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Some more thoughts from Guy Baldwin.   (Posted here with Guy's specific permission)

I wasn't at the LA Leather Weekend when Guy first aired this but I wish I was.  It would've been interesting to see what effect his words had on the crowd gathered there.  I wonder how many others there had already thought this through and come to the same conclusions as Guy - or how many had thought it through and come to vastly different ones.  I also wonder how many there had never bothered to think anything through any further then their next fuck.  It has been almost a year now since I went through, in my own mind and in my own life, much of what Guy presents here.  For me, this came to a head at last year's IML and I left that event rather depressed and also very distanced from what the gay leather community has become.  After some analysis of my own I put my thoughts to words and put those words up here on my site as my Changes essay.

As a result, much of what Guy has to say here is something I'm already familiar with and have already accepted.  I differ though, with some of Guy's conclusions.  I see little good, if any, about the "HIV-POZ bad boy Pig Sex warriors" that Guy speaks of in the second part of his paper.  To me, these men are nihilistic at their core, self-rationalizing of their maliciously negligent behavior, and helping to keep the Plague among us.  Ultimately, I see them doing more damage to the gay leather community than the momentary intimacy and passion their barebacking might bring.

The medical studies are still not conclusive as to the risk of "superinfection" - i.e. an already POZ individual becoming reinfected with a new or different strain of HIV.  I've already expressed my views on this in my Barebacking essay and I think that, until it is proven that POZ barebackers can not become superinfected, then all they are doing is spreading ever new and ever more drug resistant strains of HIV among the community. 

I've also recently seen the deaths of several of my longtime POZ friends.  They'd been on the "Cocktail" for years and it wasn't any sudden failure of their protease dosing which killed them but rather a general, systemic failure of their bodies.  They were simply exhausted by the toxicity of the drug regimen that they were on.  I've a feeling, just personally, that there may be an upper limit to the duration the human body can be exposed to something as scourging as the protease inhibitors currently in use to stave off HIV.  If that is the case, then the "silver bullet" that protease inhibitors are billed as, may actually turn out to be a curse.  I say curse as they will only have provided a brief pause in the course of the Plague - and a pause which millions took as an excuse to allow themselves to become infected.

While I may disagree with some of what Guy has to say here I definitely found it worth examining.  Guy's analysis is always keen and powerful.  It also makes you think and thus re-examine your own preconceptions and world view.  With his "Radsex..." presentation, Guy is once again shaking the tree down to its roots and only good can come of that. 

If I had to guess, I'd say that the second part of Guy's paper is what will attract the most attention and cause the most  re-examining.  Lost in this uproar though, will be his other valid points about the "Old Guard" and what has become of it.  While not as dire a thing as his analysis of how barebacking is influencing the gay leather community, Guy's views on the death of the Old Guard are equally insightful and worth contemplating for anyone who is into SM on more than a "slap and a tickle" level.

My views of this are my own, not Guy's, and I encourage you to read on to see how his words affect you.  If you are at all connected to the leather/ SM/ fetish world then what Guy has to say here cuts to its core and that makes it worthwhile to examine whether you are a gay leatherman or not.

I'd also like to thank Guy for his granting me permission to post his words here.  Guy's paper is also posted over on the LeatherPage.com site and you can read it there as one of his columns.

Read on!

Madoc

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Radsex Rising Part 1

Radsex Rising Part 2


RADSEX RISING TIDE TURBO PERVO TONIC

Twilight … Darkness … A New Breed


By Guy Baldwin, M.S.

A paper, most of which was presented during
 
The LOS ANGELES LEATHER WEEKEND: Lecture Track

March 27, 2004

{After I read this at the event, sections of text that had been removed to save time were restored and slightly reorganized for Internet posting. Despite these changes, the same subject matter appears here, but in its expanded form as originally intended. If you were in the classroom on the 27th, you heard the stripped-down version.}

[What’s below is long, I’m not sorry to say. Research confirms that the Internet has reduced our reading attention span to about 600 words, maximum. But what is to be the fate of ideas and issues that won’t fit neatly inside that limit? Are we training ourselves to ignore complex or challenging ideas and consider only short and simple things—the mental equivalent of “fast food”? That would make politicians happy if we “dumbed ourselves down” so much that we became sheep: easily led, easily manipulated. I prefer to think that we’re made of better stuff; I hope you do, too. I’ve prepared some brain food here that I believe is worthy of our time and attention, but it’s a big meal, so I suggest you eat slowly to avoid indigestion.

To more easily manage the size of this paper, it has been divided into two parts. I suggest that the printer-friendly versions be downloaded and then printed out for easier reading, but suit yourself.]
……

PART ONE

Some wise person is reputed to have said once, a long time ago, somewhere,

”Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

I don’t know who it was, and I didn’t bother to find out because it doesn’t matter really, does it? Most of us accept this short, but powerful little saying as somehow, just simply … well, TRUE.

On the face of it, it seems clear enough … doesn’t it?

But the trouble with that deceptively tidy little saying, “Know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free” … is that there are a bunch of steps missing between TRUTH and FREEDOM. And some of those steps are hard ones to take.

For example, the problems of perceiving what’s “True” have to be solved. Next, we have to think about whatever connections there may be between what’s TRUE, and what’s THE TRUTH. And we do that, of course, because when we were children Alice (In Wonderland) explained to us that:

“Things are not always what they seem, are they?”

As we’ve all figured out by now, refining perception and drawing conclusions are all processes that unfold over a period of time, and only sometimes happen consciously. But even when the problems of perception have been cleared up and we eventually settle ourselves upon whatever THE TRUTH is, unfortunately that moment is almost never accompanied by a convenient bolt of lightening or clap of thunderous confirmation to signal that THE TRUTH has arrived—at gate number 14-B.

And if you get through all that stuff, then … there you are. There you are with … THE TRUTH.

The Freedom part comes later—sometimes much later, after we have actually used THE TRUTH to change ourselves in various ways: our behaviors, our values, beliefs, choices, and courses of action. And, if the little saying is accurate, those new ideas and behaviors, now based on THE TRUTH, should produce more Freedom in our lives, either sooner or later.

The point of this little introduction about how we grow and change is just to say that the ideas I’m about to explore with you today flow from what I think I see, understand, and believe is true and is THE TRUTH. If it turns out that I’m right about these things, I hope that, someday, it can help us move closer to that Freedom thing, somewhere down the road. If time reveals I’m mistaken, then I’ll have to apologize for wasting your time, and/or making matters worse.

For myself, I’m still trying to decide how I FEEL about the ideas you’ll soon be hearing, but I am confident that at the very least, TRUTH is not the enemy of FREEDOM, which is why I continue to seek both.

That said, here we go with:

RADSEX RISING TIDE TURBO PERVO TONIC
 
Despite the fact that I’ve done my level best to delay this as long as possible, I feel an obligation to point out that the sub-culture we have come to know as The Old Guard—Classical Leather Culture—as THE culture … THE gateway, the society through which one enters the underground world of BDSM and Leathersex, has died and is, I believe, gone forever.

It now rests in the arms of history, embraced there along with nearly all of the Leather Princes—Knights and their squires—who I was once privileged to know, and who adopted me as one of their own. Those men raised me up into manhood when my biological family threw me out at age 18 because they found out I was gay.

“There’ll be no … ’homo-sexshuual’ livin’ under my roof … I want you gone,” pronounced my Mother. But she didn’t know the half of it when it came to my sexuality. Many months would pass before even I began to realize just how different I was, and still am.

I wish I could say that she threw me out because I “came out” to her honestly, but I didn’t … I wasn’t that brave. Not that my story is really all that different from many other such stories that we’ve all heard. She found out by accident, confronted me—I denied it—but doing that just ate me up inside. So after two gut-grinding weeks, I told her the truth. She detonated, and I packed and left a few days later. I left that little town in Colorado, and moved to Denver where I could be with my own kind; I had already met a few other gay guys there.

The year was 1965.

Only in retrospect did Mother’s disgust—her rejection and exile of me—turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Although neither of us knew it at the time, by throwing me out—throwing me away—she disqualified herself to parent a boy like me properly. Her decision actually revealed more about what sort of person she was, rather than revealing my worth, or anything important about me, really. But all that took many years for me to see and understand clearly; back when it happened, I was crushed. She went to her grave two years ago, not knowing me because she never wanted to.
 
I muddled around in the gay vanilla world for a couple of months, trying to become a competent queer … which takes some effort, after all. I doubt that many of us have a particularly easy time learning how to breathe, eliminate the gag-reflex, and deepthroat, all at the same time … to mention just one example. But I threw myself into my education whenever someone interesting paid attention to me.

Luckily for me, one Saturday night two leathermen decided it would be fun to go “slumming” in Denver’s main, fluffy-sweater bar (the Court Jester, if anyone cares). So they pulled on their Levis, cowboy boots, t-shirts, and leather jackets, and set out to go make the queens … well, “nervous” … which they did; all but one, anyway. I walked right up to them, compelled like a moth to flame, and we talked.

Long and funny story cut short: I fisted one of them later that night, with lots of coaching from the other one. I’d never even heard of fisting; I had no idea it was even possible. It was my first step in what would prove to be a long and amazing journey into a much larger world.

That very successful evening we’d enjoyed together authorized them to bring me along with them the next day to a back-yard cookout lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers at the home of the road captain of the Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club. Those two men brought me along despite the fact that I wasn’t an attractive kid by any standard, and I was definitely the youngest guy there by eight years at least. The other men I met that day liked me, and maybe felt sorry for me a little bit, too—I never asked.

But whatever their reasons, they soon brought me under their protection and began my education. Those men, that brotherhood, became my actual family. Some were fatherly; others were motherly, and even grandmotherly. Some were smarter than others, some were professionals, others were working class, and a few were even boring. But when all was said and done, it felt good to be accepted, and we needed each other.

They became the axis around which my life revolved for the next seven years. Those I was closest to urged me into University and followed my academic progress steadily. Sometimes they even made me bring something along to study on the motorcycle campout trips we took. Collectively, they were committed to my total development—sexual, intellectual, moral and spiritual (although they’d never have called it that).

But most important of all, they slowly socialized me—in an orderly and progressive way—into the courtship rituals and the mating dances of our “kind.”
That included an understanding of the erotic alchemy that produces the truly transforming and transcendent BDSM and D/s sexual experiences that made my spirit sing.

It was Classical Leather Culture, often referred to these days as the “Old Guard,” that did all that for me and countless others nationwide. During that era, it was common for older gay men to parent younger ones. Luckily, I found leather parents, and they found me.

I tell you all of this … and this time with these few personal details, not because I’m fast approaching age 60 and need to indulge in some misty reverie about fond memories from a well-spent youth.

No … I say these things to describe our sub-cultural system of socialization—an entire society—that is now gone.

I just want you to know what we have lost.

***

Who were those men, and what were they like?

It’s important to remember that people during the thirty years between 1950 and 1980 didn’t have many of the modern options for life-choices that we take for granted today. In general, nearly all of those Old Guard warriors were misfits who, by day, hid behind lies to pass as “normal” so they could earn a living. With few exceptions, they were honest erotic outlaws only on weekends and nights.

But erotic outlaws they were. If you doubt that, spend 15 minutes reading DRUMMER’s early classified sex ads. With the possible exceptions of electro-sex and fire work, they did everything erotically that we do now. Before 1954, they were mostly rah-rah America fans, but after wars in Korea and especially Viet Nam, they developed a deep distrust of the military-industrial complex (“The Establishment”). When they voted, the ones I knew usually supported liberals or moderates.

Nearly all of them drank alcohol in moderation, some smoked weed and hashish when they could find and afford it, and, as they became more available after 1968, significant numbers added other mind altering/enhancing chemicals to their sexploits.
 
They made up their own minds about which laws and social rules applied to them and which ones did not. Outside the workplace, they governed their lives according to their own standards. And those standards simply did NOT have to make any sense to outsiders. They really didn’t care what the rest of the world thought of them, or about what happened after working hours, behind closed doors. These were erotic outlaws, and I feel lucky to have known them.

The men of the Old Guard equipped themselves with whatever erotic gear supported their sex lives—usually homemade before about 1975. (My first restraints were four brown leather dog collars from the Safeway Store, vintage 1966. I made a whip [what we’d now call a flogger] in 1972 because there was no place to buy one.) We created private and public spaces where we could be ourselves with our own kind. And without exception, the men I knew and ran with then saw and understood clearly that we were definitely not common, not average, and not conventional. For us, Radical Sexuality was our art form. And for a smaller number, it was also our religion, our salvation and destiny. It was the central, organizing principle of our lives.

It was our Nile River … joyful, life sustaining, inspiring, dynamic and creative.

***

Only by looking back in time can a careful observer notice that by as early as 1975, small cracks had already appeared from inside Classical Leather Culture itself. But Cultural Anthropology teaches us that small sub-cultures like the Old Guard can be easily overwhelmed by powerful outside forces. I suppose it’s possible that the Old Guard leather society across the nation might have survived any single one of the external forces that impacted us: cheap jet travel; the Korean and Viet Nam wars; the proliferation of strong recreational drugs; the AIDS nightmare; and most recently, the Internet. But collectively, those irresistible forces (and others) simply shattered the already vulnerable, and not all that flexible, Old Guard society.

Just as Feudal Society in Europe during the Middle Ages didn’t suddenly screech to a full stop one summer day, so too was the demise of Old Guard society a long process which had probably begun in most places by 1980. But yes, the Old Guard Leather sub-culture, that society, is certainly dead by now, despite the fact that there are still actually a very few of the original old Barons left. But not many; they were all born by 1940 after all.

And yes, there are a few more second and third generation knights and squires like me—survivors who were mentored and reared by Old Guard Dogmas and Catechisms in their various forms. We’re still around, although generally out of sight. Yet even nowadays, a few of us and our successors actually do Captain the occasional household or extended family here and there. And each isolated clan bears the unique stamp of its patriarch’s quirky eccentricities, just as in earlier times. Thus, small pockets of some Old Guard ways do still live on in those settings, to be sure, and probably always will. But as the Pack, the society of leathermen—that’s dead. [To offer a parallel example, the Russian immigrants who have clustered together here in the U.S. since 1990 do not Russia make. They are strangers in a strange land, and they know it.]

(Nowadays, its much easier to identify special interest groups of people who’ve banded together, usually around a common erotic theme, because they’ve recognized that being in a pack has some real advantages; the FFA is the earliest example I can recall. I’m thinking of today’s “boy,” “pup” and “bear” groups, and even some fetish groups like the cigar, uniform and boot groups out there. Nevertheless, I’m aware of none that operate with any of the Old Guard styles or formula—the MOD and JIIIA may be a exceptions, but I don’t have enough information to be sure about that.)

What’s gone is Old Guard leather civilization itself … all the various traditions of introduction, referral, education, mentoring and socialization … gone, right along with every single one of the institutions that sustained it.

Here are some examples of what I mean by “institutions”:

If they wished, returning World War II vets could buy war surplus motorcycles for $50.00 at war’s end; cheap mobility was finally possible. (The INDIAN was the more preferred brand, by the way … not HARLEY.) Gay motorcycle clubs began emerging in 1953 and spawned nearly all of the early “leather” bars, because members gathered to socialize there. Bike clubs appeared all through the 1960s nationwide. By 1975, the leather bar in every big city was busy with leathermen talking and cruising by 10:30 P.M. every night, except maybe Monday and Tuesday. (By the way, in no surviving leather bar in the U.S. today has that been true for at least 15 years.)

But while the leather bars flourished, interest in joining a bike club had slowly begun to fade by the late 1970s for several reasons. In the 1950s, motorcycle riding was frowned upon; only socially rebellious, tough guys rode them. The mainstreaming of motorbike riding slowly eroded the earlier bad-boy stereotype that masculine gay men resonated with. (Which largely explains why the men from my youth scorned Japanese bikes despite their mechanical superiority.) But most importantly, the need for close association with the bike clubs to improve one’s access to radical sex opportunities was vanishing fast. The leather bar itself made access possible—it was open to the public; the bike clubs were not.

Some club members moved to more affluent areas farther away or migrated as the U.S. population became more mobile, and others found relationships so the urge to hunt changed. All the war stories had been told. As more strangers walked in, their leather bars lost the “clubhouse” feel that they’d originally had. In nearly all bike clubs, the ratio of bike owners to non-owners dropped steadily and by 1985, some clubs had already disbanded or morphed into “Leather-Levi” social clubs.

Consequently, the number of bike club events at leather bars slowly but steadily declined. This was a problem because the bikers had always been the magnetic core group that attracted other kinkmen into the bars. Gatherings of biker sidekicks, some aided by a few beers, usually turned bars into easy-going reunions of buddies in a party mood. The less intense atmosphere of afternoon club events at bars offered newcomers a far less intimidating setting to begin meeting us and developing leather social networks. By contrast, most weekend nights in bars felt more serious, and even sometimes forbidding or sinister. Fewer club events meant fewer “casual” settings for newcomers; meanwhile, some bar owners got nervous about sales.

The idea of “leather-title contest” first appeared in bars in the mid-1970s. It caught on quickly and has survived to become the only remaining pseudo-institution in the “leather” world. (Contests are not universal.) For a while, it seemed as though the leather contests might offer us new, alternative, or replacement reasons to gather, socialize, and cruise to maybe hook up.

But contests don’t actually involve very many people directly; the rest of us who aren’t judges or contestants can easily feel reduced to the role of observers rather than participants. Thus, our personal emotional investment in the contest process and outcome is often pretty low … it doesn’t feel like there’s much in it for us personally. To outsiders, they look like butch beauty contests.

But c’mon … lets face it: From the standpoint of building and strengthening a community by tending to the needs of each man there, the best parts of contests for 95% of any contest audience are the bits of time for socializing and cruising between the contest segments. That’s important time for learning, practicing and doing the courtship dances requiring specialized social skills. In the days before 1985, that time was THE most exciting reason to get geared up and head down to the leather bar … four nights a week.

Even at IML Weekend, where upwards of 12,000 guys gather to bask in the shared Leathersex energy we create together, only about 25% park themselves in seats for contest segments. The great majority of the men who migrate to Chicago aren’t there to passively watch contest segments, as if going out to a movie. They want to see each other and be seen, maybe to find themselves engaged in some erotic Tango of seduction, perhaps to spark some high-end pervo-magic. Or at the very least, to see others doing those things … maybe to learn through observation just how it’s done. In short, whether they know how to get their needs met there or not, most guys at our big leather events want to feel the exciting potentials of that intoxicating atmosphere. They want to have the same feelings that were possible in all leather bars, four or five nights a week, every week, during the heyday of Old Guard leather society.

Happily, I’ve recently begun to discover that growing numbers of younger guys who came into radical sexuality through the Internet have finally begun to see the limitations of the cyber medium. Posted text and pics are simply not reliable for judging erotic chemistry. That man who e-mailed those great photos might actually have NO sex energy at all, maybe can’t talk in person, smells of perfume, lives with his aunt, is too tweeked to focus, is a crappy host, and is all about his fancy 800 thread count sheets.

Conversely, the plain lookin’ guy standing across the room can feel sexy as hell, yet he’d get rejected online because his photo doesn’t reveal his heat. It’s still true that the best way to get the “feel” of someone erotically is face-to-face; no technology comes close. Typing can’t teach anyone the social skills needed to actually start, sustain and guide a meaningful conversation about sex or anything else. Those things are best learned, practiced and accomplished in brick-and-mortar establishments … Leather Bars. I see more new guys there all the time.

Missing Institution #3: DRUMMER magazine was, for years, the only inspiration, information and erotic clearing house for our world during the golden age of leather. Although it’s impossible to know with certainty, and reliable information is sketchy, some observers have suspected that, like a family’s only milk cow, slowly getting older, owners of DRUMMER took more from the magazine and gave less back to it. Whatever the details, in the end, DRUMMER was slaughtered for what little meat remained.

While still alive, it had also spawned a few edgy offspring magazines like POWERPLAY and MACH, but all those are long gone now, too. INTERNATIONAL LEATHERMAN magazine, which looked very promising for a while, also seems to have met an equally shameful end, apparently also through shortsighted stewardship. Typically, owners vanish without comment or explanation, never to be heard from again, thus fueling suspicions and feelings of betrayal and abandonment.

DRUMMER was messenger, mirror, censor and historian, all rolled into one. DRUMMER both reflected and also set, defined … and then protected and, therefore, maintained the boundaries and limitations of classical Old Guard society. The Internet, by contrast, is a free-for-all slew of wide-ranging iconography, opinions and standards, all competing on equal footing. The Internet has no agenda; DRUMMER definitely had several. So much for Old Guard institutions.

***

Currently, most of the surviving Old Guardians do not have the attention of newcomers, especially the young ones, because they think we have nothing to offer them beyond history, protocol and technique. The situation isn’t helped when youngsters must listen to some Guardians squabble and whine about protocol and technique, yet all the while continue to demand respect from the young. That just makes them lose patience with us; those issues seem … well … silly to most young guys. If we want their respect, we’ll have to get it the old fashioned way.

And when newcomers lose patience and respect, and then go off on their own to figure it out for themselves, some surviving Old Guardians typically become annoyed. Youngsters are frequently dismissed as “not being serious” … because in the old days, youngsters WERE patient with the seasoned men. Well … YEAH … they had to be patient back then, because we were the only game in town … but that’s no longer true.

Most Old Guardians never acquired the skills to deliver the good stuff faster because we never had to before. But now, if we want to hold their attention and gain their respect, we will need to either get those skills or risk becoming irrelevant entirely to the new kids on the block. We have other things to talk about which the young might find of greater interest: stability, commitment, loyalty, honor and other values, continuity, social skills and more—things that are mostly not learnable on the Internet because they’re best learned over time and regular contact with the same people in face-to-face settings.

We’re also not helped by the fact that most classical leather iconography looks antique to most kids … and by that, I mean it ain’t as hot and sexy as what they’re all about. (Take a very close look at INSTIGATOR magazine if my point isn’t clear—especially issues 3 and 4.)

I don’t like that any of this is true, but we gotta live life on life’s terms or else the surviving Old Guardians will risk becoming reduced to some quaint, historical, triviality.


***

While a few Old Guardians remain, and perhaps always shall, the Classical Leather Culture itself … that society is gone. Long gone.

Any and all efforts to recreate it have been, are, and will always be doomed to failure. We must preserve the past, not try to reoccupy it.


Like children in a country field,
Aglow with swarming fireflies,
We dance the moonless night away
And reach and grab for some to prize.

We long to hold and keep alive
The magic joy to live and thrive.
But our few precious points of light
Can’t make the field again take flight.

It’s time for all who knew it, or maybe glimpsed it even, to take a long … deep breath, and then release our grip … and let it slip into history where it belongs … peacefully and with love and gratitude … and hopefully, in the spirit of celebration.

And we must do this releasing … not reluctantly … and no, not even sadly either, because we cannot pick up and come to good terms with what’s happening now if our hands are busy grasping at dead fireflies in hopes that they will come back to life and dance for us, lighting our way back to that special time once again. Because that is not gonna happen.

Living in the past wastes the present.

I suppose that in a perfect world (perfect for me, anyway), we would listen together now, to a few minutes of the Mozart or Brahams Requiem. For a little while at least … because there were some special things about Old Guard society worth remembering; that’s just ‘cuz I’m a sentimental fool sometimes.

But frankly, those men from 1965 would have wanted the DOORS requiem saved for last. Definitely.

After this, I’ll not write about it again.

I, too, must let go.

*********

And, as it turns out, I’ve been surprised to see that a new erotic society has recently appeared—a group that’s almost directly analogous to the first generation Old Guard in some very interesting ways. I’ve come to believe that they carry some of the Old Guard torches today.

In PART TWO, I’ll have a lot more to say about them, where they came from, who they are, and explain why I think they are today’s successors to the Old Guard I grew up with.

END PART ONE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RADSEX RISING TIDE TURBO PERVO TONIC
(Continued)


PART TWO

As it turns out, I’ve been surprised to notice that a new group has recently appeared—a group that’s almost directly analogous to the first generation Old Guard in very interesting ways. They’re a different group of guys, of course; they are right in our midst, yet nearly invisible. Or maybe better said, who are selectively visible, just as the Old Guardians themselves once were.

So … who am I talking about? 

Well, who is having radical sex these days—what I’m calling “Radsex,” and thumbing their noses at socially acceptable sex rules, just as the Old Guard did?

Who is doing sex with the same abandon typical of the Old Guard back in 1975 and earlier? Who is appearing in nearly all of our very hottest erotic movies, or as a local wit has dubbed them, “our training films”? Who is reconsidering and redefining the mainstream BDSM world’s litmus test for “approved” kink; you know the words, “safe-sane-consensual”?

And who is it that has created their own shadow erotic underground networks of guys who are more or less on the same page when it comes to getting it on? Except for the clothing and tattoos, the recreational drugs that some of them use, how amazing many are to look at, and the frequency and pace at which their sexuality explodes, they closely remind me of those men from my youth.

I refer, of course, to the fast growing group of HIV-POZ gay men who enjoy what they most frequently call “Pig Sex” with each other in what is actually the old-fashioned way. For my purposes here, I refer to those POZ-men whose erotic interests lay somewhere along the rough-sex-to-BDSM end of the spectrum. Their in-group sexuality is generally risk aware, consensual, honest, often edgy, indifferent to their critics, often uses the same spicy kinks, is spontaneous, and most importantly, is fearless and guilt-free. In their own ways, and with stylistic differences, the underground POZ bad boy Pig Sex warriors today do share at least some of the same erotic high ground—or is that low ground—that once belonged exclusively to the Old Guard, especially before 1975.

And make no mistake: it’s not that the Old Guard actually passed the torches to them, either. In fact, what happened is that the Old Guardians put the torches aside when we became consumed with caring for our men who were sick and dying from 1983 up into 1996. When the dying slowed at last, survivors could barely summon the energy to mourn our many dead. (I think I can confidently say that all who endured the last 20 years harbor a dread of those dark times ever coming back again.)

When we were ready to pick up the torches again, they had grown dim, and the world of radical sex seemed chaotic and nearly unrecognizable. The Internet and open groups had replaced us as the knowledge base for BDSM/Leathersex and D/s sexualities. The newcomers we’d ignored during those years had reinvented major elements of it.

By 2000, if not earlier, the HIV-POZ bad boy Pig Sex warriors had unknowingly begun to carry some of those torches. I don’t think they know they’re doing that even today, partly because they’re largely unaware of the rebel-outcast values that spawned the Old Guard renegades back in the 1950s and earlier. As far as I know, no one has really bothered to point out what they have in common with the Old Guard.

***

I’m using a few pages to say how and why I think this new bunch of erotic warriors came to be. If I’m right that they carry some Old Guard torches, then it’s a group that’s worthy of my attention and my effort to know and understand. I hope you feel the same. I know of no group that can be well understood without first considering the relevant history that led up to its emergence, and the social context in which it appears.

World War II and the war against HIV have impacted American society in many ways. All wars throw new things into the minds and hearts of the cultures involved. These new elements can influence social evolution, including erotic life. (For example, I’ve always found it interesting that classical leather culture emerged almost exclusively in countries that struggled with Nazism, including Germany. I’ve tried to discuss it with a few people, but no one wants to touch it all that much yet … maybe it matters; maybe not.)

But HIV does matter, and it matters now. Because being HIV positive is central to the identity of this new group, some parts of my attempt at explanation below will touch on ideas and larger issues surrounding HIV itself. Controversy and HIV seem always to be joined at the groin, gut, heart, head and spirit. Little about it is simple.

So, I’ll try to fit together some of the oddly shaped psychological, social, and political puzzle pieces that HIV has handed to us. I think they set the stage for the arrival of this new erotic identity group in our midst. Considering how that happened may help us learn and perhaps better understand the HIV-POZ bad boy Pig Sex warriors. I believe they are here to stay for the long haul and that their numbers will continue to grow. If knowledge is empowering, our willingness to remain open-minded becomes essential.

All the pieces to this puzzle have been right in front of us for a while now, but, for various reasons, it seems we’ve been either unable or unwilling to put the picture together in a way that makes sense. I don’t claim to have all the pieces in place yet, but some of them are coming into focus at last.

***

It’s common knowledge that countless people (most of them HIV negative, by the way) have been working hard since 1984 to create and maintain a huge, comprehensive, expensive and durable safety net under POZ guys: support groups, meals on wheels, counseling, government funding for medical care and drugs, resource websites and newsgroups, housing subsidies, massage care, pet care, and more … lots more.

That safety net was established to address a wide variety of “quality of life” issues, of course. Through the 1980s, the message was: We all want POZ guys to have the most normal lives possible until they sicken and die. Put simply, “Live as normally as you can, while you can; we’ll all do our best to help.”  And they listened to it; and eventually they heard it.

The development of anti-HIV drugs and vastly improved treatments for opportunistic infections in the early 1990s slowly began to redefine HIV infection from being a likely early death sentence into a chronic health problem—one that could sometimes be accompanied by health challenges that ranged from near zero to life-threatening. Consequently, the deaths slowed way, way down. Meanwhile, related medical fields became progressively more skilled at managing the impact of HIV on the body, the mind, the spirit, and the logistics related to all of that.

“Live normally while you can” morphed into what is now often understood as “Live fast, love hard, and die when all else fails.”

Fear of early death gave way to a lust for life. For many, their sexuality got an unexpected shot in the arm—or should I say shot in the ass—when we learned that wasting syndrome was held at bay by weekly injections of the male sex hormone, Testosterone, and its cousin, Nonandralone (Decadurabolin).

Separately or together, these two drugs (and sometimes others) trick the body into thinking that it’s 17 years old again. Thus, many guys on the regimen are horny as hell—a side effect with profound implications. Oh, and guess what … those drugs make amazing bodies possible for anyone willing to spend as few as eight quality hours a week in a gym.

As time passed, the POZ guys looked up from their terror and noticed that, as a group, fewer were dying; they felt healthier than expected; had good community support; they felt more secure than expected; hornier than expected; and sexier than expected; and way more in demand sexually than anyone expected.
 
They also noticed that, unofficially, almost nobody seemed to mind all that much if they were having tons of sex with each other. After all, once you’ve got HIV, you’ve got it. And then, they also noticed that the guys who are barebacking generally didn’t seem to get sick any more often than those who were still doing “safer sex” things most of the time. Slowly, the bareback option began looking better and better to them. (Recent research suggests that POZ-guys have less reason than before to fear re-infection.) Non-HIV STD rates soared, while new HIV infections began to climb. They’re still climbing. Only the naïve are surprised about that.

AIDS prevention programs in various places are now flirting with a strategy that encourages POZ guys to enjoy sex only with other POZ guys. So, the segregation that has gradually been separating HIV positive and negative men since the very beginning is now being subtly encouraged by the arbiters of responsible sexuality in the gay world. For years now, that creeping segregation has been steadily creating an increasingly separate and inward-focused HIV-POZ world with its own values, ethics and folkways.

We all know POZ guys who simply will not date or screw with negative guys, and vice versa. The huge emotional challenges for sero-different sex partners, whether in relationships or not, are most easily avoided completely simply by adopting a policy to never have sex with opposite HIV-status guys. Not to mention that it saves lots of time, emotional stress, and eases the search for erotic fulfillment. And we all want to save time, don’t we? After all, who knows how much time we’ve got?

Capitalism supplies some puzzle pieces, too.  I’m told that during the few years of its existence, the BareBackCity website, to cite just one example, was patronized by upwards of 80,000 subscribers. A free site, it earned money selling erotic videos of guess what … bareback sex, of course. (Did anyone create a companion site for negative guys? I did see a small, lackluster ad for one in Frontiers magazine last month.) I briefly considered counting bareback sites and videos, but knew what I’d discover, so I didn’t do any counting that day. The marketing of bareback sex is big business now, as we all know, and the reasons are easy to understand.

***
Abstract ideas are useful, but personal stories somehow make it more real for me. They reveal other puzzle pieces.

Last January on a busy Saturday night, I was standing upstairs at CUFFS bar, the last remaining example of a 1960s style leather bar (stylistically) that I know of in the U.S.  As I watched the men below, a stranger standing next to me turned and asked, “What are the guys in here looking for?” 

I answered that some of them weren’t looking for anything—they just wanted to be with their own kind.

I also told him that most of the others were looking for 1975.

Whatever our HIV status, a great many of us are either looking for 1975 sexually, we’re waiting for it or we’re praying for it.  A few feel they’ve found it.

***

I remember very well the 1985 news conference at which Margret Heckler, then U.S. Secretary for Health, announced the development of the first HIV test. Before then, all of us just assumed that we were infected. She also said, in that same news conference, that within 10 years we would have developed a vaccine to prevent HIV infection.

I recall thinking to myself, “Hmmmm … well okay, I’ve tested HIV negative, and I’m kinky, so I’ll just move the risky stuff way out to the edges of my erotic life, and focus on all the rest.” At the time, I felt lucky because there was more to my sex life than the risky stuff. I made a deal with myself that I could wait 10 years to go back to my favorite juicy activities. I doubted that I’d ever be excited about using rubbers, and I was right about that, so essentially, I stopped screwing, and made myself use barriers for the rest.

Of course, it took me years to realize that those decisions had taken the very heart out of my sexual expression. And into the hole created by my decisions, I had installed a guarded vigilance, fear, and longing.

Back then in 1985, I calculated that in 10 years I would still have a viable 10 to 20 years left to enjoy the stuff I was about to give up. I gradually discovered that many of my psychotherapy clients back then had made approximately the same deal with themselves. A deal to be safe … always … each and every time for the next 10 years. Later, AIDS took a lover of mine in 1989, and then another one in 1993, and, when I wasn’t in deep sadness about that, I was feeling pretty good about my deal with myself. I had only two more years to wait ‘till we could all start to relax, turn the erotic RPMs back up again without fear. Or so the Reagan administration had promised.

As you all know, ten years came and went … then 15 years … and now 20 years have come and gone, and still we have no vaccine. Strong, steady, angry and powerful political activism (and not just from POZ-men) helped produce the cocktail arsenal of anti-HIV drugs that we have now. They do a good, although not perfect, job … yet.  And I’m glad about that, of course. I wouldn’t wish 1986 on anyone.
 
But when was the last time you even HEARD about an activist event to hurry vaccine development? I can’t recall a single one. After all, the World Health Organization estimates that 46 million are now HIV infected, so the need for a vaccine is clear. But we have no comparable activism for vaccine development, do we?  We got the anti-HIV drugs to help our guys, and then we went back to our lives, exhausted by the horror of it all.

Consequently, HIV-negative guys today walk around with less hope than ever of being able to thrive erotically with 1975-style sex lives.

And, of course, they try hard not to notice it, but they can hear the wild party happening just down the street, as it were, and can even see video footage of the party whenever they choose. They know exactly where and how to join that wild party, too … oh, yes, they do. All they have to do is become HIV positive. 

And the voices in their heads remind them that “safer sex practices” are barriers to really intimate and spontaneous sex that they do know how to make go away … for a price. HIV-negative guys see and keep their eye on others who, one way or the other, have become HIV positive, and some HIV-negative guys will re-open that tortured discussion with themselves for the 40th … or 100th … or 1,000th time.

So who dares to be surprised that guys my age are turning up HIV positive after having remained negative for decades? Who dares scold them? A 40-year-old HIV-negative man today has many reasons to guess that HIV drugs might keep him alive and erotically vibrant for maybe 25 years … IF he can tolerate them. And he knows how to do basic math.

Talk to men, kinky or not, and many will tell you that it’s hard to imagine a life worth living past any age when they could no longer have sex the way they want to. To some, dying at age 65 having had a life of erotic fulfillment, on their own terms, begins to look like a better deal than living another 30 years with erotic vigilance and fear, or a shut-down sexuality, along with all the toxic influences caused by such alternatives.

And although maturity usually implies better ability to self-monitor, middle age has a time pressure all its own. Scholars who study human behavior have long suggested that our drive for sexual expression is second only to our craving to feed when we are hungry. Being both sexually honest and always safe has proven to be far more difficult than anyone ever imagined.
 
Hell, even a rock isn’t always and forever.

I know of no one who enjoys the stress of self-monitoring during sex … no one. It is unnatural, and it robs us of the abandon and spontaneity that can be so healing and bonding in all human sexuality. The sex that most of us yearn for does not require the wariness and constant vigilance that is the essential element of all “safer sex.”

Most of us crave sex that is mindless and beyond self-awareness. 

What we long to say is:

“We got lost in it, utterly—we rolled together as one, with no awareness of boundaries or barriers of any sort—I have no idea what happened; all I know is how we felt during and after.”

Yet meanwhile, billions of dollars and countless volunteer hours have been spent to prevent exactly that kind of sex from happening. And still, at least once every 16 minutes, in the U.S. alone, someone becomes HIV positive.

***

Another piece of the picture:

I recently became friends with a smart and educated 29-year-old man, born into a Baptist family and raised in the South. I asked him why he became HIV positive at age 27 when there is so much information about how to avoid that. And in words uniquely his, he essentially explained that while dealing with all the usual stresses of coming out gay, including estrangement from his family, of course, he found that his own emotional capabilities simply weren’t able to cope with the loss of sexual spontaneity. It was often his only emotional refuge and solace during those times of isolation, fear and the dark feelings that many of us can easily recall from similar periods in our own lives.

He said, “I became exhausted by the demands of the sex police, and decided I could more easily deal with the challenges of being HIV positive. Besides that, I knew no one my age with HIV. It looked like only old guys got it and had died. I knew no one whom HIV had killed.” He is doing fine now, by the way; he is on the cocktail and testosterone with no side effects, and he dates only POZ men with whom he can do the wild thing at any hour of the day or night.

He becomes less and less unusual … about every 16 minutes.

***
More pieces to consider:

We foster POZ self-esteem, as we should, and we understand POZ quality of life issues, too. But we in America also place very high value on the principle of Self Determination, and we stand up to defend the informed choices that our citizens make about their own lives and the consequences that go with them.

If we are going to demand tolerance for being different, then aren’t we morally obligated to extend that same tolerance to guys who make choices which, at first glance, can appear to be contradictory or even self-destructive, or who make choices different from our own? I’ve slowly discovered from my work in the therapy room that, at least for some HIV-negative men, complex decisions about HIV status conversion, emerge with far more sophisticated deliberation than is suggested by videos of presumably POZ men screwing their brains out bareback. It happens far more often than I would have ever guessed.

It seems that we’ve collectively chosen not to notice that a huge range of people risk illness and death in exchange for a better quality of life every day, don’t they? Don’t you? We do it in sports, we do it when we travel here or outside the U.S., we do it in search of adventures, we do it for rewarding work, and yes, some do it for erotic fulfillment.

****

That said, it’s way past time that someone point out that HIV-positive guys are NOT the only ones who are entitled to have “quality of life” issues. Being HIV positive does not automatically come with an exclusive right to have a better “quality of life.” Everyone has that right, and I suspect that guilt and/or anger about being either positive or negative have prevented too many of us from seeing the truth of that.

Get HIV-negative guys talking honestly about this, and they will often tell you that they resent being told that their HIV-negative status should somehow BE their golden “quality of life” payoff, period. Virtue may be its own reward for some gay men, but there are appetites it cannot satisfy and doesn’t even address. To ignore that fact is both insulting and condescending.

A number of HIV-negative men have told me that sometimes it seems that becoming HIV positive is looking more and more like a smart career move with a great benefits package. In exchange for a life-threatening infection that is often manageable, many get income without working, free healthcare, support groups, maid service, free meals, even dedicated 12-step meetings if necessary, plus some government benefits—all the things in the safety net, plus opportunities for fear-free sex if they want those.

(Several psychotherapists have also pointed out privately that some gay men see HIV as an opportunity to have an extended adolescence or premature retirement [paid for largely by strangers]. These colleagues found that some feel thus entitled because they had crappy childhoods, and/or suffered the pain of homophobia, and/or become infected just for being who they are.)

But heaven help the HIV-negative guys who express any need for negative-only “quality of life” services. When such proposals have been put forward, they’ve frequently been greeted with a chorus of criticism, including charges of anti-HIV POZ-discrimination and bigotry.

I recently learned of a gay man who contacted a gay and lesbian center, asking to join a creative writing group if one was available. He discovered that he wasn’t qualified to join because he isn’t HIV positive. Angry, he promised to return when he’d become infected.

Last January, I was able to find only one single support group for HIV-negative guys in the greater L.A. area that was NOT connected to some quickie AIDS prevention program. I was looking on behalf of a negative client of mine, but I found only one. It had a waiting list; he called several times, his calls were not returned, and he finally gave up. If that’s the situation here in L.A., we have to wonder how much support is there likely to be for negative folks wanting to discuss their feelings about HIV in Indianapolis, Nashville or Las Vegas.

These are not isolated examples. Privately, many HIV-negative people report feeling angry about the double standard they feel around the issue of equal resources and services, especially so in the face of rising HIV conversion rates. The absence of such resources for HIV-negative people sends several very interesting and powerful messages, I think … complex messages that often feel too tangled to sort out quickly and easily. Easier to turn away instead. No fun to think about … ”makes my mind hurt to think about.”
 
***

The great divide between POZ and negative guys is going to grow ever wider, but, I’m sorry to say, I see it every day. And I don’t see that gap ever closing unless a really good vaccine is developed someday. Reports from that research effort are discouraging for two reasons: first, because the HIV virus is such a tricky beast both structurally and functionally.

And second, no one disputes that there is vastly more profit to be made from expensive, long-term anti-HIV drug therapies than could ever be made from outright HIV prevention by vaccine. Why would the stockholders of drug companies want a vaccine developed to prevent HIV infection? Every single person protected from HIV by that hypothetical vaccine could represent huge lost potential earnings for drug companies.

The full horror of this economic fact is beyond anyone’s imagination. 

Only political action on a scale never before seen can overcome the powerful financial dis-incentives that prevent warp-speed vaccine development. How ironic: politically mobilized HIV-negative gay men militantly fire up vaccine development to get the sexual expression many secretly crave and, coincidentally, prevent the deaths of countless millions who’ll never afford expensive drug therapies. Hmmm … sex-hungry gay men as saviors of the world’s poor—couldn’t hurt.

Anyway … since no vaccine seems likely to appear anytime soon, the option to (actively or more passively) become HIV positive continues to have growing appeal, and even allure for some. Don’t forget that some of the guys in those HIV drug ads look pretty damned sexy, and the videos just get sexier. The gyms are packed. Steroid muscle drugs are only a prescription away, and hey … they’re pharmacy grade. HIV-meds are free or cheap for those who know how the system works. The support system is in place and, even in tight times, politicians probably won’t let the well run totally dry, perhaps because drug companies encourage them not to … who knows.

And every year, the stigma of being HIV-positive fades a little bit more.

Short of a vaccine, the next best thing concerning the growing POZ/negative segregation will be for us to surrender to the growing HIV status divide, and develop healthy ways to live with it. And by “healthy” I do not mean HIV-negative people finding refuge in sexless relationships, or strengthening denial about the emotional costs of “safer sex,” or going on anti-depressant medications that can flatten out sex drive, or relaxing into drug or other addictions—including one’s career.

One thing I do think that could mean, as of today anyway, is that those in the HIV-negative world simply must get their act together and develop erotic resources and opportunities that rival or surpass those available in the ever more glamorized POZ world being marketed today. For those resources to emerge, however, HIV-positive people will have to help out by restraining the impulse to see negative-only resources as being politically incorrect discrimination.

HIV-negative men have been discouraged from developing resources for self-care partly because they fear the wrath of the POZ community. As we all know, bareback parties happen at all our bigger gatherings; I’ve even seen invitations posted on hotel doorways. But I suspect that any door marked “HIV Negative Only” would soon be covered with graffiti (or worse).

I also fear that unless someone figures out how to make negative-only resources profitable, it may never happen. Why? Because many negative guys continue to operate with a “circle the wagons” kind of bunker mentality that is characterized by an “every man for himself” attitude, and they do that despite terrible psychological, emotional and spiritual costs.

That kind of vigilance does not lend itself to the creation of radical solutions to achieve sexual spontaneity, I wouldn’t imagine. I’d like to be wrong about that. But I’m not encouraged, simply because I notice that, despite the fact that there are still far more HIV-negative guys, no all-out effort is being made to create equally hot and sexy opportunities for them.

The material about “negotiated safety” and the methods of achieving a “fluid bonded” partner or maybe even a tight and closed group of “fluid bonded” HIV-negative sex brothers, seem to suggest some directions for effective solutions. And yes, I know that both of those solutions mean a much longer and more complicated route to get to enjoy the 1975-style sex than the New Breed POZ bad boy Warrior Pigs take for granted nowadays without a second thought.

The only “safe” ticket to 1975-style sexuality for negative guys takes much longer to develop; is far more labor intensive; the HIV risk can never be conclusively eliminated; maintaining it requires constant attention to detail, and the learning of some new skills for many of us.

Did I mention the issue of Trust? So many tough questions: Am I sure I know enough about it; am I willing to bet becoming HIV positive that I know all I need to know about Trusting? Can I learn how, when, why and whom to Trust? How many mistakes am I allowed to make while I learn? Who will teach me? How will I evaluate and choose those teachers? How long will it take, and what will it cost to learn?

I’m certain that as long as there are young, horny guys who are unused to, unprepared, and ill-equipped for the life stresses they must face, including sex, there is every reason to suppose that more and more of them will decide that the POZ price for the 1975-sex ticket will be easier for them to manage.

Young gay men, kinky or not, are simply not equipped by their upbringing with the emotional skills necessary to handle that kind of challenge.  And most sadly, the old custom of a gay man (or groups of men) mentoring a young guy seems to have been replaced by the distractions and erotic mirages of the Internet. It appears that many, if not most, young men have come to see older men as merely exploiters. Many young guys think we have nothing of value for them, except maybe money and employment or lifestyle opportunities. Ironically, it’s partly a family values issue.

***

I’ve become convinced that the lame-assed AIDS prevention programs that have been trotted out, one after the other, will be doomed to slow failure until they stop being fear based and can start being based on promoting white-hot sex for the negative population. So help me god: If I see one more fear-based AIDS/HIV prevention program emerge, I’ll wanna puke on who ever designed it. Obviously, the government can’t be trusted to fund any HIV prevention program that promotes hotter gay sex, which means that those dollars will have to come from within gay culture itself … I can hear the groans now. No? Okay, so then I’ll sit quietly and listen to your solution. Tick, tock … tick, tock.

Unless we can find ways to make it more attractive sexually for negative guys to stay that way, more and more of them won’t … and everyone knows that! The evidence is in: In simple terms, the longing for hot sex and, for some, the hope of intimacy that might go with it will, for more people every year, eventually overcome the steadily decreasing fear of illness.

I firmly believe that most, if not all, the programs we’ve created to slow the spread of HIV have had an unintended but profound side effect: they have steadily de-sensitized some of the people they tried to protect from HIV infection.

It is insane to think that more of the same will produce a different result.



***

The winding and tortured history of our social, scientific, political, medical and ethical responses to AIDS/HIV during its 20-year shadow has produced many unintended and surprising consequences. We … all of us together, have, in any number of ways, been the accidental parents of this new band of erotic outlaws. They are our creation and our children, conceived in countless choices made for noble and ethical reasons.

When I stand back far enough from these parts of the puzzle, I begin to think that eventually the semi-underground POZ bad boys had to become a pack of erotic rebels and outlaws for mutual support just as the Old Guard once did. It would have been surprising if that had not happened. Like the Old Guard, the bad boys of today make their own freedom, and they know it. Erotic self-determination isn’t the only drumbeat that means anything to them, but it is often central—something I recognize from my youth, as I’m sure others do.

So, all of that is a summary of how and why I think it has come to pass that the Old Guard erotic outlaws of yesterday have been replaced by this New Breed … did you get that, “New Breed” … of today’s erotic outlaws. I was startled to notice the degree of similarity between them, but there it is.

Yeah, there are also differences, too. The men of the Old Guard were deeply invested in taking care of each other; battlefield experience tends to foster that kind of in-group loyalty. Beyond history, protocol and technique, the Old Guard also offered other things of great value to newcomers: stability, honor, continuity, mentoring and protection. I don’t sense those traits in the New Breed as a whole, only in some individuals, but that may come in time—it’s too soon to guess how values might evolve. Old Guard values also took time to coalesce; we shall see.

Is the emergence of the New Breed an important development? Is it, or will it become, as important and influential as the Old Guard has been? I doubt the Old Guardians knew of or cared about their importance (which only became clear after their decline was well underway). They were too busy living their reality to see themselves clearly … that’s probably true for the New Breed, too.

From Old Guard to New Breed in 20 years … and yeah, my head is spinning.

***

Our thinking about radical sexuality has been slowed down unnecessarily by the presence of elephants in the middle of the room that too many of us have been pretending aren’t there. But they are. Modern “recreational” drugs pose new challenges. (I’ve omitted discussion of “recreational” drug issues that are related to much of what I’ve said here, largely because I think they’ve been well-discussed elsewhere, and I have nothing new to add.) The blessings and curses of the Internet remain profoundly vexing. Some of us struggle to find ways to reach across the generation gap, certainly to help our youth, and maybe partly to avoid becoming irrelevant. And there are other issues as well.

HIV issues continue to reinvent themselves. We are many communities now, with divergent needs and agendas. There is much unexpressed anger, fear and suspicion flying in both directions across the HIV positive/negative divide that we simply must start talking about … and soon.

I’ve tried to draw your attention to some closely related issues I find most important. But they cross and merge together at times, like some sort of triple helix or piece of twisted rope, so it’s confusing stuff to absorb. Maybe, in time, I’d have sorted things out better here, but I’ve brought them to our table now because I think time is our enemy.

I hope we can begin to have some calm and intelligent conversations about these matters. But if we’re not grownup enough to resist being dominated by anger, fear, money or laziness, then we’ll miss chances to influence how much pain waits in the future.

Carpenters can’t build bridges when their only tool is a flamethrower.

But if we can discuss issues as adults, then we will have taken a few steps toward developing a more clear understanding of THE TRUTH, and maybe even take a few steps toward the Freedom that I believe lies in wait for us somewhere beyond. 

 Truth is not the enemy of Freedom and Growth.

Thanks for your time and attention.

END

“I love men, not for what unites them, but for what divides them, and I want to know most of all what gnaws at their hearts.”
—Apollinaire

# # #

Please note: Any spelling or grammatical errors are most likely my own that occurred as I worked up this page with Guy's original text.
 
 

If you would like to learn more about me – just ask!   Drop me a line and we’ll see what happens.  I can be reached
here at: madoc@madoc.us.

You can also try using Yahoo Messenger as I’ll have that one sometimes while I am at work or at home.

My Yahoo handle is:

madoc62

Until later then,

Madoc

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This page was last updated on: 26 April 2004