Today is World AIDS day. People all over the web are raising awareness of this still current issue. The UN says that new infection rates are starting to drop all over the world, a proof that prevention campaigns are starting to make an impact. My cynical first thought was maybe the new infection rates were dropping because all the high risk members of the hardest hit populations were mostly infected or dead.
Anyway, I'd like to take a moment to look at the very specific way that AIDS has affected my life. When I was a little girl, my mom had a friend named Billy. Billy was a drag queen, and whenever we went to his and his partner's house, Billy and I would do our nails and play with make up, something that my rather butch mom and I never did. It was always so much fun.
Billy died of AIDS, when I was still young enough not to understand. This story is pretty short, a little kid losing someone they barely ever saw anyway, but I imagine that when added to everyone else's loss, my tiny grain of sand adds to the mountain of sorrows.
HIV is no longer the queer disease, and it is not a flag carried only by the gay community and their allies, but I have some thoughts to share on the topic of homosexuality in the US.
I am a daughter of what I think of as the first out generation, the tail end of the baby boomers, people who came of age just after the stonewall riots. My mom was twelve in 1969. She grew up in a time when homosexuality was still a mental disorder. She had to hide, then fight for, her sexuality. For my generation, it seems like just something else to be picked on in highschool, the teenage dating scene made that much more of a pit of angst, and once you're out of highschool and that shitty little backwater town where you grew up, it's pretty okay. Gay bars aren't only in the worse part of town, and people can hold hands with the one they love without fear. We are edgingI'm told that for young teens today, especially the girls, being bi- or homosexual is almost trendy, the newest teen rebellion now that everyone has piercings. I hope that for the people who are being born today, it won't make any difference at all.