Ottawa police in Canada were just trying to do a good thing for groups like the Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative, by raising money with a pancake breakfast. Except the homos don’t want their blood money.
That’s because gay advocates there are furious with Ottawa cops’ handling the of Steven Paul Boone case, where the man was publicly outed as HIV-positive in the name of “public health”; anybody who had sex with him was told they were at risk, after Boone allegedly had unprotected exchanges with a slew of men without revealing his status — something that has him facing murder charges.
Brent Bauer, of the Ottawa Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative, said Boone was charged, not convicted, and was already in custody, posing no threat to the public. Bauer said Ottawa’s public health department should have handled the case.
By releasing the photo, Bauer said, police invaded Boone’s privacy, and spread fear among gays, who might now hesitate to get tested for AIDS.
Bauer said the gay community was particularly galled when the police department refused to discuss changing their policy. Many believe the law regarding HIV-positive disclosure is flawed, and guidelines are needed to help police decide whether to lay charges.
Not that the gay groups are really losing out on that much cash: the annual breakfast raises just a few hundred dollars every year. But for folks like Jay Koornstra, executive director of Bruce House, it’s the politics behind it: “Until such time that Police Services adopts a more conciliatory and consultative atmosphere (in handling HIV non-disclosure) … our position remains unchanged. We will not accept donations from Ottawa Police Service this year.”