Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm probably a bad person

Is it wrong for me to be confused at times by this whole gay thing? Is homosexuality supposed to make sense to me just because it is the only thing I have ever known?

At times it seems like homosexual culture is affected by entirely different values than I understand. Let me tell you a short story.

Last night, after playing the Timpani in a percussion methodologies course at my university, I gave a good friend of mine a ride home. For some reason this friend has become quite inundated with sex recently. In conversation, she is always talking about sex - masturbation - intimacy. These are topics I don't shy away from, but I also realize that these are topics she is not really interested in talking about. Something happened to her last week to change this - I don't know what it was, but it seems as though sex is flocking in her direction.

So, while driving her home, we started talking about sex. She brought up the old television show Queer as Folk, which she proudly spent most of her high school years watching at home. I did not - but I have seen one part of an episode.

Apparently that part that I saw was a big deal - because I can find the scene on Youtube.

I'd love to deconstruct this scene and what it taught me about homosexuality while I was still in the closet - and the misconceptions that I developed as a result. But that isn't the point of this post.

Somehow, in my discussion about sex with my friend, I brought up this video clip. I told her, quite frankly and quite comfortably, that I would never consider having a serious sexual relationship with anybody who was HIV positive.

She told me it that she was sorry for me. I hate this line - it is far too... evangelical for my liking. But it is interesting; the combination of pity and sympathy is just a little too guilt-inducing to ignore.

I expanded this list of people with whom I would attempt to never have sexual relations with to include those who have other STIs.

She then mentioned that her uncle was able to have a wonderful relationship with his partner for 10 years before he passed away, and that his partner never contracted HIV. Which really made me feel like shit.

But I wonder if it is wrong of my to limit sex to those who aren't affecting by an unfortunate, and entirely unintentionally transmitted, disease. Is it wrong to wish to protect myself from the risk of contracting these infections as well?

I can understand the humanistic perspective that she was presenting; the social annexation that one can experience as a victim of STIs and the lack of intimacy that can result can very negatively affect one's psyche. I totally understand this. But, that being said, Che Guevara didn't go around sleeping with lepers. Neither did Mother Theresa. And, though I think I am relatively aware of the importance of intimacy, do I turn my sympathy for those without intimacy into a serious sexual relationship?

No. And certainly not for those reasons.

I don't deny that I am able to love somebody who has an STI - that I am able to choose to love somebody who has HIV. But I don't know if I am prepared to take the serious risks of sleeping with somebody that can so easily infect me. Is this wrong?

I feel like I need to be educated.

1 comment:

  1. (My apologies for such a long comment. I didn't realize it'd end up being so long when I started writing it.)

    I thank you for this post, because it actually got me thinking too. I have a very close friend of mine who is barely 23 years old who is in a serious relationship with a man who's a few years older and who happens to be positive. When they started dating and he found out about it, he immediately got in touch with me asking: "What do I do now?"
    My reaction then, and it hasn't changed over time, was: "If you love him, you love him. Keep loving each other and make sure you're uber-careful and play safe."
    His reaction (and fear): "But how long is it gonna last?"
    To which I replied: "But how long do relationships last anyway? How many couples break up after ten years? How many of them actually do manage to live happily ever after? Maybe you should live it for the moment, for the now, for the joy, love and support that you can bring each other, right now?"

    And of course, the two of them are involved and happy etc. The question you are raising is a different one: Does one get sexually involved, even with precautions, with somebody who has a STI?

    I think you're being harsh on yourself by calling yourself a "bad" person. Isn't it legitimate for one to protect oneself anyway? Wouldn't it make you a total masochist is you went about putting your own health and sanity at risk, knowing all the social stigma that it may entail?

    And yet, aren't others going through the same stigma and ought you not to be "sensitive" about it? I think you could be sensitive about it by simply not "actively discriminating" against people with STI. Example: You meet somebody who has a STI and who wants to be intimate with you; you sit down together and explain that you can't go ahead with you because you are actually discriminating against that person and that you acknowledge that you are discriminating against him/her (because you are refusing to be intimate with him/her because of the STI) but then, we all discriminate in certain ways: some refuse to sleep with persons of color, or with older people etc. If you explain this so-called "discrimination" or "bias" of yours and communicate it rightly (as opposed to actively persecuting the person, beating him/her up etc.), you ought not to feel bad of yourself.

    Finally, as to what happens if you happen to fall in love with somebody who has a STD? Well, you just can't predict it. You never know how and why and when you fall in love. What if "the right one" happens to have a STD? What would you do? I am not too sure we can predict such things. You never know how you may end up reacting etc.