recent column about gay “bug chasers” was BORING. No one cares
if gay guys want to infect themselves with AIDS! While you
may be gay, most of your readers are not. Write about
straight problems! Don’t spend so much time writing
about BORING gay shit!
Ha & Straight Edge Boy
might want to skip this week’s column, TH & SEB, because
it’s all about gay shit. For the record: While most of my
readers are straight, boys, not everyone who reads this paper
is straight, not everyone who sends me questions is straight,
and absolutely no one who writes this column is straight.
And, shit, if I can devote entire columns to topics that are
only of interest to breeders—men who don’t wanna fuck their
heavy-with-child wives, for instance—then I should be able
to devote the occasional column to those BORING gay men who
infect themselves and others with HIV.
But before we get to the gay shit, I need to get this out
of the way. . .
Dear Katie, the pettiest Kate in Christendom: I promised to
reveal the decision of the Supreme Court of Sex Toy Retailers
in the high-profile case of You vs. Me in this week’s column.
The Supreme Court has handed down its ruling, I’ve read it,
and it’s fair enough. But you’ll just have to wait another
week to find out if you’re going to be getting that Magic
Wand you clearly need so desperately.
Okay, onto the gay shit.
I read your column on Rolling
Stone’s bug chasing story and AIDS education and felt
compelled to respond to this paragraph: “Perhaps it’s time
for . . . AIDS groups to start telling gay men the truth,”
you wrote. “Taking stupid sexual risks—even if risk turns
you on—is reckless; anal sex on the first date—even with condoms—is
a bad idea; giving someone HIV—even if he wants it—is immoral;
being a huge fucking slut—as popular as that might make you—has
physical and emotional consequences. And, finally, gay men
need to be told that stupid decisions don’t deserve anyone’s
In one paragraph, you managed to call some gay men “stupid,”
“immoral,” and “fucking slut[s].” Calling people names isn’t
going to solve the problem! The problem is that some people
aren’t completely conscious and free of issues. They’re imperfect.
They have horrible searing issues from their childhoods that
make them do these things. This situation can’t be resolved
by the same forces that caused it: judgment, victimization,
yes: A lot of gay people had seared shit for childhoods, Eric,
and so what? Being called a fag in high school, having parents
who turned into assholes when you came out, and having to
listen to nuns tell you that Jesus loves all the little children
except the little gay ones . . . none of that gets adult
gay men off the hook. Gay or straight, your seared-shit childhood
is no excuse for bug chasing (intentional or not), gift-giving
(ditto), beating your spouse, robbing gas stations, or Anna
Nicole Smith. If you choose to be an asshole because of how
you’ve suffered, that’s your right. But assholes don’t have
a right to victimize other people without—Oh, the horror!—being
judged. Or called assholes.
But take comfort, Eric. Your preferred method of dealing with
these dumb assholes—“Let’s talk about your issues, you poor
baby!”—is the approach taken by AIDS educators everywhere.
“No judgment” has been an article of faith among AIDS educators
for more than 10 years now, and we’ve got nothing but rising
HIV infection rates to show for it.
In your latest column concerning
AIDS, you wrote: “The infection rates of HIV and other STDs
are soaring and—who knows?—perhaps some unknown STD is gaining
a toehold in urban gay scenes, just as HIV did in the ’70s.”
The day after I read your column I ran across an article in
the Los Angeles Times about extremely painful antibiotic-resistant
staph infections occurring in gay men in L.A. It may not be
an STD per se, but it is still worrisome.
worrisome—and not just for gay men in L.A. A few days after
the L.A. Times story ran, The San Francisco Chronicle
reported that—surprise!—drug-resistant staph infections were
appearing in gay men in San Francisco too. Public health officials
in San Francisco are assuring people that this isn’t “the
equivalent of a new HIV disease,” but this sentence, from
the original L.A. Times story, should sound eerily
familiar to anyone over 35: “Although the outbreak seems confined
primarily to gay men, doctors say at least one woman contracted
the infection, probably from a male sex partner.”
I don’t mean to be hysterical—and I should mention that the
number of these staph infections are small, and that it appeared
first in babies—but it’s stories like this one, and
not the bug-chaser story in Rolling Stone, that have
me losing sleep. In the wake of the Rolling Stone article—the
story that got this whole bug-chasing media storm roaring—the
Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group, put out an action
alert, calling on its members to “protest Rolling Stone’s
irresponsible bug-chasing.” A few days later, The New York
Times reported that syphilis is up 140 percent in New
York over the last two years, “with the increase primarily
among gay and bisexual men,” many of whom are already HIV-positive.
And how’s this for worrisome: “About 70 percent of the men
in the study,” wrote The New York Times, “said they
knowingly risked the health of their sex partners.”
So, hey, while gay men are busily—and rightly—protesting Rolling
Stone’s irresponsible bug-chasing story, howzabout we
also take some time to protest the irresponsible actions of
some gay men? I’d personally like to see an HRC press release
calling bullshit on gay men who “knowingly risked the health
of their sex partners.”
Instead of beating people up, I think
we have to start a dialogue with bug chasers so we can identify
where their self-destructive tendencies come from, and work
from there. I know this probably sounds like a lot of New
Age bullshit to you, but before you paint a scarlet letter
across the chests of all the gay “sluts” in the world, think
back to the story of how you met your partner, Dan. If I’m
not mistaken, a bathroom stall in a sleazy bar played an important
role. Sounds pretty slutty to me.
I suggesting that gay men shouldn’t have slutty moments, HD?
Am I suggesting that I haven’t had my share? Do I think gay
men should never make out with cute boys in bathroom stalls
at sleazy gay bars? No, no, and no. What I am suggesting—oh,
shit! We’ve run out of room. More on this subject next week,
I’m afraid, which means that Katie will to wait a bit longer
to learn if she’s going to get that Magic Wand.