AIDS: SPREAD THIS!!!
In the Life "Out Takes"
Written by Harvey Fierstein
Title: "AIDS, Spread This!"
As you may know I'm back on Broadway. That's right. These shaved eyebrows are not meant as a fashion statement.
Well, no sooner had I arrived in my dressing room than the requests to perform AIDS benefits began to pile up. Nothing new about that. I do AIDS benefits all the time, but the sheer number of requests started me thinking why are we still doing this? Has nothing changed in the last fifteen years?
And, if not, why not?
Have we wasted two decades battling the wrong cause of AIDS?
For the better part of the last twenty years, my friends and I have sacrificed time, energy, and resources to the crisis.
We've raised money, performed shows, spoken out at schools, on TV, at rallies, in movies, hospital wards, street corners…
We've marched and protested and screamed ourselves hoarse.
We've sought out experts, trained the counselors, built hospital wards, created hospices, hand held patients, counseled families, and sewn memorial quilt panels in every city of every state of this nation.
We've back-roomed politicians and bullied pulpits, lambasted school boards and blackballed bigots. We've written legislation and pamphlets and found funding for prevention.
We fought court battles, and took on drug companies. We've smuggled meds, phonied insurance forms, bribed healthcare workers to get what patients needed. We've lectured and written about our experiences.
We've buried our friends and our lovers and our family members and our neighbors.
We've passed out condoms, and rubbered bananas, and worn red ribbons to every public event imaginable.
We've held world events and out-mediaed every single other disease ever contracted by man or beast.
We've spread the message in all conceivable languages that AIDS is a deadly but difficult to contract, and completely preventable disease.
We've done all this for the better part of twenty years and still AIDS is a day-to-day reality in our community.
Am I alone and feeling like a political fool, a social fossil and a community failure? I know folks who think that being HIV-positive is cool, sexy, and desirable.
I know HIV-positive people who have unprotected sex with others without care or conscience.
I know HIV-positive people who only have unprotected sex. I know HIV-negative people who only have unprotected sex.
I've spoken to an HIV-negative teen who only wanted two things in this world: to meet a nice guy and to seroconvert.
Now, if these people care so little about their own lives and well being, why should I care?
I should give up my Saturday night to raise money to buy drugs for some punk who went out and got AIDS thinking it was cool?
I should sign posters and theater programs for auctions to pay for the treatment of someone who continues to have unprotected sex spreading the misery?
Should I waste my time and energy fighting to keep the infecting of others with HIV decriminalized and a private matter?
Why waste money buying condoms to distribute when I can't even get some of my own acquaintances to have safer sex?
Shouldn't I forgo all this goody-two-shoe crap and just let the next generation fester on drug c*cktails and slowly die?
Why not? My generation has struggled and sacrificed all of these years and we've made little difference.
Why shouldn't I stop wasting my time?
Or have we been fighting the wrong cause of this epidemic all along? Have we? I may be ready to join those nut cases who claim HIV does not spread AIDS. No, I don't blame AIDS on government testing or bio-warfare.
I believe AIDS is spread by the same killer virus that has stalked and destroyed our people for as long as we've existed.
Forget "Silence = Death"!
How about "Self-Loathing = AIDS"?
Simply stated: Happy people don't hang themselves, do they?
- Copyright 2003 Harvey Fierstein -
I hope you read this in it's entirety and pass it on! This is a battle we don't have to keep losing...but it's time to stop putting a bandaid on this cancer: It must be cut out!