Just last night, I pulled my copy of Gabriel Rotello‘s “SEXUAL ECOLOGY: AIDS AND THE DESTINY OF GAY MEN” off my shelf. I had thought to review my underlinings, margin and back-page notes as I prepared a followup to my piece wondering why knowing what we know some gay men continue to have unsafe sex.
This morning, I noted this article from the “WASHINGTON BLADE,” “HIV strain prompts prevention rethinking” on the Outlet Wire on the left column of this page. Writer Dyana Bagby devotes nearly one-third of the piece to comments from Rotello. Rotello echoes something that HRC’s Winnie Stachelberg noted in a recent release — and which caught the attention of Christian Granthan and myself: “we see these wonderful ads of successful beautiful, healthy [HIV positive] people taking drugs and living wonderful lives.
In the “BLADE” article as well as his book, Rotello makes a number of valid points, notably
Gay men and HIV activists who discount the new HIV strain byarguing it is related to the current conservative political climate in the U.S. and the advocacy of abstinence-only programs are misguided, Rotello said.
Do you think because theyre attacking us on the right, we should not be informed? Is that a pro-gay agenda that we get a deadly disease and die? he said.
The virus doesnt care about the political climate. There are some who have a hard time separating the moral argument with the medical and biological arguments that your behavior is going to kill you, Rotello added. The ultimate pro-gay agenda is to live openly and make healthy choices.
In his book, he makes a much broader argument, suggesting, among other things, that gay men need to make a “larger transformation” than merely relying on “the condom code.” At a later date, I will comment on the meaning of that larger transformation, attempting to distill Rotello’s argument and complementing it with my own opinion. But, for now, in the wake of the discovery of this “possibly new HIV strain,” I encourage you to buy and read a Rotello’s book which both Larry Kramer and I consider “one of the most important books ever written for and about gay men.”
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com