blaze. There is one main reason why lgbts are affected by HIV and that is because of stigma. And when a gay leader's words on how the community can fight HIV is twisted in order to declare war on the very things that can stop the disease (i.e. more education in our nation's schools regarding sex education and sexual orientation) is creating stigma with a capital "S."
When a gay leader's words are twisted to infer that the lgbt community are "unclean," the stigma which plays a huge role into increasing HIV rates continues.
The bottom line is that HIV affects us all. And as with all negative things affecting the human condition, the communities which do not have as much access to information is affected. And it does not help matters to exploit statements to push forth propaganda and distortions.
To use what Foreman said do this is irresponsible and ugly.
But it is what I have come to expect from members of the anti-gay industry.