Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Coming Out?

Coming Out?I started this blog feeling like I was, as entitled, Back in the Closet. But as I went along my HIV journey, I started seeing that things weren’t so bad. And especially since the so-called HIV advocacy groups showed me how they were Back in the Panic Room, I realized how relatively liberated I was about this HIV thing.

I think it was my effort to learn more about my condition that gave me some visibility to the road further ahead. Okay, maybe not so much as to just blurt it out to my family just yet. But it’s like I’ve become was comfortable with myself again, ready to face the world. So am I actually coming out?

Well, honestly, to some extent, I have been coming out.

Other than the doctors and medical personnel who tested me positive for HIV, my first ever attempt at disclosing my status was with Mojo, who I’ve mentioned in earlier posts. I was just weeks into being HIV positive, and we were leaning towards pursuing each other for something beyond sex at the time, and I had no reason to give for my sudden loss of interest. So I confessed. Yes, it felt like confessing, like it was a sin to have HIV. His initial reaction was irritating, because he had to ask if I was joking. That would’ve been such a bad joke, wouldn’t it? But he redeemed himself when he said, “I’m still your friend.” I had that message saved in my inbox until about a month ago, when I finally admitted to myself that we’d lost touch. I felt his sincerity when he said he’d still be a friend, but he couldn’t hide the fear, which was so bad that he hasn’t gotten tested himself, from fear of the possibility of being HIV positive. And although I still feel that his fear of HIV translated to being afraid of me, I’ve forgiven him.

Since that time and this blog, I’ve been pretty open to coming out. Of course, telling fellow pozzies doesn’t count as coming out at all. But I’ve openly given my number to some readers, given my real life Friendster account to some who wanted to put a face on me, given out my full name, especially lately with this campaign for Baby Nathan, and even gotten the chance to meet a few people who’d been reading this blog. And yes, occasions have come where a new guy would be looking to hook up, at which point I sometimes choose to tell, so he’d have time to change his mind if he wanted to.

Has it been that easy? Not at all. It’s taken a bit of courage and a lot of trust for me to be able to do such things. But then again, I always think to myself, “How can I expect them to accept me and my condition, if I am drowning in my own paranoia?”

Impressive? Not really. Because I opened up to these people as strangers. And as I always said, the less a person knew me, the easier it was to tell.

So what about the rest? Well, honestly, I’ve been too chicken to tell some of my other contacts myself. And when I say contacts, I mean... okay, sexual contacts. So I did the next best thing. I backtracked through my sexual contacts up to more than a year ago, and had a friend contact them anonymously, to advise them to get tested for HIV. The reactions varied from asking who the sender was, replying to the anonymous number that they’d just gotten tested, sending foul messages to their alleged stalker, or most commonly, assuming that they did get the message, not replying. But I felt that was as decent a warning as I could manage.

Sometimes though, especially lately, I find myself disclosing my status to some of my guys. These are guys who I’ve met before, and were interested in seeing me again. These were guys who knew what a slut I was and with whom I had chemistry, and for whom I had no valid reason to suddenly be uninterested in having sex. I can’t just hurt their feelings with lies like I didn’t enjoy our last time, or I don’t miss doing it with you. I just can’t. And so I tell.

Again, a bit of courage, and a huge benefit of the doubt. I usually start with the line “I got sick,” to which they usually reply “I hope you’re feeling better now.” At that point, I’d throw my cares in the air and drop the bomb, “I found out I have HIV.” Again, some would ask if I was joking, which pisses me off, but eventually, the reality would set in. So far, no really negative reactions. They’d say they’d be there for me, wish that I was okay, and even go as far as check every so often how I was doing. The worst, so far, just involved us losing touch all of a sudden, which isn’t surprising at all. The best? Some guys would say they’d still want to see me, and even better, would still want to have sex with me. That still throws me off guard, until now.

Do I really have to tell them? Technically, no. But let’s put it this way: Granted that these guys may just be after sex, I’d like to be in a similar frame of mind, thinking that this is just HIV. It doesn’t change who I am, but rather, it just changes the premise of meeting. Definitely, it changes my sexual limitations, and possibly, it can change their interest in me. And whether it does or doesn’t, I’m fine with it. I’m not the same as before, when I’d have as many as three sex sessions in a day, three to four days a week, every week. Sounds like a gym workout, doesn’t it? I’ve mellowed down a lot, and have been finding myself resorting to every excuse there is to get out of a sex meet, but definitely, hearing HIV seems to douse most guys’ libidos most effectively.

So the road to disclosure hasn’t been as bad as I expected. But it’s still all baby steps for me. My next milestone would be being able to come out to my sister, which honestly, right now, doesn’t seem too far away. It certainly helps to have a full understanding of my condition, so helping others understand me and HIV won’t be too hard. But again, baby steps, baby steps. For now, I'm still Back in the Closet. Hopefully, someday, sometime and someway, I’ll be able to come out to the world, and with them realize that... my deepest, darkest secret is really no big deal.


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that one of the replies from the contact tracing was a guy that knew both he and his partner are pos too ...

Recent events have pushed me the other way and I'm so far behind the closet now, I'm not even sure where it is... That's another story and one I don't want to go into.

My partner and I were talking on the weekend. Yes, we are still in trouble as a couple. Me being - no, I deny it now! and him being negative. He made a very valid point though - if it had come up early in the relationship, he would have had a choice and then would have (probably) chosen to be with me anyway. As it was, we were a rock solid couple and the bomb hit. Now he has to RE-act to it. I cry for him. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and he is hurting so badly over this. God is so damned cruel sometimes.

Careful who you tell buddy. You are right, you don't have to tell anyone as long as you play safe. I know you are fit, well (and yummy hot!) - be happy, but don't be a victim of rumors or discrimination. Manila isn't ready yet.

E said...

sige soon ikaw na cover ng POSITIVISM...ala beyonce knwoles look hehehe

Anonymous said...

E puro kalokohan hahaha

youre on the right path B.I.T.C.H.
its a long road ahead of you. but youll get through it, just keep the faith...

God bless you always...


Kiks said...

:-) BITC.

i enjoy this post.

no, not just enjoy.

it is like eating lumpiang sariwa sa mahn mahn ba yon?

it is enjoyable and yet enriching. :-)

Kiks said...

at baka tama si e, ikaw na ang cover ng positivism. hehehe.

i layk et.


safe ka sa akin kahit ano mangyari..... nice one here....

and as ive said im just here....

PinoyPoz said...

@ Anonymous: I hope you get over the fear. God is good, don't worry. And I don't think I wanna wait til Manila is ready. So I'm starting with myself.

@ E: Hmm, you have a concept already? Cover AND centerfold ba ito? :-)

@ Angel: Thanks thanks thanks.

@ Kiks: Thanks... it's Mann Hann you're thinking of, I think. Hmm, di pa ako nakakain dun ah... :-D

@ Blackpool: Yeah, I sense you're a good guy. Thanks for the support.

onestrangeboy said...

I have to thank you for this post. Like you, I want to tell all the guys I sleep with about my condition, which has been the biggest hindrance for me. A guy I really really really really really liked and we hit it off really really really really really well back then. We lost touch because he left the country. He suddenly turned up again and I've been facing the dilemma of whether to just avoid him or to risk myself and tell him about what I have. Thanks very much.

PinoyPoz said...

You're very much welcome, Strangey...

This is my attempt at making sense of it all: I'd rather be hated for the not-so-perfect whole person I am, than be loved for just the perfect parts of me I might choose to show.

Give him the benefit of the doubt. You can never can tell :-). You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. :-)

Anonymous said...

i crush u na


Jake Tornado said...

You and E made me change my view towards HIV.

Keep the flame burning.

All the best.

PinoyPoz said...

Thanks a lot Jake...