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Old 04-16-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
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Why is it wrong to discourage highly risky gay sex?

http://michiganmessenger.com/tag.do;...g=Matt+Foreman

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A top national gay activist's statement that HIV/AIDS is a "gay disease" has split HIV/AIDS service organizations over whether the results may be positive or cause a backlash against gays.
Matt Foreman, outgoing executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, made the controversial remark during a state of the movement speech in Detroit on Feb. 7, and added that the community needed to "own up to it."
Or is it only homosexuals that are allowed to say such heretical things?
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:39 PM   #2
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It's not wrong to discourage highly risky sex. Period. To single out one demographic as being implicitly more hedonistic than the rest is what's wrong. The fastest growing demographic getting HIV/AIDS are not homosexuals, and anyone with even a basic understanding of biology understands that a virus is demographic-blind. If you engage in risky sex with multiple partners, regardless of whether you're male, female, gay, straight, black, white, Asian, etc., then you are at a high risk for HIV/AIDS. It's that simple.

As for Mr. Foreman, I've noticed some angst amongst the older gay demographic that grew up with far more stigmas and ridicule than the emerging younger generation. They seem to be the ones who make all the controversial and implicitly self-loathing comments, and I'm not entirely sure why. But he should be ashamed of himself for using his position to make such ridiculous comments. The last thing we need to do is to give these religious nuts even more ammunition for unacceptable anti-gay bigotry:

Quote:
The comment has been picked up by the far right, with such groups as the American Family Association (AFA) of Michigan, Concerned Women of America and the Christian Broadcasting Network all reporting on the statement. In a press release, AFA Michigan leader Gary Glenn said he would use the statement to support the claims of his group that homosexuality is dangerous.
Yep...I'm sure y'all are always on guard to look for negative comments about gays. Nice to know that you care about HIV/AIDS in this country.

Quote:
Jake Distel, executive director of the Lansing Area AIDS Network, foresaw problems as a result of Foreman's comment.

"We work with communities of faith, communities of color and various cultural issues," he said. "We have dealt with these groups for years to bring people to the table. But to have people take another look at this as a gay disease, and out of the words of a gay leader, is unfortunately going to make our job more difficult."
This, ultimately, is the truth of the matter.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:47 PM   #3
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I actually went to a medical talk a few years ago in my past life where the researchers discussed how to lower HIV transmission rates in instances of anal intercourse. The issue is really that the lack of lubrication (and the artificial stuff is really never as good as vaginal lubrication) combined with the inherent limitations of latex predisposes condoms to ripping. What we could/should do is develop stronger condoms specifically designed for this use, but there is really little interest in having that massively distributed in your corner drug store.
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:08 PM   #4
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this is the new face of homophobia, saying that being gay is hazardous to your health, and as such, this behavior should be stigmatized and outlawed.

should we talk about straight anal sex? i know loads of straight dudes obsessed with that.

and while we're at it, should we go after African sex? like, it's hazardous to your health to be a sub-Saharan African?
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
should we talk about straight anal sex? i know loads of straight dudes obsessed with that.
I really don't get the discomfort some people feel at discussing the topic. It really isn't something that is out on the fringes of heterosexual sex either (I don't have the statistics but at least anecdotally speaking I know plenty of straight couples who have tried it, even if they don't partake regularly). Given that it is obviously mainstream among the gay community and somewhat common in the heterosexual community, shouldn't we be able to discuss it like rational adults?
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:14 AM   #6
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The global community needs a healthy debate on attitudes towards sex imo.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:35 AM   #7
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i'm actually concerned about the title of this thread.

isn't highly risky sex discouraged, whether it's male or female? isn't promiscuity discouraged? aren't condoms encouraged? why single it out as gay sex?

the real agenda here -- not the OP's agenda, but the agenda of these groups -- is to drop the words "highly risky" and try to "discourage gay sex."
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
It's not wrong to discourage highly risky sex. Period. To single out one demographic as being implicitly more hedonistic than the rest is what's wrong.
Hedonism? I don't think hedonism is really the issue here. Granted, homophobes may have a vested interest in attempting to portray gay people as shallow and hedonistic, and granted, as you say later in your post, right wing groups are likely to seize on the types of comments made by Mr Foreman. That does not, however, invalidate the comments themselves.


Quote:
Originally posted by melon
If you engage in risky sex with multiple partners, regardless of whether you're male, female, gay, straight, black, white, Asian, etc., then you are at a high risk for HIV/AIDS. It's that simple.
I don't think it really is that simple. Certain types of sexual behaviour are more risky than others. Heterosexuals engaging in frequent unprotected sexual activity, while it carries certain risks, is not as risky as male homosexuals frequently engaging in risky sexual activity. If it were, then why do health organisations cousnel that certain types of sexual activity are more risky? Why do gay lobby groups themselves put considerable emphasis on encouraging precautions?


Quote:
Originally posted by melon
As for Mr. Foreman, I've noticed some angst amongst the older gay demographic that grew up with far more stigmas and ridicule than the emerging younger generation. They seem to be the ones who make all the controversial and implicitly self-loathing comments, and I'm not entirely sure why. But he should be ashamed of himself for using his position to make such ridiculous comments. The last thing we need to do is to give these religious nuts even more ammunition for unacceptable anti-gay bigotry:
Why do you see Mr Foreman's remarks as implicitly self-loathing?
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
should we talk about straight anal sex? i know loads of straight dudes obsessed with that.
While that is certainly true, are the %'s of heterosexuals who engage in such a practice greater than the %'s of homosexuals who do?

Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
and while we're at it, should we go after African sex? like, it's hazardous to your health to be a sub-Saharan African?
Well it has been claimed that the spread of AIDS in some African countries is linked to cultural practices with regard to sexual activity. So, yes, we should 'go after' African sex if it helps to reduce the spread of AIDS.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy
Well it has been claimed that the spread of AIDS in some African countries is linked to cultural practices with regard to sexual activity. So, yes, we should 'go after' African sex if it helps to reduce the spread of AIDS.


i agree.

the issue isn't saying that certain types of people are inherently incapable of having sex that isn't dangerous, but more that some kinds of sex are more dangerous than other.

but you will not find the religious right willing to adopt such nuances. all they will do is look at disease rates for heterosexuals vs. homosexuals, and say, "look, see?" this ignores the fact that homosexuals swim in a vastly smaller dating pool and aren't given the same incentives to settle down with one person.

people point to the rise in HIV amongst African-Americans, and the STD rate amongst African-American teenaged females, and the lesson isn't, actually, that african-americans are dramatically more promiscuous than their white counterparts. in fact, they are as likely to use protection and actually less likely to be inebriated when they do have sex. the difference is that there are fewer degrees of separation between sexual partners. what has been learned about HIV is that it's not quite so random as you'd think -- certain networks of people tend to get infected, and when you deal with ghettoized communities, like blacks and like gays, this is one of the results.

but, again, when you've got a hateful agenda, you can find ways to make it seem like concern.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
all they will do is look at disease rates for heterosexuals vs. homosexuals, and say, "look, see?"
Of course by that logic women should abstain from sex with men, since protected sex between women is even lower risk.
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy
I don't think it really is that simple. Certain types of sexual behaviour are more risky than others. Heterosexuals engaging in frequent unprotected sexual activity, while it carries certain risks, is not as risky as male homosexuals frequently engaging in risky sexual activity. If it were, then why do health organisations cousnel that certain types of sexual activity are more risky? Why do gay lobby groups themselves put considerable emphasis on encouraging precautions?
For the same reason that Haitian organizations put considerable emphasis on encouraging precautions:

There is a higher-than-average incidence of HIV/AIDS within a given subordinate hegemony.

I'm not saying that there should not be HIV/AIDS precautions. I'm saying that they need to be universal. HIV/AIDS is demographic-blind. The U.S. is the only nation that has ever seen HIV/AIDS with a larger percentage of homosexual patients than heterosexual. For every other nation on the globe, most patients are heterosexual.

Quote:
Why do you see Mr Foreman's remarks as implicitly self-loathing?
Because he turned off his common sense and said something inflammatory that I'd expect from anti-gay "family organizations," not someone in a position of power within the gay community.

Because I've been seeing it here and there amongst the older gay demographic, where a small percentage still want to be gay like the old days, complete with the self-loathing and the guilt. It's seemingly counter-productive, that's for sure, but you do see this pop up occasionally in minority groups that are overcoming their traditional oppression and reintegrating into larger society. HIV/AIDS served, for better or for worse, as part of the "gay culture" for so long, and I think, whether consciously or not, he made this statement mostly out of lamenting that the "gay subculture" is steadily eroding and integrating into larger society with younger generations. Mr. Foreman, essentially, was making a desperate attempt to cling to an outdated cultural identity.
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:08 AM   #13
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This is not racist, its just an observation.

In my group at college we all took a STD/STI test and when questioned on the use of precautions and risks associated with unsafe sex those of African/Carribean origin ( 3 of them) never took safety measures and were unaware of the risks. Im not sure if thats the education in our country that has failed them, even though they endured the same old crap as the rest of us or if it was something embedded into their culture.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:49 AM   #14
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I read an editorial today, and was reminded of this thread.

http://www.365gay.com/opinion/besen/besen.htm

Quote:
The AIDS Blame Game

by Wayne Besen

"What is it about gay sex that makes U.S. health officials want to play Chicken Little with AIDS prevention and public safety?" Tony Valenzuela writes in the latest Poz magazine, where he criticizes, "The clueless tabloid and public health hysteria over man-on-man sex."

Valenzuela points to "an imaginary 'super strain of HIV to the sci-fi MRSA superbug." And, he is correct that it seems the media and society seem to always take on the absurd posture that gay sex is a mysterious ticking time bomb.

It is important to remember that gay bashing is a multi-million dollar industry. There is a vested interest by fundamentalist groups to convince the public that gay people are morally inferior and diseased, thus a threat to children, society and themselves.

The notion that AIDS is a punishment from God is a staple of right wing literature. Instead of focusing on the condemnation of unsafe sexual practices, extremist groups say that the very nature of being gay makes one a candidate for an early death. For example, the so-called "ex-gay" group Exodus International uses the Bible to justify their belief in God's wrath and fury against homosexuals.

"Those who practice these sins 'receive in their own persons the due penalty of their error,'" writes former Exodus Executive Director Bob Davies in 'A Biblical Response to the Pro-Gay Movement.' "In today's society, homosexuality is reaping a bitter harvest...homosexual involvement reaps deep devastation in the lives of many who practice it."

The Traditional Values Coalition has published what they call a "fact-based report on the dangers of homosexuals and homosexual behavior to children and to our society." One "fact sheet" is called, "Homosexual Sex = Death From HIV Infection."

Focus on the Family offers that, "solid, irrefutable evidence proves that there are lethal consequences to engaging in the defining features of male homosexuality..."

Of course, blaming victims for deadly diseases is nothing new and has ushered in some of the most shameful and horrific acts in world history. In a recent New York Times magazine article, epidemiologist and physician Gary Slutkin (the article was about gang violence, not HIV) spoke of how Chinese Americans were once thought to be inherently prone to disease.

"Chinatown, San Francisco in the 1880's," Slutkin said. "Three ghosts: malaria, smallpox and leprosy. No one wanted to go there. Everybody blamed the people. Dirty. Bad habits. Something about their race...And people come up with all kinds of other ideas that are not scientifically grounded -- like putting people away, closing the place down, pushing people out of town. Sound familiar?"

John Kelly's book, "The Great Mortality" explains how Jews were blamed for the "Black Death" that wiped out an estimated one-third of fourteenth century Europeans.

"In January 1349, Basel burned its Jews on an island in the Rhine, while hygiene-conscious Speyer, fearing pollution, put its dead Jews in wine barrels and rolled them into the river," wrote Kelly. "Strasbourg marched its Jews to a local cemetery and burned them...In Worms the local Jewish community, faced with death at the hands of Christian neighbors, locked themselves in their homes and set themselves ablaze."

What I find bizarre is how the right continues to portray HIV as a gay disease when more than 80 percent of people infected worldwide are heterosexual. If God really wanted to punish the so-called "gay lifestyle" and send a message, wouldn't He use a smart bomb -- like blowing up gay bars on Saturday nights -- instead of an indiscriminate shotgun blast that claims the lives of hemophiliacs and babies? The last time God was this inefficient, He placed George W. Bush in the Oval Office to carry out his will.

For reasons of political convenience and conservative correctness, anti-gay groups pick and choose who gets blame. In Washington, DC, black residents account for 81% of new reports of HIV infection and 86% of people with AIDS, though the city's population is only 57% African-American. Based on anti-gay "logic," this would mean that the "black lifestyle" is dangerous and should be condemned. Interestingly, they only focus on homosexuality and ignore other demographics and the largely hetero International AIDS epidemic because the inconvenient facts don't mesh well with the right's anti-gay storyline.

Gay people were around for thousands of years before AIDS and will still inhabit this planet long after the disease subsides or is eradicated. In the grand scheme of the universe, HIV does not define homosexuality any more than past syphilis or gonorrhea outbreaks in Europe defined heterosexuality.

Illnesses, like natural disasters, are not God's wrath, but ordinary phenomena that affect different populations at any given time. History, however, teaches us that the most enduring disease is divisiveness in the name of the Divine, that predictably rears its ugly head at the very moments when healing is needed instead of hatred.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
It's not wrong to discourage highly risky sex. Period. To single out one demographic as being implicitly more hedonistic than the rest is what's wrong. The fastest growing demographic getting HIV/AIDS are not homosexuals, and anyone with even a basic understanding of biology understands that a virus is demographic-blind. If you engage in risky sex with multiple partners, regardless of whether you're male, female, gay, straight, black, white, Asian, etc., then you are at a high risk for HIV/AIDS. It's that simple.

As for Mr. Foreman, I've noticed some angst amongst the older gay demographic that grew up with far more stigmas and ridicule than the emerging younger generation. They seem to be the ones who make all the controversial and implicitly self-loathing comments, and I'm not entirely sure why. But he should be ashamed of himself for using his position to make such ridiculous comments. The last thing we need to do is to give these religious nuts even more ammunition for unacceptable anti-gay bigotry:



Yep...I'm sure y'all are always on guard to look for negative comments about gays. Nice to know that you care about HIV/AIDS in this country.



This, ultimately, is the truth of the matter.
I agree.....Aids is not a "gay disease." It spans all segments of culture and society. Unless you are in a committed relationship and both partners have been tested/negative. Always use protection.

People live with aids, they are not cured.
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