Fact: Tremendous stigma still surrounds HIV. Just ask any gay man living with HIV.
Bang Bang Ladesh belongs to the Manchester chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. He recently shared a conversation he had with a man on Grindr, along with the caption: “And the fight to end HIV discrimination and stigma continues, even from within the LGBT community….”
And the fight to end HIV discrimination and stigma continues, even from within the LGBT community….
In the exchange, the guy sends Bang Bang a photo of himself along with a friendly simple “Hi.” Moments later–presumably after taking a closer look at Bang Bang’s Grindr profile, which mentions that he’s poz–he sends a second message.
“You’re poz? Sorry I take my Hi back.”
Then the guy blocked him.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Bang Bang, who tested positive for HIV seven years ago, explains: “I would never speak to someone like that. Why would you? Maybe he got me at the wrong moment, but he blocked me and I can’t answer back so I decided to screen shot it and just put it out there.”
“If I could get one person to see that that’s not acceptable behavior, then good.”
He adds that messages like this aren’t terribly common, but they do happen from time to time, and they do have an affect on him.
“I did have a cry. I don’t constantly have the energy to stand up and fight. Sometimes you’re home alone with your cats with some cold pizza and then you get a message like that.”
Despite feeling a bit down, Bang Bang says the experience reminded him about the importance of talking about HIV and educating others.
“Don’t be afraid of revealing your status,” he says. “Stand up to the bullies. We stand up to racism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia–we must fight against HIV stigma and ignorance.”
“Get out there and say you’re HIV positive. It’s not a big deal and I’m going to stop other people making it a big deal.”
h/t: Gay Star News