HERE WE GO AGAIN:
OUR FAILURE TO FOCUS ON EACH OTHER
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IF YOU HAVEN'T picked up on it by now, I am pretty direct. My intent is to bring to light topics about sex that may not get the attention they deserve. Some topics are fun to talk about and some aren’t. This one might piss some people off but it is time to start a needed conversation in our community.
FACT: There are more people being infected and living with HIV and STDs today than at any point in history. That is a cause for celebration thanks to life saving medicines and drug therapies. But it is also your fault. It’s my fault. It’s the community’s fault. It is OUR fault. We are at fault because we live in a time where access to preventative measures and knowledge about how STDs are spread has never been more advanced.
We live in a community that actively rallies around CAUSES. We invest enormous amounts of money, energy, and support into every non-profit that supports and takes care our community. This support is a wonderful, unique quality of Columbus that isn’t found in other big cities. We are extremely fortunate. However, the major concern with all of this support of CAUSES is that it focuses on fixing problems rather than preventing them by investing in one another. We continue to forget this and we forget each other.
When we only focus on the CAUSES, we inherently ignore the issues we are supporting. Our support becomes SUPERFICIAL because it is too little, too late. It constantly happens in nearly every aspect of our community. For example, we are known for being witty and judgmental. That gives us cause to judge someone by how they are dressed or how they talk while at the same time giving money to prevent bullying. We give to a CAUSE without examining our own behaviors because it takes too much investment and is seen as too much of a burden.
You might be thinking that people should be responsible for their own actions since we are all adults here; but here’s the rub. When baby gays come out into our community, they see how we act. They see how “the adults” treat each other, and they see the criteria and feel they have to act that way in order to be accepted which in our community is supporting the CAUSE but not talking about what is causing HIV. History is being repeated because we have stopped talking about OUR history with HIV and STDs on a personal, individual level. And when we stop talking to one another we forget that in sharing our history we are caring for one another by educating people about preventing the spread of HIV.
We can’t truly show support for CAUSES if we don’t—on an individual, one on one, daily level— care about the people in our community. Don’t get me wrong, keeping awareness for CAUSES helps keep the fight going and non-profits can’t survive without support. That should never diminish; but I’m asking that we take a look inside and show support for the people the agencies are there to support.
How do we do this? If you meet someone in the bar, get to know them. If you meet someone at a rally, listen to their story. If you meet someone walking down the street, ask them about their day or share a laugh. Once we start caring for each individual in our community, the causes we support will become more effective. It is our fault that rates are going up; but we can stop it. We have to set the standard. It starts today; it starts with each of us.