Thursday, February 17, 2005

Gay Irresponsibility:

Some veteran gay activists are proposing radical new HIV-prevention strategies to combat unprotected sex among some sexually active gay men, including confronting these men directly in sex parties and chat rooms. Charles Kaiser, a noted gay author, explained it this way to the New York Times:

A person who is HIV-positive has no more right to unprotected intercourse than he has the right to put a bullet through another person's head.

But Bob Hattoy, an AIDS activist and former Clinton administration official, disagrees:

Three things led us to this point: A shameful lack of government-funded prevention and education, complacency brought on by the new meds, and the destructive power of crystal meth addiction.

Notice that Hattoy blames everyone and everything -- including the life-saving drugs which government agencies and pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars developing -- except those gay men (up to 40%, according to a NYC study) who refuse to grow up and live sexually responsible lives.

I was a crystal meth addict a few years back. I was going out and doing horrible things and acting out at bathhouses. It placed me on a downward spiral. I was only able to forgive myself after I got clean and sober. It really brought out the dark side.

Let me see if I got this right: Hattoy reached a point where he regularly did "horrible things," and his response has been to forgive himself? What about asking forgiveness from all the people whose lives he endangered? And what about good old-fashioned repentance, as in to feel genuine reproach, regret, and remorse for one's actions?

We have to address this together as a community rather than blaming individuals. People who are addicted are out of their minds. It is certainly warranted to talk about addiction and sex in places like bathhouses and sex sites. But condemnation is not the answer.

Well, yes, we do have to address this as a community. No one disputes that. What we are disputing is how to best do this when the community in question is comprised of so many irresponsible adults who, long past the age at which drug and sexual experimentation can be chalked off to youthful ignorance, continue to engage in risky behavior that is now creating a very real--and very public--health threat.

As Gay Patriot West observes:

[T]oo many gay men have become so 'obsessed with sex' that everything else becomes secondary, not only the health and lives of others, but their own health and lives as well. For all too many, the quest for the best sex eclipses all other things--and becomes the be-all and the end-all of their gay identity. And the meaning of their entire lives.

Given the circumstances, what's wrong with a little blame? To blame, after all, means nothing more than "to find fault with" and "to hold responsible." Is this really too much to ask of grownups? Or do Hattoy and those who would excuse gay irresponsibility genuinely think gay men are too feeble-minded and weak-willed to be held accountable for their actions? And if so, why? Would this not run counter to all the arguments we are now making in favor of gay marriage?

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