Matt Comer

Coffee talk... for the better

Filed By Matt Comer | April 24, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay men, HIV/AIDS, lgbt health, MSM, psychology, std

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.


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Anthony in Nashville | April 24, 2009 10:33 AM

This could be an excellent series, I will be reading it with great interest.

The topics you listed are definitely problem areas for gay men in particular, yet too many of us don't take our health seriously.

I think most of these problem have their roots in low self esteem and a lack of mentors or elders to give rising generations of gay men examples of how to live.

Looks like a cool series, I like the first one up now. But I'm thinking, is promiscuity really a problem? I'll wait 'till next week to see what you have to say about it, but it's definitely being framed as a negative and high risk behavior. From my perspective, there's nothing inherently high risk about promiscuity. And the real problem is unsafe sex and unhealthy relationships with sexuality. But I don't think that's any more inherent to promiscuity then it is inherent to queerness. (while of course, the right says it is inherent to both).

Interesting article Matt. The relationship between gay male culture and cocktail is a tough nut to crack. Alcohol has fueled more of our culture than furtive gropings on back end of a night out at the clubs. Beer and bar ads fund our local print publications and a large portion of our festivals. Bars often sponsor our sporting events - softball, soccer, etc.

On the other hand, maybe we drink, drug, and smoke so we won't grown old and lonely.


Fabulous start to the series, Matt. I can't wait to read more.