Don’t Miss POZ Magazine’s July/August 2015 Issue!

Our summer 2015 cover story focuses on breaking down the barriers to HIV care in the Deep South–a region where where 27% of people with AIDS die within five years of being diagnosed. 

Plus: Questioning whether or not taxpayer funding should go to faith-based HIV/AIDS groups, an inside peek at Vienna’s Life Ball and of course, the season’s top HIV treatment stories.

This Saturday, June 27 is the 20th Annual National HIV Testing Day! 

To commemorate National HIV Testing Day, make sure you know your status. Find a location near you to get an HIV test for free on June 25, 26 and 27:

In NYC, find a location to get tested at any time by texting TESTNYC to 877877, visiting 311 online or calling 311.

Outside of NYC, use the service locator. 

We can stop HIV in NYC. Here’s how:

Get Tested. Call 311, visit 311 online or text TESTNYC to 877877 to find local testing sites at any time.

Get Treated. If you or someone you know is living with HIV, get medical care. For help finding care or support services in NYC, text CARE to 877877.

Get Educated. Learn the basics of HIV and AIDS. There are medications available to help prevent HIV. Visit NYC Health’s PrEP and PEP page to get more info.

Find out where you can pick up free NYC Condoms near you.

Be safe, be sure, and get tested frequently.

anonymous asked:

1) The thing is I don't think it's a coincidence that queer theory has been appropriated and "distorted" like that. It happens to a certain degree with all forms of social analysis (see how intersectionality was bastardized...), but what's particular to queer theory is that it kinda ALLOWS for people to make endless theorizations (some being really ridiculous), without getting outside the frame of queer theory if you see what i mean. Even the name like... it's a slur. Women's studies aren't

2) called “Bitch studies” for a reason. I think there’s a problem because queer theory finds most of its limits in concrete, material situations. Because honestly, a lot of it is good for the books but not so much for the streets, even less for dismantling harmful social structures. I guess something can come out of confronting theory to reality, but atm we pretty much get deeper and deeper in “the discourse” which is a total mess. Idk if any of what I said made sense lol but what do you think

Thanks for sending this! I think a lot of things and I agree in some places and disagree with others.

First, I think it is important to situate queer theory. I would argue that queer theory has a beginning and end an is pretty strongly temporally bound. I would also say that queer theory “happens” or begins during and immediately after the HIV/AIDS crisis and so that is an important background that is worth not just noting but foregrounding. Setting is important, and it properly includes time. So queer theory as a discipline arises largely as a response to the AIDS crisis imo. That is a very particular historical moment with a very particular material reality, and that reality includes massive shock waves of death making their way through LGBTQ communities. I for one don’t think it would make sense to call anyone publishing today (even someone publishing about monosexual privilege or another poorly-built framework) a queer theorist.

Secondly, I think we should try to define as much as possible the goals of queer theory. Often I think LGBTQ people who are opposed to queer theory on principle believe that it is about stripping away meaning, about removing history, etc. But those are all misconceptions and bad readings I think. Queer theory was an emancipatory project, the end goal of which was total and complete liberation. Within the body of work we now call queer theory we find a lot of truly radical writing about the particular toll capitalism takes on LGBTQ people, about the importance of the unpaid labor women perform on a daily basis, about the destruction of a socioeconomic order which is stacked in every way against us.

Thirdly, I think it is important to note that -queer theory- has influenced other fields and existed in dialogue with them.  I don’t want to spend too much time on this point but the gist is this: a literary critic who is fond of queer theory will infuse it with their literary criticism in explicit and implicit ways and expose lit critics to the framework without their knowledge, and I’d argue this is one of the two ways queer theory became so distorted. The second is that the field was popularized a lot through word of mouth, and from the academy (not the birthplace of queer theory, but certainly a home for it at the time) to the street the game of telephone made what people now call queer theory something that’d probably unrecognizable to the authors themselves. This is even true within the academy itself, as ideas get watered down by spreading from one field to another (see here how “intersectionality” gets tossed about as a term for an example). In fact, the line between queer theory and third wave feminist work is really thin and that’s important. bell hooks? Feminist critic imo. Audre Lorde? I think a lot of her work falls under the umbrella of queer theory.

Fourthly, I want to sort of circle around to queer theory’s relationship to the HIV/AIDS crisis and tie these to its goals, which we can do through just examining the name of the field to start. Queer theorists were not the first to write about LGBTQ people, and many wrote about the relationship between these new studies and what had previously been called gay and lesbian studies. Not only did queer theory aim to include bisexual and transgender people, but it aimed to put into question all of its biases, all of its histories, all of its whitewashing, all of its presumptions about the way the world worked and who LGBTQ people are.

NOW, to get to what is basically my point, what queer theory sought to do, was answer the question: Who are we and what do we want? Gay and lesbian studies, a field quite welcoming to biases of all kinds from white racist lesbians to transphobic gay men, had given a fairly solid answer to the first question of who we are, but in the aftermath of the HIV/AIDS crisis I would argue that (in the eyes of queer theorists) the definition wasn’t expansive, meaningful, or useful enough. What queer theorists were attempting to do was create an entire ontology of queerness, an entirely new way of thinking about who we were and where we came from and where we were headed. This is why so much of queer theory exists more on the page than anywhere else and transfers off of it poorly- a lot of queer theory was an ontological exercise, an exercise in trying to find frameworks which could connect that DO exist between poor black people and gay people of almost any class status.

They articulated it poorly in many cases, in my opinion. But the question was: Who are we and how did they let us die and know we were dying? How could we be so bad, so fundamentally wrong in this world, that we could be allowed to languish while those who could offer us help laughed in our faces? This is the fundamental question I think we need to keep in mind when we talk about queer theory. There is a very particular and visceral reality that queer theory came from- lists of dead friends, former lovers languishing, landlords laughing that AIDS would clear poor gays out of slums for them to gentrify- that I honestly don’t think any of us will ever be able to understand who haven’t lived through it or something similar, and that setting is intricately tied to queer theory as a field. QUEER theory was explicitly about the figure left to die, a president who turned his head and laughed at the gay disease, families disowning their outed and sick children- the queer, the useless, the absolutely unnameable disgusting monster left to rot in the street whose funeral was a few other friends who may also have been sick. QUEER theory was about how bad a people must be considered to be laughed at as they died in mass numbers. Who do you laugh at while they die? Queers. Who do you make fun of until they kill themselves? Queers. Who do you deprive of any resources? Queers. And of course if you’re asking who’s being hurt and killed, you include a lot of groups- including the poor, black heterosexuals, straight women who’ve kissed other women and feel embarrassed about it- that need to be excluded. But for the purpose of asking, who do we need to liberate immediately????, the answer is complex and broad and includes a lot of people. I’d say that is at the heart of queer theory’s use of the term “queer.” If women in the US suddenly began to die of one disease and the public did nothing about it and in fact celebrated their deaths (I know this happens with lots of things but I mean in a way closely tied to how the HIV/AIDS crisis was seen and happened) I don’t think it would be difficult for me to imagine “bitch studies” popping up to talk about the “bitch” as a hated and publicly humiliated figure.

To wrap this up (it got longer than intended) I’d like to say I’m neither 100% YO QUEER THEORY IS GREAT or 100% QUEER THEORY IS SOOOOOO AWFUL AND USELESS. I like it a lot though. A lot of it looks like nonsense because it sort of is and doesn’t have too much useful application to the everyday lives of LGBTQ people. And I don’t think it is even a little bit useful to include the people some queer theorists might have under “queer,” even as an academic exercise. But I also recognize that queer theory came out of something really horrifying and attempted to make sense of that. So do I like or even find useful José Esteban Muñoz‘s concept of queer temporality? No, and I think it’s nonsense and defeatist to be perfectly honest. BUT I also think it should be understood as trying to talk about moments in which LGBTQ people can be allowed to exist and growing those moments into something beautiful and I respect that, even if I don’t like how he articulated it. A lot of the mess we are in with queer culture is less about queer theory and more about the infusion of it with other elements that have gone unchecked in the culture: racism, lesbophobia, misogyny, transphobia, etc etc. Left unaddressed, those issues combined with something as pomo as queer theory gets very bad very quickly.

TLDR/shortened for accessibility: Queer theory is neither 100% good nor bad, and attempted to study the figure and image of the “queer” as a particularly rejected, hated, and mocked image. In doing so, it included people under the term that I think many of us now understand as inappropriate to put there. Queer theory also attempted to wrestle with the question of how the “queer” could be left to die, and just who we must have been and where we must have come from to be labelled and treated this way.

anonymous asked:

I'm so angry today. Heard someone blaming gay men for the blood donation ban saying its "not discriminatory or homophobic. Its their own fault. They are more susceptible to HIV/AIDs because they're stupid and don't use protection". I'm sorry, I hate violence, but I really want to punch this person in the fucking face.

I don’t blame you, I probably actually would have punched them, but for future reference, here’s a story for you to tell anyone who says anything like that.

AIDS was first recognised in 1981, and, due to its association with gay and bisexual men, or MSM (men who have sex with men), it was originally called GRID (gay-related immunodeficiency disease), but this was changed in 1982 because ALREADY cases had been identified in people outside of that demographic. There were an increasing number of cases every year, but support from the governing bodies of the UK, Ireland and the USA was dismal.

It wasn’t until cases were identified among heterosexual people (which happened later in the UK than it did in the USA [1985], as AIDS was far more widespread in America) that Margaret Thatcher put funding into research and facilities. This funding was fairly substantial, but in 1987 she made this lovely speech:

This was the Conservative party’s campaign slogan that same year:

The campaign was successful and Thatcher was to remain Prime Minister until her resignation in 1990, and in 1988 she introduce the UK’s first anti-gay law in over 100 years, Section 28, which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality, outlawing access to sex education for gay and bisexual students. This law remained in place until 1993. Meanwhile, a woman called Mary Whitehouse was running a campaign called Clean-Up TV (read: “deny oppressed groups representation”) with substantial success, cutting off another avenue of information for gay and bisexual people. Meanwhile, the “information” about AIDS that was being circulated largely consisted of inaccuracies and fearmongering. The situation was bad enough in England and Wales, where homosexuality had been decriminalized in 1967 - it remained a criminal offence in Scotland until 1980, Northern Ireland until 1982 and the Republic of Ireland until 1993.

Meanwhile, in the USA, Reagan did not say the word ‘AIDS’ publicly until 1985, and despite claiming that it was America’s number 1 health priority, awarded it less than 1% of national healthcare funding. At the same time, the FDA failed to make adequate adjustments to testing methods despite the assistance of HIV positive people and their supporters, and education was equally as a atrocious:

It wasn’t until 1996, 15 years after the beginning of the AIDS crisis, that a safe and effective form of medication was developed, and it was still unaffordable for poor Americans.

The Catholic Church also launched a campaign at this time to ban condoms, a blatantly homophobic attack on a vulnerable group of people.

Fast forward to today, and AIDS funding is being cut in the UK and the USA. Meanwhile, LGBT+ inclusive sex education remains dismal, to the extent that gay and bisexual men literally do not know that they are at risk:

To draw attention to the key part of this video:

“There does have to be a really, sort of, you know, thorough sort of sex and relationship education that deals with HIV, with Hepatitis C - I doubt that it comes up in school sex education?”

“It’s supposed to. I put my hand up halfway through this pig long talk about pregnancy and Chlamydia and said “What about anal sex?” - obviously being an openly gay 15-year-old at school - and they said “Oh, well we don’t recommend that.””

And alongside all of this, blood banks have to test blood for HIV ANYWAY, and searching ‘blood bank urgent appeal’ on google brings up millions of results. We could be saving lives, but instead we’re writing off any man who’s sexually involved with other men because they apparently can’t be trusted to have safe sex when the reason unsafe sex occurs as often as it does between men is because they are not being taught how to have sex safely.

Blood bans are the face of the third decade of a viciously homophobic attack on vulnerable people, and they are a truly perfect example of bigoted societal and legal hypocrisy.
WHO: PH has fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world
WHO country representative Julie Hall says the Philippines needs to have a 'bigger response' to bring the epidemic under control

“MANILA, Philippines – On the heels of the Philippines’ first National HIV Testing Week, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the country to ramp up its response to put the alarming HIV situation under control.“

We’re seeing a response happening now, but it needs to be bigger,” WHO Representative in the Philippines Julie Hall told Rappler in an interview.

The Philippines has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world, according to Hall.

Last March 2015, the health department recorded 667 new cases, bringing to 24,376 the cumulative cases since 1984. (READ: New HIV cases in PH hit all-time high – DOH)

The number of new cases recorded daily has risen from 17 in 2014 to 21 in 2015, but, despite this alarming numbers, Hall lamented that “there probably isn’t enough action right now.”

“The window of opportunity is fairly small and there’s a few years, really, where intensive work needs to be done to bring this outbreak into control. Otherwise, it simply gets bigger and bigger, more and more costly, more and more difficult to bring it under control,” she added. (…)”

The crystal jellyfish (Aequorea victoria) has approximately 300 photoorgans throughout its umbrella that can emit green light. After spending over 40 years researching these jellyfish in Princeton, New Jersey, and the San Juan Islands in Washington, Osamu Shimomura discovered that these jellyfish produce this light via a cellular process that involves two proteins—aequorin and green fluorescent protein, or GFP for short.

How are scientists using GFPs to better understand, and to find treatments for, diseases such as malaria, HIV, and cancer?

Image Credit: Aequorea victoria emitting florescent light, used courtesy of Steven Haddock.