Yesterday a pair of young film makers turned up at the apartment to work with me on their well written but unfocused script.
The man was leaving as they arrived.
They said, “Wow, he’s gorgeous. Where do you meet men like that?”
Not in clubs or bars, not grindr or Manhunt. I meet men like that as we pass in the street. He said, “You looked mean.” I am…I suppose. I do. Keep the fuck away from me.
This is the third time I have heard this story, or one like it this past month. His sex partner had not told him the truth about his HIV status before he agreed to have unsafe sex.
He had been lied to.
I was shaking with rage.
Like J risked J’s life when he was fucking HIV+ artist Pal S behind her back, like X had been lied to…these innocent folk had made bad decisions based on the lies they were told.
On each occasion the liar had tried to make it the victim’s fault.
” You shouldn’t have believed me.”
“You must have realized.”
“I can’t talk about this right now, you are complicating my life.”
“What kind of straight man doesn’t play sports?”
He is 25 years old. A young man dealing with a huge problem. He told me that he feels like he has ‘gone back into the closet’, that ‘no one could possibly love him’, that he is ‘damaged goods’.
“How do you feel about the guy who infected you?” I asked.
“He’s evil.” he replied.
“Misguided?” I suggested.
No, I told myself, not misguided. I knew he was right. Deliberately infecting or risking the lives of others…is simply evil.
My phone rang, I made a plan to see a friend the following morning.
The boys looked at me askance. What? I said. ”I’ve never seen anyone make an arrangement like that on the phone. We text each other.” I felt suddenly dislocated from life. How come I didn’t know?
The kid with HIV is now at the mercy of the pharmaceutical companies who stand to take millions of dollars from him as he tries to stay healthy.
The same companies who promote their products in our gay publications… paying top dollar to do so.
Look at the pictures. Strapping, healthy boys living with HIV.
Big Pharma shaping this generations attitude toward HIV as a manageable/livable with disease… just like diabetes!
Turn your back on health education, embrace ignorance and a life shackled to Big Pharma. Enslaved at 25. My heart bled.
“I never knew anyone who died of AIDS.” he said.
It is another gay lie.
We don’t treat each other very well. We don’t talk about not treating each other very well.
They stop bullying us…we start where they left off.
If they don’t damage you…we will…with my lies and infected sperm.
It’s not getting better for the young man I met yesterday. It’s getting a whole heap worse. Straight bullies didn’t lie and infect him with HIV. Gay men did.
Gay men lied to three of my friends…confirming that it is not just an HIV epidemic, it is an epidemic of lies, betrayal and life threatening denial.
Uneducated, shamed, arrogant, drug fucked gay men with no principles.
Just like Jake.
The only reason I have to come back to NYC so frequently is to meet Jake in court. Prolonging the inevitable.
Forced, yet again, to indulge his tantrums, his ego, his selfishness.
Without me in his life to define him as the victim…what is he left with? Without me and his appearances in court…he returns to the mundane fixtures and fittings of the life that was…if one can call it a life?
Yet, when I am here in NYC, I make the most of it. Happily wiling away the days, finishing my novel, seeing movies, hanging with my buddies, walking the dog, enjoying the humid nights tangled in your arms.
When he left this morning we both said, almost in unison, ‘I don’t do goodbyes’. I don’t. He had his bicycle over one shoulder, he didn’t look back. I can still smell him on my fingers.
I will have a shower when I get back to LA.