Easy Does It

I am a 41yo gay man, a very amateur photographer in recovery.

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My Life, Living with HIV and Living Clean in New York City.


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    25 posts tagged Activism

    angelindiskies:

    The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

    self-portrait

    - Campaign Website »»The Big Push  

    - Read Article and Submit Your Portrait»»Huffington Post 

    http://awny2014.kintera.org/angelindiskies

    (via Christian Ledan Fundraising Page - Christian Ledan’s Personal Page for 2013 AIDS Walk New York)

    A mother has been arrested and sentenced to jail time for sending her five year old son to a school district where she had no permanent residence.

    I can barely believe I’m having to type this sentence again. In a post just last year, I wrote about a woman in Ohio who was convicted of lying about where she lived in order to get her daughters into a better school district and was sentenced to 10 days in county jail, three years of probation, community service, and payment of up to $30,000 in back tuition she could be required to pay the school. At the time, I (morbidly) joked that I’m surprised they didn’t hit her with life in prison and tattoo “Thug Life” on her upper stomach.

    Now, a year later, the same twisted logic and interpersonal and systemic racism has landed another mother in jail for the simple “crime” of wanting her child to access public education.

    Tanya McDowell was living as a homeless woman when she was arrested for sending her five year old son to a school district where she- surprise- didn’t have a permanent residence. Ms. McDowell has said that she only wanted a better education for her child. Despite a change.org petition that has generated over 15, 600 signatures asking for the charges to be dropped against her,she was just sentenced to 5 years in prisonafter pleading guilty in the case.

    As I’ve mentioned previously, this story really hits home for me because my OWN mother did this for me, driving 30 minutes each way to school and back during a tough time of transition for my family. But because my mother is white, and we weren’t homeless, or some other inexplicable reason, she didn’t have to go to jail for her crime of fiercely loving her only child.

    It’s hard to believe that our tax money is being spent prosecuting the most vulnerable and impoverished members of society for daring to dream a little bit bigger for members of the next generation- if we could even call sending your child to public school “daring to dream big”. This case is just another example of the ways in which motherhood can often be celebrated in theory but villified in practice in our society, especially when that motherhood doesn’t look rich or white.

    What is this country coming to? Actually, it was always this way!  When is to going to stop?!?

    by Mark S. King: The Private War That Killed Spencer Cox

    “My most courageous self, the best man that I’ll ever be, lived more than two decades ago during the first years of a horrific plague… I miss the man I was forced to become.”

    – “Once, When We Were Heroes,” 2007

    AIDS did not kill Spencer Cox in the first, bloodiest battles of the 1980’s. It spared him that.

    The reprieve allowed Spencer’s brilliance as co-founder of the Treatment Action Group(TAG) to forge new FDA guidelines for drug approval and help make effective HIV medications a reality, saving an untold number of lives.

    Such triumph by a man still in his twenties might have signaled even greater achievements ahead. Instead, Spencer found himself adrift in the same personal crisis as many of his contemporaries, who struggled for a meaningful existence after years of combating the most frightening public health crisis of modern times.

    Gay activists like Spencer were consumed by AIDS for so many gruesome years that many of them were shocked, once the war abated, to see how little around them had changed. Climbing from the trenches, they saw a gay culture that must have seemed ludicrous, packed with the same drug addictions, sexual compulsions and soulless shenanigans that AIDS, in its singular act of goodwill, had arrested for a decade or so.

    They found themselves in a world in which no one wants to see battle scars, where intimacy is manufactured on keyboards and web sites, where any sense of community had long since faded from the AIDS organizations and now only makes brief appearances in 12-step meetings, or as likely, in the fraternity of active crystal meth addicts chasing deliverance in a dangerous shell game of bliss and desolation.

    The dark allure of meth, a drug so devoured and fetished by gay men today that it is now aleading indicator of new HIV infections, enticed Spencer at some point along the way. The drug is known to whisper empty promises about limitless power and sexual escape, while calming the addict’s ghosts and sorrows for miserably brief periods of time.

    When Spencer Cox died on December 18, 2012, in New York City, the official cause of death was AIDS-related complications, which is understandable if post-traumatic stress, despair and drug addiction are complications related to AIDS.

    Spencer believed that this connection exists. His own writings for the Medius Institute for Gay Men’s Health (an organization he co-founded after his work with TAG) focus on exactly the issues that were distressing him personally: Crystal meth abuse. Loneliness. Risk taking. Feelings of confusion after years of accomplishment and purpose.

    In retrospect you can read his work and break the private code written between the lines. It spells out “HELP ME.”

    Spencer’s life during this period and beyond was difficult, by many accounts. The Medius Institute failed due to a lack of funding, defeating Spencer’s effort to address mental health issues among gay men. His drug addiction spiraled and ebbed and raged again, until he finally retreated to Georgia to live with family for a few years.

    When Spencer returned to New York City last September, many of his closest friends had lost track of him. There is uncertainty about his last months, and no evidence that his addiction was active, but what little medication compliance he managed had been abandoned completely, setting the stage for his final hospitalization.

    Spencer Cox died without the benefit of the very drugs he had helped make available to the world. He perished from pneumonia, in an ironic clinical time warp that transported him back to 1985. It was as if, having survived the deadliest years of AIDS, having come so close to complete escape, Spencer was snatched up by the Fates in a vengeful piece of unfinished business.

    AIDS has always been creative in its cruelty. And it has learned to reach through the decades with the second-hand tools of disillusionment and depression and heart-numbing traumas. Or, perhaps, using the simple weapon of crystal meth, with all of its seductions and deceits.

    Yes. There are many complications related to AIDS.

    To consider “survivor’s guilt” the culprit behind the death of Spencer Cox is a popular explanation but not necessarily an accurate one. That condition suggests surviving when other, presumably worthier people, did not. Sometimes guilt has nothing to do with it.

    For many of our AIDS war veterans, the real challenge today is living with the horror of having survived at all.

    Mark

    (PHOTO CREDIT: Walter Kurtz)

    Chelsea Clinton

    - Campaign Website »»The Big Push  

    - Read Article and Submit Your Portrait»»Huffington Post 

    - My Submission

      2012 AIDS Walk New York - General Donation

    The POZ Army: How We End AIDS Together

    This summer, thanks to a rare confluence of events, the HIV/AIDS community will have an extraordinary opportunity to help save the lives of tens of millions of people living with the virus. In preparation, we want you to join the POZ Army. We are preparing for the final battle in the war on AIDS—the surge for the cure.

    This July, the steamy, magnolia-lined streets of our nation’s capital will teem with 30,000 people who’ve traveled from the four corners of the globe to Washington, DC, for the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012). The reality is AIDS remains a raging pandemic. But, we have the power to end it if we do the right things at the right levels right now. It is time to reawaken the world to these facts.

    There is no time to waste. The good news: We have antiretroviral treatment capable of both keeping people alive and slowing the spread of the disease. The challenge? Of the 34 million people estimated to be living with HIV, only 6 million are currently in care. On World AIDS Day 2011, President Barack Obama pledged to put 2 million more in care, bringing the global total to 8 million by 2013. But that still leaves 26 million lives—about 750,000 in the United States—hanging in the balance. And new infections occur daily. AIDS can only be prevented in those who access treatment. For the rest? A diagnosis of HIV remains, ultimately, a death sentence. Which is why the HIV/AIDS community must capitalize on this rare confluence of events to reignite the fight for the real end of AIDS—the cure.

    Treatment is necessary to keep people alive until we cure HIV. Treatment can slow the spread of the virus, and treatment may be a piece of the cure. But treatment is a means to an end; it should not be the endgame. Those of us living with HIV should not settle for a lifetime of pills with side effects. We should settle for nothing less than the cure.

    We must take advantage of this perfect storm of opportunity. To do so, we must mobilize our community to change history for all people living with HIV.

    This is where you come in. Social change happens when many advocates cry out together, loudly, in unison. It’s the only way to break through the din. To help our community amplify its collective voice, POZ is launching the POZ Army.

    W. Brandon Lacy Campos: Speaking Out for Reproductive Freedom, 2012 (by CLPPrj)

    I have two weeks to reach my goal!!!

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    androphilia:

    Justice For Trayvon Martin!

    (via rshupper)

    In 1956, Bayard Rustin was hidden in the trunk of a car and snuck out of Montgomery during the Montgomery Bus Boycott because it was feared that having an openly-gay man as an advisor would discredit the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King and the other leaders of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

    In ‎1983, Congressman Walter Fauntroy, one the organizers of a Washington March marking the 20th anniversary of the iconic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, (where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech,) attempted to prevent representatives from gay and lesbian rights groups from speaking, thereby insulting the memory of the openly-gay Bayard Rustin, the architect of the original 1963 civil rights march…

    It’s time we bring Bayard’s legacy out of the closet and into the national spotlight. READ MORE

    Hatred paralyses life; love releases it.
    Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.
    Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

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