28 January 1999: Another Discovery

Well, it was one of those days. I found myself crying on the bus tonight after a delightful evening with L. I finished reading David B. Feinberg's Eighty-Sixed, and I was really just so affected by it. I rarely read things that move me this much. The last books I read that did this too me were Felice Picano's three memoirs this past summer. That's what got me to want to write. Click here to read my review.

It's great to discover an author you really like. The tragedy is that Feinberg died in 1994. Our best writers; dead before they were 40. It's hard to imagine what life would have been like if we had never had AIDS; and we never will know.

How I wonder how Feinberg would lambast the "barebackers"--the men who go out deliberately having sex with HIV+ men for the perverse and fatal thrill of risking exposure. Protease inhibitors have not prevented people from prophylaxis. The "cocktail" allows AIDS to be a "manageable disease." But it's still a disease. And you can still react poorly to the drugs and get really sick and die. Why would anyone want to do this?

AIDS is a disease and to assign blame to people for their sexual or drug-using behaviour is counterproductive and futile. However, people who are going out of their way to flirt with infection? I am happy to censure them. There are some who want to glamorize this and act as if unprotected sex is a "transformative experience only realized through exposure to bodily fluids." This is not communion, this is just foolishness. My one friend with AIDS has had diarrhea for the past five years. Let's see if the "gift givers" are around to hold the hands of their sick "bug chasers" one day, when things get rough.

Sex is not everything. Go without it for a few years. There's more to life, there's more to being gay, than sex. If only every barebacker read Eighty-Sixed... .

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Copyright (c) 1999, Seth J. Bookey, New York, NY 10021, sethbook@panix.com