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7.22.2005

My Open Letter Of Sorts!

Happy Friday. My original post will have to wait until top of the week since we all have seemed to some how go haywire over Mr. Roberts post. I was going to write this earlier this week. Before Frank called our attention to what should be a constant thought in all our minds. But I decided to take full advantage of the moment now, while we seem to be thinking clearly...

I am rather neutral on Franks post, I do find it to be more than valid and I am glad that he opened the doors for discussion. I don’t feel that he called any of us out. I believe that he was posing a question to us all, since we are so vocal about other relevant issues that affect us as gay black men, he wanted our opinions on HIV as well. His point was to start dialogue and that was it. People always get their panties ruffled when “controversial” topics, questions, and comments are posed-but that is the problem, we always run away from reality because we don’t like to be “called out” own our own shit. I thank Frank for his post-and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Those who took it out of context are nothing more than guilty of their actions and insecure about their own issues with the topic and furthermore they are intimidated by Frank. It was a blanket statement, but again I really am neutral.

I do however feel that persons who are HIV positive and don’t disclose their status to those who are negative or ‘assume’ to be negative a problem, but those who are positive are also a large part in spreading the virus. Not to say that these HIV positive individuals are solely to blame, because they are not. It is the responsibility to both parties involved, to cover up your dick or abstain from sex to be 100% sure that you’re not placing yourself at risk. And to regularly get tested if you are sexually active.

Just a thought, what if a government ordered HIV test was required twice a year? What if it was a crime to have sex with someone who was HIV negative and not disclose your status to them?

I also have a problem with statistical data. There is error margin, and other factors, which inflate the number of cases…not to say that HIV isn’t the rise…but I think 46% is a bit far fetched…especially when the number of African-Americans in the U.S. is such a small number like 8%

That is my response to Frank’s post and this will be my last and only time that I will discuss HIV in this arena. People are aware of the decisions that they make, and they also know that the risk of contracting any STD is a gamble when having sex. The best preventative measure is to be abstinent, because we all know condoms are not 100% safe, and high risk sexual activity, like contact with blood and semen…and saliva in my opinion just enhances your whole chance. Not to say that I am an expert or telling you how to live your life because I am not one to talk, I am guilty of engaging in high risk sexual behavior as well.

The bottom line is, we know what to do but some of us just caught up in the “moment” of sex. You can’t really tell people how to live their lives either. We can talk about it until we’re blue in the face. The action lies on the individuals to change the course of their own health and life.

Switching gears to something that has been on my mind for the past week.


Why is that we cannot be constructive in uplifting each other sincerely IN AND GENUINE AND HONEST MANNER? By that I mean challenging each other to be the best that we EACH can be--not giving each other some sap ass, transparent comments on a blog comment box. We should really BE evoking thought and changes in each other for the better.

SOME of you may think I SHOULD NOT BE ONE TO TALK since all I do is talk shit, talk bad about people, and run my mouth WITH malicious, vindictive intent…but let’s really look at my scorecard.

There are a few bloggers that challenge us to think about our actions and inspire change, but my question is why can’t we call somebody on their shit? And help them…

We at times get so caught up in this life…we have all of these plaques, all of these titles, nice bodies, cute faces, nice clothes, nice bank accounts, the right social circles, the right last name, the right parents, the perfect dick size, the best of everything. What does all of that mean when we are selfish hypocrites wasting our lives being vain and not willing to uplift our own community? Or help each other in the struggle?

A few things bother me.

For instance (This was on my mind before Frank’s post) we have a fellow man who is infected with an STD that he cannot get rid of, HIV. But why is that every day he has a new episode of his sexcapade with a new man? And we think this is okay. We egg him on by saying, “Oh maybe you’ll find love,” “Good luck in your search, its hard for me too,” or “Just be patient your man is coming.” No one ever says maybe if you stop fucking so much-or hooking up to fuck then you’ll get a man! No one ever says respect yourself and change your life proactively for the better, because the promiscuous lifestyle that he glamorizes is probably what got him in his situation in the first place. No one ever asks him does he really respect himself-no one ever questions anything! They just sit back and watch him self-destruct. That bothers me. Where are we at to help him? Where are we at to help him find the beauty in his life? And don't say he doesn't want help...if he didn't then why would he expose his sexual behavior for the world to see?

ARE WE NOT OUR BROTHER'S KEEPER? Do we not care like we say we do? Are we really that selfish of a group not to have a brother-to-brother chat with someone that we see obviously hurting and acting out and degrading them in the process AND PUTTING OTHERS AT RISK?

We’re quick to give a fashion tip, talk about the new Louis Bag, take pictures at the club and broadcast them around the world, be all up in everybody’s business, smile in the face, turn around and backstab in the same breath, don’t support each other, find everything wrong with everyone else-and then have the nerve to complain and wonder why we have stereotypes and issues within our community.

I’ll justify my actions by saying this, since I am sounding overtly hypocritical. I find the positive in everything I do. Every time I write, blog, I challenge the mind to think, I try to take you to a different place so you can understand the struggle of the next man. I try to talk about my experiences in which you can learn from them, I try my fuckin’ best --my all even-- to be proactive in DECONSTRUCTING the stereotypes that linger over my head like clouds in a storm…and all this to say nothing, I don’t blow my own horn, but I know that people offended by my statement will try to show me in the worst light-and find everything wrong with my statement and try to twist it around on me…this is how the guilty and insecure mind works.

Stand for something.
Something that is different.
Strive to be different.
Strive to be more than mediocre.
Challenge everything.
Think out the box.
BE YOUR BROTHER'S KEEPER.
EVEN IF THAT MEANS CALLING HIM ON HIS SHYT.

“Quit Bitchin and Start a revolution!!!!”

To My bloggers who have taken me to a place of deep thought, shared their experience and challenged me to think, I thank you.

15 comments:

The Divo said...

Your content is great. But with the statistical data I do want you to remember that the percentage can only come from a group of people tested. Which doesn't reflect the entire USA as a whole. If they tested 100 people in the states that Frank listed that means that 46% of that group, which allows the government to make a hasty generalization that the whole population of people is that 46%. So although we only make up 8% of the country, the 46% comes from the clinical study which is usually a focused group amount, a little like family feud.

You are very tactful in your approach to this issue.

I am all for getting into the tails of our brothers in the Black Family and supporting them and pulling into the fold where we can support each other.

Good Work

Remember,

"The future is more promising once you acknowledge that it, to you, is not promised"

Karsh said...

What if it was a crime to have sex with someone who was HIV negative and not disclose your status to them?

It is, actually (at least here in Georgia). I don't know what the land of the law is out in Blue State land, but having sex with someone who is HIV+ and doesn't disclose their status is a felony. Just ask Garry Wayne Carriker.

To piggyback on your earlier statement, the problem with statistics on "widespread" studies like this depends on the population size and other variables. If the study consists mainly of clubbers, partiers, bathhouse regulars and the brothas on the corner, wouldn't it make sense that the stats are leaning more towards an outcome that HIV is on the rise?

There are a few bloggers that challenge us to think about our actions and inspire change, but my question is why can't we call somebody on their shit? And help them...

I agree with you there. But why wait on someone else to point out your shortcomings? The onus should come from within...n'est-ce pas?

Philly Bred aka Tony said...

You know what... you almost had me up until your example. I really don't know what to think about that. I don't know if you referring to an actually person or just pulled it out of your ass. But know that people have to live their lives their own way regardless is they're HIV+ or suffering from a bad cold.

Learn to not pass judgement on people. Just because some is positive doesn't mean that putting others at risk and just because we all don't follow the blog trends, doesn't mean that we're not knowledgable. I applaud your attempt in this post but it just doesn't sits right with me.

Frank León Roberts said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frank León Roberts said...

Karsh your comments below are without a question the most ignorant set of examples I've seen emerge from out of this entire discussion

"If the study consists mainly of clubbers, partiers, bathhouse regulars and the brothas on the corner, wouldn't it make sense that the stats are leaning more towards an outcome that HIV is on the rise?"

There is absolutely no coorelation between "club goers" "partiers" and HIV infection. Your logic is a specious as those who suggest that being on the DL inherently means that you dont practice safe-sex. We need to get away from further stigmatizing IDENTITIES (i.e. "niggahs on the corner", "club goers") and focus on ACTS ("unsafe sex"). It is THIS kind of finger-pointing, self-righteous, neopuritan, anti-public sex line of thinking that half the problem. Ironically, you just made a blog entry a few days ago about how you use "Men4NOW." Should we add you to the litany of people that are a "no brainer" example of those that would come back positive?

But I wouldnt want you to think that I'm "calling you out" now.

10:57 PM

Valentino said...

Writing a blog automatically puts you out on front street...(Don't we both know this.) I commend you for using YOUR OWN space to display your opinions and on a topic as serious as this one. Somebody has to point things out. Our community has a habit of sugarcoating and it's not helping at all.

Holiday N said...

I agree with Val.And I thank Frank for at least getting people to discuss it.Even if it's just this one time,people stopped being poite and started getting real.I say maybe they had to inflate the numbers to scare people,the same way you tell a child an outrageous lie about what happens when they don't eat their veggies just so they'll do it,maybe that's what this is.Once again,it needed to be discussed at least once to bring it to everyone's attention and now the rest is up to the individuals.
The revolution will be televised and I'll be in all Prada.

anthony davis said...

Trent if you have ever read any of the postings that I have written on your site as well as others you will know that I hold you in high regard. You hold it down and represent for those who bring something different than the norm to the table and for that I will say that you are the shit.I truly feel your post here as well as Franks post and although I respect the opinions of those who have opposing points of view, I just don't understand why it's being done in a manner that brings about such division.As I mentioned on Franks blog we have a common thread that unites us and that thread is that we are all black gay,bisexual,DL ,sgl or whatever you want to call it men. Instead of tearing now and attacking we need to embrace these opportunities for dialogue with our brothers because through dialogue comes action and through action comes change.

Tim said...

You know what Trent, let me just say this. It's because of crazy statements like you've made in your entry that make HIV positive people want to keep their mouths shut.

And furthermore, like I said in my blog, I do disclose my status to anyone and everyone I have an encounter with. Please don't confuse that with trying to kill off the population, at least I tell folks.

I would really appreciate it if you kept my name and any references to me (whether direct or indirect) off of your blog and out of your mouth, because karma is a muthafucka.

Introducing Alexander said...

Trent my friend.

People will always like to pick and choose what they read and then make it personal, while attempting to make you look ridiculous in the process. This is your blog and you shouldn't apologize for the opinions you put in print in this space. People will always have a problem with your statements!

If it ever comes to it, people will stop reading what you have to say. You and your fellow bloggers should know that you’ve made an impact when people respond to you negatively. Have you ever hear of someone innocent making a desperate plea to show how right they are?

When people take things like this topic (which are usually left to an individuals personal, sometimes diluted interpretation) they alienate themselves, and display an extreme level of insecurity. I am pretty sure you're off somewhere plotting your rebuttal...I can sense steam coming out of your ears! If people are going to come on your blog to talk shit they should email you on the side, just for the sake of us all don’t cut them in public. I know you would hate to further jeopardize some peoples wholesome image with your misinterpretation of truth.

This post was created to make us think. People are making it personal because they don’t know how or never dealt with anything of a critical nature. It’s really not that “big” of a deal.

In closing going off of what your nemesis said, If u ever did silence anyone from coming forth speaking about their positive HIV status I don’t think that I or Divo would be as comfortable as we are for sharing our opinions or continuing to post on your blog, or you being a friends with us. So lets get that straight.

My shit is laid out on the table…so what now?

The Divo said...

Timothy,

I would like you to be reasonable in your generalizations. I am positive as well and I am not in any way offended by Trents commentary, particularly cause I am not in the number of people that he is discussing.

If you are holding your stuff down, then you don't have to worry about being the ones who do not disclose. It is for our counterparts that don't have a clue, to get it through their mind that not disclosing, even though protected, is a flat out NO.

I am Positively Seasoned, 10 years. I tell everyone that needs to know, and the ones I sleep with, I tell them until they are absolutely sure they want to become involved. It is not my choice it is theirs.

Remember,

"The future is more promising once you acknowlwedge that it, to you, is not promised."

Quaheem said...

I do think that all parties involved have a responsibility....

Those who are of negative status have a RESPONSIBILITY to themselves (and to those they love and care for) to be safe and to be cognizant of the consequences that their potential "ACTIONS" could have...

I do strongly believe that those who are positive also have a responsibility to inform their "potential" lovers of their status....INFORMATION is powerful...GIVE the brotha the information and let HIM decide if that is a risk he is willing to take...Don't make that decision FOR him...

In either case...WE ALL MUST PROTECT OURSELVES...

And I think we cannot continue having this discussion without beginning to address issues of self esteem, worth, and personal relationships in the black GAY community...

Why is our VERY EXISTENCE seemingly defined in "sexualized" terms?

Why have a lot of us co-signed on to this?

How has the dysfunction in our environment(s) contributed to the dysfunction in a lot of our personal lives?

In my estimation prevention does not just consist of KNOWING the facts and statistics...There are so many scarred and troubled brothas out there who have decided that living is an OPTIONAL condition and therefore can, without conscience, place themselves in extremely RISKY circumstances...

How do we help those (including ourselves) who are hurting....so that they do NO become a part of these mind-blowing statistics?

Trent Jackson said...

Thank You Quaheem for addressing the entire post, not just what was said about HIV.

nathans said...

Your post was excellent Trent. Too often we make excuses for irresponsible behavior in the Black community. Too often we look to blame others for things we brought on our selves (STD's, drug abuseetc) or at least contributed (Women and guys on the DL.
Clearly lack of self esteem figures greatly in alot of the negative issues we face such as rampant promiscuity, deception,addiction and so on...
I persoanlly think we each have to be more corageous in believing in our selves first, our personal worth and the welfare of our communities. Keep posting things that stimulate us to talk!!

That Dude Right There said...

Trent,

I said that I was not gonna comment on this posting, but this one really bothers me. The message that you give out is a good one. But the delivery was not so up to par. You spoke of a fellow blogger in a very tasteless manner that was certainly uncalled for.

The message of coming together was proven null and void when you called the brotha out for something that you do not have first-hand knowledge of. That only leads to alienation of the worst kind. We are all in a fight against HIV, not the people who have it.

And no, I am not attacking you on this. Just informing you of my opinion.