Harvey Fierstein's


Bill Weintraub

Harvey Fierstein's Trope


For those of you who missed Harvey's trope in the NY Times yesterday:

He said,

[I] "think we need to examine what we're teaching our gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and straight youth. In my opinion, the messages the drug companies are spreading are lies. The truth is that AIDS is not fun. It's not sexy or manageable. AIDS is a debilitating, deforming, terminal and incurable disease. H.I.V. drugs can bring on heart, kidney and liver disease, as well as a host of daily discomforts.

Unlike the photos in the ads we see, most of my friends who are on drug cocktails are not having the time of their lives. They spend mornings in the bathroom throwing up or suffering from diarrhea. They spend afternoons at doctor's appointments, clinics and pharmacies. And they spend endless evenings planning their estates and trying to make ends meet because they are not well enough to support themselves and their new drug habit. And those are just the friends for whom the drugs work. For many women the cocktails are nothing but a drain on finance, internal organs and stamina.

Even if the drugs were as effective as advertised, should we be creating a community of drug dependency? We have done a terrific job removing the stigma of having AIDS. But in doing so we've failed to eliminate the disease. H.I.V. is an almost completely avoidable infection. You need to be compliant in some very specific behaviors to be at risk. In fact, if every person now infected vowed that the disease ended with him, we could wipe out the ballooning number of new infections.

Instead, we've sold our next generation into drug slavery and their destiny to medical researchers because we'd rather treat each other as sexual objects than as family. Thanks to the drug companies that have made billions of dollars off us, and to the medical community that has gained a captive audience to fill appointment books, and to AIDS charities that have become a career for many, we have created an industry of disease that would crumble if AIDS was cured in our community.

I am calling for us to take back our lives and culture and to stop spreading the virus. I am calling for us to resist the normalization of disease and once again embrace health. I'm calling for an end to the false advertising for drugs and for us to stop minimizing the infection with cute little names like "the gift" or "the bug." I want to see an ad campaign showing a sexy man saying: I don't have H.I.V. I don't want to waste my life and resources on drugs. I am taking charge of my body, my health and my destiny. I am a negative gay role model.

The irony is that this site is full of negative gay role models.

I'm a negative gay role model -- 13 years in a serodiscordant couple and I'm still negative.

Chuck's a negative gay role model -- and Don and Mart and Boomer and Beagle and Randy and David and a whole lot of other guys right on this site.

In point of fact, were the community interested, they'd find no shortage of negative gay role models.

But the gay male mainstream -- of which Harvey is part -- won't come near us because we're critical of the very behaviors which, as Harvey quaintly says, "You need to be compliant in ... to be at risk."

Compliant indeed.

You have to be into anal to be at risk.


Anal sex -- IT KILLS.

The day the community admits that -- the epidemic will be over.

Harvey's right that the community's too tolerant -- though he blames drug companies for using advertising which appeals to the community's biases.

That's what every advertiser does.

I'm not a fan of the drug companies -- who, besides barebacker Andrew Sullivan, is? -- but the problem is not the drug companies.

The problem is the prevalence of anal.

You reduce the prevalence of anal, you reduce the prevalence of HIV.

So like Tom Coates, architect of AIDS prevention programs in the US, Harvey plays footsie with the real issue.

"You need to be compliant in certain behaviors" is Harvey's trope -- his little figure of speech.

It's not "certain behaviors" Harvey.

It's anal penetration.

Stop anal, stop the epidemic.

Tom Coates pulled the same analist bullshit more than two years ago in an interview with Gay-dot-com.

He said that there was a need for a new generation of leaders.

I wrote to him and told him that new generation could be found on our website.

He didn't reply.

Guess we're not his sort of leaders.

See, Tom wants polypartnered pansexualist leaders -- promiscuous analists, but responsible promiscuous analists.

Tom doesn't get it.

"Responsible promiscuity" is like "safe promiscuity" -- an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

If you're promiscuous you're not going to be responsible.

That's the whole point to being promiscuous -- you don't have to be responsible -- you love 'em and leave 'em, fuck 'em and forget 'em.

So we don't need more multipartnered analist leaders.

We don't need any sort of analist leaders.

What we need are guys into Fidelity and Frot.

Us frot guys are the true gay, bi, and str8 negative role models.

And won't Harvey and Tom be surprised when we emerge?


Don F

Re: Harvey Fierstein's Trope


Bill - here's another excerpt from the article, one that I think is baffling---

Many of our young men see infection as a right of passage, an inevitable coming of age. I hear of them seeking the disease as entree into the cool, queer inner circle that being negative denies them.

Harvey also stated something similar in a recent PBS re-broadcast of an "In The Life" episode dealing with AIDS.

Yup. Actually "seeking" to acquire the disease because it's cool to be HIV positive.

What kind of self-loathing attitudes could make such a death-wish fashionable and cool?

The PBS program centered on improved outcomes from drug treatments, with healthy-looking (if femme-sounding) guys boasting of robust health from the newest protease inhibitors, etc. but no mention or discussion of how the infection was acquired.

The attitudes expressed struck me as a declaration that analism was somehow linked with "gay rights" and everyone else was to blame---drug companies, government, society-in-general--except the victims themselves.

The very last scene in the program was Harvey declaring his frustration that after so many efforts at prevention and treatment, there were those who were deliberately SEEKING to become infected as a social "right of passage" to a community of sickness and death---an attitude that essentially trashes all the work done by so many activists to prevent and eliminate the disease.

It suggests that HIV has become "fashionable" and butt-fucking is some sort of constitutional right for gays.

Terribly sad.

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