January 25, 2009

Three Core Beliefs for a Happy Life with AIDS

When I first learned I might have HIV/AIDS, I was a 23 year-old kid and scared shitless, and that was in 1985, when science didn't know shit! However, religious people thought they knew what was up: AIDS was God's referendum on fags.

Turns out, the religious people were wrong. HIV is a virus, not a condemnation. AIDS is a disease, not a death sentence. Wish I had known that back in the day. lol. Wished I'd known a lot of things.

What I did know served me well. The following were the three most important core beliefs that kept me going:

1. You're not guaranteed to die of AIDS.

2. Everything you've ever been through, every crisis, every bad day, bad week, bad year, every crushing blow, every heartache, every defeat, every loss, every thing, you've always managed to find a way to get through it and keep going.

3. Anything is possible (like science coming to the rescue).

Those three nuggets of truth have done me right for almost twenty-four years. Here's to many, many more years mining that gold in my soul, and living to tell, so that others may also live happily ever after living with AIDS.
  • For more HIV/AIDS through my eyes, check out Semper Poz, here on my funky blog, and HIV-P.O.V. on my author blog, Randy Boyd's Blocks (.com).

  • Also: check out my novels, all featuring main characters who are black and HIV-positive, all nominated for Lambda Literary Awards.

Positively Secure

January 22, 2009

Dear President, How Do I Love Thee?

Check out my writings about our president in The Obama Files, now on my author blog.

Check out my writings about our president in The Obama Files, now on my author blog.

January 16, 2009

January 8, 2009

Why All the Funky Pics?

"We live in an age where we are inundated with countless images from countless sources, from TV to movies to pop-up ads. A huge percentage of those images deal with love, sex and romance. Still, rare or nonexistent is the occasion where I encounter an image that reflects who I am and what I dream of. Even rarer and more nonexistent is the occasion where I encounter an image that might encourage another soul to dream of loving someone just like me."

In 2006 I wondered: “Why would I need a digital camera? What am I gonna take pictures of?” Sometime after that, I purchased a camera, still unsure of the answer.

Fumbling and stumbling along the way, tinkering with the camera, using myself and my dog as the subject, I discovered a new hobby.

Then I became a fan of America's Next Top Model. I fell in love with Tyra Banks. I could relate her model teachings to cheerleading, something I've known since age seven. Tyra helped me bring out my inner beauty, for myself and no one else. And for the camera! These are some of my funky favorite pics of 2008 ...

These images are really no different than the images of myself I've had in my head all my life. This medium simply reveals, in its own unique way, the best of myself to rest of the world.

This is who I am. Who I've always been. Who I'll always be: me, another homo sapien who dreams of feeling whole, loved and sexy, as imagined by his fellow monkeys on television, in the movies and in the hearts and minds of western civilization.

Did I mention I'm a writer? lol. Been a writer all of my life. Started writing when I was a little boy; telling stories to myself was my escape from a very violent world. Being good with words was also a valuable survival tool as the youngest kid in a family of older, bigger angry black men (and women).

At age seven, my older sister taught me cheerleading. From that day forward, I became a cheerleader and a student of cheerleading (while growing up in a second generation sports family). Whatever negative reaction you can imagine some Neanderthal Niggas having to one of their young boys cheerleading like a sissy, well, let's just say my family acted out their roles with fierce brutality.

Rare was the opportunity to see a positive image of a black male, so rare were my positive dreams about black men. The white men on television treated their women and children much, much better. They were heroes. They rescued people. They helped people. I wanted them to help me. I wanted them to save me.

When I began to dream of sex and love, as we all do, those dreams were mostly about men. Subsequently, those dreams were mostly about white men. I didn't exclude non-white men. I just didn't look at them that way or for them in a crowd of people. To my scared little mind, black men were a source of harsh treatment and misunderstanding, just like the bruthas with whom I grew up. To hell with more of that. Plus, I'd seen what they did to the women they claimed to love.

For sex, I prejudged no one. Thankfully, my parents never infected me with a racist gene of any variety. I've fucked around with every color and every color has fucked around with me. I love fucking around with every color; I love the variety. But for true love, I had programmed myself to only seek out men who were just like the strong, "straight" white men who protected, rescued or nourished people on the big and small screen. The good guys. Or the athletes, the biggest gladiators, eg., Men, of them all. After all, I was from a sports family.

Thing is, “good guys” don't give a rats' ass about the dreams of some little black boy crying out, "My family's killing me, help me, love me!" It's cute to them, but they don't care. If it's their job, sure. If they're off the clock, you're just a blur in the crowd of life.

It took me a lotta years to figure that out. What can I say? I'm socially retarded. I've pretty much given up those dreams of some handsome strong white man taking a moment to overcome his preconceived fears about loving a nigger faggot with aids. That's just the way it is. I'm surviving now. I'm moving on. I'm a survivor.

But still, the rest of the world ain't too kind either, especially to nigger faggots with aids. Or is that African-American gay men living with HIV? lol

Mainstream life has forgotten about AIDS. The gay community has sprouted a new generation or two who don't even remember AIDS, and view HIV as just another sexually transmitted boogieman to avoid, mostly by crossing your fingers while opening up your legs to any man that says, and I quote, "I'm clean."

They've even made up a term to ward off AIDS Monsters like me: DISEASE-FREE. UB2

DISEASE-FREE? Fuck! Shackled again. No emancipation still for us niggers with AIDS. Or is that black queers who are disease-ridden? lol

NEWSFLASH: Any HIV-negative person can have great, hot, lusty, intimate, fun, loving, good SAFE SEX with an HIV-positive person and walk away "disease-free." The world doesn't care. The world also doesn't dream of people who are not WHITES AND LATINS ONLY, to use the most popular phrase on the gay internet.

So where does a nigger with AIDS go in the world to find love, companionship, camaraderie, a good nut, a buddy? A buddy of any color, mind you. I'm past thinking my man has to be a certain shade of homo sapien.

A lot of black people won't even listen to my story (or read my books) because it involves attraction to white men. They come at me with harsh criticism and biased analysis from afar. They sound just like my family when I was growing up, only these so-called critics have never met me. Most haven't even read my books.

One time, when I was maybe 14, I asked one of my parents to say I love you. Instead, I got a tirade about how that was what white people on TV did, not our family. One of my brothers walked in and joined the tirade. All because I asked one of my parents, "why don't you ever tell me you love me?"

Note: It might have helped to hear I love you during that particular time in my adolescence, a time wrought with tragic family drama I only learned of well into my 30s.

The black people who criticize my tastes in men and my interracial-themed novels have never told me I love you. It also bears noting: those same people have never offered to love me or let me love them.

The aforementioned parent has grown leaps and bounds. We say I love you at the end of every phone call. We say I love you daily in countless more ways. The black people who criticize my tastes in men and my novels, hmmm, I don't know what they're up to because I don't engage in trash talk with the opponents of my dreams, nor do I read their trash-talking.

Which brings me back to my original point: why all the pics? Simply put, where else is a black man to go but his mind if he wants to see beautiful images of himself and his kind? And if he's this black man, his imagination will be on familiar ground.

In part, my funky blog and my author blog my author blog are creative extensions of SKY Magazine. What's SKY Magazine? What else is an overachieving teenage black boy to do but imagine his very own magazine in his mind?

SKY Magazine, the imaginary magazine in my adolescent mind. The sky's the limit outta the hell called my life. I can dream my way out. I can write stories and tell stories and dream of better things.

The imaginary cover of SKY Magazine was always a shot of ... who else ... me! The headlines were always upbeat messages relating to my life. Hey, I'm the cheerleader!

It's 2009, and the world still barely notices a man like me. When's the last time you heard someone say, "I just need to find the right black man living with AIDS to settle down with?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, "Let's go see this great thriller about a black man living with AIDS who tries to ...?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, "Tonight on Deal or No Deal, a black man living with AIDS tries to outwit the banker?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, "This season on The Bachelor, a black man living with AIDS is searching for the man of hisdreams?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, "A love story about a black man living with AIDS ...?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, "Join the outrageous fun in this new, must-see TV comedy about a black man living with AIDS and his ....?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, "For more on this story, let's get the perspective of a black man living with AIDS ...?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, "This month's book club selection is a wonderful story about a black man living with AIDS who ...?"

When's the last time you heard someone say, " ... who, by the way, is also living with AIDS in addition to all these other wonderful, great and inspiring things about this man, who, by the way, also happens to be black?"

And so this black man living with AIDS has been making and dreaming of pretty pictures in his imagination for a lifetime. Some of them become my novels and short stories. Some of them become screen savers I've created for myself for many years, many of them with upbeat messages relating to my life. And now, some of those pretty pictures are the stuff of my author blog and my funky blog.

How amazing is that?

That's what the pics are all about, seeing myself, my life and my dreams as beautiful and worthy while living in a world that rarely pictures someone like me in a positive light.

Of course, my ultimate dream is ... finding that rare soul who's capable of falling in love with me, that rare species of a man who isn't so tainted by the fears and negative perceptions of the majority of the world towards a person like me, a man who happens to be black and happens to be living with AIDS, and also happens to be a really great man to love.

I'm gonna dream 2009 will be the year ...

Happy New Year!