Read comments, letters, blogs and other items posted by the members of Positively Alive.
I AM BISEXUAL - I AM OPEN AND PROUD OF MY BISEXUALITY!
I have obtained permission from this member to share his letter. It has really given me a lot to think about. We have fought so hard to be accepted for who we are gay and proud. We fight for tolerance, understanding and acceptance of who we are. Yet if some says they are bisexual are we not often the first to say yea tell me another one.... Just another gay man not able to accept and embrace that he is actually gay. The writer of this letter has made me very aware that bisexuality has as much right to exist and be recognised as my desire to be recognised as being gay, or for that matter, for whatever sexual orientation a person has, or this I shall be grateful that he wrote so openly to me.
Your letter has opened my eyes. I think we all can ask ourselves the following questions:
- Are we tolerant of bisexual men and do we embrace that they are bisexual not through our ignorance and lack of understanding label them as gay men who cannot accept that they are gay?
- Do our services provide a place where bisexual men can be understood for who they are?
- Does our ignorance cause bisexual men feeling of isolation and intolerance?
- Do we make bisexual men feel at home in our gatherings and groups?
- Have we made an effort to better understand what the needs of bisexual men are?
- Do I listen and am I educating myself so that I have an understand of what a HIV+ bisexual man’s needs or am I simply dictating my own values and principles on others?
Consider the following - Discrimination is prejudice in action. Now with an open mind, read the letter below and I trust that through the honesty and open hearted letter written below we all might become better loving and more tolerant human beings...
The Positively Alive website site and the group meetings proved to be invaluable in my journey. I found out about my status a little over a year ago and met you and the guys 2 weeks later. Those first days were unimaginable. For quite some time I was even suicidal; it is just so overwhelming, that feeling that I can't explain - None of us can, but we've all been there! Just knowing that you’re not alone makes it easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Interaction with positive guys is essential. It's the only thing that what makes living with HIV manageable.
I haven't come out publically, but I do now know that a certain amount of relief comes with letting your loved ones know. I have only been able to tell one family member so far. The huge mental and emotional impact that HIV has on someone is most probably the greatest of all challenges. There are physical ailments which come along with it, most of which can easily be treated; I have learnt so much about my body over the past 12 months. A good diet and exercise is an everyday occurrence in my life.
I'm in such a good space and although we know that it has the potential to be a big deal if left untreated when treatment is required, it really isn’t such a big deal at all! Believe me, I do get it, but there’s no point in beating myself up about it for the rest of my life. I need to enjoy life to live long and live strong. If I’m regretting it then I’m holding onto something that overshadows every moment of every day. We can’t allow ourselves to think like that. I know you're "there" and because of you so am I. I was privileged enough to stumble upon some footage of you. Thank you for everything that you have done for so many of us.
I'm not sure if you do know, but I am in actual fact bisexual. This is also something which I've had to accept of myself, there's a large amount of guys who are bi but can’t accept this of themselves – this applies mostly to “straight” guys, but also some “gay” guys (guys who are more accepted by the gay community than the straight community). I feel like I’m coming out of the closet all over again. To be attracted to both sexes is quite widely thought of as unusual / odd, etc. often even more so than coming out / labelling yourself as gay.
I have had girlfriends in the past and now I have one again. Being with a woman again has raised more concerns in regards to what's safe and what's not with her. Guys and girls do obviously have quite different anatomies. I love every part of my female partners body as I have loved every part of past male partners bodies. Alas, there have been more guys than girls, but for some reason I keep “relapsing” (hahaha) on women. My partner knows my status and my sexual orientation, she's negative and straight (but that’s beside the point). We've educated ourselves as to what's safe and what's not. Pretty much everything is, so that's great! :-)
My point is, although the site says it caters for all spectrums of MSM, the gay community seems oppose this label. As a bi man I am also capable of falling in love and having meaningful relationships with both sexes. I’m sure that MSM should be viewed as a medical term only and that the emotional and spiritual aspects of us as gay / bi men should be left out of it. My perception is that everyone who attends the support group meetings is gay. Please correct me if I’m wrong? Bi guys are a bit different to gay guys... I’m the only bi guy I know who’s openly bi. Kind of like being the only gay in the village – LOL
I attended the training that you offered for FREE last year. Thank you so much Alan.
I have felt quite isolated at times, The Triangle Project has been absolutely amazing for me, and they have provided free counselling but also seem more geared toward the more mainstream (gay) positive guys.
I’m just sharing a bit, thought you might find this interesting.
Why a cure for AIDS will still mean your death.
Don’t you find it frustrating to see a bird being run over by a car ‘cause it tries to run away from the wheels instead of flying? Or a strong woman staying with an abusive man although she can survive on her own (yes mother I’m referring to you)? What about someone who lives under the Nelson Mandela Bridge although he has a dirty winning lotto ticket tuck somewhere in a mangy piece of underwear but hasn’t bothered to check yet?
Irritating isn’t it?
I want to raise a mirror today and ask you, my fellow HIV positive human beings, why do we chase any pinprick of light for a cure for AIDS as if that will absolve us from the inevitability of our own death? Here’s a thought: You are not going to die because you are HIV positive; you are going to die because you were born. If you want to, sit with it.
You were always going to die.
Too much? Can you look into the mirror and see your own mortality? Or will you scurry from one turning wheel to the next, worrying about ARVs losing its potency or being delirious because some German guy got cured of HIV…to die from, what, leukaemia? A brain haemorrhage? Drowning? Or if he is of the more delicately inclined in our ranks; a broken heart?
Yes , we fuck out. We look for things to numb ourselves from this reality through another bareback fuck, a group meditation looking for the meaning in a yellow Bison we saw jumping over the sun with a pink Prada bag or gathering mountains of research on this disease around us. God knows I went there and sometimes still go chasing down that Bison but are we not just running away from the true lesson by chasing HIV around the block?
Please. Please. Please. Why not leave your abusive relationship with this disease? Why not cash in this winning lotto ticket that you have obtained? Why not use these wings Grace has permitted you through awareness of your own mortality to soar with your remaining heartbeats? Why not dive into the humble freedom that comes from making peace with the passing nature of this adventure called life. The knowledge that you have been blessed. Part of the few who have been granted an opportunity to experience the inevitability of all life here in a way that can actually benefit other human beings around you instead of feeling sorry for yourself, staring at your blood results? Yes, take responsibility for your body but it is time to pick up your mattress, take the hand this disease has extended to you, get up and walk.
For some of us, maybe for the first time.
Hate this view or not, this is where I stand
Blog by: Nico F 14 August 2012
We are changed for life..
At the last Jozi Poz group meeting in Linden, an interesting question was posed by one of the guys attending the group.
In light of all the positive info coming out of the International AIDS Conference 2012, in the USA, and the possibility that science may be on the right track to an AIDS free generation, the faint hope may exist for many, that a possible cure is on the way in the distant future, Some of us now ask: How would we change as people if there was a cure tomorrow?
I know that both my partner and I have become very different people since our diagnosis and have become far more understanding, loving, compassionate and more respectful human beings. So much so that I am at present looking forward to getting involved in the HIV and Trauma Counseling fields as a Lay Councilor. I know now that I can and must make a difference in people’s lives. I am in fact actively looking for some study path in that field right now.
It is strange how some of our core values and beliefs have changed for the better and we are far more spiritual and less materialistic than we have ever been.
We have also perhaps become a little paranoid I think, mostly about our health, and every little pain condition is now bigger than life, from a slight cold to indigestion. I suppose that is to be expected to some degree.
You may think that there is some comfort in both being HIV positive, but the truth be told, when it comes to taking medication and good diet, that is probably true. It has a real downside too. We do now have to worry about both of our health and the financial implications. What makes things more challenging is that we run a business together and rely on each other to do so.
Will we go back to the way we were, or has this decease changed us for the better and made us better people with determination to make life better for our fellow man?
All we know is that we hope to be able to play a meaningful role in helping others to come to terms with what ever personal crisis they may face and for that we are truly grateful to this disease.
Cure or no cure we are changed for good.
Blog by M+H 31 July 2012
Positively Alive has the following ideals:
The laws of attraction:What you say and send out returns to you and will become your reality. Focus on sending out positively loving energy and it will return to you multiplied. The more love you use and give, the more it will return to you multiplied.
The invisible connecting thread between us all:We are all on this journey of life together and when we hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you remember – when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. Each of us is a vital thread in another person’s tapestry.
Forgiveness is the path to self love and self love the key to inner healing:stop all criticising, accept yourself as you are right now. Be gentle kind and patient with yourself as you are all you need to be for this moment right now. Accept your thoughts and don’t expect to learn it all in one day.
Johannesburg Pride - 26 October 2013 - Sandton
Positively Alive joined Health4Men and OUT from Pretoria at Johannesburg Pride held at the Sandton Sports Ground on teh 26 October 2013. The response from the LGBTI community was very encouraging while Gerhard from OUT provided free testing for the ladies, the team from Health4Men did so for the guys. The number of people that made the choice to test and know their HIV status was an incredible success.With encouragement from the Positively Alive team, handing out free waterbased lube and both male and female condoms and bringing a face to the HIV positive LGBTI community. The new Johannesburg Pride evnet might not have had the big numbers of previous years but the number of people that tested was was commendable. When Health4Men ran out of testing kits Gerhard from OUT just kept on going. I really need to make mention that the OUT team did a amazing job. Well done Gerhard and your team.
On being "clean"
Posted by PA - Member on September 9, 2014 at 14:37
Just the other day I got a message on one of the dating apps from a gorgeous overseas visitor staying in one of the hotels surrounding our complex.
He obviously liked what he saw and in no time I got an invite to join him for a drink at his hotel. (Ja well no fine).
We commenced a get-to-know-each-other-a-bit-better cyber chat and during this chat he stated that he was "clean" and expected the same...
I responded by saying that I take personal hygiene very seriously and do my level best to ward off body odour and other nasty things like halitosis, knob cheese, smelly crack and stinky feet.
Told him that I shower at least twice a day and that I make use of anti-bacterial soaps. I also mentioned that I am a little OCD with brushing my teeth and that I also use mouth wash to keep my breath fresh and minty during the day.
I am also a bit OCD with regards the laundry basket, frequently stuffing the washing machine to ensure a good supply of clean clothes in my cupboard.
I thought he'd be delighted to hear how "Good and clean and fresh" I was. :)
I never heard from him again. Guess he was not that impressed with my standards of personal hygiene.
Sad to say he was not the first "clean" guy I came across who made a judgement call on my "cleanliness" and dumped me before even meeting me.
So, when it comes to gay men who call me "unclean" or infer that I am "dirty" because of my status, my only advice to them is to go f&#k themselves.