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Guest Blogger: Facing AIDS Press Release

22 Nov

Today’s guest blogger, Kristy Scott from CARES, brings us important information about the Facing AIDS campaign!

In July 2010 our president—Barack Obama announced the National HIV/AIDS strategy (NHAS). The National HIV/AIDS strategy’s vision is stated below:

 

“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination”

 

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy has 3 main goals:

  1. To reduce new HIV infections
  2. To increase access to care and improve health outcomes for people livng with HIV.
  3. To reduce HIV-related health disparities

 

At my internship site, Community AIDS Resource and Education Services (CARES) we want to help do our part in implementing and supporting the National HIV/AIDS stategy. This is why we are in support of the Facing AIDS Campaign started by www.aids.gov. The Facing Aids campaign is a way to get everyone involved in fighting HIV stigma and supporting the goals outlined above by our president. This World AIDS Day December 1st, 2011 CARES is launching our local support and involvement in the “Facing AIDS” campaign.

 

President Barack Obama made it clear when unveiling the NHAS that Implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) does not fall to the Federal Government alone. Success will require the commitment of all parts of society, including state, local and tribal governments, businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others.

 

This means all of us need to do our part! Every individual, business, non profit, government, etc. are all responsible for the success of the NHAS. As busy individuals going to school, work, raising our families, and struggling with our own troubles it is sometimes hard to recognize how HIV/AIDS affects all of us. When one of our fellow citizens becomes infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) every nine-and-a-half minutes, is becomes evident that the epidemic affects all Americans. I want to encourage the Kalamazoo community, as well as all of humanity to recognize that when HIV affects one person in our community, it affects all of us. Therefore, it is going to require all of us coming together as a society to combat the effects of HIV/AIDS in the communities that make up our great nation.

 

The Facing AIDS campaign takes photos of individuals in support of the NHAS holding a sign that says why they are facing aids today. Please come into CARES at 629 Pioneer St., Kalamazoo MI, 49007 and support the cause by taking your very own Facing AIDS picture! On December 1st we will unveil all the pictures taken in our main lobby of our . Please come by and see the unity of our community supporting the NHAS on December 1st. Remember we are all in this together! Come and support your community, state, and nation in fighting for health, equality, and support for all of those living in your community regardless of HIV status.

 

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Stop the butch bashing: Why her gender expression isn’t any of your damn business

13 Oct

Today’s guest post is by a Northwestern University Graduate Student Helen.

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You wouldn’t know it from looking at me now, but I used to be the kind of queer who basically had a big neon sign over her head shouting “GAAAAY.” I had a pixie cut, sported lots of spiky earrings and wore cargo pants and men’s t-shirts or button-downs most days. I stomped around in work boots and wouldn’t touch makeup. It wasn’t really surprising that most people surmised my sexuality before I finally crept out of the closet.

I feel like preferring boxers to lingerie is ingrained in my DNA, just like my hair color or the fluorescent paleness of my skin. I was only three or four when I begged my mom to buy me my first tie (bright red, clip-on) while we were shopping at a department store. Growing up, I ran around clad in my older brother’s hand-me-downs, army vests that reached my knees and t-shirts that swallowed up my small torso. I was all skinned knees and gritty palms, climbing trees and orchestrating Nerf gun wars with the boys who lived in my neighborhood. I was happy. I was myself.

Then I hit puberty, and it suddenly became very clear that I was doing this being a girl thing all wrong. I can’t count how many times people called me ugly. Women and girls mostly whispered it behind my back, but boys and men had no problem saying it clearly within earshot or right to my face. In middle and high school, boys goaded their friends into pretending to ask me out. I was always painfully aware of the set-up and promptly told them to fuck off when they approached me, their friends gathered in a sniggering group behind them. I can’t say it didn’t sting a little, though. “Of course I wouldn’t really ask you out. Ugly dyke.”

I wish I could say that having people label me freakish and repulsive over and over again didn’t have any effect on my self-esteem. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the emotional fortitude at ages 14 through 19 to withstand that barrage of cutting comments unscathed. I’d be lying if I said getting told I was unattractive on a regular basis—and feeling ugly as a result—wasn’t part of the reason I decided to start growing my hair out and wearing eyeliner a couple of years ago. I don’t get called ugly anymore, but I still don’t feel attractive. That damage is done.

Next time you see a butch girl and you’re about to scrunch up your nose and call her gross, stop. It’s not her job to cater to your erotic preferences. Remember, ugly is subjective. Some people (like me) find masculine women sexy. So, don’t be that asshole. Stop the butch bashing.