This is our truth, tell us yours
If you are a certain age and from the UK you will remember this ad, and the fear and hysteria that accompanied it. Aids was a gay plague that somehow affected nice normal straight people and when that happened something had to be done. The something involved whipping up panic, so AIDS patients were treated with hazmat suits and their funerals were closed casket and cremation.
The mainstream media was determined that this was a disease that had somehow leapt from dirty homosexuals with their deviant sexual practices to straight people with no actual contact taking place. Bisexuality was an unheard term, and the idea there were men who had sex with men and yet considered themselves straight was as invisible.
What was never mentioned was that these were people, human beings who were not planning to bring down the pillars of respectability, people who one day noticed a skin lesion, or could not shake recurrent infections, and the next were given a death sentence. The ad does not show one face, suggest that contracting HiV is not something that happens to ordinary men and women, it is the pinnacle of dehumanizing.
If things had remained like this I would be writing a very different World Aids Day post. Thankfully they changed, partially because some brave people stood up and gave AIDS a human face. Much as we try to hate, much as the authorities of the time prefered hate and fear to education and understanding, it is one of the crowning glories of humanity that is hard to look into another’s eyes and still hate them.
Those early world aids days were perhaps less well organised affairs, there were very few official attenders that I remember, and the news ignored them completely. But change came, in the face of bigotry and prejudice change came. It might seem odd to write a post on hope on Worlds Aids Day, but looking back it is a tale of hope and human courage