I will use this monthly Sexpert column as a tool to cover honest and edgy topics that really matter. Many of the topics will be those not found in every day conversation and topics that can make a difference if we have courage. I encourage each of you to have a conversation, debate, post comments, and find information to challenge not only the way I see things, but the way our community sees these topics. There is no right answer, just as there is no right way to be an individual, but as we are the ones who set the standard, we are the ones who must first take a thoughtful stand.
Let’s begin the conversation by asking: Where does our self-esteem, or lack of, come from? We are in this world where we encourage everyone to be an individual, but in terms of sex we encourage anonymity and conformity. Don’t for a second expect to get an honest answer about whether someone has or had an STI (sexual transmitted infection) or especially HIV. That subject clouds the degree to which we encourage that supposed “individuality” we hold so dearly.
“I have herpes.” Now, that’s a sentence that once said that doesn’t get you off. We put distance between us and people with an STI because they were real with us and because they are an individual who values themselves enough to be honest about their status. Why should that person ever be honest again? Would you be?
Self-esteem, both on the individual and community level, must be and be seen as something of value. Being judgmental is an aspect of the Queer Community, an essential piece of our interconnected fabric, but so is finesse. Being bitchy is a choice. Show those who are brave enough to be individuals about their health and sex life the same courtesy as someone who stands up to a bully. Chances are the person who is being brave and honest about their status may be the one who saves your life.