Showing posts with label Gay Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Life. Show all posts

June 9, 2016

Growing Gay Up in Jamaica {Award Winning Novelist}



                                                                         


Living as a closeted gay man in Jamaica drove novelist Marlon James to such despair that he once wrote he knew he had to leave "in a plane or a coffin." 
He left, on a plane for the United States, seemingly confirming Time magazine's 2006 headline that the Caribbean island was "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth." 
Back for the Calabash International Literary Festival, which features poets, novelists and writers from across the globe, the 2015 Man Booker Prize winner said his own story was actually more complicated. 
"The thing about Jamaica, for such a small country, is that there are 10 different Jamaicas and the one you live in is not necessarily the one that everyone else lives in," said James, 45. 
He described his milieu as for the most part "uptown," very different from the Jamaica that makes headlines as a place where gay people are beaten to death by mobs. International media painted a one-sided picture of his home country, James said. 
"They have a narrative that Jamaica is a place where these anti-gay Gestapos are running around killing people that they are just so desperate to get that narrative." 
Rather than a fear of being killed, the "coffin" comment he wrote in a 2015 New York Times article referred to touching rock bottom and contemplating suicide as he struggled with his identity. 
"I didn't think I could live here as a gay man. But I didn't need a beating to find that out," he said. 
The divide between the better off "uptown" and underprivileged "downtown" creates a constant tension on the island, one addressed in "A Brief History of Seven Killings," James' novel about an assassination attempt on Bob Marley that catapulted the author to global fame. 
The class divide is especially acute for gay people. 
A poor gay Jamaican can face violence on the streets, but an "uptown" gay Jamaican can be tacitly accepted, or at least tolerated. 
"It's the one country in the world I have a right to be in. In the sense that I can step into Jamaica with a sense of entitlement because I am entitled to my country," said James, who lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College. 
"Which is not to say I'm kidding myself that everything is fine or that I could walk down the street holding some guy's hand or anything like that." 
"The reason that homophobia is so acute in Jamaica is because the church supports it," said the former church-goer who underwent attempts to cure him of being gay. 
But James also acknowledged churches as the "lifeblood" of many communities and a constructive force. 
James has come back to Jamaica three times so far this year, and credits the Calabash Festival for the publication of his first novel. It was at a workshop at the bi-annual event that U.S. author Kaylie Jones convinced James to resurrect the book after multiple rejections. 
"This is also a place where I discovered so much of the world of literature. This is the place where my mind was first blown, in a way. It's a sense of familiarity and family and also discovery. Also, it's nice seeing a beach," he said, sitting by the Caribbean Sea. 
James said he was not ready to move back to a country he had left when he was 37, because of the opportunities for writers in the United States. 
"There's a literary community, there's support, there's infrastructure, there are grants. There are all these things in place to help the writer where I live that are just not here." 
by Rebekah Kedebe

May 16, 2016

Famous Barrister Gets Swift Sentence(140hrs) for Supplying Drugs Killed Partner


  
Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
This story is a follow up of a very well known ‘barrister to the stars’ young gay London lawyer. He supplied the drug that killed his lover in their bed. For all the drugs that were found in his flat or apartment plus a dead body, this rich lawyer got swift…well fast justice.
He was sentenced to community work. Just like in the US just in a lesser stand there are convicts serving in theirs and ours justice and penal system doing so much more for so much less. Still there are people upset that that CNN last week wrote the below story on this tragedy and it talks about the lover that died as not being the victim but the smart young, good looking barrister who lost his career. 
I wont write about that just to include the piece by CNN and the original story we posted here at adamfoxie*.   Original story (Barrister 35 kills)-click here
                                                                   _*_
It could be the plot from a Bret Easton Ellis novel featuring drugs, sex, death, and an almighty fall from grace. But this is no fictional setting. As lovers do, Henry Hendron was sitting up in bed with his boyfriend one night, speaking of the depths of his infatuation. 
“I said to him: 'Miguel, I don't know what I'd do without you,'" said 35-year-old Hendron, a successful lawyer from London. "And he said: 'Oh come on Henners -- which is what he called me -- what if I fell under a bus?'"
A few hours later Miguel Jimenez, an 18-year-old waiter from Colombia, was dead.
"I woke up and turned him over," remembers Hendron of that winter's morning in January last year. "Mouth frozen, blood there, clearly dead."
In desperation, he performed CPR on his boyfriend until the ambulance arrived -- "It must have been four or five minutes I was doing it, it felt like a lifetime."
"At one point blood starts to trickle out of his mouth, and I'm thinking 'he must be alive.' But he's not. I've broken his ribs or something, and moving that blood around."
When the police arrived, Hendron's nightmare only worsened.
Within minutes of being told his boyfriend was dead, Hendron was arrested, handcuffed, and marched to a waiting police van.
At that moment, "my whole world came crumbling down," he said.
Jimenez had overdosed on a cocktail of drugs -- which Hendron admits he supplied.
Hendron pleaded guilty in March to two counts of possession with intent to supply mephedrone and GBL.
Today he was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, at London's Central Criminal Court.
On the night of his death, Jimenez took GHB (commonly known as "G") and mephedrone (also known as "meow-meow"), according to Hendron. 
GHB is particularly easy to overdose on, and potentially lethal when taken with alcohol -- as Jimenez did on the night he died.  In the past, Hendron said the couple who had been dating for one year, would take these drugs together during group sex sessions -- called "chemsex" or "party and play" in the U.S.
The drugs, along with crystal meth, are often associated with chemsex due to their ability to induce heightened arousal, sexual stamina, and reduce inhibition. 
Sex sessions may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and Hendron estimates he was spending "anything up to £1,000 ($1,400) a weekend" on drugs.
However on the night of Jimenez's death, there was no such party.
Instead, Hendron says his teenage boyfriend took the drugs after dinner, with plenty of wine, at the home they shared in Temple -- an area of central London popular with lawyers, and across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice.
A high-profile barrister who has represented MPs, aristocrats and reality TV stars, Hendron was working the next day, and so didn't take any drugs the night Jimenez died.
His partner's death turned the successful lawyer's world upside down -- "it was the other side of the coin," he said.
"I'd gone from a situation of having everything -- professionally, socially, financially -- to losing the love of your life, losing your career, and where there is no future. Or there is no certain future," he told CNN ahead of his sentencing on May 9.
“And it was only because I chose drugs, and I chose that lifestyle." 
Miguel Jimenez died after taking GHB and mephodrone.
Up until the age of 30, Hendron, who came from a conservative Catholic family and was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with the prestigious Strand Chambers law firm, had never touched drugs in his life.
But after trying them at a private event, he quickly became hooked, engaging in chemsex sessions most weekends.
He said they offered an escape from a high-pressure job with 18-hour work days -- and he wasn't alone.
"In the London gay chemsex scene, a lot of people that do that are actually doctors," he said. "They're professionals, they're lawyers.
"And a lot of them manage to juggle this lifestyle -- weekends of drugs -- and then they go to work perhaps a bit worn on Monday, but they manage."
Indeed Hendron's mother didn't even know he was gay, much less that he took drugs, until she read about it in the Daily Mail.
Jimenez's mother could not be reached for comment, but Hendron says she, along with his twin brother Richard, also a barrister who has been representing him throughout the trial, have been a source of strength.
Growing up in a well-to-do area of west London, Hendron's dentist father died when the twins were babies. Today Hendron speaks with the cut-glass English accent of a privileged upbringing.
When Hendron talks of the heartache of Jimenez's death, and the deeply personal details of his sex life, it is matter-of-factly. In a manner befitting a barrister.  Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
Hendron says Jimenez's mother, understandably, took a little more time to come round.
"In the beginning she rightly blamed me and couldn't speak to me," he said.
Over time the pair have become close, and Hendron now visits both her, and his former boyfriend's grave, in Colombia once a month.
"We are each other's rock of support for what has been a nightmare over the last 14 months," he said of his relationship with Jimenez's mother. 
At today's sentencing, Judge Richard Marks told Hendron: "I bear in mind the anguish you feel over the death of your partner and the very moving letter from his mother in which far from wanting you to be punished -- she stands by you."
After Jimenez's death, Hendron very nearly died himself, embarking on chemsex binges that at one point saw him overdose on GHB -- and end up in intensive care. 
Today, dressed in a trim navy suit and clutching a folder of papers for his next meeting, Hendron appears to have emerged from his darkest days -- but the weight of them still hang heavy on his thin shoulders.
"I was the older one who should have known better. I was the one that funded those drugs. I should have been the one to say stop," he said.
"And you know, it's me that's taken away my happiness. And he was a core pillar of my happiness. 
"I feel totally responsible."
Hendron says he became addicted to the heightened sexual highs the drugs offered -- and has warned others to carefully consider the risks involved.
"At the time it was quite fun -- you're around other guys, you think this is a good time, you think you're having good sex, and then you become used to it," he said.
"And then that becomes all that you know -- in terms of sex on drugs at the weekend."
The barrister who carved his career in the court room, has now also been judged in the same setting. 
"There isn't much I can do apart from try and move on," he said.
"The pain doesn't become any less. You just become more used to it, more familiar with it."
Do You think justice was done? and Why? Why Not?

March 27, 2016

Partying to Death Sexing to the Death because We Are GAY


                                                                       




A night at Trade. Photo courtesy of Trade






On this March 24,  I posted the story of a 36 year old Lawyer to the Stars in London and his boyfriend of just turning 18 and now dead due to the drugs his boyfriend supplied for him.
A very important , conservative man headed for politics acted like there were no rules and no boundaries once he came off the public eye.  Click to see that story Top Barrister 35 kills Young Boy Friend 18  Who OD

I don’t want to judge too harshly nor minimize what gay guys do to each other to hurt us in the name of sex and fun but this a community that has been so demonized and repressed that now that we have more freedoms than before and still very far from the mark sometimes lack the restraint that the new generation of gays will certainly have.

 We see gays dying in ways that are vicious and unnecessary.  It’s so screwed up that many of these guys can still go on hazings, drugs and sex parties.  The more conservative the city or town that offer more strict laws for drugs and public homosexual related conduct, the more of it goes on behind eyes of the community at large and without any sense of what the safe boundaries are. Those are side effects of an intolerant, homophobic society. The pressure buid up has to give somewhere. I know this out of my true experience in finding and dealing with my own sexuality.

I think one has to be gay or very close to gays to understand how it feels to be ostracized even before we know we are gays our selves. [I’ll try to explain it using me for the first time]

I remember being called a f***t by my father and my oldest sister when they got pissed at me which was often. At six I could not understand what was wrong with being a f**** . I went on without care but knew something was wrong with that word. I knew I could not be that because as troublesome as I was as a kid,  stub born and hard to handle,  I knew I was a good kid. I loved my mother with a love unsurpassed by anything or anyone.  I fear god,  I even loved my father and my oldest sister and eventually I became close with my oldest sister.

I loved my friends and my teachers and all of my family even loved my older brothers that abused me physically when drunk or thinking I needed to be slapped around thinking it was time or that Ive done something wrong,  (which brought me close to serious injury once I got older, around 9-10) because now I would use my mouth to repealed every slapped which brought a new one instead. May be I hoped to be injured bad enough for a trip to the hospital and see if it was true that a child could not be abused by someone, even a brother.  I was afraid of pain and afraid of blood but once tasted it did not matter anymore.
My mom never called me that and she would say to not pay attention but to try to be better.

When I came out to myself around 19 I decided I wanted to do sexually everything that could be done (as long as I did not hurt anyone or got hurt myself). I was so repressed about gay sex and such a novice. No one to ask except by trial and error with my sex partners which usually I never saw after the first time. Some said I did just the right thing and others thought I was selfish in sex except I only knew how to do one thing and never knew how well I was doing it for my partner, just concentrated on the inside feeling of a new exciting and forbidden experience. How heavenly, particularly when the guilt could not make me retreat it. I looked to every encounter as a new school. I wanted high marks.

I figured that by the time I got old I would want to remember all those experiences and pick out and choose which ones where the ones for me. How many trips to the Dept of Health venereal disease clinic I made!  I would pick different neighborhoods so I would not be recognize as a frequent flyer. Condoms many times where of no use because sex many times was with not much warning. The testosterone of guys in their late teen early twenty is a volcano that’s  ready to erupt, I think most of us know that.

As I started to experiment,  a look, a glance and a nod of approval would start the conversation or not even much conversation. I would often be asked if I was a cop because I was told, clean cut and conservatively dressed.  I told myself I would stop when I became comfortable in my own skin of who I was always told myself but truly I thought I might not finish my exploration into this forbidden field because of the dangers I encounter. I was afraid of the so called “bears’ and their leather customs and the uniforms made laugh but I would hope to find someone close to me in this zoo of lost humans, I thought. Once in the west v ullage behind the infamous trucks I decided after passing by so many times on foot on car on my dreams. I actually intended this time to walk to the back to where most guys were busy doing what ever they where doing. I had to see it. As I commenced my trek a white casual but “square” dressed man of about 45-50 stop in front of me. He had a hanker-ship and it looked like he had just finished eating fried chicken or may be just drinking milk which spilled down his lips . He said “your first time agh. Welcome to this awful life”   he continue walking out into the street and getting lost in the fog of the night.

Everything I tried confirmed that I was gay not bi (I used to called myself that and I was but I knew I belong with a guy not a girl) Had I been born during this millennial period,  I doubt all that would have happen. I would have searched to meet a guy and I would have stayed with him. I would not have looked in the wrong places.

Sometimes I think that we should be a screw up community and in many ways we are but not more than any other and we have so many excuses to be the worse yet with the exception of many in the community having problems of fidelity,  communication and fairness to each other, we are still better than most. With all the garbage society and religion has imposed on us we usually strive to be better, to find our rainbow or at least white cloud.

In this this beautiful  well to do couple you add drugs and it will be just like me, except I was not well off nor did I partake in drugs. The dangers I encountered were others in which you got the wrong person who wants to make spaghetti out of your brains. Fought many fights and got shot once. Never thought I would live to get old before I found what I was looking for and felt at ease with me. It was like I had to prove to myself how gay I was and more importantly that it was ok no matter if god himself said the opposite.
 Particularly being young and butch without realizing I was,  I slit into a night life of dancing and cruising.  I had to even accept so money once, wanted to know if this was me. I actually envied guys that seemed to have no job and lived with a few roommates.

I worked hard and went to work with a suit and tie. Had my own place,  always had my own apartment.  This alone will keep me from drugs because I wanted to grow in my company or another company. I had  boyfriends coming over and boyfriends that moved in but I always kept my sense of belonging in a sane work.  To say I wish wanting to belong to a straight world but felt inside of me I didn’t because I always had to make up stories about my where a bouts.

 My love for my mother and the security I decided to keep by having a professional life I had and I was not going to fuck it up. I could go to work without sleep and boozed up from the night before but I was there on time and ready to do a job I though. One co worker would tell he knew when I had gone out because he would smell a nice aroma of cologne around my locker.

Had I would have gone down in drugs I would have never come back. A seemingly well off boyfriend I had that was into coke. It was the first time I tasted it and it fucked me up.  Went to work the next day after having breakfast with him. He went to work in the West village and I headed to work midtown.  Not two hours into work I was being rushed in an ambulance to the hospital.  Once was enough I had to leave my boyfriend and keep my goals.  What if I could just turn straight by having enough gay sex to hate it,  it would be great! I thought  but that never happened. Instead I became who I was and that was cool.
                                                             

Adam for ever
 On the left is my mom and on my right my second mom and main Seminary Teacher
I’m at the center on my 3 yrs Graduation Ceremony,  I was 18. I spent 14-18 at the Seminary working to pay for my studies there.



June 15, 2015

Sex without Fear




Left: “I equate PrEP to the Pill. People had a backlash against it at first, thinking it would lead to promiscuity. I’m being a pioneer and a guinea pig, and why not?” —Nathan
Right: “I use condoms but not with one guy, a friend with benefits. I’m HIV-negative, and he is, too, to my knowledge, but I’d consider going on PrEP to be more cautious. I can get it through my mom’s insurance.” —Sherrod   

Gabriel and his friends like to go dancing at places in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen like Viva and Pacha. One night last winter, they ended up at a downtown club hosting a circuit party, a huge gay rave with throbbing, industrial house music. The theme was leather and S&M, and Gabriel* wore a singlet. He’s usually the least interested in drinking of the group­—he’s the responsible planner—but as the night wore on, he wound up becoming very drunk and very high and making out with lots of men. “I was feeling the fantasy of it all,” he says. A couple he vaguely knew grabbed him. They wanted to do more, insistently. Gabriel resisted at first and then, he says, decided to just give in to the spirit of the evening. It felt, at the time, freeing and hedonistic. 
But he hadn’t been wearing a condom when they had sex, and in the morning, he woke up wanting nothing more than to regain control over that moment. Gabriel is a 32-year-old real-estate broker. He had tested negative for HIV the last time he’d been to a clinic. Terrified that might change, he went to Callen-Lorde, a health clinic in Chelsea, where he was placed on a 28-day course of a full HIV-medication regimen. When taken within three days of exposure, it dramatically reduces the chances of infection—something like the morning-after pill for HIV. Gabriel didn’t react well to the course: He felt nauseous and drained the whole time. 
He never wanted to go through that again—neither the physical or the psychological anguish. So Gabriel got a prescription from his doctor for Truvada. Truvada is a ten-year-old HIV-treatment pill that, in 2012, quietly became the first drug to be approved by the FDA for a new use: to prevent HIV infection. The drug has the potential to dramatically alter the sexual behavior—and psychology—of a generation. When taken every day, it’s been shown in a major study to be up to 99 percent effective. For Gabriel, it was like switching to birth control instead of Plan B. 
Several months after starting the drug, Gabriel says it’s allowed him to be bolder and more unapologetic in his desires, to have the kind of joyfully promiscuous, liberated sex that men enjoyed with one another in the decade or so after the Stonewall riots brought gay life out from the shadows and before the AIDS crisis shrouded it in new, darker ones. 
For some men, Truvada’s new use seems just as revolutionary for sex as it is for medicine. “I’m not scared of sex for the first time in my life, ever. That’s been an adrenaline rush,” says Damon L. Jacobs, 43, a therapist who has chronicled his own experience with the drug on Facebook so enthusiastically that some assume Gilead, the drug’s manufacturer, must be paying him. (It’s not, say both he and Gilead.)
“I stayed the night with a guy I knew, whom I believe to be HIV-negative,” he tells me. “We passed out, too drunk to fuck.” In the morning, they tried again, without a condom. “He was getting close to coming,” Jacobs relates, “and he said, ‘Do you want me to pull out?’ and I said, ‘No.’ I thought, I want this experience. I deserve this.”

For the past several years, the conversation about gay life has been, to a large degree, a conversation about gay marriage. This summer—on social media, on Fire Island, at the Christopher Street pier, and in certain cohorts around the ­country—what many gay men are talking about among themselves is Truvada. And what’s surprising them is how fraught the conversation can be. For some, like Jacobs, the advent of this drug is nothing short of miraculous, freeing bodies and minds. For doctors, public-health officials, and politicians, it is a highly promising tool for stopping the spread of HIV.
But for others, a drug that can alleviate so much anxiety around sex is itself a source of concern. They worry that Truvada will invite men to have as much condom­less sex as they want, which could lead to a rise in diseases like syphilis. Or they fret that not everyone will take it as religiously as they ought to, reducing its effectiveness and maybe even creating resistance to the drug if those users later become HIV-positive and need it for treatment. And just as the birth-control pill caused single women in the sixties to wonder whether they’d be seen as “sluts” and to internalize that real and imagined shame, some gay men wonder how Truvada will play in the straight world; it sends a strikingly different message from the one in the “Sunday Styles” wedding announcements. Other gay men worry that the very existence of such a drug is a kind of betrayal: of those who’ve died in the epidemic; of fealty to the condom, an object alternately evoking fear and resilience, hot sex and safe-sex fatigue; and of a mind-set of sexual prudence that has governed gay-male life since the early ’80s. Even after treatments for HIV made it a manageable disease for many, gay men have absorbed the message that a latex sheath is all that stands between them and the abyss. Meaning not only HIV infection but everything it implies: loss of self-control and personal dignity, abdication of civic responsibility.


This is the Future a new Chapter

They ended up taking baths together all winter long. But it was only in March, when they were both in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, that they fell in love. “I realized,” says Herrera, who previously had found Beard a little dour, “that a New York winter is not the time to see the best in someone.”
When they got back to the city, Herrera was faced with a dilemma. He wanted them to sleep together without a condom, but Beard’s HIV undetectability wasn’t enough to ease his mind. Herrera started looking into going on PrEP. 
“I felt an incredible loss of control, constrained,” says Herrera. “I thought previously I’d go on PrEP for every slut in New York City, then I found myself thinking of going on it for just one guy. I felt like I was being pulled into a big public-health trend, not to mention Gilead’s coy indirect marketing. Was it really the best thing for me?”
Beard would say to Herrera only that it was his body and his decision to make, but says he wasn’t comfortable having condomless sex, as a top, unless Truvada was involved. 
Herrera went through the paperwork of getting on an Obamacare plan and going on PrEP. “I was a Latino immigrant who grew up without health care,” he says, “and finally I had a reason to be in a health structure and go to the doctor and get checked up every three months.” He took his first dose of PrEP with a huge can of Sixpoint beer and posted on Facebook a picture of the can alongside the Truvada bottle. One friend posted a frowny-face (perhaps thinking Herrera had HIV), but another wrote, “The future is now!” while yet another PrEP-taker said he liked to take his with a mimosa.
After ten days, once they were sure the Truvada had kicked in, Beard penetrated Herrera without a condom. “I was afraid I was going to hurt him,” says Beard. “I was dazed all day after,” Herrera replies. He smiles.
Homosexuality is separated from heterosexuality by the simple matter of whom one desires. And for 50 years, gay men have experienced an extreme series of turnabouts in their collective sexual psychology. The closets of the pre-Stonewall period gave way to the abandon of the ’70s, which was met with death and then shame and anxiety. And now? I ask Herrera how he felt about being on PrEP after what he called “the temper tantrum in my head” he’d experienced before starting the treatment—one in which it seemed like the various debates of the last half-century of gay sexuality were colliding, in miniature, as he made this one decision. 
He pauses. “It feels like the future, like a new chapter,” he says. Then Herrera surprises us by starting to cry. After all, a powerful history of desire and dread intertwined is not easily undone. “I feel very proud because a lot of men have died for me to be able to do this,” he says. 
Beard takes Herrera’s hand. “Leo thinks out loud,” he says. And then, to me, “Why should we continue punishing ourselves?”

 3 yrs after this picture was taken
at a Manager’s conference, I stopped smiling.
These two stories out of a six story appearing at nymag.com with the same theme, sex without fear.
 I picked the first and the last because I believe it represents the point of where we are in the history of HIV and stopping the transmission without stopping the sex lives of people that are in nature very sensual and aware of the mental implications on gay sex. Yes all sex starts with the mind but it doesn’t end there. Gay sex because the stigma that was attached to it and still is in many minds, it becomes more important than just an orgasm. When you put your life on the line to accomplish something with another man it just doesn’t get more important or mind boggling than that. This is as personal as it gets, sex between two men.

We have beg, fought and marched to get science to catch up with this just like it has with other viral epidemics. With a late start and always a lack of funding we are at the point in which rate numbers in many places have stopped going up and in some down. New York City an example of how hard it can hit when you have so many subjects, it’s managed to control these rates on the sex equation of it and that alone is a message to those places in which the rates are going up which in many instances in places where there were little reporting and lots of denial. Still NYC serves as an example that they can get on top of it. I don’t want this piece to be an argument of numbers instead I want to bring forth something that we should be talking about sex without fear; Sex is good and it can be safe and condom-less. Condoms had their time but they were never made for gay sex and never 100% effective.
My fear my sex

The second time that I can remember having sex in a particular sexual position or way with another man and having both wear condoms, still I became HIV. My next relationship two years after that was with a man who was HIV-. Condoms had to be the answer and they had to work every time for my sanity and protection of my partner. This time they worked. My sex life was lacking and no matter how much intercourse I had with my partner it took so much control over my mind not to think of what if it breaks? question. 
What ever information about the safety in oral sex was not made public so there I was denying him something he wanted very badly and he was willing but I was not, he probably got it someplace else. I split up because he was a bad partner. No the one to grow old with. but the one that will make you old. There are other reasons but for his privacy’s sake I wont go into details. He had too many issues being the gay son of alcoholic, homophobic parents. Sadly enough his next partner was also HIV but there was no condoms and he ended up becoming HIV. 

Had Prep been available then, Im sure he would have not turn with his next partner and I would have broken up with him a lot sooner than sticking it out with a guy that was killing me without a gun. I stuck it out with him for 5 years because I didn’t think anyone else would want me. Those five years cost me so much in every way you can think. If I thought of the price I paid for this relationship I could not finish writing this piece, is that emotional with me still. I refused an HIV- partner after that and that shrunk the pool of decent kind of guys that could be available to me. Guys with the normal luggage and everyday problems.

Editorial

I am so happy no guy particularly guys above 30 and single have to go through what I experienced. I think is time we put a tap on the fear and tapped it out. Wether you are negative today or positive, go for the man not the disease. Its better an HIV+ partner than a lier, obese, gym bunny,alcoholic, cheater, drug, computer, porno, Fb addict.  I’m open to an HIV- negative guy but one word out of place at the beginning makes me assume(yes assume) he might not be educated in this disease and I could not start from scratch again. The truth is and some people would want my hide for saying this but many HIV guys have a lot of issues they have not dealt with. They have made themselves damaged. They went for bad habits in order to survive and thinking they never had a future. I know it because I did. I never planned one day ahead never for the future because I thought I had none. I let life just pass me on by.  Didn’t become a full alcoholic nor a druggie but I was damaged in other ways. 
Not damaged anymore because I know the truths and you know the truth will set you free. I’m free of most of my fear. Im free of religion, gods, lies, etc. I try to be tuned to the earth and the spirit. These things you can do without posting false messages on Facebook or trying to feel better by selling snake oil.  It is wrong to be telling people their life will be good if they have faith or believe in this or that. Gays of all people you would expect to know better. But as an HIV person, some try to hold on into anything for help. You will never know what that is unless you became HIV, particularly from 10-30 yrs ago. Sex, Religion and politics are personal. But only sex and religion have to do with the heart, no one has the right to prescribe to you on those unless asked for particular help.

 My truth is mine because I found it. Your truth might be different and it might not be with loving Christ and the Pastor but surely it has to do with fear. Only you will know. One shoe size does not fits all.  You don’t dwell in what you don’t know today  you might figure out tomorrow. I get better everyday without the fear of tomorrow. Im starting to plan again. The problem is I have wasted much valuable time trying to find answers that only life was going to give me on its own time. 

April 10, 2015

At 37 in Rhasthan India his sons R Aware of his being Gay and His Wife is friend with his Partner


                                                                            
 Gay couple dressed as newly weds at pride in India
                                                                               

Recently, an apparel brand conducted a survey to gauge the mindsets of people in Mumbai. Dating was among the many aspects that this survey covered. Among the interesting insights that emerged was the statistic that 60 per cent of the people who were polled, said that they didn’t mind dating people of the same sex. 
Given that homosexuality is still a controversial topic in India — most people from the LGBT community are also vocal about facing discrimination — not many are known to disclose details about their sexual orientations. So, this insight surprised us. 
To gain a better understanding of the challenges that members of the LGBT community face every day, we approached a city-based 37-year-old homosexual man, who is married to a woman, to share an honest account of what it is like to be in his situation. Here’s what he said.
*****
hail from a small district in Rajasthan. I am not sure when I realised I was gay, but I was only four or five when I fell in love with a boy from my area. We would play a game, in which I would be the husband, and he would be my wife. I would wait outside his house for hours to see him. I wanted to kiss him, and be kissed by him. We would sing songs for each other. This went on till I was 10. That’s when he got married.

Back then, child marriage was common in my family, as well as in the area we lived in. Soon, my friends also started getting married. Since my lover had already been married off, I, too, got married to a girl when I was 11. At that time, I did not know that there are other people like me. I did not understand the implications and responsibilities that come with marriage. 

Later, I moved to Mumbai. My wife was still in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. We used to talk over the phone, but I didn’t feel the need to tell her about my sexual orientation. We got married again (this time, formally) when we were older. I had a boyfriend at that time, but we were not in a physical relationship. I even invited him to my wedding, and he didn’t mind attending it, since he knew my marriage was a social obligation.

After my wife moved to Mumbai, I told her I was gay. She was in denial, and thought I was talking nonsense. She suggested I get help, citing an instance where a girl came on to her once, but that hadn’t changed her sexual orientation. I tried to explain to her that no one had forced me to be gay, but she couldn’t understand. She believed that two men can only be friends.

After a few years, people started taunting me for not bearing children. So I even had two kids with my wife. Whenever she would lie next to me, I’d feel anxious about the prospect of having sex with her. Now, we have sex whenever she feels the need to, but not frequently. It pains me to make her go through this.

I have considered getting a divorce, but my wife and in-laws feel it would shame the family. My wife tells me that I am her first love, and that she won’t stop loving me till she dies, even if I am with another man.

After 15 years together, she has now understood my sexuality. She is also friends with my current boyfriend, and has become my best friend and confidante. Now, everyone in my family knows that I am gay. But they still don’t understand what that means.

My children are now 11 and 13, and are aware of my sexual orientation. I have been talking to them about gay couples, making sure they are open to the fact that people can be in same-sex relationships. They are very supportive, and have even faced harassment because of me. I have fought with people in my society for troubling my kids. I tell them not to treat them the way they treat me. I don’t talk to people in my area. I also don’t attend any festivals, family gatherings or marriages, for my family’s sake.

I know that people in my locality discreetly talk about my sexual preferences. They don’t understand what it means to be gay. Even if I go to a hospital for some treatment, and people there learn that I am gay, I am ignored just because of my sexuality. I don’t see things changing for me or for other gay men in the near future — not at least in my lifetime.

I’ll continue living the way I have lived my life so far. There is no other option for me. 

December 11, 2014

Being Gay in Romania




“Back in the 1990s, it was dangerous to even go to the pub,” Andreea Nastasa said, of queer life in Bucharest, Romania. While one or two venues were known to be gay-friendly, or at least places where queer people congregated, the authorities posed a problem. “We were all afraid of the police. If we saw them in their uniforms, we would just disappear.”                                          
That’s because before 2001, queer Romanians’ public and private life was shaped by Article 200 of the country’s penal code. One of a number of socially conservative reforms introduced by Nicolae Ceaușescu in the late 1960s, Article 200 made “sexual relations between persons of the same sex” punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. In 1996, the section was revised to prohibit only acts “committed in public or producing a public scandal.”
“You couldn’t hold hands on the street,” Nastasa said. She explained that gays and lesbians hanging out together used to designate a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” of the opposite sex so that they could pair off if the police came. “The police would ask us certain questions to be sure if we knew or were intimate with each other,” she said. This stopped after the full repeal of Article 200 in 2001  “because the police couldn’t just ask us for identification if we were together in a group of girls.”
Nastasa is the administrative director for ACCEPT, the first NGO to defend and promote the rights of LGBTQ Romanians. At the group’s offices in Bucharest, I met with Nastasa, along with Daniela Prisacariu, the programs officer, and Teodora Ion-Rotaru, the programs assistant, to discuss the legal status of LGBTQ people in Romania, as well as their everyday lived experience.
“The causes for [Article 200’s] repeal were multiple,” Ion-Rotaru explained. “Romania wanted to join the European Union, and the rights of minorities had to be protected” according to the Copenhagen Criteria for membership. Romania’s relations with the West and pressure to introduce anti-discrimination legislation came into play. “There was also the efforts of ACCEPT”—founded in 1994—“which advocated heavily for its abolishment.”
“During the 1990s, political parties did not discuss LGBTQ rights,” Ion-Rotaru continued. Nowadays, “politically there is a consensus within the mainstream parties that people should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. But that is where the conversation stops. Most mainstream politicians, even in informal discussions, will say something like, ‘Romania isn’t culturally prepared to accept same-sex civil partnerships.’ ”
Indeed, same-sex marriage or civil unions are not on the horizon. Klaus Iohannis, the president-elect of Romania, said during the recent election campaign that “nobody should be persecuted because they belong to a different group or they are different,” but he prefaced that remark by reiterating his commitment to the traditional family. The last time the Romanian parliament voted on same-sex marriage, the proposal was defeated handsomely, and in 2009, the civil code was rewritten to explicitly define marriage as being of one man and one woman.
Not to be discounted is the creeping influence of voices on the far right, including that of Iulian Capsali, a Romanian Orthodox priest who also trained as a lawyer, who presented himself during the European elections in May as “the candidate of the Romanian family,” opposed to abortion and “homosexual culture.” These voices are being amplified due to the work of external forces, Ion-Rotaru told me. “Russia, our neighbor, is exercising political pressure,” as are churches. “American pro-life organizations are also providing funding and spreading ideas in Eastern Europe.”
                                                            
In a survey conducted in April 2013 by Romania’s National Council for Combating Discrimination, 31 percent of Romanians said they would not feel at all comfortable around a gay person; 54 percent said they would never have a meal with a gay person; and 48 percent said they would be very disturbed if they found out that a family member was gay. “LGBTQ people are the second-most discriminated-against group in Romanian society, after people living with HIV and AIDS,” Ion-Rotaru said. “Eighty percent of Romanians would not vote for someone who is LGBTQ.”
How can these social attitudes be explained? “Religion is a very important aspect of being Romanian,” Prisacariu said. In the 2011 census, 81 percent of Romanians self-identified as Romanian Orthodox, with a further 11 percent saying they belong to another Christian denomination. Organizations within the church have been “getting better” at advocating against the rights of LGBTQ people, “changing their discourse and finding ways of achieving things through legislation.” Today, the Romanian Orthodox Church “is the most trusted institution in Romania,” Ion-Rotaru said. Instruction in the Romanian Orthodox faith is part of the education system from the first grade, and until recently it was a compulsory part of the curriculum. (That class is now something children must opt into rather than ask to be excused from, as used to be the case.)                                                         

What’s more, most Romanians don’t have access to decent information about sexual orientation and gender identity due to a lack of adequate sexual education in schools. “We have sex education, but it is usually about abstinence and abortion” and is taught by people who aren’t qualified, Prisacariu said.
The social climate, along with the demographics of a society where around half the population still lives in rural areas, mean there is problem with LGBTQ visibility: Few Romanians are willing to come out. At least in Bucharest, where there has been an annual Pride parade since 2005, there is something of a gay life. The city initially refused to authorize GayFest, telling organizers that it could not guarantee participants’ safety because soccer games were taking place at the same time. It took intervention by the federal government for the city to allow it.
“There are gay venues”—which are often expensive, since the gay community is a captive market—“but if you are in a group, nowadays in the central area [of Bucharest] you can go anywhere,” Nastasa said. “Of course you can go anywhere,” Prisacariu added, “but you cannot be open. If I kiss my partner, even in a venue that is really gay-friendly, it’s not that someone is going to hit me in the head. But there will be the usual guys who stare at you and make weird remarks, as if you’re some sort of extraordinary thing.” 
Liam Hoare is a freelance writer whose work on politics and literature features in theForward and the Tower. He is a graduate of University College London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

October 4, 2014

Kenyan Gay Life in a violent Homophobic Country



'Stories Of Our Lives' is a film depicting the lives of LGBTI Kenyans
Stories Of Our Lives was originally made anonymously to protect the cast and crew.Photograph: The Nest Collective
When most directors await the release of their film, the worst they can expect is a negative review. For Jim Chuchu, the fallout could have been far worse.
That’s because the Kenyan artist and filmmaker had chosen to tackle a subject often shrouded in secrecy in his home country: the experience of LGBTI individuals. The resulting film, Stories Of Our Lives, presents viewers with five fictionalised vignettes, but the stories it tells reflect a wider reality. 
In Kenya homosexual sex acts are punishable by up to 14 years in prison, though convictions are rare. Nonetheless, the Kenyan Human Rights Commission reported in 2011 that “LGBTI persons are routinely harassed by the police, held in remand houses beyond the constitutional period without charges being pressed against them, and presented in court on trumped-up charges”.
Chuchu, together with fellow members of Nairobi-based artists’ collective The Nest, travelled around Kenya to collect hundreds of accounts of what life is like for gay and transgender citizens. He says their film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, is a composite of these stories. It feature lesbian schoolgirls, a closeted gay man in love with his straight best friend, and – inevitably – homophobic attacks.
In some cases, the dialogue was taken straight from the audio interviews conducted by Chuchu and his collaborators. But the idea of making the film as a documentary was rejected by the collective.
“We felt that the documentary format wouldn’t give us the breadth and nuance of narrative storytelling,” Chuchu says. “We wanted to find the universal stories within the multiple individual tales.”
Chuchu said in one interview that he would never have been able to create his film in neighbouring Uganda, where an anti-gay bill was passed last December decreeing that “repeat homosexuals” should be jailed for life. The bill has since been declared invalid by the constitutional court, but a climate of homophobia and anti-gay violence prevails. 
In Kenya, the film-makers are awaiting a decision by the local film classification Board, which will determine whether the film can be screened locally. A ruling is expected next week.
Chuchu and his co-producers initially decided to release the film anonymously, to protect the cast and crew from possible backlash. But ahead of its premiere in Toronto they changed their minds, and put their names to it - explaining their decision in a statement
“We made this film because we believe strongly that the fight for the right to define one’s self, the right to be complex and different and unique, should be fought for proudly and openly,” they said. 
The film, shot using only one camera on a budget of $15,000, has received enthusiastic reviews abroad. But for Chuchu, the most gratifying responses have been closer to home.
“We have received a lot of goodwill and positive curiosity from many Kenyans who feel that they want to see the film and engage with the conversation around LGBTI identities,” Chuchu says.

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