"Talk to me like you talk to your friends when no one is around."
That was my only request when I sat down with each of four HIV-negative gay men to create a short film for my blog, My Fabulous Disease, about their lives and attitudes.
They held back nothing, sharing details of their sex lives, their fears of becoming infected, and, perhaps most surprising, what they really think of HIV-positive guys. I couldn't believe their candor, and have worked to distill two days of explicit conversations into ten minutes of brutal honesty (the language is sometimes NSFW).
They don't speak for every gay man, only for themselves, and the differences of opinion between them is really striking. It really is a snapshot of what it means to be a negative and sexually active gay man these days. No matter which of these men you might relate to the most, there's no doubt they are all just trying to carve out a satisfying sexual existence during a pretty confusing time.
I couldn't help thinking of The Golden Girls when I was editing, because all the archetypes are here: the reserved one, the sensible one, the endearing one, the man-eater. Just saying this makes me guilty of the very thing the video is meant to address: how easily we label ourselves and others, and how we try to assign the same perspective to entire groups of people.
Watch, after the jump.