Saturday, March 03, 2012

Just watched And The Band Played On. I've read the book more than once (think I have it actually), but this is one case where the movie is better than the book, if only because it puts human faces on what otherwise would only be statistics or at best, names.

As far as I know, I've never personally known anyone who died of AIDS. And although I'm attracted to women, have been since I was a child, it's equally true that I could be perfectly happy with a man for the rest of my life, too. I could live in the closet and nobody would know, just as they seem to have been unaware all along anyway. So when people want to know why this sort of thing matters to me, it's hard for me to put it into words. Maybe it's because I know the horror of not belonging, of being shunned, disliked for being different. Of finding a word for that difference and being simultaneously relieved and overwhelmed by the implications of this definition....struggling to accept this, only to find that other people don't want to know, don't want to acknowledge that difference, don't want to admit that there's a real reason for why you're different. No, they only demand silence and self loathing. Life in the closet isn't only for gay people. When you have a "hidden" disability, society virtually demands that the closet is the only acceptable place for you; otherwise you're just a needy drama queen demanding attention and acceptance.

But I hate it and won't stand for it. I've lost dear friends over a label, lost custody of my children over a label, jobs, a job promotion. I know what it's like to be marginalized based on a single word. I always say that if people are going to drop me because of a diagnosis, they were only fairweather friends to begin with....but it hurts, and to be honest, the more it hurts, the less compromising I become about it.

Most of all though, love is hard to find and nobody should be shamed for who they love. Nobody has the authority or the right to tell anyone else who they can or cannot love or to try to force them into silence.

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