I reluctantly started to watch the TV series Pose, to be honest, and when I saw and the promo clip it and it didn’t appeal to me because I’m not really into all that it bitchy vogue thing, in fact, it’s the only song from Madonna I loathe.
Anyway, I didn’t go, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it broke my heart an almost every episode, it set in the late eighties in series one and focuses on primarily the black and Latino Trans and gay community. Several other characters are living with her HIV, remember at this time there was no medicine.
The sense of community and support of the characters and the Trans women the open houses and took in the waifs and strays, the young gay men who had been kicked out of home and rejected by the parents. The other Trans women or on different stages of their journeys.
So, a focus is on the ballrooms and the competition to be the best queen in a particular category of dance and or movement when they win a trophy and the competition can be quite stiff had lost a bitching.
Series two places to 1990 the start of a series is an island where all of the people with our families and or and claimed are buried. The two main characters both of them have HIV and are burying yet another friend and the person in charge of the island is prejudiced to be HIV positive people are saying at biohazard suits have to be worn as a did know how this virus was spread, which instantly at the time was a blatant lie I as they knew how it was transmitted.
He got me thinking as if about that time I came out in 1992 and it was plainly obvious who had HIV on the gay scene, he would see guys stick-thin often coming KS lesions sometimes weeks away from death, there were pages and pages of obituaries in the gay press on with guys who died that week or month.
But the gay male community was an only dealing with this it was dealing with or extreme homophobia in society and in media law had just been passed prohibiting schools from discussing LGBT issues.
I knew of the case of a friend on the day of the funeral of his long term partner the family removed all of a possessions of his partner from the house and demanded payment in lieu of the things they bought together because at that time I relationships when recognized in the Law and in fact even guys with wills leaving everything to their partners often this would be contested and the family would win.
I can’t help believing that the gay male community especially the guys 45 and over that carry the trauma or of I this. I am HIV- and I managed and despite not always being safe not to contract the virus. However I was always understanding and empathic towards guys in with her HIV and I never and turn anyone away sexually because of their her HIV status, in fact him several guys and who were HIV commented on it and my reaction was why would guys reject you, if you are going to have safe sex, and I didn’t get it.
Anyway watching the scenes from Pose, where they are on the HIV ward and guys are dying from the virus my heart truly broke off and myself and floods of tears and thinking and feeling how scared they must have been there, scared of dying, scared of getting very sick with a virus, scared because their family had rejected them and under different circumstances were living there with them holding their hands. Scared because of society and its HIV. prejudice and stigma not to mention the homophobia and of course racism because of these characters and a black and Latino.
Even the white middle-class guys and they went spared in the early days, even when AZT in didn’t clear everybody and had horrific side effects, about my friend Paul was started on AZT body was too late for him and he died less than a year after being diagnosed they had been in the virus for very long time and are not tested a suspect because he knew he was somebody, like many gay men of that time he had been rejected by family. Of course, when meds did become available the wealthier gay men in the US had access to them, but there was still a sense of community because they would either leave money to HIV causes or ensure guys who couldn’t get access to meds got theirs
That decade before they found the medicine that would make a difference and extend people’s lives in the UK and 1500 gay men a year were dying of a virus and this was always the infinitely more in America are and across Europe and. Even in the early days of combination therapy guys were taking 30 to 40 tablets a day.
Thankfully now that’s down to two or three and if your viral load is undetectable and you keep on the medicine you pay no risk of transmitting the virus and yet people still stigmatized and have a prejudice against HIV positive guys. While other guys engage in risky behavior at chem sex parties thinking they’re safe in the knowledge of they just have to take some pills and it will be OK and
But watching the scenes really got me feeling how fucking awful it was and how scared and alone and of these guys must have felt and he really broke my heart to remember this and think how far our community has come although he used the term community loosely because we do not have the same community now that we had a back then an unfortunate effect of having rights now.
Because of this the back there and we had to look out for each, we ethnic out for each other and look after each other especially when people fell sick of more when funerals need to be arranged, especially when the community had to mobilise and to fight prejudice and stigma on two fronts and to activate and engage in ways to prevent the virus from spreading because governments, especially in America and the UK, were not responding adequately to the virus most likely because it was killing faggott and queers and some people believe it was more than we deserved. And
I would ask all my gay brothers please reflect on these facts, and if you’re on medicine and in well with her HIV please her brave act if you’ve got because the people at came before you who were not here now didn’t get that chance. If you don’t know your HIV status or yeah HIV negative, also celebrate the fact you’re here and well and that’s an there are many ways and to either prevent me from becoming HIV positive, to deal with any risks that might happen and if you ask me to become HIV positive and your life chances are 1000 times better than they were 25 years ago.