Words by Stuart Haggas | @GetStuart
The gay community has its own divisions, including the prejudice often faced by those living with HIV. Readers of FS who’ve been diagnosed HIV-positive tell us they face stigma in many places, but the place they face it the most is on the gay scene itself.
At a time when the world’s LGBT population may need to stand together, can we be united if we’re divided by HIV prejudice and stigma?
“We’ve seen some seismic events this year, where the popular vote defied both polling and the majority of expert opinion,” acknowledges Matthew Hodson, Executive Director of NAM.
“I’d like to believe that as a community we will only become stronger when faced with adversity, but these are strange and turbulent times and it’s hard to hold on to anything as a certainty. I strongly believe though that we will be better equipped to meet the challenges that we face if we can work together and reject prejudice and stigma.”
“Sometimes it feels like our community is more fractured and disparate than ever,” adds Tom Hayes, Editor in Chief of beyondpositive.org.
“I can certainly identify with the guys who felt that the most stigma towards those of us living with HIV comes from within our own community. It genuinely does hurt when it comes from people you feel should empathise with our situation. I’d like to hope that the LGBT community will come together in the face of a difficult few years ahead. I know we can do it – this past year the sense of community following the Orlando massacre was just remarkable. But can we make the sustained effort? We’ll have to wait and see.”