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.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nasty Nazi

Nasty NaziIt’s been days since getting home from Subic after the Training of Implementers on the Power of You Campaign for HIV/STI Prevention. But still I’m reeling.

Although the whole thing was better than what E and I expected and overall, a very successful event and a positive experience for both E and I, it was far from perfect. There still are some things that I need to get off my chest.

During the first day of the seminar, December 1st, we were able to witness as one school official claimed quotes from the Holy Bible saying how Adam and Eve were punished by God because they engaged in premarital sex and how HIV came about because Cain was a bad son who copulated with different animals. Hmm.

I know I’m no Bible fanatic, but think about it. Was it not something about an apple that led Adam and Eve into temptation? And who exactly was supposed to wed Adam to Eve if they were the only two people around? And Cain sexing it up with animals... hmm, that’s a new one. Thankfully, neither E nor I needed to speak up, for it was the other school officials who refuted her claims, saying nowhere in the Bible is any of that said.

But the little old lady wasn’t done. She proudly expressed her disgust at the immorality of society today, leading her to prohibit holding of hands in her school, be it between opposite or same sexes, as well as campaign against homosexuality among students and faculty. Hmm. E seemed to think it’s a classic case of an old dog and new tricks. Okay, from this point on we shall call her Nazi lady.

Luckily, we hardly heard a peep from Nazi lady after her outburst that first day. She didn’t even interrogate us about our immorality or stone us, even after E and I told our life stories. I was surprised actually. She was reduced to giving us mean looks and sneers that might be her way of telling us, “You got what you deserved”. Deadma na lang. So was this the end of the Nazi lady chapter? Hell, hell, hell no.

We were eating a late breakfast on the third day when we saw Nazi lady come out of the conference hall. Honestly, I kept my head down, not wanting to show any interest in her, nor daring to make eye contact with such an omnipotent being. We just were not worthy.

Of course, if anything can go against the plan, it will. E was whimpering beside me, as he noticed her approaching us from across the room. I thought he was kidding, but when I looked up, there she was, asking if she could join us. Like we had a choice, right? Hail, your highness. So, fine. We let her.

If I remember right, she started off telling us that she had allegedly been speaking with the student leaders from her school, and their reactions were that they were pleased to realize that we were okay in spite of the virus. Too pleased, in fact, that she was concerned that it would create complacency around the risk of contracting HIV. As in, “Why should we (her students) be so concerned about HIV if they (E and I) are doing alright with it?” Hmm.

We tried hard to be nice. First of all, I seriously doubt the veracity of her allegations. I really think she once again misinterpreted what her students were expressing to her. It pissed us off that she obviously wasn’t paying attention to the synthesis of that first day, which explained the objective of our telling our stories.

My story was an extreme polar opposite to E’s plight with drugs, dropping out of school, vices and prostitution. I was the typical kid who studied in a Catholic primary school, an enviable science high school and a prestigious university. The objective was to show that whatever background one comes from one can still be put at risk of HIV. Just like it doesn’t know gender, race, religion, sexual preference, and social status, HIV has no respect for educational attainment. A risk is a risk.

We explained that to her... again... and really, my thoughts were that she really underestimated the intelligence of her students. These are student leaders, mind you. They aren't stupid. And kids these days deal with more things that we or she did in our time.

Then she wanted to know whether we still were living the same lifestyle even after HIV. For my case, I knew what she was referring to. Homosexuality. But E was smart to ask what she meant by “lifestyle”. She elaborated. Homosexuality, drugs and prostitution. The drugs and prostitution part, I never dealt with, and I know E has passed that phase. But the homosexuality part, I chose to speak for myself. Yes, of course, I still practice homosexuality.

She countered, “Then what’s the purpose of this seminar if you still go on with that lifestyle?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I think I had DUH! written on my forehead. I explained that I am a homosexual, and having HIV doesn’t mean that I should go straight or stop having sex. E added how HIV is not a homosexual thing, and even straight sero-discordant couples we know can still have sex with the proper precautions.

Was she done? Hell no. She clearly was not digesting what we were saying. As she started to leave, she gave us the consolation of hearing that she did think that it was admirable how positive we still were despite our conditions, but she made clear that she hoped we had repented, and that “she did not consider us heroes”. Wow. And E and I were supposed to be the judgmental and self-righteous ones respectively?

Was I offended? Hell, no. We were not there to be patronized or made heroes. Ours was, after all, according to the programme, a “testimonial”. And that’s just what we did. What bothers us is how this Nazi lady is going to teach students about HIV. And hearing her repeat later on at the assembly that she would still campaign against homosexuality in her campus told us exactly how she was going to. Nazi style.

With all that had been said, E and I kept as cool as could be. We did tell the organizers about what happened, and they decided against letting us speak for ourselves to make sure things didn’t get personal. Instead, they took it upon themselves to reiterate that it was an HIV prevention seminar, and not an issue about homosexuality. I hope Nazi ears were listening, and Nazi minds understanding.

HIV is a disease that can affect everyone. Campaigning against homosexuality won’t help. Even if all her students were straight, HIV would still be a threat. Campaigning against pre-marital sex won’t help. Even if all her students were already married to one another, HIV would still be a threat. Banning holding hands won’t help either. Even if you cut off everyone’s hands on campus, HIV would still be a threat.

This type of martial rule does nothing but encourage rebellion. Risks do not only exist within the four walls of a school and do not end with the ringing of the school bell at the end of the day. They abound everywhere and every minute. Nazi lady is really not that omnipotent to be lurking behind each student their whole life, is she?

The title of the course is The Power of You. It is not the power of Nazi lady. It is not the power of B.I.T.C.H. and E. It is the power each one has over his or her life. It is the power in every one of us. And that explains the objective precisely. We are not here to make absolute rules to do this and not do that. We are here to empower the youth of today with the knowledge and skills to enable them to make the right decisions for themselves – about the risks of HIV and life in general – and live by whatever decisions they make. And that is The Power of You.


Ming Meows said...

it's good that the students heard both your side and her (nazi's) side. after all it's up to them whom they should believe in.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Ay, siguro me nagtangkang mangrape kay Nazi lady dati pero di tinuloy, kaya nafrustrate ng bonggang bongga.

And I love the last few lines:

"We are here to empower the youth of today with the knowledge and skills to enable them to make the right decisions for themselves.. and live by whatever decisions they make. And that is The Power of You"

- poi

john stanley said...

there's B.I.T.C.H. and there are bitches too. the former, a good-natured, sensitive individual, the latter... uhmmm, never mind.

MightyMike said...

i dont want to be judgemental but then, nazi lady seems so narrow minded.... she can't be an advocate or a medium of change if she continues to be like that.

shes nothing but a typical person who attaches STIGMA to us homosexuals and PLWHA.

she asked you whats the purpose of that seminar. if its me. ill ask her back, what is your purpose for attenting this seminar. and ill make her reflect on that!!!

and if her actions are pure help or mere impositions of her judgemental ideas and insecurities.

insecurities to the fact that were still happy and living an almost normal life despite being HIV+ and being gay
well what does she want? us,be miserable and hopeless for having this illness?

i say she needs some whooping in the head.. not in the ass...

C said...

and being gay is 'just' a lifestyle???




ayan full caps yan galit ako sa estupida na yan ha? sino yan?

E said...

Go to Ramon Magsaysay high school cubao...she's the principal there @ BLACKPOOL

wanderingcommuter said...

hay, im just sad na teacher pa siyang naturingan. TEACHer...

hahaha. iba ka talaga E! i swear... hahaha!

sakpin said...

being gay is also a threat? watcha ya think dude?


@E pupuntahan ko siya talaga at lalambastahin ko siya gagawa ako ng oras promise.

Anonymous said...

A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle and brought about by that Nazi lady. tsk tsk word..PITY.

By the way... nice meeting you this afternoon, been a long time follower of ur blog..(im an avid fan :)keep it up! Take care!

- Deviated Capricorn

Manech said...

I agree with wanderingcommuter. Educators should be there to liberate students from the confines of ignorance.

That, or be open-minded enough to accept that no one knows everything, and that she may learn a thing or two from other people.

I am disgusted. Hope she learns a lesson or two. Soon.

E said...

Guys! BITCH and I are now heading to CEBU for another run for "POWER OF YOU" program (integrating HIV/STI's to secondary level schools) pls pray that there will be no more "Nasty Nazi" or else I'd really go ballistic this time.

Anonymous said...

uy nakita nyo na po ito?

dami ngmay hiv ngayon.