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Rapping About a World at Risk

Aids Awareness Day: Silence is Death

Today is Aids Awareness Day.  The organizations and people who have tirelessly worked to rid the world of this terrible plague is expected to announce that the scourge of Aids has peaked and that it is believed that in the struggle to manage, control and eradicate Aids the tide has turned.  Some believe that the total eradication of Aids is within reach and could someday soon become a reality.

I remember when the Aids virus came to the attention of the general public.  It was first called “the gay influenza” because of the preponderance of infection within the gay community.  I also recall a news broadcast that identified the first Aids carrier into the United States.  If I remember correctly it was reported that a Scandinavian Air steward had the unfortunate distinction of being carrier 001.  A convenient scapegoat that supported the narrative of the disease as transmitted and carried by promiscuous gay lifestyles.

As the plague of Aids grew it devastated the gay community.  Young beautiful men in the prime of their lives withered away to become living cadavers as the HIV virus ravaged their bodies. Caregivers and doctors fought to combat the disease but its cause and cure remained a mysterious enigma that baffled and perplexed researchers as the toll of is devastation mounted.

Friends, lovers and families were ripped apart by death and ignorance.  Bigoted intolerant beliefs were voiced that the disease was God’s retribution visited upon Sodomites for their sinful behaviors. The vibrant gay communities of Castro and Christopher Street were besieged within by the virus and from the outside by the rising vitriol and condemnation of the gay lifestyles.  The growing virulence of anti-gay bigotry paralleled the rising death toll of Aids victims.  The mysterious terror of the disease permitted public opinion to elevate the sin of homosexuality from a “misdemeanor nuisance crime” to a capitol offense.  Many believed the ghettoization of the gay communities was a rational response to quarantining Aids.  Bigots preached that God’s Divine Retribution would snuff out Aids as the last gay man succumbed  to the virus confined within the walls of their profane ghetto.

Medical science, social service and compassionate empathy of caregivers turned the tide and public perception concerning the nature, causes and treatment for Aids.  Today we understand that this disease is not a gay affliction but is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system. HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment.  Aids afflicts people of all social classes, color, nationality and is particularly prevalent in the Third World where unprotected sex is common.

Aids Awareness Day brings us full circle about the need to be vigilant in seeking understanding and practicing intentional compassion.  Our ignorance and our willingness to blame a segment of society as the cause and curse of  Aids made us all complicit in the victimization of sufferers.  It also make us defacto carriers of the disease by enabling the politics of intolerance and exclusion by erecting a wall of silence around the steeples of bigotry.  Silence is death.  May our voices and prayers always be heard in affirmation of all life.


Lavender Light Gospel Choir: Be Encouraged 

World Aids Day

Scripture Reading: Mark 5

December 1, 2011 Posted by | LGBT, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment