Wednesday, December 2, 2009

World AIDS Day 2009

I attended the Medicine Wheel at the Cyclorama earlier this evening with a friend who had never been before. It seemed so bright in there this year in past years I remember it feeling dimly lit which made the space seem more intimate. The space feeling larger and brighter was probably because the installation consisted of quite a bit of black ink block prints on white paper. It still quieted my heart to be there.

My favorite cousin died of AIDS during what I call the first wave, the early years. He was the older one, probably 17 when the rest of cousins were still under 10 years old. I didn't find out he had died until almost ten years after his death. No one ever talked about him being gay, let alone be dying of some new virus. It wasn't until his father's funeral, my uncle, did we find out, in quiet whispers in the back room of the funeral parlor, that he was gay and that he had died in the 80's of that "gay disease" - like it was dirty secret.

What is the dirty secret that needs to be told is the number of transgender people, most being transgender women, that have died of AIDS or who are living with HIV, but we never hear about them. Mostly, because that data is wrapped up in with the same data collected for those labeled MSM - Men who have sex with men. Not exactly the label I would use for someone who is MTF, not even close. As for FTM's well we are almost completely invisible, yet I keeping meeting FTMs who are living with HIV more and more. 

AIDS is still killing us.



  1. These photographs are great Gunner. Good thing I decided to check out your blog. And what you said about your cousin, I can't even imagine how eerie that must have been.

  2. Transpeople need to hold our public health systems accountable--they should be counting us and doling out resources accordingly. But they don't and WE LET THEM. But we as transpeople need to break our denial about how HIV/AIDS has and is killing us.

  3. This is the post I meant. I linked it on the Federation blog this morning.

    It was great to have a chance to talk with you at the reception.