Over at my recently renovated and reformated pad, InterstateQ.com, we've started publishing our first in-depth commentary series. The five-week series will be the first in a regular run of insightful commentary for and about the LGBT community.
The first series, "Fessing Up: exploring the dirty little secrets of the gay community," focuses on five areas/issues/problems of the LGBT community, and primarily the gay male community: substance abuse, promiscuity and unsafe sex, HIV/AIDS and STD infection rates, stigmatization of HIV-positive men in the gay male community and unattainable ideals of male beauty.
From the series' introduction:
The purpose of the series, written by me and other contributors, will be to open community discussion with frank and honest thoughts and debate. Ignoring problems that exist inside our community and among some of our LGBT siblings is dangerous. In order to make our community better, stronger and more equal, we have to begin taking responsibility and speaking out when our own community, personal and social health is threatened.
Although the series will deal specifically with gay and bisexual men, as well as men who have sex with men (MSM), it will contain possible truths and discussion for the whole LGBT community.
We know that increased risks of drug and alcohol abuse in the LGBT community contributes to promiscuity, unsafe sex and increased risks of contracting HIV and other STDs; that many gay, bi and MSM men are having a lot of sex, but doing so unsafely and with high risk; and that HIV and STD infection rates have skyrocketed, and will continue to skyrocket, inside the MSM community. We know that HIV+ gay, bi and MSM men are being cast to the side, despite the fact that many of the HIV- men doing the stigmatization are engaging in some of the very same risky behaviors that might well mean they will contract the disease. Finally, we know that nearly god-like ideals of male beauty and masculinity can leave a debilitating scar on gay, bi and MSM self-esteem, body image and self-worth.
And, while we know that all of these issues have an impact on the sexual, social, legal, physical and psychological health of the LGBT community, we have
utterly failed at having open and frank conversation about how we can address these issues, support our LGBT brothers and sisters and make our entire community more healthy and more equal.
The first of the five-week commentary series is live now and focuses on substance abuse. Next Thursday's topic is promiscuity and unsafe sex. Keep up with the series here.