social aids

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Some good news: HIV rates have decreased 66 percent among Black New Yorkers since 2001. Getting educated, tested and staying healthy with treatment are all easier than you might think.

Here’s what you can do:

Reasons Why Kylie Jenner’s Photo Shoot Pissed Me Off:

*I can’t leave my disability at the door when the photo shoot is over. I have to deal with my pain every day, 24/7.

*My mobility aids are not a prop. They are my lifeline.

*I will never be considered traditionally beautiful by society because of the way my disability affects my body. All the while, this photo shoot portrays society’s idea of a sex appeal that I will never have because of said society’s prejudice against the disabled.

*My mobility aids don’t disable me, they give me freedom. I spent years reluctant to use one because society had conditioned me to think the aids were a step backwards. Photo shoots like this, metaphors like this, fuel that belief.

*People infantile me because of the disability, because of the mobility aids. Yet for Kylie Jenner to use these same aids is considered edgy and provocative.

*People don’t see me, they see my mobility aids. But look how many people saw Kylie Jenner here. Yet, I am still invisible.

*How disabled people might feel about this photo shoot was never brought into consideration. A large part of our day to day struggle is that society doesn’t take us into consideration.

*The metaphor was that fame disables her. But the mobility aids don’t disable us, society’s view of the mobility aids disable us.

*I can’t get laid to save my life. Because people don’t think of disabled people as sexual beings. Kylie can use a wheelchair and be thought of as a sexual being, but disabled people have to fight for this, fight to get noticed, every day.

*There are tons of disabled models who would have loved to have gotten a magazine cover. But even in a photo shoot featuring wheelchairs, actual wheelchair users can’t get any play.

*I CAN’T LEAVE MY DISABILITY AT THE DOOR WHEN THE PHOTO SHOOT IS OVER. That one bears repeating.

Lots of straight folk won’t really have registered how important Debbie Reynolds was - as well as being a gay icon of screen and stage, she was one of the folks who shamed the Reagan presidency by fighting tirelessly for AIDS victims both in public and behind the scenes, years before the establishment broke its taboo of denial.

Rune Magick

Hey, all! So today I’m going to teach you about runes and how to use them in everyday magick. There are, of course, many different types of runes but for this, we are talking about Germanic runes. 

So, first off I’ll tell you a little about what runes are. Runes are a form of script, dating all the way back to 150 AD. They were eventually replaced by the Latin alphabet somewhere around 700 AD. Because they are so ancient, some witches use them not only as a secret script but also in their magickal workings. 

You might be asking, “Well how do I do that? Wouldn’t that be like using the letter A?” Well, yes and no. I have no doubt someone could find a way to use the Latin alphabet for magick, but in this case, runes are more… symbolic I guess? Take the rune peorth for example (see “p” above). It resembles a cup lying on its side. When the opening points to the right, it represents birth and beginnings. When the opening points to the left, it represents death or endings.

Each rune symbolizes a specific thing or idea. Say, for example, you wanted a quick charm for safe travels. You could draw Raidho ® somewhere on your person as it is the rune of travel. To use rune magick simply draw, paint, or inscribe it where you want to use it. You can also “draw” it in the air or on an object/person with your energy. 

 Below is a list of all the runes, their names, and their uses/meanings (order is from left to right).

Keep reading

I’m actually surprised (and then I am not) that there isn’t a post on tumblr about the terrorist attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt. Last Sunday (Palm Sunday) two churches in Tanta and Alexandria got bombed during the service to commemorate the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. 45 people got killed. Coptic Christians are a group that is marginalised, discriminated against, and terrorist on a regular basis. They are the oldest Christian church, which was founded by people who actually knew Jesus, and basically invented the whole priestdom and monasteries in Christianity, the whole social aids. They shaped what Christian religion means like no other group, while never taking part in any of the religious wars. They are still very important in the middle East, but got outruled in Europe by the Roman-Catholic church over spiritual disputes. They used to be the majority religion in Egypt for hundreds of years until they got discriminated against by the Umayyad emperors in the early middle ages and since then they face marginalisation and threats to their lives. It got even worse in the last 20-30 years and now terror attacks against their holy places at Christian solemnities are sadly pretty regular. The Egyptian government does hardly anything against that. There are still many laws in place that declare them second-class citizens. Christians are forbidden from marrying non-Christians, people can’t convert to Christianity in Egypt, their children are forced to grow up as muslims, they can’t rebuild churches, etc. They are one of the most prosecuted groups in the world and islamist terrorists declared them a special target. 

Stone Properties Part 1

Jade- helps with balance and serenity even in chaos. 

Nephrite Jade- helps with emotional balance and stability.

Adventurine- boosts optimism, balance and calmness. 

Moss Agate- abundance in crops and prosperity. Put one in your garden or flower pot to help your plants grow.

Tiger Iron- clarity, clarity of knowledge, and artistic ability. It is good for when you are trying to figure out the property of a rock or plant while only relying on intuition. 

Yellow Jasper- aids in social issues. Protects against petty gossip and fights against self consciousness.  

Golden Tiger’s Eye- helps with stability, willpower and grounding. 

Blue Tiger’s Eye- helps with integrity, honesty and communication.

Mahogany Obsidian- boosts gentleness and friendliness.

Rhodonite- helps with self control.

When Your Hearing Aid Is an iPhone

The world is loud. As a partial result of this, the typical human aging process involves hearing loss that ranges from mild to severe. And though that loss can be a big problem—"blindness separates people from things,“ Helen Keller said, while "deafness separates people from people"—it’s one that has a solution: Get a hearing aid.

It’s a solution that should be both easy and obvious. At this point, hearing aids are relatively advanced; digital technology means that the devices have gotten very good at filtering out background noise, minimizing feedback, and emphasizing human voices in noisy environments. The little machines have become adept, as one audiologist puts it, at making "soft sounds audible, average sounds average, and loud sounds okay to hear.”

The main problem with hearing aids, though, has less to do with technology and more to do with culture: Many people who need the aids don’t want to get them. They associate them with age. They associate them with ailment. They associate them with the ailment that comes with age. As a result, in a society that values youth above almost all else, the people who can benefit most from hearing aids are often the ones least likely to take advantage of them. 

While hearing aid manufacturers have responded to this by designing devices that are as small as possible and custom-fitted to the ear canal, one company has come up with another solution: a hearing aid that is integrated into smartphones. Starkey Hearing Technologies recently launched Halo, a hearing device that syncs with iPhones and iPads. The technology, the company says, doesn’t just amplify hearing; it also allows users to listen to music, sync movies, receive phone calls, and chat over Facetime. It allows for geotagging according to specific places—so, for example, it calibrates itself to the volume of a user’s favorite restaurant or coffee shop. It joins devices across wireless networks. It’s a medical-tech answer, basically, to the broad aspiration of the connected home.

Read more. [Image: TruLink/Starkey Hearing Technologies]

The “truths” of AIDS are often posed as objective, detached assessments, the “truths” about AIDS carry with them the marks of their own allegiance and empire. The “spread of AIDS”, the “protection of public health”, the “foreign threat of AIDS”, the “social impact of AIDS” all bear moral imprints that interpret the epidemic even as they “describe” it. Any analysis of AIDS must therefore consider not only the official “truths” but also the moral and cultural predications that make those “truths” possible.
—  Ethics in an Epidemic, Timothy F. Murphy

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.

THE HIV WELFARE MERRY-GO-ROUND: A DAY IN THE LIFE

Lord, lord, lord. I came precariously close to disaster in the last 48 hours.

On Tuesday, I got a call from my government case worker, saying she wanted to do a home visit. I immediately knew what it was about. When she showed up the next day, the first words out of her mouth were, “You’ve been bad. If you don’t comply with Social Security, we will close your case in ten days.”

“Closing my case” would leave me homeless, without food or HIV drugs, and probably dead within a year.

As I have previously mentioned on this blog, I am enrolled in a program called HASA. “HASA” stands for New York City’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration, and it is a division of New York City’s Human Resources Administration, known as HRA, or more commonly, “the welfare office.”

HASA provides you with a standard of living which is well below the poverty line. It allocates you with a few basic things: often sub-par health care, food stamps, a very modest cash grant each month (very modest — so you can buy, like, toothpaste and toilet paper), and a small shelter stipend.

Most people who receive that shelter stipend live in SROs, which are single-room-occupancy dwellings, or, more colloquially, “group homes.” These are not nice places. There is very little state oversight for disability housing. Violence, vermin, intimidation and abuse are quite common.

Here’s the thing: HASA is a municipal program, run by the city of New York. Of course, this costs money (not that much money in the grand scheme of things, but that’s a whole other post). HRA would much rather foist off its clients (or, as we’re referred to, “consumers”) to the federal government.

Thus, every HASA client is required by law to apply for Social Security Insurance/Social Security Disability Insurance (or SSI/SSDI). These are national programs that provide, basically, the shittiest social safety net for some of the most vulnerable people in the US: the elderly, the disabled, and poor kids.

The problem with SSI/SSDI is that it’s almost impossible to qualify for unless you’re over 65 (and even that may change soon.) To be considered “disabled” by Social Security, you more-or-less have to be blind and deaf and have no arms or legs or something. Only a tiny fraction of the people who apply are accepted to the program.

(Caveat: the above statement is circumstantially hyperbolic. There is a way to qualify for SSI/SSDI, and that is to get a good lawyer to handle your case. And, surprisingly, the lawyers that advertise on daytime television during Judge Judy do an exceptionally good job at winning these cases.)

So, I have to apply for SSDI. I will not get accepted for SSDI. I know this, my case worker knows this, and HRA knows this. But I am required to act *as if* it is a possibility that I will be accepted.

The process of applying for SSDI is pretty humiliating. You schedule an interview, wait for two months, and go in and talk to a stranger about your entire life history and all your problems. Then, you have to get your doctor to fill out a medical report confirming your medical problems (this in and of itself is difficult, as I see a public health physician who has 600 patients.)

Then, you are required to be examined by two creepy state-appointed doctors, which (speaking particularly as a transgender person who is shy about strangers touching and seeing my body), is really ramps up that “humiliating” factor.

Then, you will receive a decision letter from SSDI. You will be inevitably denied. Then you have to file an appeal, and appear in front of a judge (*another* incredibly anxiety-producing experience, especially for people who have been formerly incarcerated, had bad experiences with family court, who have outstanding warrants, you name it — and these folks, perhaps not unsurprisingly, make up a large chunk of people living with HIV in the US).

Then, the judge will take one look at you, and will reject your case. This entire process, of course, is big waste of many, many people’s time.

But you know what’s the most cynical, depraved part of the whole cycle? Once you are denied, you have to start the process all over again. Because somehow, they magically hope that you will get approved next time? In fact, the city is kind of hoping that your health will deteriorate to the point where they can kick you out of their programs and make you the federal government’s problem.

HERE IS THE KICKER, THOUGH: EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS ENTIRE PROCESS IS A COMPLETE JOKE. Even my worker says, look, it’s just a game, and you gotta play the game. It’s two warring, bizarre, Kafka-esque systems fighting over pennies for poor people.

Lately, they’ve been cracking down on people who haven’t been keeping up with this byzantine system. I had let my last appointment slide, and they flagged me in the system. I recently spoke with a public health guy who said that by making this process more rigorous, they’re hoping to kick more people off welfare. THANKS, NEW COMMUNIST MAYOR. My roommate has taken to calling Bill DiBlasio “Slick Willy,” because he reminds us so much of Bill Clinton: all promises and too many compromises with the ultra-rich — though, shrug. Only time will tell.

Fortunately, though sheer hustle, and waiting for about six hours in various government offices, I got it all straightened out. Which buys me a few more months not having to worry about, you know, terrible catastrophe.

HOWEVER, AS ALWAYS, PARTYBOTTOM ASCRIBES TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF BYOPMA: BRING YOUR OWN POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE. In that spirit, I noticed something really interesting today.

These government offices are kind of gross, but there’s a silver lining. They may be dirty. They may have terrible lighting. The chairs might be uncomfortable. Sometimes fist fights break out between clients, and sometimes people with severe mental illness start screaming at the top of their lungs. But sometimes, something magical happens.

Today, when I was in the Social Security office, I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two strangers. One was giving the other advice on how to apply for food stamps. This is not the first time I’ve seen this go down — in these weird liminal spaces, total strangers who share nothing but the commonality of poverty — well, somehow we all manage to form some sense of solidarity. We make small talk. We encourage each other. We share advice about what we have learned about the system. We make sure that we are taken care of. In small, understated, undramatic ways, we show each other tiny acts of love.

And there is beauty in that.

2

Your smartphone just got smarter.

A device invented by biomedical engineers at Columbia University turns a smartphone into a lab that can test human blood for the virus that causes AIDS or the bacteria that cause syphilis.

The researchers got the idea for the device when examining the costs and the logistical difficulties of getting equipment for HIV testing to rural areas or developing countries.

Learn more about the device here.

9

As the year wraps up I wanted to take a moment to highlight and thank Gavin for all the positive things he has done in support of the lgbt community this year.  His willingness to raise awareness and get involved in so many great causes is truly inspirational.

Gavin’s role as Connor Stevens and half of the Jonnor relationship is groundbreaking by itself but Gavin’s influence stretches far beyond his role on The Fosters. Last summer Gavin spent the entire weekend at LA Pride with some of his castmates engaging with fans and riding on a float in the parade.

Gavin rarely misses a chance to attend and support great events for LGBT causes like GLSEN which works to ensure that LGBT students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment, GMCLA’s voice awards which honor leaders who use their voice for social change and equality and Lambda Legal a legal organization working for the civil rights of lgbt men and women as well as people with HIV/AIDS.

On social media he not only stands up for what is right as he did against Youtube when they blocked the Jonnor kiss but also posts encouraging messages and photos for his fans imploring them to #betruetoyourself and stand against bullying. 

He has participated with both the NOH8 and Straight But Not Narrow Campaigns.  NOH8 recently released one of the photos from that shoot and SBNN has stated that the video Gavin filmed will be coming soon.  Yet again Gavin using his influence to promote positive change and equality.

Gavin was also recently interviewed by OUT Magazine where he discussed the history-making Jonnor kiss and emphasized how there is still inequality in the industry and that “we still have a lot of work to do.”

I’m looking forward to following what Gavin does in 2016 both on screen and off.  Thank you @thegavinmacintosh for all you do!

Nata tra la comparsa dell’ AIDS e l'11 settembre, che ci crediate oppure no, ci chiamano ‘La generazione Globale’, e siamo noti per la presunzione ed il narcisismo.
Alcuni dicono che siamo la generazione in cui vinci anche solo partecipando. Altri credono che sia perché usiamo i nuovi social per far sapere al mondo intero qualsiasi stronzata che facciamo, ma sembra che il nostro tratto distintivo sia un apatia verso tutto, un indifferenza al dolore .
—  American Horror Story